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1940 massacre of Poles remains potent issue


sjam 2 | 541  
21 May 2009 /  #1
1940 massacre of Poles remains potent issue
latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-russia-stalin20-2009may20,0,6084687.story

Los Angeles Times.
By Megan K. Stack
May 20, 2009

Efforts to gain justice for thousands of Polish captives executed apparently at Stalin's orders have been rebuffed by Russia's courts. The country's mood has swung away from probing the Soviet past.

Reporting from Mednoye, Russia -- There were 6,295 Polish prisoners held captive at the monastery when the order came to "unload" the camp. It took a month and a half to kill all of them.

The prisoners were mostly military officers, police, gendarmes and landlords, rounded up as a dangerous "bourgeois" elite when the Soviet Union invaded eastern Poland in the run-up to World War II. The following year, 1940, the Communist Party decided to eliminate them.

chinczyk - | 32  
29 May 2009 /  #2
Stalin sucks on this point
Genvieve 1 | 21  
27 Jun 2009 /  #3
sjam: Keep trying to publicize this incident. Anytime there is evil like this, it should be made widely known. "Those who do not know history are doomed to repeat it." I just learned about this myself recently, and I should have known about it many years ago. This tragedy needs to come out of the closet.
OP sjam 2 | 541  
27 Jun 2009 /  #4
In October 2007, Russia's most popular newspaper published, without a dissenting view, a Soviet general's denial of the Soviet Union's hand in the death of the Poles. He termed the mass graves "a German provocation."

"The Germans destroyed them," Valentin Varennikov, who died this month, was quoted as saying. "And then at gunpoint the same Germans forced several Russians to write statements that the Poles were allegedly shot by the NKVD."

latimes
1jola 14 | 1,879  
27 Jun 2009 /  #5
From the OP link:

There, in the basement of intelligence headquarters, the prisoners were executed: a single bullet to the head from a German pistol, historians here say.

Russian historians are correct.

You can read about this beast here: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vasili_Blokhin
OP sjam 2 | 541  
27 Jun 2009 /  #6
The use of a German pocket pistol, which was commonly carried by Nazi intelligence agents, also provided plausible deniability of the executions if the bodies were discovered later.

This sentence is just the wiki author's speculation!
At the time of the executions the Soviets could not have foreseen the Nazi invasion of USSR or subsequent events that followed in the years after the executions which led to the discovery of the NKVD's mass graves. So there was no need to stage-set for future discoveries of mass executions.

He had brought a briefcase full of his own Walther pistols, since he did not trust the reliability of the standard-issue Soviet TT-30 for the frequent, heavy use he intended.

Blokhin 'the beast' was simply using the best tools he had available for the job, not wondering about whether his work was going to be discovered in the foreseeable future.
1jola 14 | 1,879  
27 Jun 2009 /  #7
The Russian "historians" seem to make a point that it was German hardware. No need to get hung up on these details, though.

As you know, no one takes Russian "Kremlin" historians seriously. As for the absence of criticism in Russia of the lies they choose to believe, I contribute that to slave mentality of the Russian people. They have never known freedom in that God forsaken country. They only respect force.
Genvieve 1 | 21  
27 Jun 2009 /  #8
sjam and 1jola:

Thank you for the links that you put up. This morning I read both the Los Angeles Times article and the Wikipedia article on Blokhin. Very informative. The killing hardware may have been German, but it is clear in both reports that Stalin the Russian was the master- mind here. I am going to print these articles and/or pass on the links to others.

Who can understand such incidents? All too common throughout human history. It is healthy for humanity for such atrocities to become known and studied. So keep up your efforts to do so.
OP sjam 2 | 541  
27 Jun 2009 /  #9
'In Prague, big red posters were put up on which one could read that seven Czechs had been shot today. I said to myself, 'If I had to put up a poster for every seven Poles shot, the forests of Poland would not be sufficient to manufacture the paper.'

Hans Frank, Governor-General of occupied Poland
1940 interview in the Völkischer Beobachter
1jola 14 | 1,879  
27 Jun 2009 /  #10
Sjam, Did you see my post just before yours disappear? WTF?

More Katyń info: electronicmuseum.ca/Poland-WW2/katyn_memorial_wall/kmw.html
Genvieve 1 | 21  
28 Jun 2009 /  #11
1jola, I looked at that Katyń site, the memorial. It's helpful to see all those photos and the primary documents. Very moving. I e-mailed the link to several people.
mets2redsox0 - | 40  
28 Jun 2009 /  #12
the Nazi invasion of USSR or subsequent events that followed in the years after the executions which led to the discovery of the NKVD's mass graves.

the Funny thing is the British Knew in Real Time, as the German Forces unearth the remains, they (German's in the field) Radioed all of the names (of the dead) back to Berlin, and the Brit's at Bletchley Park listen in and noted (all the names of the dead) what the German had found at Katyn, so, it's No Question at all, what had happened there!, the Soviets (the KNVD) did it, not the Germans, and the Brit's knew it in 1941, and so did Stalin, since, he had a spy at Bletchley Park, a Polish Officer no less, Sorry to say!. :-(
1jola 14 | 1,879  
28 Jun 2009 /  #13
and the Brit's knew it in 1941

I don't think so. It was discovered in 1942 by Polish railroad workers, but it was not believed at that time. Then the Germans unearthed the remains in April 1943 and assembled independent international investigators as they used it for anti-Soviet propaganda.

and so did Stalin, since, he had a spy at Bletchley Park, a Polish Officer no less, Sorry to say!. :-(

I hope you mean that Stalin knew the Brits knew and not that he just found out about this war crime. After all, he singed the order. Again, insignificant, as the Gerries screamed very loud about it for propaganda purposes.

What's the spy's name and rank?
mets2redsox0 - | 40  
28 Jun 2009 /  #14
I don't think so. It was discovered in 1942 by Polish railroad workers, but it was not believed at that time. Then the Germans unearthed the remains in April 1943

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.

the link: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Katyn_massacre

I hope you mean that Stalin knew

Yes, Unlce Joe Signed the order, but, who knew that the Brit's Knew from his spy at Bletchley Park .

What's the spy's name and rank?

that shouldn't be easy to figure out, how many Polish Officer's worked at Bletchley Park at that time!.
1jola 14 | 1,879  
28 Jun 2009 /  #15
I've read your posts carefully and you are not making sense. If fact, it is getting worse.

Never mind. Who was the spy? Where did you find this information? Sorry, but I don't have my list of Bletchley Park personel handy. Help me out.
gumishu 11 | 5,493  
28 Jun 2009 /  #16
heh there were spies in MI5 and MI6 - remember Kim Philby - I guess he was just a tip of an iceberg of pro-Soviet espionage among the British - and the guy is after some Polish guy - btw there was a film about how brave American sailors captured enigma device and there was a Polish officer depicted in the film who was a German spy heheh - btw there was no mention in the film about the Polish contribution to the deciphering of enigma

eventually, I don't argue it wasn't possible - some Polish officer in Bletchley was a Soviet spy, but even if it is true did it matter that much in Soviet spy-riddled British intelligence

btw America was also communist spies riddled - see Algernon Hiss case, how did the soviets acquire atomic bomb plans etc.
1jola 14 | 1,879  
28 Jun 2009 /  #17
btw there was a film about how brave American sailors captured enigma

Thanks to these "historical" films and the quick and breezy history lessons a lot of American high school kids are shocked to find out later that Rome was not really the capital of Romania. Ok, a cheap shot.
Seanus 15 | 19,706  
28 Jun 2009 /  #18
Is there no end to this? It needs to be merged with the countless other threads on this topic. Don't worry, Wajda got the message out.

Genvieve, history has repeated itself under dire circumstances. Do you really think the international community had an interest in stopping genocide in the Balkans, both on Muslims and on Slavs? I do but they didn't. They were woefully negligent. Rwanda? A super chance to lower the African population. The disappearance and deaths of Iraqis is tantamount to genocide.

So, sorry, actions speak louder than words. Time to stop barking and start biting.
Genvieve 1 | 21  
28 Jun 2009 /  #19
Seanus,

Your point is well taken that actions speak louder than words. It's true, compared with actions, words are easy and cheap. The famous statement in the biblical book of James comes to mind: "For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also" (2:26).

That being so, I think we would both agree anyway that words and ideas are powerful, and throughout history have brought about massive change. "The pen is mightier than the sword." Words are not an unfailing solution, but they are a STEP; sometimes they are all we have. As the AIDS activists used to say, and it is relevant also in cases of genocide, "Silence = Death."

On your other point that history DOES repeat itself even when we know history: that is all too true. We need only look at our own lives to see its truth, for we keep making the same mistakes over and over, even though we know what our mistakes are. All the same, similar to what I said above about words, it is STILL better to know. That is a step. At least knowing gives us a chance to improve, a chance for bad history not to repeat, a better chance than could be had in a state of unknowing, of unawareness. That is why I have complemented the men on this site who have been writing about this genocide.

A final point: Maybe Wajda got the message out on this site, but his mesage stayed in the Polish community. People who are not Polish are largely UNAWARE of the Katyn genocide. Like other genocides, the WORLD needs to know.

"Time to stop barking and start biting." How do you suggest that be done?

Best wishes,
Genvieve
Seanus 15 | 19,706  
28 Jun 2009 /  #20
Words will never bring back the dead, though. Justice may be served but the memories will remain.

I'd recommend the relevant course of action but too little, too late. This should have been dealt with long ago. Those responsible are dead.

Look at the ME issue. All talk and so many have died. Is this acceptable?
Genvieve 1 | 21  
29 Jun 2009 /  #21
Words will never bring back the dead, though. Justice may be served but the memories will remain.

True, True, True, Seanus.

I'd recommend the relevant course of action but too little, too late.

I'll tell the world leaders to knock on your door next time and consult you!

Look at the ME issue.

The "ME issue?" I don't know what you're referring to, other than the fact that most people's lives are centered around the "Me issue!" Seems to be human nature!
OP sjam 2 | 541  
29 Jun 2009 /  #22
A final point: Maybe Wajda got the message out on this site, but his mesage stayed in the Polish community.

Wajda's "Katyn" was never made for anyone other than a Polish audience, whether at home or abroad. If Wajda wanted to get the message out he would have shot an English language (not subtitled or dubbed) version for a mainstream American audience who do not watch subtitled movies-period. BTW the average American reader will even treat a book written in English English as opposed to US English as a "foreign" work (unless translated) and will often or not not purchase it-as a UK publisher this is a constant bug-bear (and expense) I have come across for most of our titles for sale in US market.

The "ME issue?" I

[M]iddle [E]ast?
Genvieve 1 | 21  
30 Jun 2009 /  #23
Hi sjam,

Thank you for clarifying that Wajda made a film about Katyn. I was not familiar with that, as you could see from my reply...which just underscores the point that people outside of Poland are not familiar with the Katyn massacre.

Yes, I think you're right about Middle East! Two periods would have made that clear.

Interesting that you publish books. If you write your publishing house's website address, I would be interested to see your titles. It surprises me that you find Americans do not read British English, because I have never heard anyone here in America object to it.

You may be interested in investigating the work of Father Patrick Desbois. He is a French priest who has been interviewing witnesses in Ukraine about Nazi atrocities there. Like Katyn, large mass graves have been found all over Ukraine into which the Nazis shot their victims and covered them over with earth, many while still alive. The witnesses report that it took several days for these graves to stop moving. Gruesome, yes. There is much information online about this and the work of Father Desbois. Like Katyn, this is little known.
Seanus 15 | 19,706  
30 Jun 2009 /  #24
LOL, I meant the Middle East issue. I really believe that this matter should have been addressed long ago. Katyn is not fresh from its wrongdoing. International relations can change at the drop of a hat and leaving it so long doesn't help.
Genvieve 1 | 21  
1 Jul 2009 /  #25
Well, Seanus,

The Middle East issue waxes and wanes, but ever since Eve ate that apple (or was it a Middle-East pomegranate?), the me issue is what most of us self-absorbed creatures focus on.

I think all decent persons would agree with you that egregious harm should be addressed immediately. However, if an English teacher will forgive my cliché, "better late than never."

sjam: So interesting. Thank you. I'll respond as soon as I can.
tornado2007 11 | 2,274  
1 Jul 2009 /  #26
how many years are you going back now to bash on about another situation where the Poles were the victims??? zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz............... how about looking forward to Poland's future???
1jola 14 | 1,879  
1 Jul 2009 /  #27
how many years are you going back now to bash on about another situation where the Poles were the victims???

It's not everyday that half of a nation's officers get murdered and still hardly anyone knows about it. We just happened to be in the history section of this forum. Talking about the future would have to include discussing our politicians and you're welcome to it, but for me it is a very sore subject.
tornado2007 11 | 2,274  
1 Jul 2009 /  #28
ok ok i'll let you get on with your crying about history, i mean its not like you Poles don't love playing the victim and all that. Don't get me wrong, i know i'm speaking a bit tongue in cheek here but i do sympathise with the Polish position, i just don't understand the banging on and on and on and on when there are better things to be done. Like securing the future of your nation which is on the UP!!
1jola 14 | 1,879  
1 Jul 2009 /  #29
Different people have different tasks just like in any discipline. Some are planning for future events and some are maintaining past records. We have something like 20million Polish-Americans alone, so how will they maintain their culture if we stop talking about our history which is their history too? I'm constantly learning about other nations' history because there is someone willing to whine about it, as you almost put it. :) There is one exception.
tornado2007 11 | 2,274  
1 Jul 2009 /  #30
When i learn about other countries and their cultures, yes i take in a bit of the history however i think its important to look at the 'modern' state, culture, way of life of that nation. I understand there are unanswered questions but all this history chasing is not good for the soul and surely the investment belongs in the future. Its ok to monitor and maintain but like in business if you get stuck in the past and never move on, you get left behind.

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