Polish American Congress, Illinois Division, responds REQUESTING TO REPHRASE page 5 of the Resolution to include wording of “genocide” rather than “massacre” of Poles.
Following are the material references:
(1) Mr. Michael Niedzinski’s, PAC-IUl President, communication with Senator Durbin’s office
(2) New text (in red) to strengthen elements on page 5 of the Resolution, and
(3) Personal note from Aurelia Pucinski’s, Judge of the Illinois Appellate Court to Senator Dick Durbin.
Hello Chris [Doman],
As I stated earlier Polish community is very grateful for the initiative of Honorable Durbin, Risch and Menendez. Commemoration of this heinous genocide and what is more important educating Americans about atrocities committed by Soviet regime during WWll is extremely important especially in view of the current attempts by Russian government to falsify facts surrounding facts leading to the war. To that effect we would like to suggest usage of a stronger language on page five (shown below) of the resolution. Please review with senators and advise if this stronger language can be incorporated in the final document. Aurelia Pucinski, Judge of the Illinois Appellate court and daughter of Congressman Roman Pucinski who led initial investigation in this crime against humanity collaborated on the language. Judge Pucinski sent a personal note to Senator Durbin expressing sentiments of Polish Community and suggesting same emphasis on this deliberate and systematic extermination of Polish citizens.
Regards and Stay Healthy,
Polish American Congress Illinois Division
[Page 5 of the Resolution – requested changes]
Resolved, That the Senate –
(1) officially recognizes that the Katyn Forest Massacre was a Genocide against the Polish people;
(2) officially refers to the Katyn Forest Massacre as the Katyn Forest Genocide hereafter in all official publications and references by the government of the United States of America;
(3) honors the lives and legacies of the approximately 22,000 Polish soldiers and civilians who were brutally murdered by the Soviet People’s Commissariat for Internal Affairs, or NKVD, during the Katyn Forest Genocide 80 years ago;
(4) recognizes the investigators, witnesses, scholars, activists, and demonstrators who fought to bring the truth of the Katyn Forest Genocide to light in the face of the cover-up orchestrated by the Soviet Union;
(5) condemns both past and present attempts to cover up the truth of the Katyn Forest Genocide;
(6) condemns broader efforts by the Government of the Russian Federation to spread disinformation about the history of World War II;
(7) Encourages education about the facts of the Katyn Forest Genocide including the horrors of the genocide itself and subsequent attempts to deny it or cover it up.
[Email from Judge Aurelia Pucinski]
4/15/2020 Contact Dick Durbin I Contact I U.S. Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois
Hi Dick, while I applaud your effort on the Katyn Resolultion it totally ignores what PoIonia has been asking for since 1952/3 when my dad was the chief investigator for the House Committee and developed the proof that the Soviets were responsible not the Nazis….Polonia has been asking for the world to recognize the Katyn Forest Massacre as a GENOCIDE since then and your resolution does not do that; further, it mixes up current geopolitical nuances with the essence of the commemoration of the Katyn Forest Massacre which dilutes its significance to PoIonia and to the world, including the Russians and Putin. Please call it what it was and let the world know finally that Russia committed GENOCIDE.. I would be grateful for some indication that you have really seen this email, not a machine and not a staffer…. you have 900,000 residents of Polish ancestry in Illinois and we are all very, very concerned about this Resolution and what it does and what it does NOT do.
Note: The Polish American Congress, New Jersey Division, embarked on an initiative to ask the U.S. Senate to issue the Resolution in regards to Commemorating the 80th Anniversary of the Katyń Forest Massacre.
[end of update]
Bipartisan resolution sponsored by Senators Durbin, Risch and Menendez related to the 80th anniversary of Katyn Massacre and rebuttal to the misinformation being disseminated by the Russian Government.
We are very grateful to Celeste Gabinski (Office Mgr. US Senator R J Durbin) for sharing this bulletin with Polonia.
Polish American Congress. Illinois Division
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 13, 2020
Durbin, Risch, Menendez Mark 80th Anniversary of the Katyn Massacre with Senate Resolution
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL), Jim Risch (R-ID) (chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee), and Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) (ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee), today announced a Senate Resolution commemorating the 80th Anniversary of the Katyn Massacre. Eighty years after 22,000 Polish soldiers and civilians were executed by Soviet forces, the bipartisan resolution honors their lives and legacy, and recognizes those who fought to tell the truth of the Katyn Massacre despite a Soviet cover-up campaign. The resolution, which also condemns efforts by the present-day Russian government to spread disinformation about the history of World War II, will be formally introduced when the Senate reconvenes.
“Ten years ago, I was honored to lead a resolution that unanimously passed the Senate expressing sympathy to the people of Poland over the death of then President, Lech Kaczynski. President Kaczynski’s plane tragically crashed while traveling to Katyn, Russia, for a memorial service marking the massacre’s 70th anniversary,” Durbin said. “Today I am similarly honored to join with my colleagues, Senators Menendez and Risch, to express deepest sympathies and solidarity with the Polish people and Polish-American community, so many of whom call the Chicago area home, on this somber anniversary of those tragic events in Katyn.”
“On this solemn 80th anniversary of the Katyn Massacre, we honor the 22,000 Polish soldiers and civilians who were murdered by the Soviet Union after Poland was invaded first by Nazi Germany and then by the USSR,” Risch said. “The Russian Federation’s attempts to cover up the truth about this crime and spread disinformation about the massacre and the history of World War II are unacceptable, and I stand with the Polish people in encouraging continued education of the facts of this tragic event.”
“Today I join Polish-Americans in New Jersey and around the country in honoring the 22,000 Polish soldiers and civilians who were murdered by the Soviet Union during the Katyn Massacre,” Menendez said. “The world must remember the truth of this heinous crime to prevent history from repeating itself. The United States stood with the people of Poland in pushing back on Soviet lies about the Katyn Massacre decades ago, and with this effort today we once again stand with them against Vladimir Putin’s ongoing campaign to distort the history of World War II.”
A copy of the resolution can be found here.