Higher social classes such as politicians and intelligentsia were especially targeted by the Nazis during the German occupation, as they were the carriers of Polish culture, history and traditions. At first, the victims were Jews. Later on, more and more Polish politicians, catholic priests and teachers were arrested, put in Pawiak and Szucha prisons, and later transported to Palmiry to be killed.

The first massacres in Palmiry are dated to December 7th and 8th, 1939, and the last (by the current state of knowledge) – on July 17th, 1941. The biggest and the best-documented massacre took place 82 years ago, on June 20th–21st. In just two days, 378 people died blindfolded, by a shot in the head.

The executions were ordered by Josef Meisinger and conducted by SS and Ordnungspolitzei. Tombs were dug by Hitlerjugend members. The Kampinos Forest was picked as an execution site due to the fact that it was previously used by the Polish Army to store weapons. It was a restricted area fenced by a barbed wire, and Polish foresters weren’t allowed to get close to it. However, the information about executions was impossible to keep a secret, and the foresters marked the burial places. After World War II, the bodies were exhumated, and a memorial site was built in Palmiry.