Friday, June 7, 2013

Katyn Exhibit in Minnesota

Readers of my blog know that I experienced a bit of knee injury while walking earlier this week in Moorhead. On Thursday I felt good enough to take my gimpy knee to the State Capitol to see the Katyn exhibit. (If Katyn is new to you, click here to learn more.)

While wandering to the North Corridor I took a couple of photos that put architectural features together in an interesting way.

From my stays in Poland I have heard much about Katyn, particularly after the film about this was released in 2007. Others may remember the plane crash in 2010 associated with a Polish delegation going to Russia regarding a Katyn remembrance.

The first part of the exhibit explains how Nazi and Soviet governments colluded during the 1939 invasion of Poland.

 I was startled to see the Zakopane train station decorated like this. I have walked by this station many times and have also bought train tickets there. In my wildest dreams I didn't think of such an image for the station during World War II.

What became apparent from viewing the exhibit is that Katyn was not an isolated incident. There were many other similar efforts going on.

The controversy associated with Katyn is that the Soviets were reponsible, but from the end of World War II to 1989 the official Soviet message is that the Nazis were responsible. This was easy to believe because the Nazis were also undertaking such initiatives. The exhibit includes a quote from Himmler advocating first the extinction of the Kashubians (the ethnic group from Poland who came to Minnesota), the Jews, and also the Ukrainians and Belorussians, the Gorale (Tatra Mountain People), and the Lemkos, and then finally anyone else in Poland.

The descriptions of what happened and the numbers of persons who were killed is overwhelming. To put human faces onto this event, the exhibit includes stories of three groups related to each other somehow.

Here is Janina Dowbor-Muscinka. It is easy to see why an invading government would be threatened by this person. Both she and her sister, Agnieska, were caught up in the murders of the Polish intelligentsia.
After thinking about such a sobering topic is was good for the soul to walk out to some beauty and peace.

Here is a view of the capitol mall seen from the south door of the Capitol building.

And it was good, too, to glimpse  the St. Paul Cathedral through the trees.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Regarding the Zakopane train station - /1940 vs. 2007/

Very interesting blog.