The 2010 Katyń Families Association

The Polish military prosecutors exhumed remains of two victims of the 2010 Smolensk plane crash - bringing the total count to nine so far.

On Monday 12th November, the Polish military prosecutors exhumed remains of two victims of the 2010 Smolensk, Russia, plane crash, which killed President Lech Kaczynski, on suspicion that there may have been a mix-up over their bodies.

“Concerns that the bodies may have been exchanged arose after studying documents produced by the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation, as well as due to opinions of Polish experts” Military Prosecutor Captain Andrzej Wicharski said, as quoted by PAP Polish news agency.

The bodies of two priests, one of whom was buried in Warsaw's Temple of Divine Providence, and the other in a cemetery in the district of Pyry, south Warsaw, will now be tested to verify their identity. Unofficially, it is understood that the exhumations concern Father Zdzislaw Krol, Chaplain of the Katyn Families, and Professor Ryszard Rumianek, former rector of the Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski University.

According to, after the exhumation of Ryszard Rumianek, the family's attorney asked twice for the permission to investigate the corpse with a spectrometer - a device to detect the presence explosives, but the Military Prosecutor's Office in Warsaw has not given consent.


The misidentification of the bodies is the latest in a series of scandals and intrigues around the crash. This is the third exhumation this year involving those killed of Smolensk air crash. In September and October investigators exhumed the bodies of four other victims - including the last Polish president in exile, Ryszard Kaczorowski and legendary Solidarity co-founder and activist Anna Walentynowicz - and found they had all been buried in the wrong graves. 


Last week's exhumation brings the total to nine, and the military prosecutor's office has not ruled out the possibility of further exhumations in the near future. So far, the exhumations have been undertaken under the prosecutions own initiative and judgment, systematically refusing such requests to relatives.


28 months after the crash relatives of the Smolensk victims face the dreadful possibility of further exhumations due to numerous breaches and failure to ensure that recognised international standards were adopted during the identification and burial procedures. Concerns have also been raised about the exhumation procedure itself.


Families of victims, since autopsy files have been made available to them, have questioned the accuracy of the autopsy files, due to overwhelming amount of inconsistencies suggesting falsification or pure fabrication. Many relatives of the Smolensk victims have openly accused the autopsy files to have been falsified.


A fact to remember and keep in mind is that the coffins of the victims have been sealed in Russia and never allowed to be opened, once in Poland.



More information:

1) Exiled Polish president's body wrongly identified in graves scandal

2) Exhumation of Ryszard Kaczorowski

3) 'That's not my mother', says Walentynowicz's son

4) Exhumation of Anna Walentynowicz


fot. PAP/ Andrzej Viktor