World

Poland reburies World War II national heroes slain by communists, dumped in mass graves

  • Polish Army soldiers remove national flags from coffins during the first burials of World War II heroes who were later secretly slain by the communists, at the Powazki cemetery in Warsaw, Poland, Sunday, Sept. 27, 2015. Remains of 35 Polish soldiers with bullet holes through the back of the skull were burried after being recently recovered from unmarked mass graves. (AP Photo/Alik Keplicz)

    Polish Army soldiers remove national flags from coffins during the first burials of World War II heroes who were later secretly slain by the communists, at the Powazki cemetery in Warsaw, Poland, Sunday, Sept. 27, 2015. Remains of 35 Polish soldiers with bullet holes through the back of the skull were burried after being recently recovered from unmarked mass graves. (AP Photo/Alik Keplicz)  (The Associated Press)

  • Officials and family members gather in front of coffins during the first burials of World War II heroes who were later secretly slain by the communists, at the Powazki cemetery in Warsaw, Poland, Sunday, Sept. 27, 2015. Remains of 35 Polish soldiers with bullet holes through the back of the skull were buried after being recently recovered from unmarked mass graves. (AP Photo/Alik Keplicz)

    Officials and family members gather in front of coffins during the first burials of World War II heroes who were later secretly slain by the communists, at the Powazki cemetery in Warsaw, Poland, Sunday, Sept. 27, 2015. Remains of 35 Polish soldiers with bullet holes through the back of the skull were buried after being recently recovered from unmarked mass graves. (AP Photo/Alik Keplicz)  (The Associated Press)

  • Family members look at coffins during the first burials of World War II heroes who were later secretly slain by the communists, at the Powazki cemetery in Warsaw, Poland, Sunday, Sept. 27, 2015. Remains of 35 Polish soldiers with bullet holes through the back of the skull were buried after being recently recovered from unmarked mass graves. (AP Photo/Alik Keplicz)

    Family members look at coffins during the first burials of World War II heroes who were later secretly slain by the communists, at the Powazki cemetery in Warsaw, Poland, Sunday, Sept. 27, 2015. Remains of 35 Polish soldiers with bullet holes through the back of the skull were buried after being recently recovered from unmarked mass graves. (AP Photo/Alik Keplicz)  (The Associated Press)

Poland's highest state officials have reburied the remains of 35 national heroes, men who fought the Germans during World War II only to be killed after the war by a new communist leadership that felt threatened by their patriotism.

The remains of the victims were recently recovered from unmarked mass graves with bullet holes in the back of their skulls.

Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz said at a ceremony Sunday at Warsaw's Powazki cemetery that the nation remains indebted to them, hailing their "heroism of the highest order."

The burial is part of efforts made by democratic Poland since the toppling of communism in 1989 to recognize war heroes and anti-communist activists who were persecuted, killed and deliberately purged from records during the decades of communist rule.