Katyn Museum in Warsaw
Nominated for the Mies van der Rohe Award 2017.
The museum pays a tribute to over 21 thousand of Polish citizens murdered by the Soviet secret police NKWD in spring of 1940. It is located in the area of Warsaw Citadel – 19th-century fortress erected on the orders of Tsar Nicholas I after the fall of the November Uprising (1831).
The walls of the fortress are surrounded by Fosa park with a numerous walking alleys and a pond. The main exhibition housed in a caponier – a massive defensive structure – consists of two parts: “Revealing” devoted to the process of disclosing the truth about Katyń massacre and “Testimony” which commemorates its victims. A huge collection of small personal belongings of the victims found in graves are presented in wooden army boxes instead of standard display cases. The main exhibition is accompanied by an impressive “installation” occupying 6 acres of the park. It is composed of Parade Ground with a 90 hornbeam trees and an oak cross, the Avenue of the Absent and the Katyń Epitaph in the form of plaques with the names of the victims. The picture is made complete by Katyń bell with a distinctive hole made by a bullet evoking the memories of shots fired during the executions.
The museum serves also as an archive – its collection includes at present 40 thousand of objects related to the crime – and an educational institution.