The Real-Life Inspiration for One of My Songs

This might be a little too heavy a blog for a Sunday afternoon, but I could feel my heart breaking as I read this article my father sent to me and my husband.
For anyone familiar with my Witherwings song “The Dark Before the Dawn” who has wondered about the deeper inspiration for it other than just the HP series, here you go.

I wrote “The Dark Before the Dawn” in the Spring of 2010, while on a train in Poland going from Warsaw to Krakow. My husband and I had just visited the Warsaw Uprising Museum and spent a considerable about of time in the Katyn Massacre exhibit.

As an American, I only recently learned of this tragic, tragic event due to the horrific plane crash that had happened a week before our trip to Poland. The plane was carrying Polish VIPs, including President Lech Kaczynski, other senior government officials, military officers, clergy and the head of Poland’s national bank. They were traveling to Russia to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Katyn Massacre.

What I learned from the museum exhibit was that the 20,000 missing Polish prisoners during WWII were always attributed to the Nazi Germans, but it had come to light, when thousands of bodies were found in mass graves in Russia, that the executions carried out by Soviet secret police in April and May 1940 were the members of Poland’s elite. They not only killed military and government officials, but clergy men, doctors and teachers – the educated; anyone who had any influence in Poland; anyone who might inspire the Poles to stand up and fight.

I stood in a room that contained 20,000 2″ x 3″ photos of the dead. I need you to stop and think about that. It was a room, covered from floor to ceiling, with photos. It was actually so overwhelming that I had to step out. Many of these people were ordinary citizens. Wiped out. Eradicated for being educated.

Warsaw Uprising Museum: Katyn Massacre Exhibit

Warsaw Uprising Museum: Katyn Massacre Exhibit

So the Russian government finally admitted their role in this horrendous action, and the dignitaries traveled to Russia for the anniversary ceremony. But on April 10, 2010, the plane crashed upon landing, killing all aboard. Imagine.

Imagine. As if the people of Poland did not already suffer enough from the original massacre. And here it was happening all over again. Once again the elite were eliminated, this time while traveling to pay their respects to the original victims

The black box was never sent to Poland and the coffins were sealed. There were other suspicions, but what else would you expect when you consider the history between these two countries?

Then this article appeared in my inbox. My heart broke all over again…

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