Katyn, the cursed place in Polish history





The leader of Poland's government in exile while the nation was under Soviet-backed rule. The shipyard worker whose firing helped ignite the labor uprising that ultimately toppled communism here. A banking head who helped keep the country stable while the rest of the European Union plunged into recession.

When Poland lost its president and top military brass Saturday in a plane crash that killed 96, it also lost much of its living history and other elite members of society.

It is a supreme bitterness that they died near, of all places, Russia's Katyn forest, where thousands of Polish officers were slain by Soviet forces in World War II in an attempt to eliminate some of the country's brightest.

"This is so very much like Katyn, where our head was cut off," former President Lech Walesa said....

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