The Polish military cemetery in Bykivnia, Ukraine, was established in 2011-2012 upon the initiative of the Council for the Protection of Struggle and Martyrdom Sites. The remains of 3.435 Polish soldiers and civilians from the Ukrainian Katyn List, murdered in 1940, are buried here in mass graves. An altar was set-up on the premises of the cemetery with the names of the victims, as well as the Remembrance Bell and religious symbols emphasizing the multi-religious character of the Second Polish Republic: Latin and Orthodox crosses, the Star of David and the Crescent.
The archaeological and exhumation research in Bykivnia commenced in 1971. The Soviet commission asserted back then that the cemetery contained the remains of the victims of the German crimes committed in the years 1941-1943. In 1988 there was still an inscription on the monument in Bykivnia which read: „Eternal memory. Here rest 6.329 Soviet soldiers, partisans, conspirators, peaceful citizens tortured to death by fascist occupants in 1941-1945”. In 1989, coinciding with the political changes during the presidency of Mikhail Gorbachev, scientists conducted another exhumation, after which the authorities of the Soviet Union admitted that indeed persons murdered by NKVD officials in 1937-1938 were buried the forest. This was a clear message for Polish researchers, who had been looking for burial sites of the Polish Army officers murdered in 1940 for a long time.
In 2002 Polish archaeologists arrived in Bykivnia for the first time. The research continued in 2006-2007 and 2011. They established that 117 grave pits contained the remains of Poles. Archaeologists excavated about 4.000 artifacts belonging to Poles (e.g. identification tags, coins, lockets, glasses, buttons from Polish uniforms, Polish military footwear, combs and toothbrushes of Polish manufacturers, rings with engraved inscriptions and initials)