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Polish Studies Center

Last modified: Thursday, April 15, 2010

IU Bloomington remembers victims of Poland's air tragedy

April 15, 2010

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University's Polish Studies Center is inviting people to sign a book of condolences for those who died in Saturday's plane crash at Smolensk, Russia, including Poland's president and dozens of political, military and civilian leaders.

Polish flag image

Piotr Pawlowski

A modified Polish flag serves as one person's memorial.

The book was set out Wednesday (April 14) at the Polish Studies Center, 1217 E Atwater Ave., and will be available for signing from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. today (April 15) and 1 to 4 p.m. Friday. The book will be sent, along with a condolence letter, to Poland's Embassy in Washington, D.C.

The airplane was carrying Poland's President Lech Kaczynski, his wife Maria, three deputy speakers of the Sejm (Poland's legislature), the heads of the country's armed forces and dozens of other leaders. All 96 people on board the plane were killed.

The victims had been traveling to Russia to take part in a ceremony marking the 1940 massacres at Katyn, where 20,000 Polish officers were executed by the Soviets.

On Monday (April 12), Justyna Beinek, assistant professor and director of the Polish Language, Literature and Culture Program, showed the film "Katyn" by Andrzej Wajda, to her class.

On Friday (April 16) from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., a panel will be held in Wylie Hall 015 to present information on the tragedy at Smolensk, including its historical context and its repercussions for the present political situation in Poland.

A special mass commemorating those who died in the plane crash and for the intention of Poland will be said at 10:30 a.m. Saturday (April 17) at St. Paul's Catholic Center, 1413 E. 17th St. The mass will be held in both English and Polish.

Additional and updated information will be available at the center's Web site at