Sunday 11 December 2016

Poland holds state burial for Second World War heroes slain by communists

Published 28/08/2016 | 15:11

Two Polish Second World War heroes later killed by the communists in 1946 have been given a state burial
Two Polish Second World War heroes later killed by the communists in 1946 have been given a state burial

Two Polish Second World War heroes who fought the Germans but were killed later by the communists in Poland for pro-independence activity have received a state burial.

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The relatives of 17-year-old Home Army nurse Danuta Siedzikowna and 42-year-old officer Feliks Selmanowicz attended the ceremonies on Sunday along with government officials.

The burials were held in the northern city of Gdansk where the two were captured.

They were tortured and executed on August 28 1946, and t heir bodies were dumped in an unmarked pit at Gdansk cemetery.

The remains of the pair were found and identified in 2014, allowing for proper burial.

Democratic Poland takes special effort to honour and remember pro-independence and anti-communist fighters who were persecuted, killed and erased from history books for decades under communism.

AP

The remains of Siedzikowna, codename Inka, and Selmanowicz, alias Zagonczyk, were identified through DNA tests.

The move was part of government efforts to locate and properly honour thousands of Poles who fought against the Nazis and then against the communists.

Only a few hundred have been found so far across the country.

"Against the plans of the communists and traitors, Poland will not forget you," said Polish president Andrzej Duda to applause during the funeral Mass.

"What you did was right. Glory to the heroes."

Hundreds of people turned out for the ceremonies at St Mary's Basilica and at the cemetery.

Siedzikowna's father, Waclaw Siedzik, was among the thousands of Poles deported in 1940 by Soviet secret security to Siberia where he died three years later.

Her mother, Eugenia Siedzik, was executed by the Germans in 1943 for her resistance activity.

"Inka" joined the Home Army after her death and trained to be a nurse. After the war, she was active in fighting against the communist authorities that were imposed on Poland.

Historians say that, according to witnesses, her last words before her execution were "Long live Poland."

AP

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