Drooling on the Pillow

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Eternal Flame 

Pictured above is the Katyn Forest memorial in Jersey City. It commemorates the massacre of over 5,000 Poles who were being held captive by the Soviets in 1940.

One of the earliest--and certainly the most infamous--
mass shootings of prisoners of war during World War II
did not occur in the heat of battle but was a cold-blooded
act of political murder. The victims were Polish officers,
soldiers, and civilians captured by the Red Army after it
invaded eastern Poland in September 1939.
. . .

During April-May 1940, the Polish prisoners were moved
from their internment camps and taken to three execution
sites. The place most identified with the Soviet atrocity is
Katyn Forest, located 12 miles west of Smolensk, Russia.
For years historians assumed that the grounds of an
NKVD rest and recreation facility were both an execution
and burial site for nearly a fifth of the unfortunate Poles
who found themselves in Soviet captivity. Post-Cold War
revelations, however, suggest that the victims were shot
in the basement of the NKVD headquarters in Smolensk
and at an abattoir in the same city, although some may
have been executed at a site in the forest itself. In any
event, the Katyn Forest is--and will probably long
remain--the main symbol of the atrocity, even if it was
not the actual killing field.
Benjamin Fisher, in Studies in Intelligence, Winter 1999/2000

The reason I bring up Katyn on this day of all days is that soon after the attack on the World Trade Center, Glenn Reynolds linked to a picture, similar to the one above except that the twin towers were burning in the background, framing the Katyn Memorial between them. I can't find a reference to it at the Instapundit archives and I can't remember name of the woman he was linking to.

I've been looking for it for awhile now and if anyone remembers anything about it I'd appreciate hearing from them. The picture has haunted me ever since I saw it as it represented, to me, the incredible savagery of the 20th century and the horrible news that the 21st century was not likely to be an improvement.

There is still the remnant of a once sizable Polish community in downtown Jersey City. They certainly remember the victims of Katyn Forrest and weep for them. Remembering and commemorating are very important. We will never forget what happened and who was responsible and we will honor the victims forever.

We need to do something else, though. We need to stay angry about it. The moment we find that we have 'moved on' we will have accepted, however implicitly, the Islamists rationalization for their murders. Those who hid them, those that helped them, those who knew and did nothing. They made themselves targets that day. While the living continue to raise their families and seek the good things in life, there has to always be room for a small, intense, unquenchable anger. That would be the best memorial.

UPDATE: My friend at Enlighten-New Jersey sent me the snap below in response to my bleg. It's not exactly the shot I was thinking of, but it appears to have been taken within minutes of it. And it's just as good.

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