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A tribute to the Poles murdered by the Germans in Palmiry – on the 80th anniversary of the crimes against Maciej Rataj and Mieczysław Niedziałkowski

Mateusz Szpytma Ph.D., the Deputy President of the Institute of National Remembrance, honored Poles murdered in Palmiry as part of the German AB-Aktion ; the Cemetery in Palmiry, 21 June 2020

The IPN’s Deputy President paid tribute to representatives of the Polish intelligentsia who were murdered in Palmiry in the spring of 1940. He laid flowers on the graves of the Speaker of the Seym (the lower chamber of the Polish Parliament) of the Second Polish Republic Maciej Rataj and Mieczysław Niedziałkowski, the Chairman of the Parliamentary Association of Polish Socialists during the Second Polish Republic, both shot on 21 June 1940.

Over 2,000 Polish citizens, mainly representatives of the intelligentsia, were murdered by the Germans in Palmiry in dozens of mass executions, the largest of which took place on 20-21 June 1940. The victims were artists, social and political activists, athletes, officials, later also the clergy and teachers. Many of them were Warsaw residents.

 

 

Maciej Rataj – an activist and MP of the Polish People's Party "Liberation"and  "Piast", the People's Party, one of the creators of the March Constitution of 1921, the Speaker of the Seym from 1922, in 1931–1939 a member of the General Executive Committee of the People's Party and editor of the “Zielony Sztandar”, in the years 1935–1939 during Witos’ absence he served as the President of the People's Party, in October 1939 one of the co-founders of the Central Political Council of the Union of Armed Struggle. He was arrested by the Gestapo and shot in Palmiry on 21 June 1940.

Mieczysław Niedziałkowski – a politician, an outstanding Polish Socialist Party activist, a member of the Polish Seym, editor-in-chief of the daily “Robotnik”. His career began during the partitions, when as a junior high school student, he was involved in the activities of socialist independence groups. He remained very active during the war devoting his energy and journalistic talent to the defense of Warsaw in 1939. He is considered one of the main organizers of the capital's civil defense. He was arrested by the Germans in December 1939 and shot in Palmiry on 21 June 1940.

 

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