A Scene To Ponder

By Tom Piatak

A scene to ponder.

It is Christmas Eve in 1939, and the officer commanding a group of Polish officers in Soviet captivity has asked one of his men to report upon seeing the first star in the night sky. If these men were with their families, the sighting of the star would mean the beginning of the Christmas Eve dinner. Here, after a brief speech by their commander, the men all sing one of the greatest of Polish Christmas carols, Bog sie rodzi (God is born).

By the summer of 1940, the Soviets had killed all these men. During the war, the Western Allies pressured the Polish government in exile to accept the official story that these men were all killed by the Nazis. The homeland these men were defending was freed from Nazi occupation only to be put under Soviet domination, and it was a crime in Communist Poland to tell the truth about Katyn. It appeared, for decades, that everything these men cherished was lost forever.

But it wasn’t.

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