Commemorations of mass atrocity in Palmiry 80 years ago

The National Remembrance Institute (IPN) commemorated on Sunday the mass atrocity committed in Palmiry, near Warsaw, targeting the Polish intelligentsia 80 years ago. On June 20 and 21, 1940, Nazi Germans murdered 358 people, including Maciej Rataj, Mieczysław Niedziałkowski and Janusz Kusociński

"Palmiry, a small village located north of Warsaw, is registered in the minds of many Poles as a symbol of the mass murders committed by the Germans mainly on representatives of the intelligentsia" - the Institute of National Remembrance wrote on Twitter. The institute organised a ceremony to commemorate the victims on Sunday at the War Cemetery in Palmiry with the participation of the Vice President of the IPN Mateusz Szpytma.

The victims of the Palmiry atrocities were mainly prisoners from Pawiak and the Gestapo prison in Aleja Szucha in occupied Warsaw. The most intense period of executions occurred in June 1940. The largest atrocity was committed on June 20 and 21, 1940, when 358 people were shot.

"In the forest near Warsaw, the Germans exterminated the Polish elite. Among 378 prisoners murdered 80 years ago in Palmiry were, among others, Maciej Rataj - a political activist, Speaker of the Parliament and Mieczysław Niedziałkowski - PPS (Polish Socialist Party) activist, defender of the Polish capital during the 1939 campaign" - informed the Institute, which also recalled that another victim of the shooting in Palmiry was Janusz Kusociński - an outstanding athlete, Olympic gold medallist in the 10 km run from Los Angeles in 1932 and a volunteer during the defence of Warsaw in 1939.

The Germans began a series of mass executions in the Kampinos Forest, including the village of Palmiry near Warsaw, in December 1939. They were an introduction to large-scale executions of intelligentsia under an Operation called “AB” - the so-called Extraordinary Pacification. In Palmiry from December 1939 to July 1941, the Germans carried out 21 executions, in which over 1,700 Polish citizens were killed, many with Jewish roots.

Executions also took place elsewhere in the Kampinos Forest, including Wólka Węglow and Laski.