The commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the “Augustów round-up” took place in the Suwalszczyzna region today. In a criminal operation of the Soviet NKVD and Red Army, nearly 600 or, as some sources claim, 2,000 Poles perished. Their remains were never found.
The “Augustów round-up” remains to this day the biggest unexplained crime committed by the NKVD and the Red Army against Polish underground soldiers after the Second World War. The massacre took place in July 1945. Officially, around 600 hundred Poles were murdered, including 27 women.
“They went and murdered everyone who stood in their way, including women and children. It was a violation of all basic, human values. Forces of another country went on a brutal, murdering raid in another country”, says historian Tadeusz Płużański.
Priest prelate Stanisław Wysocki, as a small child witnessed these horrible events.
“I saw it personally, I witnessed it as a small boy. What happened to my father and sisters, they were never seen again. My God, it is very difficult to talk about. I was 7 years old. I remember my father’s helplessness as they took him out of the apartment to a car which was waiting. I told my dad, as a seven-year-old, that I will go with him, since I wanted to protect him. My dad told me: you stay and keep watch. Only years later I understood what he meant. He told me to keep watch on the Augustów round-up, to tell its story”, said priest Wysocki.
A conspiracy of silence surrounds this crime of July 1945. Aerial pictures point to the fact that the mass graves of Polish soldiers might be located in today’s Belarus. However, the Belarusian side refuses to help the Polish government in finding the remains of the Polish victims. Russia, in turn, claims that it has no documents which would make the search easier.
“We would like to have a full list of victims of the Augustów round-up. In this regard, historians cite different numbers, and we are almost sure that there had been around 2 thousand victims”, added priest Wysocki.
The main commemorations of the anniversary of the Augustów round-up will begin tomorrow with a Holy Mass in the town of Giby.