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Encyclopedia > Katyn massacre
Katyn memorial
Katyn memorial
Graves of Generals Mieczysław Smorawiński and Bronisław Bohatyrewicz
Graves of Generals Mieczysław Smorawiński and Bronisław Bohatyrewicz

The Katyn massacre, also known as the Katyn Forest massacre (Polish: zbrodnia katyńska, literally 'Katyń crime'), was a mass execution of Polish citizens ordered by Soviet authorities in 1940.[1] Estimates of the number of executed persons ranges from 15,000[2][3] to 21,768[4]). Polish POWs and prisoners were murdered in Katyn forest, Kalinin (Tver) and Kharkiv prisons and elsewhere.[5] About 8,000 of the victims were officers taken prisoner during the 1939 invasion of Poland, the rest being Polish citizens who had been arrested for allegedly being "intelligence agents, gendarmes, spies, saboteurs, landowners, factory owners and officials."[4] Since Poland's conscription system required every unexempted university graduate to become a reserve officer,[6] the Soviets were thus able to round up much of the Polish intelligentsia, as well as the Jewish, Ukrainian, Georgian[citation needed] and Belarusian intelligentsia of Polish citizenship. Katyn may refer to: Katyn massacre, a mass execution of Polish citizens in 1940 Katyn (village), a village (selo) in Smolensk Oblast, Russia; the site of the Katyn massacre Katyn war cemetery, a Polish military cemetery in the village of Katyn Katyn (film), a film about the Katyn massacre Category... Statue of the only man from Khatyn to survive the massacre, holding his dead child, by Josef Kaminski (1969). ... Image File history File links Metadata Size of this preview: 800 × 600 pixelsFull resolution (1024 × 768 pixel, file size: 320 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) Trzy Krzyże u podnóża ÅšwiÄ™tego Krzyża. ... Image File history File links Metadata Size of this preview: 800 × 600 pixelsFull resolution (1024 × 768 pixel, file size: 320 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) Trzy Krzyże u podnóża ÅšwiÄ™tego Krzyża. ... Image File history File links KatynPL-mogily. ... Image File history File links KatynPL-mogily. ... A mass grave is a grave containing more than one human corpse. ... Mass graves at Katyn Main gate Mass burial sites are now marked with iron slabs Tombs of SmorawiÅ„ski and Bohatyrewicz, the only two Polish generals who perished in the massacre to be identified and buried separately Katyn war cemetery is a Polish military cemetery located in Katyn, a small... Image File history File links KatynPL-grobyBS.jpg Obtain with permission for PD use from Smolensk Memoryal (Alyeksyey Melkin) Gen. ... Image File history File links KatynPL-grobyBS.jpg Obtain with permission for PD use from Smolensk Memoryal (Alyeksyey Melkin) Gen. ... Brigadier General MieczysÅ‚aw SmorawiÅ„ski (1893–1940), was a Polish military commander and officer of the Polish Army. ... Graves of Gen. ... Soviet redirects here. ... Geneva Convention definition A prisoner of war (POW) is a soldier, sailor, airman, or marine who is imprisoned by an enemy power during or immediately after an armed conflict. ... Katyn (Polish: KatyÅ„) is the name of both a village and a forest on the Dnieper river approximately 12 miles to the west of Smolensk, Russia. ... Tvers coat of arms depicts grand ducal crown placed on a throne. ... Map of Ukraine with Kharkiv highlighted. ... An officer is a member of a military, naval, or if applicable, other uniformed services who holds a position of responsibility. ... In the aftermath of the Soviet invasion of Poland in 1939, hundreds of thousands of Polish soldiers became prisoners in Soviet Union. ... Red Army invades Poland: 17th September 1939. ... Spy and secret agent redirect here; for alternate use, see Spy (disambiguation) and Secret agent (disambiguation). ... A gendarmerie or gendarmery (pronounced ) is a military body charged with police duties among civilian populations. ... Spy and Secret agent redirect here. ... “Saboteur” redirects here. ... Landowner or Landholder is a holder of the estate in land with considerable rights of ownership or, simply put, an owner of land. ... The Military Reserves are an organization that is associated with the military but is not in active duty. ... The notion of an intellectual elite as a distinguished social stratum can be traced far back in history. ... From the Middle Ages until the Holocaust, Jews were a significant part of the Polish population. ...


The term "Katyn massacre" originally referred to the massacre, at Katyn Forest near villages of Katyn and Gnezdovo (about 12 miles (19 km) west of Smolensk, Russia), of Polish military officers confined at the Kozelsk prisoner-of-war camp. It is applied now also to the execution of prisoners of war held at Starobelsk and Ostashkov camps,[7] and political prisoners in West Belarus and West Ukraine,[8] shot on Stalin's orders at Katyn Forest, at the NKVD (Narodny Komissariat Vnutrennikh Del) Smolensk headquarters and at a slaughterhouse in the same city,[1] as well as at prisons in Kalinin (Tver), Kharkiv, Moscow, and other Soviet cities.[4] Photographs of the My Lai massacre provoked world outrage and made it an international scandal. ... Katyn (Polish: KatyÅ„) is the name of both a village and a forest on the Dnieper river approximately 12 miles to the west of Smolensk, Russia. ... Gnezdovo or Gnyozdovo (Russian: ) is an archeological site located near the village of Gnyozdovo in Smolensk Oblast, Russia. ... A view of Smolensk in 1912. ... Kozelsks Coat of Arms Kozelsk (Козельск in Russian, also spelt Kozielsk in English) is a town in the Kaluga Oblast in Russia, located on the Zhizdra River (Okas tributary) 72 km southwest of Kaluga. ... A Prisoner-of-war camp is a site for the containment of persons captured by the enemy in time of war. ... Geneva Convention definition A prisoner of war (POW) is a soldier, sailor, airman, or marine who is imprisoned by an enemy power during or immediately after an armed conflict. ... Starobelsk is a towm near Luhansk in Ukraine. ... Ostashkov (Russian: ) is a town in Tver Oblast, Russia, 199 km west of Tver. ... West Belarus is the name used by Russian and Belarusian government to denote the territory of modern Belarus that belonged to Second Polish Republic between World War I and World War II. The term is used mostly in historic context. ... Western Ukraine may refer to: Galicia (Central Europe) Halych-Volhynia West Ukrainian National Republic Galician Soviet Socialist Republic Ukrainian part of Kresy territory ceded to Poland by Polish-Soviet Riga Peace Treaty of 1921 and regained by Soviet Union in 1939. ... Josef Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili (Georgian: , Ioseb Besarionis Dze Jughashvili; Russian: , Iosif Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili) (December 18 [O.S. December 6] 1878[1] – March 5, 1953), better known by his adopted name, Joseph Stalin (alternatively transliterated Josef Stalin), was General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Unions Central Committee from... The NKVD (Narodny Komissariat Vnutrennikh Del  ) (Russian: , ) or Peoples Commissariat for Internal Affairs was the leading secret police organization of the Soviet Union that was responsible for political repressions during Stalinism. ... For the Batman villain, see Abattoir (comics). ... Tvers coat of arms depicts grand ducal crown placed on a throne. ... Map of Ukraine with Kharkiv highlighted. ... For other uses, see Moscow (disambiguation). ...


The 1943 discovery of mass graves at Katyn Forest by Germany, after its armed forces had occupied the site in 1941, precipitated a rupture of diplomatic relations between the Soviet Union and the Polish government-in-exile in London. The Soviet Union continued to deny responsibility for the massacres until 1990, when it acknowledged that the NKVD secret police had in fact committed the massacres and the subsequent cover-up.[4][9] The Russian government has admitted Soviet responsibility for the massacres, although it does not classify them as war crimes or as acts of genocide, as this would have necessitated the prosecution of surviving perpetrators, which is what the Polish government has requested.[4][2] It also does not classify the dead as the victims of Stalinist repressions, in effect barring their formal posthumous rehabilitation. The Government of the Polish Republic in exile maintained a continuous existence in exile from the time of the German occupation of Poland in September 1939 until the end of the Communist rule in Poland in 1990. ... This article is about the capital of England and the United Kingdom. ... Politics of Russia (the Russian Federation) takes place in a framework of a federal presidential republic, whereby the President of Russia is both head of state and head of government, and of a pluriform multi-party system. ... In the context of war, a war crime is a punishable offense under International Law, for violations of the laws of war by any person or persons, military or civilian. ... Genocide is the deliberate and systematic destruction of an ethnic or national group. ... Poland is a republican representative democracy under a parliamentary system. ... Rehabilitation in the context of Soviet or Russian topics is often a false friend used to translate the Russian term reabilitatsiya as applied to convicted persons. ...

Contents

Prelude

For more details on this topic, see Polish prisoners of war in Soviet Union (after 1939).
Soviet propaganda poster in Ukrainian showing a Red Army soldier capturing a Polish Army officer
Soviet propaganda poster in Ukrainian showing a Red Army soldier capturing a Polish Army officer

On September 17, 1939 the Red Army invaded the territory of Poland from the east. This invasion took place while Poland had already sustained serious defeats in the wake of the German attack on the country that started on September 1, 1939; thus Soviets moved to safeguard their claims in accordance with the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact.[10] In the wake of the Red Army's quick advance that met little resistance, between 250,000[11] and 454,700[12] Polish soldiers had become prisoners and were interned by the Soviets. About 250,000 were set free by the army almost on the spot, while 125,000 were delivered to the internal security services (the NKVD). The NKVD in turn quickly released 42,400 soldiers. The approximately 170,000 released were mostly soldiers of Ukrainian and Belarusian ethnicity serving in the Polish army. The 43,000 soldiers born in West Poland, now under German control, were transferred to the Germans. By November 19, 1939, NKVD had about 40,000 Polish POWs: about 8,500 officers and warrant officers, 6,500 police officers and 25,000 soldiers and NCOs who were still being held as POWs.[13] In the aftermath of the Soviet invasion of Poland in 1939, hundreds of thousands of Polish soldiers became prisoners in Soviet Union. ... Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (500x733, 295 KB) File links The following pages on the English Wikipedia link to this file (pages on other projects are not listed): Soviet invasion of Poland (1939) ... Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (500x733, 295 KB) File links The following pages on the English Wikipedia link to this file (pages on other projects are not listed): Soviet invasion of Poland (1939) ... Soviet Propaganda Poster during the World War II. The text reads Red Army Fighter, SAVE US! Chinese propaganda poster from during the Cultural Revolution. ... For other organizations known as the Red Army, see Red Army (disambiguation). ... Polish Army (Polish Wojsko Polskie) is the name applied to the military forces of Poland. ... is the 260th day of the year (261st in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1939 (MCMXXXIX) was a common year starting on Sunday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Red Army invades Poland: 17th September 1939. ... Combatants Poland Germany Soviet Union Slovakia Commanders Edward Rydz-Śmigły Fedor von Bock (Army Group North), Gerd von Rundstedt (Army Group South), Mikhail Kovalev (Belorussian Front), Semyon Timoshenko (Ukrainian Front), Ferdinand Čatloš (Field Army Bernolák) Strength 39 divisions, 16 brigades, 4,300 guns, 880 tanks, 400 aircraft Total... is the 244th day of the year (245th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1939 (MCMXXXIX) was a common year starting on Sunday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Under the terms of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, adjusted by agreement on 28 September 1939, the Soviet Union annexed all Polish territory east of the line of the rivers Pisa, Narew, Western Bug, and San, except for Wilno Voivodship with its capital Wilno (Vilnius), which was given to Lithuania, and... Molotov signs the German-Soviet non-aggression pact. ... For other organizations known as the Red Army, see Red Army (disambiguation). ... In the aftermath of the Soviet invasion of Poland in 1939, hundreds of thousands of Polish soldiers became prisoners in Soviet Union. ... The word internment is generally used to refer to the imprisonment or confinement of people without due process of law and a trial. ... is the 323rd day of the year (324th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1939 (MCMXXXIX) was a common year starting on Sunday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Geneva Convention definition A prisoner of war (POW) is a soldier, sailor, airman, or marine who is imprisoned by an enemy power during or immediately after an armed conflict. ...


As early as September 19, 1939, the People's Commissar for Internal Affairs and First Rank Commissar of State Security, Lavrenty Beria, ordered the NKVD to create a Directorate for Prisoners of War[1] (or USSR NKVD Board for Prisoners of War and Internees, headed by State Security Captain Pyotr Soprunenko[14]) to manage Polish prisoners. The NKVD took custody of Polish prisoners from the Red Army, and proceeded to organize a network of reception centers and transit camps and arrange rail transport to prisoner-of-war camps in the western USSR. The camps were located at Jukhnovo (Babynino rail station), Yuzhe (Talitsy), Kozelsk, Kozelshchyna, Oranki, Ostashkov (Stolbnyi Island on Seliger Lake near Ostashkov), Tyotkino rail station (56 mi/90 km from Putyvl), Starobielsk, Vologda (Zaenikevo rail station) and Gryazovets.[14] is the 262nd day of the year (263rd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1939 (MCMXXXIX) was a common year starting on Sunday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Lavrenty Beria Lavrentiy Pavlovich Beria (Georgian: ლავრენტი ბერია; Russian: Лаврентий Павлович Берия; (29 March 1899 – 23 December 1953), was a Soviet politician and chief of the Soviet security and police apparatus. ... A Prisoner-of-war camp is a site for the containment of persons captured by the enemy in time of war. ... Kozelsks Coat of Arms Kozelsk (Козельск in Russian, also spelt Kozielsk in English) is a town in the Kaluga Oblast in Russia, located on the Zhizdra River (Okas tributary) 72 km southwest of Kaluga. ... Ostashkov (Russian: ) is a town in Tver Oblast, Russia, 199 km west of Tver. ... Nilov Monastery is situated on Stolbnyi Island in Lake Seliger. ... View of Nilov Monastery on Stolbnyi Island, Lake Seliger, c. ... Putyvl or Putivl (Russian: ; Ukrainian: ) is an ancient town in north-east Ukraine, in Sumy Oblast. ... Starobielsk is a village near Kharkov in Ukraine. ... St. ... Gryazovets (Russian: ) is a town in Vologda Oblast, Russia, located 47 km south of Vologda. ...


Kozelsk and Starobielsk were used mainly for military officers, while Ostashkov was used mainly for Boy Scouts, gendarmes, police officers and prison officers. Prisoners at these camps were not exclusively military officers or members of the other groups mentioned, but also included Polish intelligentsia. The approximate distribution of men throughout the camps was as follows: Kozelsk, 5,000; Ostashkov, 6,570; and Starobelsk, 4,000. They totalled 15,570 men.[7] In military organizations, a commissioned officer is a member of the service who derives authority directly from a sovereign power, and as such holds a commission from that power. ... Związek Harcerstwa Polskiego (Polish Scouting and Guiding Association, ZHP) is the Polish Scouting organization recognized by the World Organization of the Scout Movement. ... A gendarmerie or gendarmery (pronounced ) is a military body charged with police duties among civilian populations. ... A police officer is a warranted employee of a police service. ... This article is about the institution. ... The notion of an intellectual elite as a distinguished social stratum can be traced far back in history. ...


Once at the camps, from October 1939 to February 1940, the Poles were subjected to lengthy interrogations and constant political agitation by NKVD officers such as Vasily Zarubin. The Poles were encouraged to believe they would be released,[15] but the interviews were in effect a selection process to determine who would live and who would die.[1] According to NKVD reports, the prisoners could not be induced to adopt a pro-Soviet attitude.[7] They were declared "hardened and uncompromising enemies of Soviet authority."[1] Vasily Mikhailovich Zarubin (1894–1972). ...


On March 5, 1940, pursuant to a note to Joseph Stalin from Lavrenty Beria, the members of the Soviet Politburo — Stalin, Vyacheslav Molotov, Lazar Kaganovich, Mikhail Kalinin, Kliment Voroshilov, Anastas Mikoyan and Beria — signed an order to execute 25,700 Polish "nationalists and counterrevolutionaries" kept at camps and prisons in occupied western Ukraine and Belarus.[8] This article is about the day. ... Year 1940 (MCMXL) was a leap year starting on Monday (link will display the full 1940 calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Josef Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili (Georgian: , Ioseb Besarionis Dze Jughashvili; Russian: , Iosif Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili) (December 18 [O.S. December 6] 1878[1] – March 5, 1953), better known by his adopted name, Joseph Stalin (alternatively transliterated Josef Stalin), was General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Unions Central Committee from... Lavrenty Beria Lavrentiy Pavlovich Beria (Georgian: ლავრენტი ბერია; Russian: Лаврентий Павлович Берия; (29 March 1899 – 23 December 1953), was a Soviet politician and chief of the Soviet security and police apparatus. ... Politburo is short for Political Bureau. ... For other uses, see Molotov (disambiguation). ... Lazar Kaganovich Lazar Moiseyevich Kaganovich (Russian: ) (November 22, 1893–July 25, 1991) was a Soviet politician and administrator and a close associate of Joseph Stalin. ... Mikhail Kalinin A 1919 image showing Joseph Stalin, Vladimir Lenin, and Mikhail Kalinin (right) Mikhail Ivanovich Kalinin (Russian: ) (November 19 [O.S. November 7] 1875 – June 3, 1946) was a Bolshevik revolutionary and Soviet politician. ...   (Russian: ), popularly known as Klim Voroshilov (Russian: ) (February 4 [O.S. January 23] 1881 – December 2, 1969) was a Soviet military commander and politician. ... Anastas Hovhannesi Mikoyan (Armenian Ô±Õ¶Õ¡Õ½Õ¿Õ¡Õ½ Õ€Õ¸Õ¾Õ°Õ¡Õ¶Õ¶Õ¥Õ½Õ« Õ„Õ«Õ¯Õ¸ÕµÕ¡Õ¶; (November 25, 1895 [O.S. November 13] - October 21, 1978) was an Armenian Old Bolshevik and Soviet statesman during the Stalin and Khrushchev years. ... Lavrenty Beria Lavrentiy Pavlovich Beria (Georgian: ლავრენტი ბერია; Russian: Лаврентий Павлович Берия; (29 March 1899 – 23 December 1953), was a Soviet politician and chief of the Soviet security and police apparatus. ...


Executions

Nazi propaganda poster depicting executions of Polish military officers by the Soviets, with caption in Slovak: "Forest of the dead at Katyn."
Nazi propaganda poster depicting executions of Polish military officers by the Soviets, with caption in Slovak: "Forest of the dead at Katyn."

Since April 3, 1940, at least 22,436 POWs and prisoners were executed: 15,131 POWs (most of them from the three camps)[16] and at least 7,305 prisoners in western parts of Belarus and Ukraine.[17] A 1956 memo from KGB chief Alexander Shelepin to First Secretary Nikita Khrushchev contains incomplete information about the personal files of 21,857 murdered POWs and prisoners. Of them 4,421 were from Kozielsk, 3,820 from Starobielsk, 6,311 from Ostashkov and 7,305 - from Belarusian and Ukrainian prisons. Shelepin's data for prisons should be considered a minimum, because his data for POWs is incomplete (he mentions 14,552 personal files for POWs, while at least 15,131 POWs "sent to UNKVD" are mentioned in contemporary documents). Image File history File linksMetadata Download high-resolution version (577x785, 124 KB) The Forest of the Dead at Katyn, a Nazi propaganda poster from WWII Source: http://www. ... Image File history File linksMetadata Download high-resolution version (577x785, 124 KB) The Forest of the Dead at Katyn, a Nazi propaganda poster from WWII Source: http://www. ... National Socialism redirects here. ... Soviet Propaganda Poster during the World War II. The text reads Red Army Fighter, SAVE US! Chinese propaganda poster from during the Cultural Revolution. ... In military organizations, a commissioned officer is a member of the service who derives authority directly from a sovereign power, and as such holds a commission from that power. ... Soviet redirects here. ... is the 93rd day of the year (94th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Alexander Nikolayevich Shelepin (Russian: Александр Николаевич Шелепин, 18 August 1918, Voronezh - October 24, 1994) was the head of KGB from December 25, 1958 to November 13, 1961. ... Joseph Stalin, first General Secretary The General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (First Secretary in 1953-1966) was the title synonymous with leader of the Soviet Union after Vladimir Lenins death in 1924. ... Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev (Russian: , Nikita Sergeevič Chruščiov; IPA: , in English, , or , occasionally ); surname more accurately romanized as Khrushchyov[1]; April 17 [O.S. April 5] 1894[2]–September 11, 1971) was the chief director of the Soviet Union after the death of Joseph Stalin. ...


Those who died at Katyn included an admiral, two generals, 24 colonels, 79 lieutenant colonels, 258 majors, 654 captains, 17 naval captains, 3,420 NCOs, seven chaplains, three landowners, a prince, 43 officials, 85 privates, and 131 refugees. Also among the dead were 20 university professors (including Stefan Kaczmarz); 300 physicians; several hundred lawyers, engineers, and teachers; and more than 100 writers and journalists as well as about 200 pilots. In all, the NKVD executed almost half the Polish officer corps.[1] Altogether, during the massacre the NKVD murdered 14 Polish generals:[18] Leon Billewicz (ret.), Bronisław Bohatyrewicz (ret.), Xawery Czernicki (admiral), Stanisław Haller (ret.), Aleksander Kowalewski (ret.), Henryk Minkiewicz (ret.), Kazimierz Orlik-Łukoski, Konstanty Plisowski (ret.), Rudolf Prich (murdered in Lviv), Franciszek Sikorski (ret.), Leonard Skierski (ret.), Piotr Skuratowicz, Mieczysław Smorawiński and Alojzy Wir-Konas (promoted posthumously). A mere 395 prisoners were saved from the slaughter,[4] among them Stanisław Swianiewicz and Józef Czapski.[1] They were taken to the Yukhnov camp and then down to Gryazovets. They were the only ones who escaped death. A non-commissioned officer (sometimes noncommissioned officer), also known as an NCO or noncom, is a non-commissioned member of an armed force who has been given authority by a commissioned officer. ... Stefan Kaczmarz (born 1895 in Lwów, Poland - 1940) was a Polish mathematician. ... Leon Billewicz (1870-1940) was a Polish officer and a General of the Polish Army. ... Graves of Gen. ... Counter Admiral Xawery StanisÅ‚aw Czernicki (1882-1940) was a Polish engineer, military commander and one of the highest ranking officers of the Polish Navy. ... StanisÅ‚aw Haller StanisÅ‚aw Haller (born 26 April 1872, murdered in April, 1940) - Polish politician and general, cousin of general Józef Haller de Hallenburg. ... Henryk Minkiewicz (1880-1940) was a Polish socialist politician and a General of the Polish Army. ... Kazimierz Orlik-Łukoski (1890-1940) was a Polish military commander and one of the Generals of the Polish Army murdered by the Soviet Union in the KatyÅ„ massacre of 1940. ... Konstanty Plisowski (1890-1940) was a Polish general and military commander. ... Rudolf Prich (1881-1940) was a Polish military officer and a generaÅ‚ dywizji of the Polish Army. ... “Lvov” redirects here. ... Piotr Skuratowicz (1891-1940) was a Polish military commander and a General of the Polish Army. ... Brigadier General MieczysÅ‚aw SmorawiÅ„ski (1893–1940), was a Polish military commander and officer of the Polish Army. ... Alojzy Wir-Konas (1894-1940) was a Polish military commander and a Colonel of the Polish Army. ... StanisÅ‚aw Swianiewicz (1889-1997) was a Polish economist and historian. ... Self-portrait by the window, 1937 Czapski on the cover of his Rozproszone (Dispersed writings)[1] Józef Czapski (1896-1993) was a Polish artist, author, and critic, as well as an officer of the Polish Army. ...


Up to 99% of the remaining prisoners were subsequently murdered. People from Kozelsk were murdered in the usual mass murder site of Smolensk country, called Katyn forest; people from Starobilsk were murdered in the inner NKVD prison of Kharkiv and the bodies were buried near Piatykhatky; and police officers from Ostashkov were murdered in the inner NKVD prison of Kalinin (Tver) and buried in Miednoje (Mednoye). Kozelsks Coat of Arms Kozelsk (Козельск in Russian, also spelt Kozielsk in English) is a town in the Kaluga Oblast in Russia, located on the Zhizdra River (Okas tributary) 72 km southwest of Kaluga. ... A view of Smolensk in 1912. ... Katyn is the name of both a village and a forest near Smolensk, Russia. ... Starobilsk (Ukrainian: ) is a city near Luhansk in Ukraine. ... Piatykhatky, Ukr. ... Ostashkov (Russian: ) is a town in Tver Oblast, Russia, 199 km west of Tver. ... Miednoye is a village near Pskov, Russia (formerly Soviet Union). ...


Detailed information on the executions in the Kalinin NKVD prison was given during the hearing by Dmitrii S. Tokarev, former head of the Board of the District NKVD in Kalinin. According to Tokarev, the shooting started in the evening and ended at dawn. The first transport on April 4, 1940, carried 390 people, and the executioners had a hard time killing so many people during one night. The following transports were no greater than 250 people. The executions were usually performed with German-made Walther-type [specify] pistols supplied by Moscow.[19] The NKVD (Narodny Komissariat Vnutrennikh Del  ) (Russian: , ) or Peoples Commissariat for Internal Affairs was the leading secret police organization of the Soviet Union that was responsible for political repressions during Stalinism. ... Tvers coat of arms depicts grand ducal crown placed on a throne. ... is the 94th day of the year (95th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1940 (MCMXL) was a leap year starting on Monday (link will display the full 1940 calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Carl Walther GmbH Sportwaffen is a German arms manufacturer. ...


The killings were methodical. After the condemned's personal information was checked, he was handcuffed and led to a cell insulated with a felt-lined door. The sounds of the murders were also masked by the operation of loud machines (perhaps fans) throughout the night. After being taken into the cell, the victim was immediately shot in the back of the head. His body was then taken out through the opposite door and laid in one of the five or six waiting trucks, whereupon the next condemned was taken inside. The procedure went on every night, except for the May Day holiday.[citation needed] Near Smolensk, the Poles, with their hands tied behind their backs, were led to the graves and shot in the neck. May Day is May 1, and refers to any of several holidays celebrated on this day. ...


After the execution was carried out, there were still more than 22,000 of the former Polish soldiers in NKVD labor camps. According to Beria's report, by November 2, 1940 his department had 2 generals, 39 lieutenant-colonels and colonels, 222 captains and majors, 691 lieutenants, 4022 warrant officers and NCOs and 13,321 enlisted men captured during the Polish campaign. Additional 3,300 Polish soldiers were captured during the annexation of Lithuania, where they were kept interned since September 1939.[20] is the 306th day of the year (307th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1940 (MCMXL) was a leap year starting on Monday (link will display the full 1940 calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... The word internment is generally used to refer to the imprisonment or confinement of people without due process of law and a trial. ...


3 000 - 4 000 Polish inmates of Ukrainian prisons were probably buried in Bykivnia, the ones from Belarus prisons in Kurapaty.[citation needed]Janina Lewandowska was the only woman executed at Katyn.[citation needed] Bykivnia (Russian: Bykovnia) is a small village on the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine. ... Kurapaty (Belarusian: Курапаты) is a wooded area on the outskirts of Minsk, Belarus, where in 1941 a vast number of people were executed. ...


Discovery

Largest of the Katyn mass graves
The picture of exhumations of Polish dead at Katyn Forest (1943) was distributed by the Nazi German Ministry of propaganda
Polish currency and military insignia from the mass graves

The question of the Polish prisoners' fate was first raised soon after the Germans invaded the Soviet Union in June 1941, when the Polish government-in-exile and the Soviet government signed the Sikorski-Mayski Agreement in which they agreed to cooperate against Germany, and so that a Polish army on Soviet territory was to be formed. When the Polish general Władysław Anders began organizing this army, he requested information about the Polish officers. During a personal meeting Stalin assured him and Władysław Sikorski, the Prime Minister of the Polish government-in-exile, that all the Poles had been freed, and the fact that not all can be accounted is due to the fact that the Soviets "lost track" of them in Manchuria.[21][22][23] Katyn Massacre, picture published by German propaganda during the World War II, author unknown. ... Katyn Massacre, picture published by German propaganda during the World War II, author unknown. ... Katyn Massacre, photo published by Germans during the World War II, author unknown. ... Katyn Massacre, photo published by Germans during the World War II, author unknown. ... By other animals Humans are not the only species to bury their dead. ... The Propagandaministerium () (or State Ministry for Public enlightenment and Propaganda) was the Ministry of propaganda in Nazi Germany. ... Katyn Massacre, picture published by German propaganda during the World War II, author unknown. ... Katyn Massacre, picture published by German propaganda during the World War II, author unknown. ... ... Combatants Germany, Romania, Finland, Italy, Hungary, Slovakia  Soviet Union Commanders Adolf Hitler Wilhelm Ritter von Leeb Fedor von Bock Gerd von Rundstedt Heinz Guderian Günther von Kluge Franz Halder Maresal Ion Antonescu C.G.E. Mannerheim Giovanni Messe, CSIR Italo Gariboldi, ARMIR Joseph Stalin Kliment Voroshilov Semyon Timoshenko Fyodor... The Government of the Polish Republic in exile maintained a continuous existence in exile from the time of the German occupation of Poland in September 1939 until the end of the Communist rule in Poland in 1990. ... The Sikorski-Mayski Agreement was a treaty between Soviet Union and Poland signed in London on August 17, 1941. ... WÅ‚adysÅ‚aw Anders Lt. ... WÅ‚adysÅ‚aw Eugeniusz Sikorski (May 20, 1881 – July 4, 1943; pronounced ) was a Polish military and political leader. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ...


The fate of the missing prisoners remained unknown until April 1943 when the German Wehrmacht (actually Rudolf Christoph Freiherr von Gersdorff) discovered the mass grave of 4,243 Polish military reserve officers in the forest on Goat Hill near Katyn.[24] Joseph Goebbels saw this discovery as an excellent tool to drive a wedge between Poland, Western Allies, and the Soviet Union. On April 13 Berlin Radio broadcast to the world that the German military forces in the Katyn forest near Smolensk had uncovered "a ditch ... 28 metres long and 16 metres wide [92 ft by 52 ft], in which the bodies of 3,000 Polish officers were piled up in 12 layers."[25] The broadcast went on to charge the Soviets with carrying out the massacre in 1940. Wehrmacht   (armed forces, literally defence force(s)) was the name of the armed forces of Nazi Germany from 1935 to 1945. ... Rudolf Christoph Freiherr von Gersdorff (March 27, 1905–January 27, 1980) was a military officer in Germany’s Weimar-period Reichswehr and Nazi-period Wehrmacht. ... Paul Joseph Goebbels (German pronunciation: IPA: ) (29 October 1897 – 1 May 1945) was a German politician and Minister for Public Enlightenment and Propaganda during the National Socialist regime from 1933 to 1945. ... is the 103rd day of the year (104th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ...


The Germans assembled and brought in a European commission consisting of twelve forensic experts and their staffs. With the exception of a Swiss from the University of Geneva, all were from lands then occupied by Germany. After the war, all of the experts, save for a Bulgarian and a Czech, both from Soviet satellite states, reaffirmed their 1943 finding of Soviet guilt.[26]


The Katyn Massacre was beneficial to Nazi Germany, which used it to discredit the Soviet Union. Goebbels wrote in his diary on April 14, 1943: "We are now using the discovery of 12,000 Polish officers, murdered by the GPU, for anti-Bolshevik propaganda on a grand style. We sent neutral journalists and Polish intellectuals to the spot where they were found. Their reports now reaching us from ahead are gruesome. The Fuehrer has also given permission for us to hand out a drastic news item to the German press. I gave instructions to make the widest possible use of the propaganda material. We shall be able to live on it for a couple weeks"[27] The Germans had succeeded in discrediting the Soviet Government in the eyes of the world and briefly raised the spectre of a communist monster rampaging across the territories of Western civilization; moreover they had forged the unwilling General Sikorski into a tool which could threaten to unravel the alliance between the Western Allies and Soviet Union. April 14 is the 104th day of the year (105th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar, with 261 days remaining. ... Year 1943 (MCMXLIII) was a common year starting on Friday (the link will display full 1943 calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Soviet poster of the 1920s: The GPU strikes on the head the counter-revolutionary saboteur State Political Directorate was the secret police of the RSFSR and USSR until 1934. ...


The Soviet government immediately denied the German charges and claimed that the Polish prisoners of war had been engaged in construction work west of Smolensk and consequently were captured and executed by invading German units in August 1941. The Soviet response on April 15 to the German initial broadcast of April 13, prepared by the Soviet Information Bureau stated that "[...]Polish prisoners-of-war who in 1941 were engaged in country construction work west of Smolensk and who [...] fell into the hands of the German-Fascist hangmen [...]."[7] is the 105th day of the year (106th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 103rd day of the year (104th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Soviet Information Bureau (Russian: (Sovetskoye informatsionnoye byuro), commonly known as Sovinformburo (Совинформбюро)) was a leading Soviet news agency in 1941 - 1961. ...


The Allies were aware that the Nazis had found a mass grave as the discovery transpired, via radio transmissions intercepted and decrypted by Bletchley Park. Germans and the international commission, which was invited by Germany, investigated the Katyn corpses and soon produced physical evidence that the massacre took place in early 1940, at a time when the area was still under Soviet control.[28] During World War II, codebreakers at Bletchley Park decrypted and interpreted messages from a large number of Axis code and cipher systems, including the German Enigma machine. ...


In April 1943, when the Polish government in exile insisted on bringing this matter to the negotiation table with Soviets and on an investigation by the International Red Cross,[29][28] Stalin accused the Polish government in exile of collaborating with Nazi Germany, broke diplomatic relations with it,[30] and started a campaign to get the Western Allies to recognize the alternative Polish pro-Soviet government in Moscow led by Wanda Wasilewska.[31] Sikorski, whose uncompromising stance on that issue was beginning to create a rift between the Western Allies and the Soviet Union, died suddenly two months later. The cause of his death is still disputed.[32][33] Union of Polish Patriots (Society of Polish Patriots, Polish: , ZPP, Russian: ) was a political body created by Polish communists and Stalin in Soviet Union in 1943. ... Wanda Wasilewska (1905– 1964) was a Polish novelist and politician. ...


Soviet actions

German WWII propaganda poster (in French) exploiting the massacre. The text reads: If the Soviets win the war! Katyn everywhere
German WWII propaganda poster (in French) exploiting the massacre. The text reads: If the Soviets win the war! Katyn everywhere

When, in September 1943, Goebbels was informed that the German Army had to withdraw from the Katyn area, he entered a prediction in his diary. His entry for September 29, 1943 reads: "Unfortunately we have had to give up Katyn. The Bolsheviks undoubtedly will soon 'find' that we shot 12,000 Polish officers. That episode is one that is going to cause us quite a little trouble in the future. The Soviets are undoubtedly going to make it their business to discover as many mass graves as possible and then blame it on us."[27] Image File history File links Katyn_partout. ... Image File history File links Katyn_partout. ... is the 272nd day of the year (273rd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1943 (MCMXLIII) was a common year starting on Friday (the link will display full 1943 calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ...


Indeed, having retaken the Katyn area almost immediately after the Red Army had recaptured Smolensk, the Soviet Union, led by the NKVD, began a cover-up. A cemetery the Germans had permitted the Polish Red Cross to build was destroyed and other evidence removed.[1] In January 1944, the Soviet Union sent the "Special Commission for Determination and Investigation of the Shooting of Polish Prisoners of War by German-Fascist Invaders in Katyn Forest," (U.S.S.R. Spetsial'naya Kommissiya po Ustanovleniyu i Rassledovaniyu Obstoyatel'stv Rasstrela Nemetsko-Fashistskimi Zakhvatchikami v Katynskom Lesu)[7] led (at least nominally) by Alexey Tolstoy to investigate the incidents again. The so-called "Burdenko Commission", headed by Nikolai Burdenko, the President of the Academy of Medical Sciences of the USSR, exhumed the bodies again and reached the conclusion that the shooting was done in 1941, when the Katyn area was under German occupation. No foreign personnel, even the Polish communists, were allowed to join the Burdenko Commission,[1][7] whereas the Nazi German investigation had allowed wider access to both international press and organizations (like the Red Cross, with experts from Finland, Denmark, Slovakia etc) and even used Polish workers, like Józef Mackiewicz.[34] Thus, the 'medico-legal experts,' as they were called, 'found out' that all the shootings were done by the 'German-Fascist' invaders. The conclusions of the commission list a number of things, from gold watches to briefs and icons allegedly found attached to the dead bodies, and the items were said to have dates from November 1940 to June 1941, thus 'rebutting' the 'Fascist lies' of the Poles being shot by the Soviets. The report can be found in pro-Soviet publication Supplement to Russia at war weekly (1944); it is also printed in Dr.Joachim Hoffmann's book Stalin's Annihilation War 1941–1945 (original: Stalins Vernichtungskrieg 1941–1945) A view of Smolensk in 1912. ... The Extraordinary State Commission - fully: „Soviet State Extraordinary Commission for Ascertaining and Investigating the Crimes Committed by the German-Fascist Invaders and Their Accomplices. ... Aleksei Nikolaevich Tolstoi. ... Nikolay Burdenko Nikolai Nilovich Burdenko (Russian: ) (22 May [O.S. 3 June] 1876 – 11 November 1946) was a Russian surgeon, the founder of the Russian neurosurgery. ... Polish communists can trace their origins to early 1900s and the works tor the first Polish Marxist, StanisÅ‚aw Brzozowki (1878-1911). ... Józef Mackiewicz (April 1, 1902 - January 31, 1985) was a prominent Polish language writer and publicist. ...


Western response

The Western Allies had an implicit, if unwilling, hand in the cover-up in their endeavour not to antagonise a then-ally, the Soviet Union. The resulting Polish-Soviet crisis was beginning to threaten the vital alliance with the Soviet Union at a time when the Poles' importance to the Allies, essential in the first years of the war, was beginning to fade, due to the entry into the conflict of the military and industrial giants, the Soviet Union and the United States. In retrospective review of records, it is clear that both British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt were increasingly torn between their commitments to their Polish ally, the uncompromising stance of Sikorski and the demands by Stalin and his diplomats. “Churchill” redirects here. ... For other uses, see President of the United States (disambiguation). ... FDR redirects here. ...


In private, Churchill agreed that the atrocity was likely carried out by the Soviets. According to the notes taken by Count Raczyński, Churchill admitted on April 15 during a conversation with General Sikorski: "Alas, the German revelations are probably true. The Bolsheviks can be very cruel."[35] However, at the same time, on April 24, Churchill assured the Soviets: "We shall certainly oppose vigorously any 'investigation' by the International Red Cross or any other body in any territory under German authority. Such investigation would be a fraud and its conclusions reached by terrorism."[36] Unofficial or classified UK documents concluded that Soviet guilt was a "near certainty", but the alliance with the Soviets was deemed to be more important than moral issues, thus the official version supported the Soviet version, up to censoring the contradictory accounts.[28] Churchill's own post-war account of the Katyn affair is laconic. In his memoirs, he quotes the 1944 Soviet inquiry into the massacre, which predictably found that the Germans had committed the crime, and adds, "belief seems an act of faith."[37] In 1943 the Katyn Manifesto blaming the Soviet Union was published in London (in English) by the eccentric poet Count Geoffrey Potocki de Montalk, who was arrested by the Special Branch and imprisoned.[citation needed] Term of office from 1979 until 1986 Profession Lawyer Political party none Spouse Date of birth July 19, 1891 Place of birth Zakopane Date of death July 30, 1993 Place of death London Edward RaczyÅ„ski (1891-1993) was a Polish aristocrat, diplomat, politician and President of Poland in exile... is the 105th day of the year (106th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 114th day of the year (115th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... It has been suggested that Suppression of dissent be merged into this article or section. ... Count Geoffrey Wladislas Vaile Potocki de Montalk (1903–97), poet, private printer, pamphleteer, pagan and pretender to the Polish throne, was born in New Zealand, the eldest son of Auckland architect Robert Wladislas de Montalk, grandson of Paris-born Professor Count Joseph Wladislas Edmond Potocki de Montalk, and great-grandson...


In the United States, a similar line was taken, notwithstanding that two official intelligence reports into the Katyn massacre were produced that contradicted the official position. In 1944 Roosevelt assigned Navy Lieutenant Commander George Earle, his special emissary to the Balkans, to compile information on Katyn, which he did using contacts in Bulgaria and Romania. He concluded that the Soviet Union had committed the massacre. After consulting with Elmer Davis, the director of the Office of War Information, Roosevelt rejected that conclusion, saying that he was convinced of Nazi Germany's responsibility, and ordered Earle's report suppressed. When Earle formally requested permission to publish his findings, the President gave him a written order to desist. Earle was reassigned and spent the rest of the war in American Samoa.[1] George Howard Earle III (1890–1974) was an American politician. ... This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... Elmer Davis Elmer Davis (born January 13, 1890 - May 18, 1958 was prominent newsreporter, the Director of the United States Office of War Information during World War II and a Peabody Award Recipient. ... The United States Office of War Information (OWI) was a government agency created during World War II to consolidate government information services. ...


A further report in 1945, supporting the same conclusion, was produced and stifled. In 1943, two US POWs – Lt. Col. Donald B. Stewart and Col. John H. Van Vliet – had been taken by Germans to Katyn in 1943 for an international news conference.[38] Later, in 1945, Van Vliet wrote a report concluding that the Soviets, not the Germans, were responsible. He gave the report to Maj. Gen. Clayton Bissell, Gen. George Marshall's assistant chief of staff for intelligence, who destroyed it.[39] During the 1951–1952 investigation, Bissell defended his action before Congress, contending that it was not in the US interest to embarrass an ally whose forces were still needed to defeat Japan.[1] Major General Clayton Lawrence Bissell (1896 – January 1, 1973) {D.S.C. {USA} & D.F.C.{UK}} was born in Kane, PA., in 1896. ... For other persons named George Marshall, see George Marshall (disambiguation). ... Type Bicameral Houses Senate House of Representatives President of the Senate President pro tempore Dick Cheney, (R) since January 20, 2001 Robert C. Byrd, (D) since January 4, 2007 Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, (D) since January 4, 2007 Members 535 plus 4 Delegates and 1 Resident Commissioner Political...


Soviet-run trials

From December 29, 1945 to January 5, 1946, ten officers of the German Wehrmacht – Karl Hermann Strüffling, Heinrich Remmlinger, Ernst Böhm, Eduard Sonnenfeld, Herbard Janike, Erwin Skotki, Ernst Geherer, Erich Paul Vogel, Franz Wiese, and Arno Dürer – were tried by a Soviet military court in Leningrad. In what is now widely considered a show trial, they were falsely charged for an alleged role in the Katyn massacre. The first seven officers were sentenced to death and executed by public hanging on the same day. The other three were sentenced to hard labor, Vogel and Wiese to 20 year terms each and Dürer to 15 years.[40] Dürer is said to have pleaded guilty at the trial and to have returned to Germany later, the fate of the others sentenced to hard labor remains unknown.[41][dubious ] is the 363rd day of the year (364th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1945 (MCMXLV) was a common year starting on Monday (link will display the full calendar). ... is the 5th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1946 (MCMXLVI) was a common year starting on Tuesday (link will display full 1946 calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Wehrmacht   (armed forces, literally defence force(s)) was the name of the armed forces of Nazi Germany from 1935 to 1945. ... What constitutes a military tribunal varies according to nation and sometimes even military branch and regional jurisdiction. ... Saint Petersburg (Russian: Санкт-Петербу́рг, English transliteration: Sankt-Peterburg), colloquially known as Питер (transliterated Piter), formerly known as Leningrad (Ленингра́д, 1924–1991) and... The term show trial serves most commonly to label a type of public trial in which the judicial authorities have already determined the guilt of the accused: the actual trial has as its only goal to present the accusation and the verdict to the public as an impressive example and... Hanging is the suspension of a person by a ligature, usually a cord wrapped around the neck, causing death. ...


In 1946, the chief Soviet prosecutor at the Nuremberg Trials, Roman A. Rudenko, tried to indict Germany for the Katyn killings, stating that "one of the most important criminal acts for which the major war criminals are responsible was the mass execution of Polish prisoners of war shot in the Katyn forest near Smolensk by the German fascist invaders",[42] but dropped the matter after the United States and United Kingdom refused to support it and German lawyers mounted an embarrassing defense.[1][43] For the 1947 Soviet film about the trials, see Nuremberg Trials (film). ... General Roman Andreevich Rudenko (Russian: Роман Андреевич Руденко) was the Soviet Chief Prosecutor at the main trial of the major war criminals at the Nuremberg Trials. ...


However, the problem to be addressed by the court was not to allot the responsibility for the massacre to Germany or the Soviet Union, but to attribute the crime to at least one of the twenty-four dignitaries of the Nazi state.[44] The task of the charge was thus to establish a link between the reproached acts and the defendants. On hearings, however, the Soviet prosecutor proved to be unable to name the person in charge for the execution of the massacre,[45] as well as the supposed guilty among the defendants.[46]


In spite of this bankruptcy of the charge, Nikitchenko tried to make pass in force the Soviet point of view and did not hesitate to claim the inadequacy of the statutes of the court. This failed and the name of Katyn did not appear in the verdict.


Cold War views

In 1951–52, in the background of the Korean War, a U.S. Congressional investigation chaired by Rep. Ray J. Madden and known as the Madden Committee investigated the Katyn massacre. It charged that the Poles had been killed by the Soviets[1] and recommended that the Soviets be tried before the International Court of Justice. The committee was however less conclusive on the issue of alleged American cover up.[38] Combatants United Nations:  Republic of Korea,  Australia,  Belgium,  Luxembourg,  Canada,  Colombia,  Ethiopia,  France,  Greece,  Luxembourg,  Netherlands,  New Zealand,  Philippines,  South Africa,  Thailand,  Turkey,  United Kingdom,  United States Medical staff:  Denmark,  Australia,  Italy,  Norway,  Sweden Communist states:  Democratic People’s Republic of Korea,  Peoples Republic of China,  Soviet Union Commanders... Ray J. Madden (February 25, 1892 - September 28, 1987) was a United States Representative from Indiana. ... The International Court of Justice (known colloquially as the World Court or ICJ; French: ) is the primary judicial organ of the United Nations. ...


The question of responsibility remained controversial in the West as well as behind the Iron Curtain. For example, in the United Kingdom in the late 1970s, plans for a memorial to the victims bearing the date 1940 (rather than 1941) were condemned as provocative in the political climate of the Cold War. Warsaw Pact countries to the east of the Iron Curtain are shaded red; NATO members to the west of it — blue. ... For other uses, see Cold War (disambiguation). ...


It has been sometimes speculated that the choice made in 1969 for the location of the BSSR's war memorial at the former Belarusian village named Khatyn, a site of a 1943 Nazi massacre in which the entire village with its whole population was burned, have been made to cause confusion with Katyn.[47][48] The two names are similar or identical in many languages.[1] State motto: Belarusian: Пралетарыі ўсіх краін, яднайцеся! Translation: Workers of the world, unite! Capital Minsk Official language Belarusian, Russian Established In the USSR:  - Since  - Until January 1, 1919 December 30, 1922 August 25, 1991 Area  - Total  - Water (%) Ranked 6th in the USSR 207,600 km² negligible Population  - Total   - Density Ranked 5th in the USSR... Statue of the only surviving man from Khatyn, holding his dead child. ...


In Poland Communist authorities covered up the matter in concord with Soviet propaganda, deliberately censoring any sources that might shed some light on the Soviet crime. Katyn was a forbidden topic in postwar Poland. Not only did government censorship suppress all references to it, but even mentioning the atrocity was dangerous. Katyn became erased from Poland's official history, but it could not be erased from historical memory. In 1981, Polish trade union Solidarity erected a memorial with the simple inscription "Katyn, 1940" but it was confiscated by the police, to be replaced with an official monument "To the Polish soldiers – victims of Hitlerite fascism – reposing in the soil of Katyn". Nevertheless, every year on Zaduszki, similar memorial crosses were erected at Powązki cemetery and numerous other places in Poland, only to be dismantled by the police overnight. The Katyn subject remained a political taboo in Poland until the fall of the Eastern bloc in 1989.[1] The history of Poland from 1945 to 1989 spans the period of Soviet Communist dominance over the Peoples Republic of Poland in the decades following World War II. These years, while featuring many improvements in the standards of living in Poland, were marred by political instability, social unrest, and... It has been suggested that Suppression of dissent be merged into this article or section. ... Solidarity (Polish: ; full name: Independent Self-governing Trade Union Solidarity — Niezależny SamorzÄ…dny ZwiÄ…zek Zawodowy Solidarność) is a Polish trade union federation founded in September 1980 at the then Lenin Shipyards, and originally led by Lech WaÅ‚Ä™sa. ... Zaduszki in Poland Zaduszki (also dzieÅ„ zaduszny) is a Polish tradition of lighting candles (znicze) and visiting the graves of the relatives on All Souls Day. ... PowÄ…zki Cemetery (Polish Cmentarz PowÄ…zkowski) is the oldest and most famous cemetery in Warsaw, Poland, which is situated in the western part of the city. ... This article is about cultural prohibitions in general, for other uses, see Taboo (disambiguation). ...


Revelations

From the late 1980s, pressure was put not only on the Polish government, but on the Soviet one as well. Polish academics tried to include Katyn in the agenda of the 1987 joint Polish-Soviet commission to investigate censored episodes of the Polish-Russian history.[1] In 1989 Soviet scholars revealed that Joseph Stalin had indeed ordered the massacre, and in 1990 Mikhail Gorbachev admitted that the NKVD had executed the Poles[3] and confirmed two other burial sites similar to the site at Katyn: Mednoje and Pyatikhatki. Josef Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili (Georgian: , Ioseb Besarionis Dze Jughashvili; Russian: , Iosif Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili) (December 18 [O.S. December 6] 1878[1] – March 5, 1953), better known by his adopted name, Joseph Stalin (alternatively transliterated Josef Stalin), was General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Unions Central Committee from... Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev (Russian: ), surname more accurately romanized as Gorbachyov; (born 2 March 1931) is a Russian politician. ... Piatykhatky (Ukrainian: ) (literally - Five houses) is a city in Dnipropetrovsk Oblast (province) of Ukraine. ...

Monument to the fallen at Katyń at Katowice, Poland. Inscription: Katyn, Kharkіv, Miednoje and other places of death on the territory of former USSR, 1940.
Monument to the fallen at Katyń at Katowice, Poland. Inscription: Katyn, Kharkіv, Miednoje and other places of death on the territory of former USSR, 1940.

On 30 October 1989, Gorbachev allowed a delegation of several hundred Poles, organized by a Polish association named Families of Katyń Victims, to visit the Katyn memorial. This group included former U.S. national security advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski. A mass was held and banners hailing the Solidarity movement were laid. One mourner affixed a sign reading "NKVD" on the memorial, covering the word "Nazis" in the inscription such that it read "In memory of Polish officers murdered by the NKVD in 1941." Several visitors scaled the fence of a nearby KGB compound and left burning candles on the grounds.[49] Brzezinski commented that: Image File history File linksMetadata Download high-resolution version (2576x1932, 2152 KB) pl: Pomnik upamiÄ™tniajÄ…cy ofiary mordów dokonanych przez żoÅ‚nerzy radzieckich w Katyniu, Charkowie i Miednoje. ... Image File history File linksMetadata Download high-resolution version (2576x1932, 2152 KB) pl: Pomnik upamiÄ™tniajÄ…cy ofiary mordów dokonanych przez żoÅ‚nerzy radzieckich w Katyniu, Charkowie i Miednoje. ... Downtown of Katowice Osiedle TysiÄ…clecia at night Coordinates: , Country Voivodeship Powiat city county Gmina Katowice Established 16th century City Rights 1865 Government  - Mayor Piotr Uszok Area  - City 164. ... is the 303rd day of the year (304th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1989 (MCMLXXXIX) was a common year starting on Sunday (link displays 1989 Gregorian calendar). ... The Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs, commonly referred to as the National Security Advisor, serves as the chief advisor to the President of the United States on national security issues. ... Zbigniew Kazimierz Brzezinski (born March 28, 1928, Warsaw, Poland) is a Polish-American political scientist, geostrategist, and statesman. ... A Medieval Low Mass by a bishop. ...

"It isn't a personal pain which has brought me here, as is the case in the majority of these people, but rather recognition of the symbolic nature of Katyń. Russians and Poles, tortured to death, lie here together. It seems very important to me that the truth should be spoken about what took place, for only with the truth can the new Soviet leadership distance itself from the crimes of Stalin and the NKVD. Only the truth can serve as the basis of true friendship between the Soviet and the Polish peoples. The truth will make a path for itself. I am convinced of this by the very fact that I was able to travel here."[50]

Brzezinski further stated that "The fact that the Soviet government has enabled me to be here – and the Soviets know my views – is symbolic of the breach with Stalinism that perestroika represents."[51] His remarks were given extensive coverage on Soviet television. At the ceremony he placed a bouquet of red roses bearing a handwritten message penned in both Polish and English: "For the victims of Stalin and the NKVD. Zbigniew Brzezinski."[52] This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ...


On 13 April 1990, the forty-seventh anniversary of the discovery of the mass graves, the USSR formally expressed "profound regret" and admitted Soviet secret police responsibility.[53] That day is also an International Day of Katyn Victims Memorial (Światowy Dzień Pamięci Ofiar Katynia). is the 103rd day of the year (104th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1990 (MCMXC) was a common year starting on Monday (link displays the 1990 Gregorian calendar). ...


After Poles and Americans discovered further evidence in 1991 and 1992, Russian President Boris Yeltsin released and transferred to the new Polish president, former Solidarity leader Lech Wałęsa, top-secret documents from the sealed package no. 1.[54][1] Among the documents included Lavrenty Beria's March 1940 proposal[55] to shoot 25,700 Poles from Kozelsk, Ostashkov and Starobels camps, and from certain prisons of Western Ukraine and Belarus with the signature of Stalin (among others); an excerpt from the Politburo shooting order[8] of March 5 1940; and Aleksandr Shelepin's March 3, 1959 note[56] to Nikita Khrushchev, with information about the execution of 21,857 Poles and with the proposal to destroy their personal files. Boris Nikolayevich Yeltsin (Russian: ) (February 1, 1931 – April 23, 2007[1]) was the first president of the Russian Federation, serving from 1991 to 1999. ... Lech WaÅ‚Ä™sa (IPA: ; born September 29, 1943, Popowo, Poland) is a Polish politician, a former trade union and human rights activist, and also a former electrician. ... Lavrenty Beria Lavrentiy Pavlovich Beria (Georgian: ლავრენტი ბერია; Russian: Лаврентий Павлович Берия; (29 March 1899 – 23 December 1953), was a Soviet politician and chief of the Soviet security and police apparatus. ... Politburo is short for Political Bureau. ... This article is about the day. ... Alexander Nikolayevich Shelepin (Russian: Александр Николаевич Шелепин, born 1918) was the head of KGB from December 25, 1958 to November 13, 1961. ... is the 62nd day of the year (63rd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1959 (MCMLIX) was a common year starting on Thursday (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev (Russian: , Nikita Sergeevič Chruščiov; IPA: , in English, , or , occasionally ); surname more accurately romanized as Khrushchyov[1]; April 17 [O.S. April 5] 1894[2]–September 11, 1971) was the chief director of the Soviet Union after the death of Joseph Stalin. ...

Russian President Boris Yeltsin visiting Warsaw Powązki cemetery's monument of Katyn's victims crime in 1993.
Russian President Boris Yeltsin visiting Warsaw Powązki cemetery's monument of Katyn's victims crime in 1993.[57]

The investigations that indicted the German state rather than the Soviet state for the killings are sometimes used to impeach the Nuremberg Trials in their entirety, often in support of Holocaust denial, or to question the legitimacy and/or wisdom of using the criminal law to prohibit Holocaust denial. Still, there are some who deny Soviet guilt, call the released documents fakes, and try to prove that Poles were shot by Germans in 1941.[58][59] Image File history File links Boris_Yeltsin_Katyn. ... Image File history File links Boris_Yeltsin_Katyn. ... Boris Nikolayevich Yeltsin (Russian: ) (February 1, 1931 – April 23, 2007[1]) was the first president of the Russian Federation, serving from 1991 to 1999. ... Powązki Cemetery (Polish Cmentarz Powązkowski) is the oldest and most famous cemetery in Warsaw, Poland, which is situated in the western part of the city. ... For the 1947 Soviet film about the trials, see Nuremberg Trials (film). ... Richard Harwoods Did Six Million Really Die? Holocaust denial is the claim that the mainstream historical version of the Holocaust is either highly exaggerated or completely falsified. ...


On the opposing sides there are allegations that the massacre was part of wider action coordinated by Nazi Germany and Soviet Union, or that Germans at least knew of Katyn beforehand. The reason for these allegations is that Soviet Union and Nazi Germany added on 28 September, a secret supplementary protocol[60] to the German-Soviet Boundary and Friendship Treaty, in which they stated that Both parties will tolerate in their territories no Polish agitation which affects the territories of the other party. They will suppress in their territories all beginnings of such agitation and inform each other concerning suitable measures for this purpose, after which in 1939–1940 a series of conferences by NKVD and Gestapo were organised in the town of Zakopane. The aim of these conferences was to coordinate the killing and the deportation policy[61] and exchange experience. A University of Cambridge professor of history George Watson believes that the fate of Polish prisoners was discussed at the conference.[62] This theory surfaces in Polish media,[63] where it is also pointed out that similar massacre of Polish elites (AB-Aktion) were taking place in the exact time and with similar methods in German occupied Poland. is the 271st day of the year (272nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Coordinates: , Country Voivodeship Powiat Tatra County Gmina Zakopane Estabilished 17th century City Rights 1933 Government  - Mayor Janusz Majcher Area  - Town 84 km²  (32. ... The University of Cambridge (often Cambridge University), located in Cambridge, England, is the second-oldest university in the English-speaking world and has a reputation as one of the worlds most prestigious universities. ... The Außerordentliche Befriedungsaktion (AB-Aktion in short, German for Extraordinary Peace-Bringing Action) was a German campaign during the World War II aimed at the Polish leaders and intelligentsia. ...


In June 1998, Yeltsin and Polish President Aleksander Kwaśniewski agreed to construct memorial complexes at Katyn and Mednoye, the two NKVD execution sites on Russian soil. However, in September of that year the Russians also raised the issue of Soviet POW deaths in the Camps for Russian prisoners and internees in Poland (1919-1924). About 15,000–20,000 POWs died in those camps due to epidemics (especially Spanish flu); however, some Russian officials argued that it was 'a genocide comparable to Katyń'.[1] A similar claim was raised in 1994; such attempts are seen by some, particularly in Poland, as a highly provocative Russian attempt to create an 'anti-Katyn' and 'balance the historical equation'.[64] Aleksander KwaÅ›niewski ( ; born November 15, 1954) is a Polish politician who served as the President of Poland from 1995 to 2005. ... Russian POWs. ... The 1918 flu pandemic, commonly referred to as the Spanish flu, was a category 5 influenza pandemic caused by an unusually severe and deadly Influenza A virus strain of subtype H1N1. ...


During Kwaśniewski's visit to Russia in September 2004, Russian officials announced that they are willing to transfer all the information on the Katyn Massacre to the Polish authorities as soon as it is declassified.[65] In March 2005 Russian authorities ended the decade-long investigation with no one charged. Russian Chief Military Prosecutor Alexander Savenkov put the final Katyn death toll at 14,540 and declared that the massacre was not a genocide, a war crime, or a crime against humanity, but a military crime for which the 50-year term of limitation has expired and that consequently there is absolutely no basis to talk about this in judicial terms. [5][2][3] Despite earlier declarations, President Vladimir Putin's government refused to allow Polish investigators to travel to Moscow in late 2004[66] and 116 out of 183 volumes of files gathered during the Russian investigation, as well as the decision to put an end to it, were classified.[2][67][68] Declassified is a television series, produced by Ten Worlds Productions, on the History Channel, that originally aired on November 9, 2004. ... Genocide is the deliberate and systematic destruction of an ethnic or national group. ... In the context of war, a war crime is a punishable offense under International Law, for violations of the laws of war by any person or persons, military or civilian. ... In international law, a crime against humanity consists of acts of persecution or any large scale atrocities against a body of people, as being the criminal offence above all others. ... Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin (Russian: ) (born October 7, 1952) is the current President of the Russian Federation. ...


Because of that, the Polish Institute of National Remembrance has decided to open its own investigation.[4][3][2] Prosecution team head Leon Kieres said they would try to identify those involved in ordering and carrying out the killings. In addition, on March 22, 2005 the Polish Sejm unanimously passed an act, requesting the Russian archives to be declassified.[69] The Sejm also requested Russia to classify the Katyn massacre as the crime of genocide: "On the 65th anniversary of the Katyn murder the Senate pays tribute to the murdered, best sons of the homeland and those who fought for the truth about the murder to come to light, also the Russians who fought for the truth, despite harassment and persecution" – the resolution said. The resolution stressed that the authorities of Russia "seek to diminish the burden of this crime by refusing to acknowledge it was genocide and refuse to give access to the records of the investigation into the issue, making it difficult to determine the whole truth about the murder and its perpetrators."[70] Institute of National Remembrance (Polish: ; IPN) is a Polish institution created by the IPN Act in 18 December 1998. ... Leon Kieres is the president of a Polish institute called Instytut Pamieci Narodowej (Institute of National Remembrance). ... is the 81st day of the year (82nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2005 (MMV) was a common year starting on Saturday (link displays full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... The Sejm building in Warsaw. ...


Russia and Poland remained divided on the legal qualification of the Katyn crime, with the Poles considering it a case of genocide and demanding further investigations, as well as complete disclosure of Soviet documents.[71][70]


Art

The Katyn massacre is a major plot element in many works of culture, for example, in the W.E.B. Griffin novel The Lieutenants which is part of the Brotherhood of War series, as well as in the novel and film Enigma. Polish poet Jacek Kaczmarski has dedicated one of his sung poems to this event.[6] W.E.B. Griffin (born William Edmund Butterworth III on November 10, 1929) is a writer of military and detective fiction with some thirty novels in five series published under that name. ... Brotherhood of War is a series of novels written by W.E.B. Griffin about the United States Army beginning in the Second World War through the Vietnam Conflict. ... Enigma is a 2001 film set in World War II. It stars Dougray Scott and Kate Winslet and is based on a novel of the same title by Robert Harris. ... Jacek Kaczmarski, 1994 Jacek Kaczmarski (March 22, 1957, Warsaw - April 10, 2004, Gdańsk) was a Polish singer, songwriter, poet and author. ... Poezja śpiewana (meaning sung poetry in Polish) is a broad and inprecise music genre, used mostly in Poland to describe songs consisting of a poem (most often a ballad) and music written specially for that text. ...


The Academy Award winner, Polish film director Andrzej Wajda [7], whose father, Captain Jakub Wajda, was murdered in Katyn, began working on a film depicting the event in 2006, the production title of which is Katyn.[8] The film will recount the fate of some of the women—mothers, wives and daughters—of the Polish officers slaughtered by the Soviets. Some Katyn Forest scenes will be re-enacted. The screenplay is based on Andrzej Mularczyk's book of the same title. The film is produced by Akson Studio, and planned for release in the Autumn of 2007. Andrzej Wajda, Warsaw (Poland), May 2006 Andrzej Wajda (born March 6, 1926 in SuwaÅ‚ki) is a Polish film director. ... KatyÅ„ is a Polish film about the KatyÅ„ massacre, directed by Andrzej Wajda. ...


Original documents

Authenticated copies of Soviet documents related to the Katyn massacre:

Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (600x865, 41 KB) Author Janusz Ency Dorożyński File links The following pages on the English Wikipedia link to this file (pages on other projects are not listed): Katyn massacre ... Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (600x865, 38 KB) Author Janusz Ency Dorożyński File links The following pages on the English Wikipedia link to this file (pages on other projects are not listed): Katyn massacre ... Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (600x865, 29 KB) Author Janusz Ency Dorożyński File links The following pages on the English Wikipedia link to this file (pages on other projects are not listed): Katyn massacre ... Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (600x865, 29 KB) Author Janusz Ency Dorożyński File links The following pages on the English Wikipedia link to this file (pages on other projects are not listed): Katyn massacre ... Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (600x865, 19 KB) Author Janusz Ency Dorożyński File links The following pages on the English Wikipedia link to this file (pages on other projects are not listed): Katyn massacre ...

See also

The Außerordentliche Befriedungsaktion (AB-Aktion in short, German for Extraordinary Peace-Bringing Action) was a German campaign during the World War II aimed at the Polish leaders and intelligentsia. ... Massacre of prisoners was a series of massacres committed by Soviet NKVD on prisoners in cities in the annexed territory of Poland close to the border with the part of Poland occupied by Germany and from which the Red Army was withdrawing after the German invasion in 1941. ... Litene - center of Litenes parish, in Gulbene District, Latvia. ... President George W. Bush dedicates the Victims of Communism Memorial on June 12, 2007 The Victims of Communism Memorial is a memorial in Washington, D.C. at the intersection of Massachusetts and New Jersey Avenues and G Street, N.W., two blocks from Union Station and within view of the...

References

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  5. ^ Data combined from Shelepin's letter to Khrushchev and Soviet data from 03.12.1941 UPVI note in Katyn. 1940–2000, Moscow, "Ves' mir", 2001, pp. 384, 385)
  6. ^ (1938) "ustawa z dnia 9 kwietnia 1938 r. o powszechnym obowiązku wojskowym (Act of April 9, 1938, on Compulsory Military Duty)". Dziennik Ustaw 25 (220). 
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Further reading

  • Books about the Katyn Forest Massacre
  • Allen Paul (1996). Katyń: Stalin's massacre and the seeds of Polish resurrection. Annapolis, Md., Naval Institute Press, 402. ISBN 1-55750-670-1. 
  • Allen Paul (1991). Katyn: The Untold Story of Stalin's Polish Massacre. New York, Scribner Book Company. ISBN 0-684-19215-2. 
  • (1993) in Wojciech Materski: Katyn: documents of genocide; documents and materials from the Soviet archives turned over to Poland on October 14, 1992, Janusz Kazimierz Zawodny, Jan Kolbowski and Mark Canning, Warsaw, Institute of Political Studies Polish Academy of Sciences, 105. ISBN 83-85479-50-3. 
  • Adam Moszyński, Lista katyńska. Jeńcy obozów Kozielsk–Ostaszków–Starobielsk zaginieni w Rosji Sowieckiej (Katyń list: Prisoners of Kozelsk–Ostaszków–Starobielsk camps who disappeared in Soviet Russia), Londyn 1949;
  • George Sanford, "The Katyn Massacre and Polish-Soviet relations 1941–1943," Journal of Contemporary History 41(1):95–111 online
  • Stanisław Swianiewicz, W cieniu Katynia (In the shadow of Katyn), Paryż 1976. English edition by Borealis Pub, 2000, as In the Shadow of Katyn: Stalin's Terror, ISBN 1-894255-16-X
  • Jerzy Łojek (Leopold Jerzewski), Dzieje sprawy Katynia (History of the Katyn affair), Warszawa 1980;
  • Janusz K. Zawodny, Katyń, Lublin 1989;
  • A. Basak, Historia pewnej mistyfikacji. Zbrodnia katyńska przed Trybunałem Norymberskim (History of certain mistification: Katyn crime before the Nuremberg Trials) ISSN 0137-1126 in Studia nad Faszyzmem i Zbrodniami Hitlerowskimi: XXI, Wrocław 1993, ISBN 83-229-1816-X Table of contents online
  • Komorowski, Eugenjusz Andrei, and Gilmore, Joseph L. (1974). Night Never Ending. Avon Books. Largely discredited book purporting to be the eyewitness story of the sole survivor of the massacre.
  • Large list of Katyn related books at Polish Wikipedia article.

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External links

Wikisource has original text related to this article:
NKVD Order № 00794/B
Wikimedia Commons has media related to:
Katyn massacre
  • KATYN VIDEO, 1943 "Im Wald von Katyn" (April, 1943)
  • Russia and the Katyn Forest Massacre BBC International Reports (Former Soviet Union) March 11, 2005
  • Rare footage of NKVD mass graves in Poland and Ukraine (video)
  • Official site of the Memorial of Katyn
  • Original of Katyn order
  • (Russian) A set of copies of Katyn-related documents which were provided to Lech Walesa on 14 Oct. 1992
  • (Russian)Facsimile of the Soviet Izvestia newspaper with Burdenko Commission's report
  • (Russian) Photos by Alexey Pamyatnykh from exhumations at Mednoe in August 1991
  • Katyn massacre victim list
  • Polish deaths at Soviet hands – website about Katyn forest massacre
  • Pictures taken during the 1943 exhumation
  • British reactions to the Katyn Massacre, 1943–2003 by Minister for Europe, Denis MacShane
  • The Katyn Massacre: A Special Operations Executive perspective
  • Katyn in Nuremberg
  • Historians Have Yet to Face Up to the Implications of the Katyn Massacre by Adam Scrupski, History News Network, 5-17-04
  • Katyn Forest Massacre: Articles and links
  • The Lies of Katyn by Jamie Glazov, FrontPage Magazine, August 8, 2000
  • Stalin's Killing Field by Benjamin B. Fischer
  • (Polish) Ferdynand Goetel w Katyniu – story of one of the Polish members of the 1943 International Commission
  • The Katyn Massacre: An Assesment of its Significance as a Public and Historical Issue in the USA and GB, 1940-1993

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  Results from FactBites:
 
Katyn massacre - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (5624 words)
The Katyn massacre, also known as the Katyn Forest Massacre (Polish: Katyń), was a mass execution of Polish citizens by the order of Soviet authorities in 1940.
The term "Katyn massacre" originally referred to the massacre, at Katyn Forest, near the village of Gnezdovo, near Smolensk, Russia, of Polish military officers confined at the Kozelsk prisoner-of-war camp.
The Russian government has admitted Soviet responsibility for the massacres, although it does not classify them a war crime or an act of genocide, as this would have necessitated the prosecution of surviving perpetrators, which is what the Polish government has requested.
THE KATYN WOODS MASSACRE (1101 words)
Katyn is a small village west of Smolensk near the Belarus border.
It was in the surrounding countryside of Katyn that one of the greatest atrocities of World War II was committed.
It was at three particular prisons in the confines of Russia that the beginning of the Katyn woods massacre came into being.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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