On 20 November the President of the Institute of National Remembrance, Dr Jarosław Szarek officially opened the "Order No. 00485. Anti-Polish Operation of the NKVD in Soviet Ukraine 1937-1938" exhibition at the National Historic and Architectural Museum located at the Kiev Fortress.
The opening of the exhibition took place with the participation of Bartosz Cichocki, the Polish Ambassador to Ukraine, Bartosz Musiałowicz, the Director of the Polish Institute in Kiev and Oksana Nowikowa-Wyhran, the Director of the Kiev Fortress Museum.The opening was organized by the Institute of National Remembrance, the Polish Institute in Kiev, the Polish Embassy in Kiev and the "Kiev Fortress" National Historical and Architectural Museum.
The exhibition is the result of previous successful cooperation between the Institute of National Remembrance and the Ukrainian archives in Khmelnytsky, Vinnytsia and Odessa. It will be on display until 8 December 2019.The exhibition has so far been presented in Ukraine: in Vinnitsa, Khmelnytsky and Odessa as well as in Poland: in Warsaw, Elbląg and Gdańsk. It has also reached the U.S – on 17 November it was shown in the church. St. Stanisław Bishop and Martyr in Manhattan, New York and was presented at the Polish Cultural Foundation in Clark on 20 November 2019.
The grand opening of the exhibition was preceded by the laying of flowers at the Polish Army Soldiers' Quarter at the Baykovaya ulitsa Cemetery, at the Polish War Cemetery in Kiev-Bykivnia, as well as at the Wall of Executions in the Kiev Fortress. The President of the IPN lit a candle on the grave of a Ukrainian dissident, poet Vasyl Stus, who was tortured in the labour camp in 1985.
The poet was also recalled in the opening speech of the exhibition: - We will not forget the wishes of Vasyl Stus which were smuggled out of the labour camp after 13 December 1981, for the "Polish freedom fighters" and the belief that communists in Poland "will not succeed in putting out the holy fire of freedom."
The President of the IPN was accompanied by Mariusz Kwaśniak, Deputy Director of the IPN Archive and Dr Dorota Lewsza from the Office of the President and Social Communication.
On 21 November 2019, the President of the Institute of National Remembrance Jarosław Szarek, the Polish Ambassador Bartosz Cichocki and the Deputy Director of the IPN Archive Mariusz Kwaśniak, honoured the memory of the victims of the Euromaidan wave of demonstrations which took place in Kiev at the turn of 2013 and 2014.
The exhibition "Order No. 00485. Anti-Polish Operation of the NKVD in Soviet Ukraine 1937-1938" consists of 16 boards presenting the fate of people repressed as part of the anti-Polish operation carried out by the NKVD in the Soviet Union in the years 1937–1938. As part of the operation, over 143,000 people were arrested, among whom at least 111,000 were sentenced to death. Nearly 30,000 Poles were sent to labour camps. In Ukraine, where the largest concentration of the Polish population in the USSR was located, 55,928 Poles were tried, of whom 47,327 were murdered.
The exhibition prepared by the Archive of the Institute of National Remembrance used documents passed on to the IPN by the Ukrainian State Archives in Odessa, Khmelnytsky and Vinnitsa in connection with the implementation of the agreement on archival cooperation concluded on 26 March 2018. It provides Polish archivists with access to thousands of documents regarding NKVD crimes committed against Poles in the years 1937–38 in the Soviet Union.
As part of cooperation with the archives in Khmelnytsky, as many as over three and a half thousand archival units (3609 units) have been acquired so far. This translates into 405,372 digital files in tiff format. Copies of 171 volumes of files were provided by the Archives of the Odessa Oblast, which constitutes 20,786 digital files and 46,458 copies of documents from 406 units from the Archives in Vinnitsa.