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The Warsaw Voice » Politics » December 3, 2008
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General Exhumed
December 3, 2008   
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Polish prosecutors investigating whether Gen. Władysław Sikorski, the prime minister of the Polish government in exile, was assassinated during World War II say after exhuming his remains that they are closer to establishing the cause of his death.

Experts say they found that Sikorski, who died in mysterious circumstances in a 1943 plane crash in Gibraltar, sustained multiple fractures of the legs and cranial injuries.

The National Remembrance Institute division in Katowice started investigating Sikorski's death Sept. 3, having decided there were reasons to suspect the general had been murdered. More than a dozen people have been questioned in the proceedings so far.

The remains of Sikorski were exhumed from the cellar of Wawel Cathedral in Cracow Nov. 25 and brought to the Forensics Institute in Cracow, where the casket was opened. As previously planned, forensics experts searched for fractures and signs of other bone damage and internal injuries. Other scheduled procedures included a DNA analysis and histopathology and toxicology tests. The remains were then taken to the Radiology Department at the Collegium Medicum of Jagiellonian University, where they underwent a CT scan.

Prosecutor Ewa Koj, the head of the investigation department of the National Remembrance Institute in Katowice, says the tests have verified several hypotheses on Sikorski's injuries, but the findings will only be made public in a report to be prepared over the next few weeks. Koj adds that chances are good the experts will be able to determine what killed Sikorski and how. According to Koj, tests conducted so far have revealed different types of injuries than those described by a doctor who examined the body in 1943. "We are closer to learning the truth about the general's death," Koj said. "Every test brings us closer to this goal, especially because no such tests have been performed since 1943. The operation went undisturbed and now we will spend several weeks studying the samples we have taken. The National Remembrance Institute will keep [the public] updated about the findings."
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