Katyń Memorial at Gunnersbury Cemetery, Chiswick, England – Documentary photography by Czesław Siegieda

Documentary photographer Czesław Siegieda recorded life in a Polish community in England from 1970 to the 1980s. Bearing the date 1940 and dedicated on 18 September 1976, this Katyń memorial was the first in the world. It was erected in the face of opposition from both the Soviet and English governments.

During the period of the Cold War, successive British governments objected to plans by the UK’s Polish community to build a major monument to commemorate the massacre. The Soviet Union did not want Katyń to be remembered, and put pressure on Britain to prevent its creation. As a result, the construction of the Katyń memorial was delayed for many years. After the local community had finally secured the right to build the memorial, no official representative from either government was present at the opening ceremony in Gunnersbury Cemetery, London (although some Members of Parliament did attend the event unofficially).

The Katyń massacre (“zbrodnia katyńska”) was the mass murder of


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