26 Nov 2008

Wartime leader's body exhumed for DNA tests

7:54 am on 26 November 2008

Poland exhumed the remains of its World War II prime minister, General Wladyslaw Sikorski, on Tuesday for DNA and other tests in an attempt to settle a mystery surrounding his death in 1943.

General Sikorski died in a plane crash in Gibraltar after visiting Polish forces fighting with the British against Germany in the Middle East. Many Poles are convinced he was assassinated.

His remains will be reburied in the royal crypt at Wawel Castle in Krakow on Wednesday.

It was the second time he has been exhumed. His body was first buried at a Polish war cemetery in Britain and was returned to Poland in 1993, after the fall of communism.

Officially, General Sikorski died in a plane crash a few seconds after take-off from Gibraltar.

The Polish government-in-exile remained in existence, based in London, until the end of communist rule in Poland.