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Local Descendants Tell Story of Connection to Katyn Massacre | Events

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Local Descendants Tell Story of Connection to Katyn Massacre
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BUFFALO, N.Y. -- A crowd of over 100 people viewed the Oscar-nominated film "Katyn" at the Central Library in downtown Buffalo this Sunday.

The screening of the film coincided with the closing of the traveling exhibit entitled "Katyn. Massacre. Politics. Morality" on view at the library through Monday morning, Oct. 18. 

The exhibit contains a panel of U.S. born victims of the massacre, in which over 20,000 Polish officers and other leaders were murdered by the Soviets in 1940. Two of the massacre victims were Buffalo natives, Reserve Lt. Henryk Franciszek Adamski and Sgt. Major Wincenty Blaszak. A copy of Adamski's baptismal certificate next to his photo lists him as living at 919 Clinton St. in Buffalo and having been baptized at St. Peter and Paul Church.

A former Buffalo resident now living in Rochester named Robert Johnson, noticed a photo of the exhibit on the internet, and after checking his family tree, realized that Henryk Adamski was his mother's first cousin. Johnson and his cousin Nancy showed family pictures and told stories about their murdered relative.

Also present were Casimir and Vitold Soron. The Soron brothers' father, Casimir Sr., was pressured to leave his Buffalo-based radio program in 1944 after refusing to stop reporting about Soviet actions against Poland during the war. At the time, the U.S. was allied with the Soviet Union in the fight against Nazi Germany. Talk of an ally's atrocities was considered counterproductive to the war effort. Vitold Soron showed a copy of the transcript of his father's testimony in Congress in the 1950s regarding his forced resignation from a local radio program.

Local genealogical researchers Monica Rzepka and Ed Kornowski are aiding in the research of both Adamski and Blaszak families to see whether any other descendants may remain. Especially scant seems to be information about the Blaszak family.

Admission to the exhibit is free. 

The English-language exhibit was created in Poland by the Council to Protect the Memory of Combat and Martyrdom. It began its journey in the U.S. at the U.S. Senate and will travel next to Cleveland.

Sponsors of the exhibit's presence in Buffalo are the Consulate of the Republic of Poland in New York City, the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library, the Polish American Congress, WNY Div., the Polish Legacy Project of Buffalo-WWII and the Kosciuszko Foundation, WNY Chapter.

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