[90] In March 2005 the Prosecutor-General's Office of the Russian Federation concluded a decade-long investigation of the massacre. This group included former U.S. national security advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski. 5.1 Article archives; 6 References; History. [72][better source needed] At the trials in 1946, Soviet General Roman Rudenko raised the indictment, stating "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",[73] but failed to make the case and the U.S. and British judges dismissed the charges. In 1944, Roosevelt assigned his special emissary to the Balkans, Navy Lieutenant Commander George Earle, to produce a report on Katyn. The NKVD took custody of Polish prisoners from the Red Army, and proceeded to organise a network of reception centres and transit camps, and to arrange rail transport to prisoner-of-war camps in the western USSR. 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. The USSR claimed the Nazis had killed the victims, and it continued to deny responsibility for the massacres until 1990, when it officially acknowledged and condemned the killings by the NKVD, as well as the subsequent cover-up by the Soviet government. [36], Some 3,000 to 4,000 Polish inmates of Ukrainian prisons and those from Belarus prisons were probably buried in Bykivnia and in Kurapaty respectively,[37][38] about 50 women among them. [87] The day was declared a worldwide Katyn Memorial Day (Polish: Światowy Dzień Pamięci Ofiar Katynia). Show more Up next. ), Rudolf Prich (killed in Lviv), Franciszek Sikorski (ret. On April 7, 2010, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin joined Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk at a ceremony commemorating the massacre, marking the first time that a Russian leader had taken part in such a commemoration. The Soviet government refused these demands, and on April 25, 1943, the Soviets broke diplomatic relations with the Polish government in London. [3] Stalin severed diplomatic relations with the London-based Polish government-in-exile when it asked for an investigation by the International Committee of the Red Cross. The discovery of the massacre precipitated the severance of diplomatic relations between the Soviet Union and the Polish government-in-exile in London. Lech Kaczynski to another commemoration ceremony crashed near Smolensk and the Katyn site, killing Kaczynski, his wife, the head of the national security bureau, the president of the national bank, the army chief of staff, and a number of other Polish government officials. Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article. [89], In 1991, the Chief Military Prosecutor for the Soviet Union began proceedings against Pyotr Soprunenko for his role in the Katyn killings, but eventually declined to prosecute because Soprunenko was 83, almost blind, and recovering from a cancer operation. [105] The plaintiffs filed an appeal but a 21 October 2013 ruling essentially reaffirmed the prior one, claiming that the matter is outside the court's competence, and only rebuking the Russian side for its failure to substantiate adequately why some critical information remained classified. [71], At the London conference that drew up the indictments of German war crimes before the Nuremberg trials, the Soviet negotiators put forward the allegation, "In September 1941, 925 Polish officers who were prisoners of war were killed in the Katyn Forest near Smolensk". The falsified Soviet version of the events has become known as the "Katyn lie", a term coined in an analogy with "Auschwitz lie". [43] The discovery was not seen as important, as nobody thought the discovered grave could contain so many victims. The Katyn massacre is a major element in many works of film, literature and the fine arts. [104] In a ruling on 16 April 2012, the court found Russia had violated the rights of victims' relatives by not providing them with sufficient information about the investigation and described the massacre as a "war crime". Later, in 1945, Van Vliet submitted a report concluding the Soviets were responsible for the massacre. Subscribe 605. An examination of the Soviet slaughter of thousands of Polish officers and citizens in the Katyn forest … Jan Basamania.jpg 172 × 204; 12 KB. 127 Views 14HAILVICTORY88. [48] The Croatian pathologist Eduard Miloslavić managed to escape to the US. [66] Documents released by the National Archives and Records Administration in September 2012 revealed Stewart and Van Vliet sent coded messages to their American superiors indicating they saw proof that implicated the Soviets. In 1943, the Germans took two U.S. POWs—Capt. The Poles considered it a case of genocide and demanded further investigations, as well as complete disclosure of Soviet documents. ISAAC KAPPY EXPOSING THE TRUTH. Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article (requires login). Nevertheless, Melby, at the time, felt on balance the Russian case was convincing. [49], The Soviet government immediately denied the German charges. Contents. Katyn was a forbidden topic in postwar Poland. The Katyn Forest MassacreUnravelling One of the Many Secrets of the Second World War 2. [120][121][122] A number of Russian historians and organizations such as "Memorial" openly admit the Soviet responsibility, pointing out inconsistencies in the alternative versions – primarily the fact that another major mass execution site in Mednoye was never under German occupation and contained remains of victims originating from the same camps as those killed in Katyn, killed at the same time, and even though it was only exhumed in the 1990s it contained well preserved Polish uniforms, documents, souvenirs as well as Soviet newspapers dated 1940. The Russian president reiterated Russia would continue to declassify documents on the Katyn massacre. Collectively, these murders are known as the Katyn Forest Massacre. The fate of the missing prisoners remained a mystery. Medvedev and Komorowski agreed the two states should continue to try to reveal the truth about the tragedy. [22] Having consulted with Elmer Davis, director of the United States Office of War Information, Roosevelt rejected the conclusion (officially), declared he was convinced of Nazi Germany's responsibility, and ordered that Earle's report be suppressed. R.C. Chief Military Prosecutor Alexander Savenkov announced the investigation was able to confirm the deaths of 1,803 out of 14,542 Polish citizens who had been sentenced to death while in three Soviet camps. [14][15] IPN estimates the number of Polish citizens who died under Soviet rule during World War II at 150,000 (a revision of older estimates of up to 500,000). About 250,000[1][9] to 454,700[10] Polish soldiers and policemen were captured and interned by the Soviet authorities. The Soviet response on 15 April to the initial German broadcast of 13 April, prepared by the Soviet Information Bureau, stated "Polish prisoners-of-war who in 1941 were engaged in construction work west of Smolensk and who...fell into the hands of the German-Fascist hangmen". [47] After the war, Goetel escaped with a fake passport due to an arrest warrant issued against him. [119], The Communist Party of the Russian Federation and a number of other pro-Soviet Russian politicians and commentators claim that the story of Soviet guilt is a conspiracy and that the documents released in 1990 were forgeries. [43] In early 1943, Rudolf Christoph Freiherr von Gersdorff, a German officer serving as the intelligence liaison between the Wehrmacht's Army Group Centre and Abwehr, received reports about mass graves of Polish military officers. About 16,000 to 20,000 POWs died in those camps due to communicable diseases. The Katyn Forest, in the vicinity of the village, was the site of the Katyn massacre during World War II, in which thousands of captured Polish officers and other citizens were killed. and transferred them to the new Polish president Lech Wałęsa. The Katyn Forest Massacre Polish POWs Killed by Stalin and the Soviets in 1940 - Documents about the Controversy, Madden Committee Report, Coverup of Soviet Involvement, Nazi Accusations by Department of Defense,U. Jeffery tried to inform the British government about the Katyn massacre, but was as a result released from the Army. [f] According to estimates by the Institute of National Remembrance (IPN), roughly 320,000 Polish citizens were deported to the Soviet Union (this figure is questioned by some other historians, who hold to older estimates of about 700,000–1,000,000). But both German and Red Cross investigations of the Katyn corpses then produced firm physical evidence that the massacre took place in early 1940, at a time when the area was still under Soviet control. In an interview with a Polish newspaper, Vladimir Putin called Katyn a "political crime". [22][23] According to NKVD reports, if a prisoner could not be induced to adopt a pro-Soviet attitude, he was declared a "hardened and uncompromising enemy of Soviet authority". [56], The growing Polish-Soviet tension was beginning to strain Western-Soviet relations at a time when the Poles' importance to the Allies, significant 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. [55] Some regarded the inclusion of Melby and Harriman as a Soviet attempt to lend official weight to their propaganda. Katyn Massacre, mass execution of Polish military officers by the Soviet Union during World War II. "Zdrajcy" i "kolaboranci", czyli polscy pisarze oskarżani o współpracę z hitlerowcami", "Behind the Polish-Soviet Break – by Alter Brody", "Records Relating to the Katyn Forest Massacre at the National Archives", unofficial reproduction of the relevant parts, "The Katyn Controversy: Stalin's Killing Field — Central Intelligence Agency", "Katyn massacre: US hushed up Stalin's slaughter of Polish officers, released memos show", "Colonel Van Vliet on the Katyn massacre", "Newly-discovered US witness report describes evidence of 1939 Katyn massacre", "Excerpts of Nuremberg archives, Fifty-Ninth Day: Thursday, 14 February 1946", "SOLDIERS STORY' SHARES PRIZE AT MOSCOW FILM FESTIVAL", "Newsline "...despite Poland's status as 'Key Economic Partner'"", "Statement on investigation of the "Katyn crime" in Russia", "Russian victory festivities open old wounds in Europe", "In denial. Such an investigation would be a fraud and its conclusions reached by terrorism". [27][34], After the condemned individual's personal information was checked and approved, he was handcuffed and led to a cell insulated with stacks of sandbags along the walls, and a heavy, felt-lined door. [27], During Kwaśniewski's visit to Russia in September 2004, Russian officials announced they were willing to transfer all the information on the Katyn massacre to the Polish authorities as soon as it became declassified. [85], His remarks were given extensive coverage on Soviet television. ), Xawery Czernicki (admiral), Stanisław Haller (ret. [22][54] Its members included prominent Soviet figures such as the writer Aleksey Nikolayevich Tolstoy, but no foreign personnel were allowed to join the commission. Consequently, Britain and France, fulfilling the Anglo-Polish[5] and Franco-Polish treaties of alliance, declared war on Germany. Revolution999. In his memoirs, he refers to the 1944 Soviet inquiry into the massacre, which found the Germans responsible, and adds, "belief seems an act of faith". According to Tokarev, the shooting started in the evening and ended at dawn. They totalled 15,570 men. The Soviets are undoubtedly going to make it their business to discover as many mass graves as possible and then blame it on us".

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