WE WILL REMEMBER THEM
"Nothing will be left of us but our buttons", said Vice-Consul of the Republic of Poland in Toronto, Grzegorz Jopkiewicz, paraphrasing one of the Polish officers in Andrzej Wajda's movie Katyń. Nothing could have been further from the truth on this April afternoon as over a hundred Polish-Canadians gathered at the foot of Roncesvalles Ave. in Toronto to commemorate the 73rd anniversary of the massacre. As we remembered the lives lost in this tragic moment in Polish history, we also paid our respects to the victims of the plane crash at Smolensk three years ago, which amongst many others, killed the Polish President Lech Kaczyński. Organized by the Canadian Polish Congress-Toronto Chapter, the ceremony at the Katyn monument was preceded by a march from the morning mass at St. Casimir's church. Many Polish organizations were present to lay their wreaths, among them: The Polish Combatant's Association Head Executive Board with president Andrzej Ruta and Polish Combatant's Association Branch 20 Toronto with president Zofia Śliwińska.The story of Katyń is one that is part of Polish collective memory, yet we still do not have all the facts. SPK continues to call on the Russian government to reconcile the actions of the Soviet government, the secret police, the Red Army, and of Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin vis-à-vis Poland during the course of World War II.
YOUR GRANDPA'S WAR: AN INTRODUCTION TO POLISH MILITARY HISTORY
March 7, 2013 - Polish Veterans' Hall, 206 Beverley Street, Toronto
Your Grandpa's War was attended by close to 100 persons representing various organizations as well as by the general public (largely Polish-Canadian) who saw our advertising or learned of the event by word-of-mouth. We had specifically invited the officers, soldiers and staff of 32 Brigade Group in order to lend a more military atmosphere to the evening as well as to introduce them to our organization and history. A number of their regiments, as well as their headquarters, are located in the Toronto area. Among the attendees was Lt. Col. Paul Szabunio, CO of 7 Toronto Regiment, Royal Canadian Artillery, a veteran of Bosnia and Afghanistan, who was accompanied by his spouse, Anna, a Poli-Sci PhD candidate at UofT. A few soldiers attended, many of them English speakers. They included Lt. Col. Michael Clarry, CO of the 32 Combat Engineer Regiment and Royal Canadian Navy veteran Gordon Casey.
POLISH COMBATANTS' ASSOCIATION HEAD EXECUTIVE BOARD POSITION ON THE SOVIET VERSION OF WORLD WAR II
On November 26, 2010, the Soviet parliament admitted that Stalin was directly to blame for the Katyn massacre. We can only hope that all aspects of the Soviet Union's aggression of 1939-41 and 1944-89 and culpability in the atrocities committed during those years, will be as plainly admitted in the coming years.
THE HEAD EXECUTIVE BOARD
The Head Executive Board (HEB) represents the Polish Combatants' Association (PCA) branches at the national level. Almost two dozen branches are located in towns and cities across Canada from Montreal to Victoria. The individual branches were organized by the immigrant Polish soldiers in the cities and towns where they were settled by the Canadian government after World War Two. Currently, the HEB office resides in Toronto.
In the late 1940s, the HEB lobbied the Canadian government on behalf of its members, all of whom had been forced to sign two year labour contracts (mostly in forestry and agriculture) as a condition of their immigration to Canada.