Katyn Massacre

Discussion in 'All Anniversaries' started by laufer, Mar 14, 2005.

  1. laufer

    laufer Senior Member

    Stalin's order to shoot the Polish POWs in 1940

    Katyn forest, near Smolensk in Russia, place of the mass graves of over 4,300 Polish officers discovered by the German army in March of 1943. These were the bodies of the officers who became POWs as result of the Soviet Union's invasion and occupation of the Polish Eastern provinces between 1939-1941. Katyn forest has been one of many locations where Polish POWs were executed in 1940. The grave locations of the remaining 10,000 officers and 11,000 others considered to be a threat to Soviet Union remain unknown.
    The Polish government-in-exile requested investigation of the site by the International Red Cross. This request prompted the Soviet Union to break off its diplomatic relations with London's Poles in the early spring of 1943.

    Until the 1990s, the Soviet Union was categorically denying its implication in the crime and blamed the German army as the culprits. However, the documents which were made available after the demise of the Soviet Union clearly indicate the Soviet Union's involvement:

    The following are the excerpt from the minutes Nr. 13 of the Politburo of the Central Committee meeting on the 5th of March, 1940 – resolution P13/144 regarding the matter submitted for consideration by the NKVD/USSR.

    * * *

    Strictly Confidential

    All-Union Communist Party (Bolsheviks). CENTRAL COMMITTEE

    I. To instruct the NKVD of the USSR that:

    1/ the cases of 14 700 people - former Polish Army officers, government officials, landowners, policemen, intelligence agents, military policemen, homesteaders and jailers remaining in the camps for prisoners of war,

    2/ and also the cases of 11 000 people - members of various counter-revolutionary spy and sabotage organizations, former landowners, factory owners, former Polish Army officers, government officials and fugitives arrested and remaining in prisons in the western districts of Ukraine and Byelorussia - be considered in a special manner with the obligatory sentence of capital punishment - execution by firing squad.

    II. The consideration of the cases to be carried out without the convicts being summoned and without revealing the charges; with no statements concerning the conclusion of the investigation and the bills of indictment given to them. To be carried out in the following manner:

    a/ people remaining in the camps for prisoners of war - on the basis of information provided by the Administration of Prisoners-of-War Affairs NKVD of the USSR,

    b/ people arrested - on the basis of case information provided by the NKVD of the Ukrainian SSR and NKVD of the Byelorussian SSR.

    III. The responsibility for consideration of the cases and passing of the resolution to be laid on three comrades: Merkulov, Kobulov and Bashtakov (Head, 1st Special Division of the NKVD of the USSR).

    The Secretary of the Central Committee

    J. Stalin
     
    Lindele likes this.
  2. Varasc

    Varasc Senior Member

  3. Peter Clare

    Peter Clare Very Senior Member

    America deliberately helped Russia cover up one of its most infamous Second World War atrocities to gain favour with Stalin, new documents suggest.More than 22,000 captured Polish officers and other prisoners were systematically murdered in the Katyn forest on the western edge of Russia in 1940.

    Read more: America 'hid Russia's WW2 massacre' - World news, News - Belfasttelegraph.co.uk


    Newly released army documents prove that two American POWs wrote encoded messages to Army intelligence after their 1943 visit to Katyn, pointing to Soviet guilt for the 1940 massacre
    Read more: Declassified documents prove U.S. DID help cover up 1940 Katyn massacre where Soviets slaughtered 22,000 Polish officers | Mail Online
     
  4. Varasc

    Varasc Senior Member

    America deliberately helped Russia cover up one of its most infamous Second World War atrocities to gain favour with Stalin, new documents suggest.More than 22,000 captured Polish officers and other prisoners were systematically murdered in the Katyn forest on the western edge of Russia in 1940.

    Read more: America 'hid Russia's WW2 massacre' - World news, News - Belfasttelegraph.co.uk


    Newly released army documents prove that two American POWs wrote encoded messages to Army intelligence after their 1943 visit to Katyn, pointing to Soviet guilt for the 1940 massacre

    Read more: Declassified documents prove U.S. DID help cover up 1940 Katyn massacre where Soviets slaughtered 22,000 Polish officers | Mail Online








    Very interesting Peter.
    I really hope to see as soon as possible a new book able to explain these new discoveries and to redefine what we know about this massacre.
     
  5. Roxy

    Roxy Senior Member

    I remember being at Glasgow's Polish Club (i cannot recall the correct title) in the mid-1980s. There was a plaque at the entrance that left you in no doubt as to who the Galswegian Poles believed were responsible for the Kaytn massacre. And it wasn't the Germans! This was before Glasnost etc.

    Roxy
     
  6. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin

    From a paragraph in one of the above links.

    The long-held suspicion is that President Franklin Delano Roosevelt did not want to anger Russian leader Josef Stalin, an ally whom the Americans were counting on to defeat Germany and Japan during the war.

    Read more: America 'hid Russia's WW2 massacre' - World news, News - Belfasttelegraph.co.uk

    I had no idea that Russia and America were Allies prior to Pearl harbour in 1941.

    As Germany and Russia had a non aggression pact I do not think that the statement is correct and would like comments from forum members who may know more on the subject.

    Everything that I have read in the past places Russia as the guilty party for the atrocities commited soon after the carve up of Poland between Germany and the Soviet Union.

    Regards
    Tom
     
  7. Alan Allport

    Alan Allport Senior Member

    I had no idea that Russia and America were Allies prior to Pearl harbour in 1941.

    They weren't. But the story of the massacre didn't reach the West until the Germans revealed it in spring 1943, by which time the Anglo-American-Soviet alliance was a reality.

    To be honest, I don't think this story really adds much to what we already knew about Katyn. It's already been long established that the British and Americans (a) suspected what had really happened and (b) suppressed that knowledge in the interests of the wartime alliance.

    Best, Alan
     
  8. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin

    Alan,

    It was my futile attempt at being sarcastic regarding the Allies comment.

    I have a couple of books relating to Enigma and Ultra, but there is no mention of Katyn Forest.

    In the Film Enigma there was a section that showed the code broken and the communications made by the Germans on the discovery of the massacre.

    Perhaps this is pure artistic licence, but it makes you think that such interceptions could have been made and covered up due to Political pressure.

    Regards
    Tom
     
  9. TTH

    TTH Senior Member

    The press often presents things that are common knowledge among historians as 'shocking revelations.'
     
  10. Old Git

    Old Git Harmless Curmudgeon

    I despise these post-events, moral-highground grabbing headlines that profess shock and horror at "what our country is guilty of". I'm British and I'm proud of it, I tend to view the British Empire as a good thing and I point to our process of de-colonisation (by and large we generally left when we were asked to) that left countries in better conditions than we found them. With better systems of government, education and transport. I have always viewed Britain as a progressive nation and I find that no other nation can compare to us on our track record. Did we make mistakes yes of-course we did but we generally left the world in a better state than which we found it.

    As for charges of culpability against either the US or Britain in the Katyn Forest massacre all I have to say is poppycock! Neither the US nor Britian has any culpability in this, this is all Stalin. Whether the US/Britain condemned this, accepted Soviet culpability or even pressed for the Soviets to be held accountable in an international court would not have mattered one little bit. When it was done, it was done and nothing could undo it. After that the realpolitk insisted that we keep the Soviets onside until WWII was won! The big error the we made was in letting the Soviets get to Berlin first! Eisenhower was wrong, it wasn't just a place on the map...it was far more important than that! And the death of 22,000 Polish officers, whilst supremely tragic, is nothing in comparison to the veil of misery and tragedy that descended on Eastern Europe in the aftermath of WWII. Something that the West could do nothing about either! When it had happened it had happened and nothing short of Nuclear war was going to fix it!

    The Soviet secret police killed the 22,000 Poles with shots to the back of the head. Their aim was to eliminate a military and intellectual elite that would have put up stiff resistance to Soviet control. The men were among Poland's most accomplished — officers and reserve officers who in their civilian lives worked as doctors, lawyers, teachers, or as other professionals. Their loss has proven an enduring wound to the Polish nation.


    I have a great deal of respect for the Poles and I honour them for all they have endured throughout history. They have always been toyed with at the whim of either the Prussians or the Russians, and in this case both of them! Even Napoleon manipulated them to his own ends! Pity the poor Pole who never had a country of his own until the Berlin wall came down...but he has always fought with tenacity and bravery where ever he met his enemy.

    We should also remember that Stalin killed approximately 20 Million of his own countrymen, (possibly even more than that) including the officer class of the Soviet Army who were the first to suffer this fate and before WWII had started. Stalin was making sure that there was no-one around to challenge his dominance and this absence of an effective officer class is one reason why the Nazi's had such gains in the early days of the Soviet invasion. When the Soviets rolled over Eastern Poland in 1941 the NKVD simply extended this policy to the Polish army also. Stalin may not actually have said that the "Death of one man is a tragedy, but the death of a million is a statistic" but there are very good reasons why it has always, and almost exclusively, been attributed to him! The man was a monster and he shall go down in history as such!
     
    Incredibledisc and Smudger Jnr like this.
  11. mojo1a

    mojo1a Member

    Atrocities are committed by those who think they won't get caught or that the world won't care. When it came to what happened at Katyn, it could be argued that Josef Stalin was half right.

    I met one of the widows of Katyn in 2000. This is her story.

    https://ww2thebigone.com/2016/04/29/the-katyn-massacre/
     
    dbf likes this.
  12. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

    BBC approx 9 min audio: Witness History - The Katyn Massacre - BBC Sounds

    "Tens of thousands of Polish officers were secretly executed in the USSR during World War 2. The German occupying forces reported the first mass grave, in the village of Katyn in 1943, but Moscow only admitted to the killings in 1990. Dina Newman speaks to the son of one of the murdered officers, Waclaw Gasiorowski."

    "Photo: Gasiorowski family in Warsaw in 1936. Credit: family archive
    "

    [​IMG]
     
    vitellino likes this.
  13. davidbfpo

    davidbfpo Patron Patron

    Now a few years ago I discovered the Kaytn memorial @ Cannock Chase, Staffordshire and there are several weblinks to out. This is one: https://www.brendanjackson.co.uk/notes/katyn-memorial/ There is an annual service on the 17th May. Looking at te images it has been restored since my last visit - when it looked rather forlorn.
     

Share This Page