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Katyn Documentary - Buttons In The Ground

     WASHINGTON, D.C.  In the Katyn Forest near Smolensk, Russia in the Spring of 1940, well over 250,000 metal buttons were cast into the ground of mass graves. These silver-hued metal buttons, embossed with the Polish Eagle, were still attached to the uniform coats being worn by the over-20,000 Polish Army officers who were captured and murdered by the communist Soviet Union (Russians) at the beginning of WWII. Every now and then some of these buttons will work themselves up from the eternal darkness below to the surface above the large burial pits. And upon arriving there, in the bright light of day, the buttons are transformed into potent and dramatic silent witnesses to one of the greatest crimes ever committed against Poland.

The aptly named feature-length documentary "Buttons In The Ground" is the working title of an in-progress film about the Katyn atrocity and its continuing aftermath. Producer Piotr Uzarowicz's murdered grandfather - Captain Mieczyslaw Uzarowicz - lies buried in a mass grave at Katyn with his brothers-in-arms. And this very personal connection was one of his prime motivations to bring forth the film by Goats Hill Productions for all the world to witness and better understand the almost unfathomable cold-blooded genocide that is Katyn.  

Katyn crew

Katyn Documentary Crew Visits Polish Embassy. The film crew presently engaged in producing a new documentary about the massive Katyn Massacre of Polish Army officers during WW II, at the hands of the communist Soviet Union, recently attended the Embassy of Poland on April 28, 2008 for its Third of May celebration.  They are presented in the above photo, from the left: Joseph Urbanczyk (Director of Photography/Operator), Piotr Uzarowicz (Film Director), Julie Janata (Producer), and Robert Morey (Cameraman). Displayed behind them is a large mural titled ‘The Glory of Polish Arms’, painted by Jan Henryk de Rosen (1938). Prominently shown in the painting is the victory of King Jan III Sobieski at the Battle of Vienna against the Ottoman Turks in 1683.

 Katyn movie  Over the past two years producer Uzarowicz has extensively researched Katyn and assembled a top-notch production team for the documentary film. He is especially interested in what happened after Katyn, and its impact, even to today, on the families of the slain officer corps. Uzarowicz has the complete support of  Poland's Foreign Ministry and the Polish Army, who have granted him full access to all government and military archives in Warsaw. Various U.S. Polonia organizations are also assisting; and scores of personally affected and knowledgeable individuals, in Poland and the U.S., are being interviewed for the film.

     And there is plenty of Katyn guilt still to be investigated and assigned by "Buttons." To quote producer Uzarowicz: "The fascinating and troubling issues I am examining are: the US and UK collaboration with Russia during the war, followed by a 50 year Cold War during which the West did not use this event as anti-Soviet propaganda, to today where Russia is again claiming innocence while the US and UK governments are silent."

     "Buttons In The Ground" promises to be a global expose of the full and brutal truth of events that the Martyrs of Katyn have no doubt been yearning for...ever since the awful, deadly Spring of 1940 in that remote, dense Russian forest of birch trees.

Producer Piotr Uzarowicz can be contacted by e-mail at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

More information about film, to be completed late this year, can be had at web site www.buttonsinthegroundmovie.com.

Text and Photographs by Richard P. Poremski, contact the author by e-mail.
The article was published originally in
Polish-American Journal
June 4, 2008


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