Poland in mourning

Poland is in mourning after the tragic deaths of President Lech Kaczynski, his wife and 94 other people when their government plane crashed near Smolensk, Russia, on their way to commemorations of a World War II massacre of Polish prisoners of war.

The deaths also included nearly all of the top-ranking military leadership. The delegation was on its way to the site of the Katyn massacre of 1940 in which 22,000 Polish soldiers and other prisoners were systematically executed and left in various mass graves in the forest in western Russia.

A week of mourning has been declared until 16 April. During that time, no public events other than funerals and memorials will be held. Most people will be wearing dark clothing, black armbands or paying their respects in other ways. Flags will be at half-staff and many that fly from buildings will have a black ribbon attached. As well, many Poles will be leaving flowers and candles at prominent places in the main cities.

Visitors may find unexpected closures or opening hours altered at cultural sites, restaurants and other places. Gdansk Life recommends re-confirming all plans before departure.


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