Motorcycle rally in memory of Katyń victims begins

19th International Motorcycle Katyń Rally began on Saturday in Warsaw.

“During the rally we see very positive reactions from Poles living in the areas of Belarus and Russia we visit. They wait for us every year, they say that ‘Poland drives to them’, when dozens of motorbikes with white-and-red flags arrive in their towns. We are always welcomed there, no one was ever hostile to us,” said Michał Szeliga from the International Motorcycle Katyń Rally Association.

The bikers started from the Piłsudzki square in Warsaw and will drive to Katyń, western Russia. Some 80 riders take part in this year’s rally.

The Katyn massacre was the murder of nearly 22,000 Polish officers by the Soviet NKVD political police. The officers were taken as prisoners of war after the Soviet Union invaded Poland on September 17, 1939. Some Polish civilians arrested in Soviet-occupied Poland were also murdered there.

The crime was denied by both the Soviet authorities and the communist regime in Poland for years, until Mikhail Gorbachev confirmed it, in 1990.