The Centre for Polish-Russian Dialogue and Understanding published a guide other than all the others. The guidebook describes not only the Polish War Cemetery in Katyn but also the history and geography of the Katyn Massacre. It is intended to both those who plan to visit Katyn, and those who will never go there.
You can find an electronic version of the book here: PDF, MOBI, EPUB. If you are interested in the printed version, please contact the Centre beforehand (firstname.lastname@example.org, 22 295 00 30).
Knowledge of what happened in Katyn seems to be widespread in Poland, but few people have managed to visit the burial sites of the victims. Often in the imagination of Poles these places are perceived to be somewhere far away in Russia or Ukraine. The insurmountable barrier is not only the thousands of kilometers distance and the visa requirements, but also the uncertainty as to what can be found there. Meanwhile, Katyn, a symbol so important for Polish and Russian history, is also a specific place on earth. By publishing a guide, which on the one hand presents the history and geography of the murder, and on the other contains a description of the cemetery and practical information, the Centre wanted to bridge the existing gap and encourage people to make the journey to the East. Our goal was to offer the readers a study combining basic historical information with practical tips on how to move around the grounds and some local specifics.
Our aim is to, with the help of the guide, encourage readers to acquire a personal insight into the events and places known from the tragic history, to see under the cover of the Katyn myth thousands–or maybe just a few chosen ones–of Poles, heroes, flesh and blood people. Being aware that just the reading itself may not be a fully satisfying experience, we want to leave space for personal uncovering of the history of the crime, for example by wandering around the Katyn Cemetery from one bronze nameplate to another, from one human history stopped short in the spring of 1940 to the next.
The publication is also intended to allow the Polish reader to understand the significance of Katyn in Russia. While in the independent Poland Katyn is an unchangeable and unambiguous symbol, in Russia the memory of this event, the cemetery and museum complex have become the subject of political and ideological power play in recent years. Once again Katyn has become a burning issue and a determinant of the state of Polish-Russian relations, and also of tensions within Russia itself.
“There is a great need for a publication like this, a guide to places which, in the consciousness of people interested in the latest history of Poland, are connected with the broadly understood Katyn subject area.”
Dr Izabella Sariusz-Skąpska, President of the Federation of Katyn Families
“Katyń. Przewodnik szlakiem Zbrodni–is a well-thought idea. Katyn is not only a part of Polish history but also of Russian. The guide will help Polish readers to understand how contemporary Russia understands its history”.
Dr. Aleksandr Guryanov, “Memorial”, Moscow
Title: Katyn. In the Footsteps of the Crime
Authors: Jadwiga Rogoża, Maciej Wyrwa
English translation: Danuta Przepiórkowska, Róża Kochanowska (“Practical information”)
Editor: Olivia Bailey
Publisher: Centre for Polish-Russian Dialogue and Understanding
Publishing date: March 2020