Site of Nazi mass executions in Piasnica

Pictures and text by Marcin Batory

These pictures were taken in Piasnica in 2007.

This is the very first site of German Nazi genocide in World War Two. In the period autumn 1939 - spring 1940 German police arrested and executed on this spot approximately 12,000 Poles from the Kaszuby region of Poland. The worst day of executions was on 11 of November 1939 (the Polish day of national independence) when approx 300 Poles were shot in Piasnica forest. Among them was a Catholic nun Alicja Kotowska, a Mother Superior of Sisters of Resurrection Order in Wejherowo. She was declared blessed by pope John Paul II in 1999. The bodies were subsequently buried in 30 mass graves. In 1944 the corpses were exhumed and and cremated. This was aimed at the hiding the evidence of genocide and was carried out by prisoners from Stutthof Concentration Camp. After the war a special commission inspected 26 of 30 identified mass graves and found 305 unburnt corpses. There are over 500 identified victims here, but the research is still ongoing. Many of the victims were transported here from Germany including Poles, Jews, Czechs and others. Several victims were polish priests from Pomerania.


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