Mr. Speaker, this past Friday, I attended a photo exhibit dedicated to educating the public about a terrible human tragedy in Polish history.
Sixty-five years ago the Soviet army took 21,000 Polish army reserve officers prisoner after occupying eastern Poland under terms of a secret deal between Hitler and Stalin.
After rounding up these reservists, lawyers, doctors, businessmen, teachers and other professionals, the intellectual elite of Poland, the Soviets took them to various locations where they were gagged, bound, executed and buried in mass graves. The largest known mass grave of these execution sites was the Katyn forest near Smolensk, Russia.
For decades the Soviets denied they had committed this atrocity. Finally, in 1992 the Russian government handed over documents to the Polish president, Lech Walesa, showing that Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin did indeed order the massacres. Notwithstanding this evidence, Russian President Putin refuses to acknowledge the Katyn massacre.
I hope that some day all Canadians will be afforded the opportunity to learn more about this terrible crime through displays and interactive media at a prominent national museum in Canada.