Return PolishForums LIVE
  PolishForums Archive :
Archives - 2005-2009 / History  % width 111

Katyn- forgiven and forgotten?


anielka 2 | 84  
16 Jan 2007 /  #1
Hi, I recently read from another forum Poles supposedly living in Polska surmised it was time to "move on" from this affair- their opinion also was that it was really only Poles living abroad that kept on about it. I do live abroad, have also read in 2006 Polish presentation to Russian Prosecution was dismissed as "not enough evidence".

I am both surprised and shocked by this opinion, although I could understand if it came from USSR.
Katyn is really just a symbol of the thousands of patriots who believed in a free Polska, who refused Communism and were summarily executed for their belief, - the discovery of 200,000-300,00 skeletons discovered in mass pits in 2006 outside Kiev- many of them Poles.From 1943 Poles have waited patiently yet this has never been addressed- no retribution for the murderers. Are we as the next generation, to accept and "move on".

I am curious- is this a widespread opinion amongst Poles- abroad and in Poland?
Any thoughts or opions?
BubbaWoo 33 | 3,510  
16 Jan 2007 /  #2
i had heard about this before but hadnt immediately clicked what you were talking about... ignortant curr that i am...

so i wiked it

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Katyn

thanks
alexandra - | 26  
16 Jan 2007 /  #3
Katyn will never be forgotten. Everybody in Poland knows what it means and that this problem is unsolved but until Putin is in Kreml we cannot count for any progress in this matter. Good news is however that in September 2007 Andrzej Wajda is going to show his new film about Katyń (I don't remember the title). Wajda's father was also murdered in Katyń.
Frank 23 | 1,183  
16 Jan 2007 /  #4
Perhaps Anielka........its still displays the Russian attitude to your nation 60 years after the event or really that they believe they did no wrong and will forever frustrate Polands needs for closure?

Either way it reflects extremely poorly on the supposedly democratic Russia.
Grzegorz_ 51 | 6,161  
16 Jan 2007 /  #5
I do live abroad, have also read in 2006 Polish presentation to Russian Prosecution was dismissed as "not enough evidence".

And that's bad, but what should we do ? Invade Russia ?
lef 11 | 478  
16 Jan 2007 /  #6
I am curious- is this a widespread opinion amongst Poles- abroad and in Poland?
Any thoughts or opions?

There are a few memorial sites in oz, which honour those killed in Katyn. I think its time to move on and forgive but not forget.

Most countries have days to commemorate those killed in wars, and the spirit now is that of honoring the fallen as opposed to asking for revenge. And ensuring that this does not happen again.

I'm sure we won't get much sense out of the Russian governments, however I believe the Russian people are pretty decent and are sorry for these events.
Matyjasz 2 | 1,544  
16 Jan 2007 /  #7
however I believe the Russian people are pretty decent and are sorry for these events.

Decent and unaware.
Ranj 21 | 948  
16 Jan 2007 /  #9
Thank you Anielka, for this post, and thanks BW for linking the wiki url. In all hosesty, I was not aware of the history of Katyn. It's post like this that remind me of way I came to this forum in the first place---to learn about all aspects of Poland.
OP anielka 2 | 84  
17 Jan 2007 /  #10
but what should we do ? Invade Russia ?

Obviously not.Keep their memory alive, lay a flower at one of the monuments , bow your head in respect- it doesn't cost much in time or money, read books(myself I have, only 2- one by Abarinov the Russian journalist and Fitzgibbon)-discuss what You know, clarify for those who don't- a forum is an excellent place-already I have discovered 2 people here who needed clarification.Poles- our Fathers, Mothers, Grand-parents know what happened but have stoically carried this wound silently- surely as the next generation to do nothing is to do our Officers and Intelligentsia a great disservice. I recently discovered Rev. Msgr. Peszkowski- the same priest who said a prayer and laid a crucifix on each of the dead in the open graves in Katyn working tirelesly consoling the families has had a motion to nominate him for the Nobel Peace Prize. Ironic - the one man the Soviets released from Kozielsk is the same who through his work and documentaries has shown the Soviets what they have done.

Thank you Anielka, for this post

No, Thank- You Ranj and all others for reading my post and comments.
An excellent web-site I found which has photo's of monuments people have sent in from all over the world ,the Katyn cemetery and easy reading of this tragedy is

Katyn.org.au

(for those interested)
Regards, Anielka
Wayc00lio 2 | 57  
17 Jan 2007 /  #11
I didn't know about this before - truely an horrific event!

They shall not grow old as we who are left grow old.
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.
OP anielka 2 | 84  
17 Jan 2007 /  #12
asking for revenge

move on and forgive

So let's go back:
From 1943, the bodies discovered in 8 mass graves in the Katyn Forest( covered up with conifers) by the Germans C.I.C. Sikorski appealed to the Internation Red Cross for help with an investigation- to no avail. Soviets would not agree and severed all diplomatic ties with Poland.

The Germans set up their own investigation:Russian witnesses living in the area were interviewed and recorded. A commission consisting of professors of medicine and representatives from the Institutes of Forensic Medicine and Criminology of European Uni's from Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark,Finland, Croatia, Italy, Holand, Romania, Switzerland, Slovakia, Yugoslavia and Hungary arrived. They came to the same conclusion- they died March, April, may 1940 by a single bullet in the nape of the neck, many had sawdust stuffed in their mouths, broken jaws, coats covering their heads, many with the stab wounds used by the fluted Russian bayonets and hands tied behind their backs- by experienced executioners.The clothing consisted of any typical Polish uniform, with medals,badges and personal documents.The report was concluded 1943.Interesting to note the Commission members received no academic distinctions-, or payment.They received train tickets and their hotel bills were settled.

The British response? "The Issue should be avoided" Winston Churchill.
The American response? Roosevelt to US Minister George H Earle re report on Katyn " I spefically forbid you to publish any information or opinion....you might have acquired while in office or in the service of the US Navy "

A report from British Sir Owen O'Malley to then British Foreign Secretary Sir Anthony Eden, 11/2/1944: " Let us.... speak of them never. To speak of them never is the advice I have been giving to the Polish Govt., but it has been unnecessary.They have received the Russian report in silence."........ Surely then as Katyn was listed as a war crime it would be addressed at the Nuremberg Trials?

7/1/1946: Dr Hans Laternser( Counsel for General Staff and High Command of the German Armed Forces);
" May I have the question put to the Prosecution, who is to be made responsible for the Katyn case? "
Sir Geoffrey Lawrence( British Justice and president of the Court);
" I do not propse to answer questions of that sort." The matter was dropped.
1945-1989: No chance of any redress under the Communist Regime.
To date , despite repeated Polish calls to address this, the Russians refuse any responsibility- Gorbachov and Yeltsin's brief acknowledgment means nothing.
So, given this info I'm interested how you see forgiving and moving on (not to mention to the families) to happen?
Revenge? I do not want revenge. I do not want compensation- there are not enough rubles in the world. An apology from the current Govt. would be a start, with the whereabouts of the remaining Poles, so that we can bury our own- still they and us have waited 66 years, we can wait 60 more.

They shall not grow old as we who are left grow old.
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.

I Thank-You.
Frank 23 | 1,183  
17 Jan 2007 /  #13
To date , despite repeated Polish calls to address this, the Russians refuse any responsibility- Gorbachov and Yeltsin's brief acknowledgment means nothing.
So, given this info I'm interested how you see forgiving and moving on (not to mention to the families) to happen?

Has anything really changed in Russian attitudes to both their crimes during this period or indeed their attitude to their neighbours?

It appears not.

Is this issue high on the Polish governments agenda to seek closure or are they as frightened or politically embrassed to bring up again, as were the USA/UK back in the forties?
OP anielka 2 | 84  
17 Jan 2007 /  #14
Is this issue high on the Polish governments agenda to seek closure or are they as frightened or politically embrassed to bring up again, as were the USA/UK back in the forties?

Why would Poles be embarrassed or frightened to bring it up again-repeatedly to the Russians -no-one else has- it's been made clear by the International Community that it is a Polish problem.

Of course it's high on the agenda- I repeat ,yet another attempt was made in 2006.
Maxxx Payne 1 | 196  
17 Jan 2007 /  #15
I don't think there will be solution to this issue while Putin is in power. Putin has even claimed that Baltic countries "joined willingly" to USSR. Nationalism is on the rise in Russia, it is good that the Russians start to believe themselves again and all but they shouldn't deny their past etc.
Malgorzata - | 2  
17 Feb 2007 /  #16
:)I am :)that someone has menioned Katyn Forest in Russia. My grandfather(my mother's father) was killed in Katyn at the beginning of the second world war when my mther was only 13. He was a member of the military and was one of the "Intelygensia' that were murdered. He was a commissioned officer but I am not sure of his rank. Thanks to the Russians I never got to meet him. Both sides of my family were from wealthy families who lost everything during the war. Both parents belonged to Armia Krajowa. They escaped to England where they married, had two children and then came to Canada by ship to Halifax,Nova Scotia and then by train To Ottawa. I was 18 months old and my brother was 3 months old. My father worked in that area for awhile and then found work in Southwestern Ontario where we grew up, along with another sister.

I am very proud of my Polish heritage. I have visited Poland twice and hope to again someday. I have friends and family there. I hope to keep in touch with this forum and would love to hear from all of you in the future!! Thanks Anielka for your information about Katyn.

Thanks Anielka for your information about Katyn.

Hello everyone!
Is there anyone else out there that had a family member murdered in Katyn Forest in Russia?
peterweg 37 | 2,319  
20 Feb 2007 /  #17
I think my Grandather was killed at one of the sites (he dissapeared on his horse to fight the Russians. Never heard of again). Other family members were sent to the camps (where 75% of the 1.75Million died).

At least eight people with my family surname are on the memorial. I don't know how they were related to me - I don't know any of my relations names. The reason overseas Poles are still concerned about it was because most of them were connected to and came from the eastern part of Poland.
Miss Lidia  
20 Feb 2007 /  #18
No doubt the "International Community" is trying to be politically sensitive, truthfully, who can more vindictive? Poles or Russsians? Katyn gave us that answer and the answer persists to this day with Katyn being dismissed by various nations. I suspect there may be a little paranoia involved - if the Russians admit to Katyn taking place, the present government may themselves fear they THEMSELVES will be held accountable...... my grandfather may have made a mistake but I should not be made accountable for his choices ...... who knows the reason....... if the tables were reversed, would the Russians keep quiet???

Bottom line is - the truth always comes out - and as Poles living all over the world, it is our responsibility to keep issues like Katyn alive, I am proud to be Polish, even with all the pain Poland has gone through.
daffy 23 | 1,508  
20 Feb 2007 /  #19
it is our responsibility to keep issues like Katyn alive,

so that it canot be let happen again. So many time in many countries there are atrocities committed and slowly but surely through awareness of the pain, suffering and evil of it - it will see an end.
Patrycja19 63 | 2,699  
20 Feb 2007 /  #20
Why would Poles be embarrassed or frightened to bring it up again-repeatedly to the Russians -no-one else has- it's been made clear by the International Community that it is a Polish problem.
Of course it's high on the agenda- I repeat ,yet another attempt was made in 2006.

And they should keep on attempting till they get Russia to budge!!
yes its in the past, but they were never compensated, and no amount
of money will bring back those who died. but at least those who lost
and suffered because of it would be able to move on. its bullocks , there
will never be closure. The Govt is hiding from it. not its people.

I dont even know how those who pulled the trigger could have lived with themselfs
after the fact. with no remorse.
devinci  
20 Feb 2007 /  #21
Katyn will never be forgotten. Everybody in Poland knows what it means and that this problem is unsolved but until Putin is in Kreml we cannot count for any progress in this matter. Good news is however that in September 2007 Andrzej Wajda is going to show his new film about Katyń (I don't remember the title). Wajda's father was also murdered in Katyń.

The film is called "Post Mortem."

The movies' website: www postmortem.netino.pl
ArturSzastak 3 | 593  
20 Feb 2007 /  #22
most of Russia's people are ashamed of the Katyn massacre. I have quite a few Russian and Ukranian friends here in the US. They are all nice people, open minded, and don't hate anyone for their nationality. We are pretty good friends and everything.

One day in my American History class, my teacher mentioned the Katyn Massacre. I guess my Russian friends went home and asked their father about it. The next time i went to their house, their father asked me questions about it and what i knew about it. I told him that many Polish citizens were murdered by Soviet troops and buried in trenches. He said: "I hope you don't hold that against us. It was the unnecessary murder of cousins. Poles, Russians, and all Slavs are too good a people to be killing each other like this. My only regret is that the damn Russian government won't apologize for it. We moved to the US because Putin is a heartless man seeking personal gain." - exact words, i will never forget them.

He went on to tell me that his grandfather was a soldier that was ordered to kill some Poles. He said that he didn't want to do it, but he was forced to and later went crazy because he couldn't live with himself.

I've also talked to other Russians, on visits to the US from Russia, who hope that a war happens soon with the Poles and Russians fighting together instead of each other. Also, i've heard teh following quote from many Russians: "Remember Stalingrad.....remember Warsaw" Is this a popular thing???? I never knew that they made heroes out of the defenders of Warsaw.

I think that the Slavic nations couldn't live without each other. Imagine, Poles, what woould life be like without "The damn Ruskis" ?? hmm? yeah, its hard to think about. I'm sure they feel the same way :)

Russians and Poles, the people at least, get along fine with each other. As long as both groups are educated and not ignorant, we won't have to worry about fighting each other ever again.

As for the Germans, they might still hate us....but who honestly gives a damn? Be nice to them, don't criticize them for WW2, don't say they are all still Nazis. Things can only get better, and they will over time. :) I hate nobody, i am open to hear your thoughts on Poles, and hope that you will listen to my thoughts about you. :)

-Dla waszej wolności i naszego.
Llyvellyn - | 15  
21 Feb 2007 /  #23
It is truly one of the most horrific event in world history. I myself feel greatest respect for the unknown Polish officers and soldiers who refused to cooperate and thus were systematically murdered. You are absolutely right to honour their memory and to try to recover their scattered remains, but my point is that the collective sense of victimhood never does you any good (just look at either Israel or Armenia). Sometimes it is very hard not to dislike someone or something, but it should not entail any feeling of being either oppressed or dominating. I can see the Katyn issue increasingly damages the Polish-Russian relationship (which is already notoriously bad) and the result is that Poland is now treated as the 'black sheep' of Europe while Russia becomes as sullen, mistrusted, isolated and power-hungry as ever. Perhaps your best way to honour the WW2 heroes is to make yourselves individually and Poland as a whole truly free and happy.
peterweg 37 | 2,319  
22 Feb 2007 /  #24
They were not murdered because 'they refused to cooperate'. They were murdered because the Soviet army was humiliated by the Poles when they invaded in 1918-1919.

The Poles who were deported to Siberia from the East were primarily settlers from the Polish Army who defeated the Communists. Stalin wanted revenge (although this defeat allowed him to gain ultimate asendancy in Russia as he held back from attacking Poland with his Army).

I assumed the story of the 'Miracle on the Vistula' was common knowledge to Poles?
Frank 23 | 1,183  
22 Feb 2007 /  #25
I assumed the story of the 'Miracle on the Vistula' was common knowledge to Poles?

P fill me in on this...please....

Also, since East Europena peoples/countires have such long memories I suspect the 100000 strong Polish contingent of Napoleons army who invaded Russia in the 19th century were not forgotten either......loss of face/humiliation/revenge....regardless of how long ago had a part to play......plus Joe Stalins lust for blood letting of all peoples.
Matyjasz 2 | 1,544  
22 Feb 2007 /  #26
I assumed the story of the 'Miracle on the Vistula' was common knowledge to Poles?

Because it is, as well as the knowledge that this term was coined by Piłsudski's opponents in order to belittle his success.

Also, since East Europena peoples/countires have such long memories I suspect the 100000 strong Polish contingent of Napoleons army who invaded Russia in the 19th century were not forgotten either......loss of face/humiliation/revenge....regardless of how long ago had a part to play

Yeah, we haven't forgotten about it. Napoleon is even present in our national anthem... But what exactly is your point Frank? :(
Frank 23 | 1,183  
22 Feb 2007 /  #27
But what exactly is your point Frank?

That the long memories of past battles...debts to be settled..... made it easier/gave them the green light for Russia/Russians to slaughter your people....whether they were, peasants, soldiers, intellectuals, people who may just have sense of national identity to cause them trouble in the coming years.......hence the prolonged occupation period...by the Katyn massacres they emasculated your nation.......

It other words you were paying for past indiscretions, backing the wrong side....plus a very ...very weak Poland was great for Russia/Germany.
OP anielka 2 | 84  
22 Feb 2007 /  #28
by the Katyn massacres they emasculated your nation.......

Factor in that Poland had 20 years to forge a new nation- after being partitioned for 123 years, before being invaded by 2 much greater powers- so how could Katyn-1 incident have weakened it to such an extent?

you were paying for past indiscretions, backing the wrong side

I'm not sure what indiscretions you mean.
In backing the wrong side, do you mean our Allies?
Frank 23 | 1,183  
22 Feb 2007 /  #29
In backing the wrong side, do you mean our Allies?

The Napoleonic invasion in the 1800s

o how could Katyn-1 incident have weakened it to such an extent?

Not just by itself...you'd lost 6 million people......country wrecked....no money....no infrastructure..........so you pick out those people who are smartest, looked up too....bravest.....(who might just object to Russian rule in a short time frame).......sends a very strong signal to everyone else to behave...plus it takes a long time to replace the cream of your nation.
OP anielka 2 | 84  
22 Feb 2007 /  #30
The Napoleonic invasion in the 1800s

We backed the wrong side- no other country offered any hope of freedom to partioned Poland. Yes, we believed in promises of opportunitists/ politicians/statesmen-call them what you will, and fought willingly under Bonaparte for the hope of freedom-at least Bonaparte was defeated with the Poles- unlike others, who also made empty promises ,which we believed- but they were the victors, with the Poles essentially fighting for them, then selling us out-ring a bell?

Why, it's just not cricket.
By the way, what past indiscretions did we pay for?
We paid the price for the hope of freedom.

Archives - 2005-2009 / History / Katyn- forgiven and forgotten?Archived