In the summer of 1979 the activities of the Katyn Commission became the main topic of the third ‘Katyn Bulletin’, published in the form of small notebooks outside the official circulation and censorship permits. It is worth recalling this initiative of several Cracovians, determined to defend the truth, speak out and collide with communist propaganda and the security forces….
“On April 4, 1979, the Institute for Documentation of Katyn Massacre, shortly known as the Katyn Institute, was established on the initiative of the citizens, dictated by social need.
One of the objectives of the Institute’s activities is to publish the Bulletin, which comprehensively describes the circumstances, course and consequences of crimes against officers – prisoners of war, crimes without precedent in the civilized world” – the information about this content could be read in the first of the bulletins, printed in a modest graphic form and reflected primitively on a spirit or protein duplicator.
First page of ‘Katyn Bulletin’, No. 1
“For security reasons, dictated by many years of conspiratorial experience, the composition of the editorial office, located in my apartment at Smoleńsk Street in Krakow, was not disclosed,” recalls Andrzej Kostrzewski. “Our ‘Editorial Office’ consisted of an old desk, a shabby typewriter and … stolen paper. We had to obtain it illegally, because in those days we could go out with the purchased parcel (if it was even in the shop), but with a ‘tail’, i.e. an agent of the Security Service behind the back, whose task was to ‘reveal’ what the paper was obtained for and to determine who the buyer was and where he was going with the ‘prey’. Today, in the era of computers, it is a grotesque thing, but it was like that at the time…
Bulletin manuscripts were created in Andrzej Kostrzewski’s apartment and copied in various printing houses, which dealt with publications of the second circulation. To increase security, Warsaw or another city was given as the place of publishing and the seat of the editorial office. Thanks to conspiratorial experience, the security services never managed to trace the editorial office.
The bulletin, published over time not in a few dozen, but in a few hundred copies of 10 x 15 cm format, fitted the pocket of every jacket and envelope, which made it possible to send it outside Krakow and even outside the borders of the People’s Republic of Poland.
“We tried to keep people informed about the events related to the disclosure of the Katyn Massacre in various countries, recalls Andrzej Kostrzewski. – We published biographies of generals murdered in Katyn, bibliographic notes of books and articles on Katyn published abroad, as well as we started printing the ‘Katyn list’ according to the London edition of the list by Mayor Adam Moszyński.
The bulletin angered the authorities of the People’s Republic of Poland, and the words ‘Katyn Institute in Poland’ mobilized the security forces to act and track down the institution. Adam Macedoński, whose name appeared officially in every issue and allowed for contacts with people interested in the ‘Katyn case’, was often detained. Macedoński was involved in the distribution of the magazine, through him the editorial staff was supported by articles, information, even photographs. This material was used by the editors of the bulletin, and at the same time the archive of the Katyn Institute in Poland was created.
‘Katyn Bulletin’, No. 42
Between 1979 and 1991 32 issues of ‘Katyn Bulletin’ were published, the only magazine in the world which, although published with different frequency, was a continuous numbered publication, then extended – in the official circulation – to number 45; in 2000 the latter ‘BK’ was published in 1000 copies, each with a volume of 150 pages
At the turn of the 80’s and 90’s, numerous associations, committees and foundations, which had so far dealt with various aspects of the Katyn Massacre in the underground, came out and legalized their activities. Among them the Independent Historical Committee for the Investigation of the Katyn Massacre (KHBZK), which was established in October 1989, and the Polish Katyn Foundation in 1990 (notarized on 6 June 1990, in the District Court on 4 September 1992), which undertook scientific research on the Katyn Massacre and efforts to commemorate the victims of the crime with dignity.
The personal composition of the two teams overlapped to a large extent, thanks to which the division of tasks and cooperation between the two structures was very close, allowing for the analysis of their activities jointly.
The founding members and founders of the Polish Katyn Foundation were: Dr. Bożena Łojek – a theatre historian, Prof. Mieczysław Nieduszyński, attorney Jan Olszewski, priest Zdzisław Peszkowski, a prisoner of war in Kozelsk camp, who survived, Dr. Marek Tarczyński, a military historian, Prof. Jacek Trznadel, a literary historian, Jędrzej Tucholski, a son of a Katyn prisoner of war, and editor Wojciech Ziembiński, an independence activist. The statute of the Polish Katyn Foundation was developed by attorney Jan Olszewski. The notarial deed of the foundation was signed on 6 June 1990 with initial assets of 40,000,000 PLN, gathered from the founding members from their own money.
In 1991 and 1992, Dr. Jerzy Jackl, prosecutor Stefan Śnieżko and Adam Macedoński were admitted to the Foundation. They were all active at different times at both PFK and NKHBZK. Apart from the ones mentioned in the Independent Historical Committee for the Investigation of Katyn Massacre, from the very beginning there has also been a historian and journalist Stanisław M. Jankowski.
Honorary membership of the Committee was accepted by eminent personalities connected with the Katyn Massacre case: Józef Czapski – prisoner of war in the Starobelsk camp, author of the first list of victims of the Katyn Massacre and the book ‘Inhuman Land’, Gustaw Herling – Grudziński – prisoner of war in the Soviet camps, priest Prof. Leon Musielak – survivor of the camp in Kozelsk, priest Zdzisław Peszkowski – prisoner of war in the Kozelsk camp, prof. Stanisław Swianiewicz – prisoner of war in Kozelsk, who was one of the first to testify about the crime, and Prof. Janusz K. Zawodny – author of the first book about Katyn in English „Death in the Forest”. (1962)
The objectives of the Committee and the Foundation were convergent. The communication informing about the activities of the Committee stated:
“The Committee is an independent team, not a part of any institution or political group […] The Committee’s rationale is to conduct and organize research to reveal the detailed historical truth about the extermination of Polish officers murdered by the Soviet NKVD in the spring of 1940, and previously living in the camps of Kozelsk, Ostashkov and Starobelsk. The Committee’s experts are ready to present their opinions and provide assistance to public institutions dealing with the issue of Katyn”.
(Communication on the establishment of the NKHBZK of 06.11.1989)
Meeting of the NKHBZK with Prof. Anna Griszina, President of the Polish section of the Russian “Memorial”, sitting from the left: Hanna Sikorska, Anna Griszina, Bożena Łojek. From the left: Marek Tarczyński Priest Zdzislaw Peszkowski, Jerzy Jackl, Jacek Trznadel, Wojciech Ziemiński.
The main objectives of the Foundation are
“Gathering funds and other resources from Poland and abroad to preserve the memory of the victims of crimes committed primarily in Katyn, Kharkov and Mednoye on Polish prisoners of war in Kozelsk, Starobelsk and Ostashkov (commonly known as the Katyn Massacre), in particular to support all works connected with the construction of military cemeteries and monuments – chapels in the main places of martyrdom and burial of Polish prisoners of war mentioned above, to collect and prepare documentation, to keep the Archives and Library of Katyn, to support publications on the extermination of Polish prisoners of war in the East”
(decision from the District Court for the capital city of Warsaw from 04.09. i 27.10 1992)
The most important projects implemented by the Committee and the Foundation include:
· Assistance in organizing the advisory Katyn Committee at the Council for the Protection of Struggle and Martyrdom Site in 1990,
· Technical assistance in preparing materials for the Competition for the Katyn cemeteries in Katyn, Mednoye and Kharkiv and participation in the jury of the competition,
· Establishing original teams and developing grave inscriptions for Katyn cemeteries (Katyn, Mednoye, Kharkiv),
· Three Cemetery Books for cemeteries in Katyn, Mednoye and Kharkiv prepared by these teams. Financial support for both difficult and unique projects. Organizing a biographical survey of the victims (3 thousand) among Katyn Families and collecting their photos. Financing of this undertaking,
· Financial support in the amount of 350,000.00 PLN for the construction of the cemetery in Katyn (central altar, mass table and wall of remembrance),
· Participation in the work of the Organizational Katyn Committee at the Office of the Council of Ministers – building cemeteries and organizing the ceremony of opening and blessing cemeteries in Katyn, Kharkov and Mednoye in 2000,
· Financial and organizational support for exhumation teams working in Katyn, Mednoye and Kharkiv,
· Developing the Register of 60 volumes of investigative files of the Katyn investigation and transferring them to the Ministry of Justice (prosecutor S. Śnieżko), the Institute of National Remembrance and the Katyn Museum,
· Successfull efforts (after many years of trying) for the Katyn Museum to be established at the Polish Army Museum in Fort Czerniakowski in Warsaw. Financial support for the Katyn Museum for equipment and conservation of objects from exhumation – relics,
· Consultations and technical and financial assistance for four volumes of documents published by the Head Office of State Archives – ‘Katyń – dokumenty zbrodni’ (‘Katyn – the documents of the crime’),
· Organizational and financial support for the construction of the monument to Poles killed and murdered in the East after 17.09.1939”,
· Initiative and financial support for the construction of the Katyn Chapel in the Field Cathedral in Warsaw; obtaining the Relics of Our Lady of Kozelsk of the Murdered at the altar of the Chapel (from the grandson of the victim Henryk Gorzechowski). Cooperation with Field Bishop of the Polish Army Sławoj Leszek Głódź,
· Since 1990, the organization of annual international and national Katyn sessions at the Royal Castle in Warsaw. Each session is preceded by the publication of the next issue of ‘Zeszyty Katyńskie’ (‘Katyn Notebooks’). Until 2007, 22 notebooks were published. In ‘Zeszyty’ there is a Katyn bibliography for the years 2000-2007, edited by Dr. Marek Tarczyński.
The notebooks cover a wide range of topics related to Katyn in the field of history, law, archaeology, ethics, etc.
The authors are specialists dealing with various aspects of the Katyn Massacre (Katyn Notebooks are available at the Katyn Museum at 14 Powązkowska Street in Warsaw),
· The Committee and the Foundation organized and cooperated in the organization of many Katyn exhibitions, including Not only Katyn (Church of the Holy Cross in Warsaw 04.1990 and 10.1992 in the Museum of the Polish Army), as well as Kharkiv, Mednoye in the Museum of the Polish Army and Warsaw Shot Sead in Katyn in the Archive of the Capital City of Warsaw,
· The PFK funded plaques on the wall of the Church of St. Charles Boromeo in Powazki Cemetery in Warsaw – to Prof. Stanisław Swianiewicz and Józef Czapski,
· The Committee and the Foundation prepared several dozen memorials, appeals, open letters, letters to the highest Polish and Russian authorities on the Katyn case, organized a demonstration march of the Families of the Victims in the Katyn Black Procession through the center of Warsaw to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
NKHBZK and PFK have been cooperating with Katyn Families Associations from all over Poland, the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of National Education, the Institute of National Remembrance, the Council for the Protection of Memory of Struggle and Martyrdom Sites, the Ministry of National Defence, the Russian Memorial and most recently the National Centre for Culture.
Current authorities of the PFK: President of the Board – Dr. Bożena Łojek, Vice President – Dr. Jerzy Jackl, Treasurer – Mgr. Iwona Dąbrowska, Chairman of the Council: Prof. Jacek Trznadel, Secretary Dr. Marek Tarczyński. Address for correspondence: Nowy Świat 28 m. 20. There is only one function of scientific secretary in the NKHBZK – which is performed by Dr. Bożena Łojek.
A broader history of the first 10 years of NKHBZK’s activity can be found in the 10th issue of ‘Zeszyty Katyńskie’ from 1999, the Polish Katyn Foundation in No. 13 from 2001.
Dr. Bożena Łojek
It is difficult to count these plaques and monuments, because every year there are more of them. They appear in various places and cities, not only on the European continent….
The Katyn monument, designed in the USA (by Andrzej Pityński), made in a steel mill in Gliwice, has a height of 15 meters and is located in the Central Port of Baltimore, in the American state of Maryland. The monument was blessed and unveiled in September 2001…..
On May 30, 1967, in the Church of St. Andrew Bobola in London, a plaque with the following content was unveiled: ‘Our Lord, grant the victims of Katyn and other compatriots murdered or tortured in Soviet captivity eternal rest’..
127 names of victims of the Katyn Massacre, related to the district of Częstochowa
(coming from this area or from the eastern lands) are written in Częstochowa on the Katyn Monument in the cemetery ‘Kule’. Apart from the names and dates of the crime, the four plaques also contain the names of the camps in which Polish prisoners of war stayed and the towns in which they were later murdered…
On September 15, 1991, a plaque commemorating the names of several officers from Kazimierz Górniczy was unveiled on the outside wall of the church of Our Lady of Czestochowa in Sosnowiec – Kazimierz…
On March 5, 1995 in the Opole Cathedral the cross with the inscription ‘Golgotha of the East’ was blesses, and in April the monument with the same name was erected in the Municipal Cemetery in Opole – Półwieś. In the monument there is an urn with soil, brought from the cemeteries in Kharkiv, Katyn and Mednoye…
On September 18, 1976 at the cemetery on Gunnersbury Avenue in London, a Katyn monument was unveiled and blesses, erected in memory of – according to the English text on the plaque – ‘14,500 Polish prisoners of war who disappeared from the camps in Kozelsk, Starobelsk and Ostashkov in 1940, and of whom 4,500 were later found in mass graves in Katyn near Smolensk’. The absence of official representatives of the authorities at the ceremony was made up to the initiators of the construction 294 wreaths and bouquets of flowers, including a bouquet of yellow chrysanthemums with the inscription ‘I am ashamed that I am British’
The unveiling of the Katyn Monument in London on 18 September 1976.
The plaque dedicated to the people from Nowy Sącz and officers of the 1st Regiment of Podhale Rifles, murdered by the NKVD in the year 1940 in the USSR and urns with soil from three camps: Kozelsk, Ostashkov and Starobelsk are located in the church of St. Casimir in Nowy Sącz.
Since 16 September 1990 in Łódź, in the square on Łąkowa Street, in front of the church of Our Lady of Victory, you can admire the first monument in Poland in the open air, dedicated to the memory of Polish prisoners of war murdered by the NKVD in the spring of 1940 in the USSR….
In the city park named after James and Ethel Gray in Johannesburg (the capital of South Africa) since 9 May 1981 stands a monument, erected here in tribute to the Polish prisoners of war – victims of the Katyn Massacre…
On the walls of the Garrison Church of St. Agnes in Krakow there are more than five hundred plaques with the names of prisoners of camps in Kozelsk, Ostashkov and Starobelsk murdered by the NKVD…
The remains of the Unknown Policeman, exhumed in Mednoye, were deposited on 17 September 1993 in the monument – the Tomb of the Polish Policeman, located in the courtyard of the Provincial Police Headquarters in Katowice.
On 30 April, in the chapel of Our Lady of Kozelsk, in the church of St. Andrew Bobola, there was a Katyn monument in the form of a two-meter relief with the inscription ‘To the victims of Katyn and other fellow countrymen murdered or tortured in Soviet captivity’…
‘INNOCENT VICTIMS OF KATYN, GULAGS AND EXILES, DEFENDERS OF WESTERN BORDERLANDS AND HEROES OF THE BORDER PROTECTION CORPS BOHATERS’ commemorate granite plaques with over a thousand Polish names in the sanctuary ‘TO THE FALLEN AND MURDEREN ON THE EAST’ existing since 1984 in the church of St. Charles Borromeo, adjacent to the Warsaw Powązki Cemetery. Since 1990, the church has also housed the ‘Katyn Shrine’ with a human skull, found in 1943 during the exhumation in the Katyn Forest…
On 16 November 1975, one of the first Katyn monuments in the world was erected in the garden of the Centre of Polish Independence Organizations at Ostermalmsgatan 75 in Stockholm, Sweden. In Polish and Swedish, the initiators of the construction – ‘Free compatriots’ – commemorate ‘Poles barbarically murdered by the Soviets in Katyn in 1940 and in other places of execution’. This inscription in February 1976 was burned by ‘unknown perpetrators’ with nitric acid …
Since 10 September 2005, the Katyn monument has been standing on the Hill of the Cross in Šiauliai, in Samogitia…..
In the Jewish Cemetery on Okopowa Street since 1997 there is a monument with a Star of David and a Polish eagle, erected as a ‘Proof of the memory of Jews – officers of the Polish Army, murdered by the NKVD in the spring of 1940 in Katyn, Mednoye and Kharkiv…’
In front of the parish church of Saint Polish Martyrs’ Brothers in Bydgoszcz there is a symbolic grave of Lieutenant Colonel Pilot and Observer Adam Juliusz Zaleski, killed in Katyn in 1940….
On the initiative of the local branch of the Polish Union since May 3, 1964, in the ‘Polish’ Divine Mercy Church you can see an urn with the Soil of Katyn and a Cross made of a fraction of the monastery wall in Kozelsk….
All victims of Soviet aggression, including prisoners of camps in Kozelsk, Starobelsk and Ostashkov are reminded of by the monument in Wola Filipowska, unveiled on September 25, 1993…
The names of four policemen imprisoned in Ostashkov and murdered in Kalinin (now Tver) are commemorated by a bronze plaque placed in May 1995 on a large erratic stone next to the PP station on Tadeusz Kosciuszko Street in Czarnków….
The first Katyn monument in the United States was unveiled on 25 May 1980 in New Britain. The initiators of the construction were and are taking care of the monument veterans from the 111th Facility of the Polish Army Veterans Association in America.
The monument in the form of a deportation carriage with a forest of crosses, erected in Warsaw at Muranowska Street, commemorates the families of Polish prisoners of war exiled to Siberia and Kazakhstan and murdered in the year 1940
The Katyn Pieta by Professor Czesław Dźwigaj can be admired in the Cracow church of the Holy Cross at
Polana Rusnakowska Street since 17 September 2000
On January 21, 1981, a symbolic Katyn grave designed and made by Czesław Pajerski from Nowy Targ appeared on the Polana Rusnakowska under the peak of Turbacz (1185 meters above sea level).
Two commemorative plaques were unveiled in Bydgoszcz in April 2000. On the initiative of the Katyn Family in this city, a plaque was placed on the building of the Museum of Tradition of the Pomeranian Military District, reminding of Polish officers and policemen murdered in the year 1940, while the plaque, builded into the wall of the Saviour’s church in the Evangelical-Augsburg parish, says that it is to remind the Evangelicals of Bydgoszcz of those murdered in Katyn for their Homeland”
Since April 1990, the Katyn monument designed by Andrzej Pityński, erected on West Side Washington Street, over the Huston River in Jersey City has behind him the panorama of the skyscrapers of New York’s Manhattan..
Andrzej Pityński while working on the Katyn monument
in Jersey City, United States.
During his visit to Poland on May 6, 1998, Colonel Ryszard Kukliński unveiled the monument – a few dozen metres from the Sigismund Column, at the crossroads of Podwale and Senatorska Streets – set in evidence of ‘The memory of officers of the Polish Army murdered by communist totalitarianism in the whole area of the evil empire after September 17, 1939’.
Krzemienica near Łańcut
In August 1997, on the side wall of the chapel commemorating Our Lady of Immaculate Conception, two plaques were placed, reminiscent of the captains of the Polish Army: Roman Peszko and Stanislaw Bieniasz. Captain Peszko was murdered in Katyn in 1940.
On November 1, 1990, the Katyn Cross was blessed at the cemetery in Rudniki (Lithuania). It is to commemorate the Polish prisoners of war from the Vilnius region who were murdered by the Soviet NKVD in 1940…
On 17 September 1977 the Katyn monument, designed by Stanisław Ostoja-Kotkowski, was unveiled on the territory of the Central Polish House in Adelaide, Australia…
Since 1999, in the Świętokrzyski National Park in Szklana Huta, at the foot of Łysa Góra, there have been three Katyn Crosses and six iron plaques on the pedestal of this original monument. Five of them in Polish, Russian, German, English and French commemorate the Poles who were murdered in 1940 by Stalin’s order, and on the sixth one we can see the image of Our Lady of Katyn.
On the initiative of the Foundation for Polish Culture and the Moniuszko Society on November 12, 2000, on the right side of the altar in the church of Our Lady of Czestochowa at Dorchester Avenue in Boston, a plaque commemorating the death of ‘21857 Polish prisoners of war and prisoners murdered on the order of Joseph Stalin in April – May 1940’ was unveiled…”
Kdoszim near Jerozolima
On 16 October 1994, a plaque was unveiled in memory of the Jewish victims of World War II at a place known as the Forest, where trees were planted in tribute to the 500 Jews, officers of the Polish Army, captured in Soviet captivity in 1939 and murdered in 1940.
The names of over 200 NKVD Polish prisoners of war who were exterminated by the NKVD in 1940 or who disappeared at that time without any knowledge were recalled in Szczecin on November 11, 1990, during the blessing of the Katyn Cross at the Central Cemetery.
The names of 55 officers of the Polish Army and policemen murdered in the year 1940 were placed on an epitaph plaque called ‘Katyn Martyrology’ and on September 17, 1998, unveiled on the front of the Koszalin Holy Spirit Church in John Paul II Street.
In May 1990, next to the Church of St. Giles at Wawel, a cross designed by the sculptor Jacek Marek was erected, reminding of Katyn and other Soviet crimes against Poles….
The names of six officers from Strzelno and its surroundings, murdered in 1940 in Katyn and Kharkiv, were inscribed on a black marble plaque of the Katyn monument, unveiled in June 1996 in the cemetery on Kolejowa Street in Strzelno…
In September 1996, Bishop Marian Jaworski blesses a plaque on the wall next to the Peter and Paul Church in Rivne, Ukraine. In Polish and Ukrainian, the plaque commemorates officers of the Polish Army, clergy, policemen and other prisoners of war from Volhynia, murdered by the NKVD in the spring of 1940 in Katyn, Mednoye, Kharkiv and other places of torture…
In the Partisan Cemetery in Kielce, from October 1990, there is a Katyn monument with plaques on which one can read several hundred names of NKVD victims – officers of the Polish Army and officers of the State Police…
On May 6, 1990, the ‘Katyn Cross’, placed on the wall of St. Lawrence’s Church in Wrocław, and a plaque informing about a crime committed half a century earlier on officers from Kozelsk, Ostashkov and Starobelsk were blessed…
The 60th anniversary of the Katyn Massacre is commemorated by a plaque built into a boulder, placed on Szczecin’s Sacrifice of Katyn Square, in front of the entrance to the newly built Dominican church. The plaque was unveiled and consecrated on May 12, 2000…
In 1966, a plaque with an inscription in English and Polish dedicated to the victims of the Katyn massacre was erected in St. Paul’s Church, founded by the Polish Circle of the Association of Former Soviet Political Prisoners…
Polish officers murdered by the NKVD in the spring of 1940 are commemorated by the monument in the Obrońców Wybrzeża cemetery in Gdynia – Redłowo, unveiled on April 13, 1992…
In 1988 the monument ‘Avenger – Mściciel’ was erected in Dolylestown, USA. It was made by a graduate of the Academy of Fine Arts in Cracow, an outstanding sculptor Andrzej Pityński. On the pedestal there is a plaque reminding of the crime in Katyń in 1940 and the perpetrators of the murder – NKVD officers
We demand from the government of the People's Republic of Poland! Parliamentary question from 30.09.1989 requesting disclosure of the truth about Katyn
There was no Republic of Poland yet, but only the People’s Republic of Poland, when in May 1989 the Senate of the University of Warsaw demanded that the full truth about the Katyn Massacre be revealed.
In the same case, the families of murdered officers applied to the Council of State, and Andrzej Łapicki read out from the parliamentary tribune the question asked by several dozen Katyn families from Warsaw and Łódź.
“Next year it will be fifty years since the extermination of Polish prisoners of war from camps in Kozelsk, Ostashkov and Starobelsk – on 30 September 1989 a well-known actor read in the parliamentary building on Wiejska Street.
“It is the biggest crime committed on officers of prisoners of war in the modern era. This crime was committed by the Soviet NKVD on the order of Stalin [and the highest government and party authorities of the Soviet Union] in the spring of 1940. In the light of the testimonies of witnesses and all the evidence and documents gathered, this truth has been obvious for almost half a century to the world, statesmen, politicians and historians, including above all to the Polish public opinion. All the new documents that appear, and there are countless of them, confirm it without exception. It is also confirmed by publications that have been published in Poland for some time with the consent of governmental units. Despite this, none of the governments of the People’s Republic of Poland took an official stance on this matter, being satisfied with the fact that a mixed committee of Polish and Soviet party historians has recently been established to comment on this subject. We do not see anything wrong with the fact that historians are working and trying to establish various details. However, it must be stressed with emphasis that the Polish Government’s delay in taking a stand on the fundamental truth about Katyn is not justified, because Stalin’s responsibility and that of the authorities of the Soviet state is obvious and cannot be called into question.
We, members of the Katyn families, who probably represent the opinion of the majority of Polish society,” read further on representative Łapicki “therefore demand from the government of the People’s Republic of Poland that, as a sovereign body of a sovereign state, not limited in this respect by the views of the Soviet side, take an official stand on the recognition of the Katyn Massacre as the work of Stalin and the Soviet state.
The following implications must result from the Polish government’s official stand on the responsibility of the [Soviet State] for the Katyn crimes:
1) a special commission should be established to prosecute this crime of Stalin genocide [ and Soviet genocide ] as a crime not time-barred, following the example of the long-established commissions for the prosecution of Nazi crimes operating in the country. This should be understood in Gorbachev Soviet Union in the era of perestroika. After all, the Stalinist and Soviet genocide had been condemned there the last day. The Commission that we are calling for to be set up should turn through the government to the appropriate governmental units in the Soviet Union with a request to open up the possibility for the Polish side to carry out investigations in the Soviet Union, archival searches and others, in order to determine, among other things, the place of execution and graves of officers from Ostashkov and Starobelsk. By that we mean a similar simplification that was used by Polish and German courts prosecuting Nazi crimes in investigations and to carry out on-site inspections on the territory of both countries, in accordance with the rules of international law. This also applies to the investigation into the responsibility for the crime of genocide, referred to as ‘Katyn Massacre’ – of individual persons, perhaps still living in the Soviet Union or elsewhere. These people should be subject to extradition laws that the Soviet government recognizes for the crime of genocide. There is no reason to apply mitigating circumstances to those responsible for the crimes other than those recognized by the courts called upon to do so. This means, moreover, making individuals and institutions responsible for the crime, and not entire nations of the Soviet Union. Such justice serves to bring the nations closer together.
2) Should other mass graves of Polish officers be discovered, the Polish Government should demand permission for an on-site inspection and exhumation works to be carried out by the Polish side, with the participation of observers from the Soviet side.
3) The places of execution and cemeteries of the victims (and thus the Katyn cemetery) should be under the full care of the Polish side. This also applies to the right to a possible future exhumation of the victims. An analogy of similar jurisdiction is known in Europe (e.g. the cemetery of American soldiers killed during the invasion in 1944, over the Atlantic in northern France or the Polish cemetery near Monte Cassino in Italy). This should also be connected with the efforts of the Polish side, so that the Soviet side would provide the necessary facilities for members of Katyn families wishing to make pilgrimages to the place of execution, to the graves of Husbands, Fathers and Relatives (this applies to Katyn, but also to collective graves of [prisoners of war]
Ostashkov and Starobelsk, when they are discovered.).
1) A special committee should be set up to start negotiations with the Soviet side on compensation due to Katyn families for broken family lives, often poverty. Widows of Katyn men are still alive. This would, of course, be part of the problem of compensating for the entire extermination,” Mr Łapicki concluded.
The words crossed out before the speech by Bronisław Geremek are highlighted in bold, as noted by Prof. Jacek Trznadel, author of the question prepared for Mr. Łapicki. Text after Jacek Trznadel’s book ‘Powrót rozstrzelanej armii’ (‘The return of executed army’), Warsaw 1994.
Friday, 13 April 1990, brings the message that has been awaited in many homes, in many countries, especially in Poland and wherever Poles live.
“At meetings between representatives of the Soviet and Polish leadership and the general public – it can be find out in the official statement of the Soviet information agency TASS – the problem of clarifying the circumstances of the death of Polish officers interned in 1939 has been raised for a long time. Historians of both countries have conducted detailed research on the Katyn tragedy, including the search for documents.
Recently, Soviet archivists and historians have discovered some documents about Polish soldiers who were in the NKVD camps in Kozelsk, Starobelsk and Ostashkov. They show that in April and May 1940, 394 of the approximately 15,000 Polish officers held in these camps were transferred to the camp in Griazovec. The main part of the camp was ‘put at the disposal’ of the NKVD boards, of the Smolensk, Voroshilovgrad, and Kalinin oblasts respectively, and was never mentioned again in the NKVD reports.
The revealed archival materials in their entirety allow for a motion for direct responsibility for the Katyn Massacre of Beria, Merkulov and their assistants.
The Soviet side, deeply regretting this Katyn tragedy, declares that it is one of the grave crimes of Stalinism.
Copies of the documents found were handed over to the Polish side. The search for these materials continues”
In the United States Senate Resolution “commemorating the 60th anniversary of the execution of Polish prisoners of war by the Soviet authorities.
On May 25, 2000, the United States Senate adopted a resolution ‘commemorating the 60th anniversary of the execution of Polish prisoners of war by the Soviet authorities in April and May 1940’.
Whereas 60 years ago, between April 3 and the end of May 1940, more than 22,000 Polish military officers, police officers, judges, other government officials, and civilians were executed by the Soviet secret police, the NKVD;
Whereas Joseph Stalin and other leaders of the Soviet Union, following meeting of the Soviet Politburo on March 5, 1940, signed the decision to execute these Polish captives;
Whereas 14,537 of these Polish victims have been documented at 3 sites, 4,406 in Katyn (now in Belarus)*, 6,311 in Mednoye (now in Russia), and 3,820 in Kharkiv (now in Ukraine);
Whereas the fate of approximately 7,000 other victims remains unknown and their graves together with the graves of other victims of communism, are scattered around the territory of the former Soviet Union and are now impossible to locate precisely;
Whereas on April 13, 1943, the German army announced the discovery of the massive graves in the Katyn Forest, when that area was under Nazi occupation;
Whereas on April 15, 1943, the Soviet Information Bureau disavowed the executions and attempted to cover up the Soviet Union’s responsibility for these executions by declaring that these Polish captives had been engaged in construction work west of Smolensk and had fallen into the hands of the Germans, who executed them;
Whereas on April 28–30, 1943, an international commission of 12 medical experts visited Katyn at the invitation of the German government and later reported unanimously that the Polish officers had been shot three years earlier when the Smolensk area was under Soviet administration;
Whereas until 1990 the Government of the Soviet Union denied any responsibility for the massacres and claimed to possess no information about the fate of the missing Polish victims;
Whereas on April 13, 1990, Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev acknowledged the Soviet responsibility for the Katyn executions;
Whereas this admission confirmed the 1951– 52 extensive investigation by the United States House of Representatives Select Committee to Conduct an Investigation and Study of the Facts, Evidence, and Circumstances of the Katyn Forest Massacre and its Final Report (pursuant to House Resolution H.R. 390 and H.R. 539, 82d Congress);
Whereas that committee’s final report of December 22, 1952, unanimously concluded that ‘‘beyond any question of reasonable doubt, that the Soviet NKVD (People’s Commissariat of Internal Affairs) committed the mass murders of the Polish officers and intellectual leaders in the Katyn Forest near Smolensk’’ and that the Soviet Union ‘‘is directly responsible for the Katyn massacre’’ and;
Whereas that report also concluded that ‘‘approximately 15,000 Polish prisoners were interned in three Soviet camps: Kozielsk, Starobielsk, and Ostashkov in the winter of 1939–40’’ and, ‘‘with the exception of 400 prisoners, these men have not been heard from, seen, or found since the spring of 1940’’;
Now, therefore, be it resolved by the Senate (the House of Representatives concurring), that Congress hereby—
- remembers and honors those Polish officers, government officials, and civilians who were murdered in April and May 1940 by the NKVD
- recognizes all those scholars, researchers, and writers from Poland, Russia, the United States and, elsewhere and, particularly, those who worked under Soviet and communist domination and who had the courage to tell the truth about the crimes committed at Katyn, Mednoye, and Kharkiv; and;
- urges all people to remember and honor these and other victims of communism so that such crimes will never be repeated.
Polish translation by: Andrzej Kostrzewski
* It should be: Russia
On the basis of: “Biuletyn Katyński” No. 45 / 2000
On June 4, 1995 in the Katyn Forest, during the ceremony of laying the foundation act for a military cemetery there, right after the speech of the President of the Republic of Poland – Lech Walesa, the daughter of an outstanding doctor and sportsman, Dr. Julian Gruner, murdered in 1940, took the floor.
“I feel obliged – said Dr. Ewa Gruner – Żarnoch on behalf of the Federation of Katyn Families – to thank the authorities of the Russian Federation for their courage to reveal the truth about the crime, which was certainly not easy, for helping to find documents related to this tragedy, and finally for signing the agreement between our countries of 22 February 1994 “on graves and memorial sites of victims of war and repression”. On the basis of this agreement, Polish military cemeteries will be established in Katyn and Mednoye, as well as in Kharkiv, Ukraine.
In Poland we have over 650 cemeteries of Soviet soldiers. On the Day of the Dead, candles are lit on their graves, and on the Day of Victory flowers are placed – reminded Ewa Gruner – Żarnoch. – We, Poles, are an honest, heartful and romantic nation. We value courage and honor, as well as keeping our promises. We also know how to forgive the injustice we have suffered. However, we hate violence and never surrender to it. It only strengthens our spirit. Proof of this is precisely the memory of over half a century of the murdered, which has survived the exiles, prisons, camps and persecution – and it is still very painful and alive in us.
We are deeply convinced that no lasting bond – mutual respect or friendship – can be built on falsehood and disloyalty. The time comes and the building turns over like a house of cards. However, even the most painful truth can become the basis for future ties between our nations.
Nothing will bring life back to our loved ones, but let the blood of 21,857 of our officers and policemen not be shed in vain. Let it be a warning to future generations – that no crime goes unpunished, because the punishment can also be a life with such a burden – and that it will always be revealed one day […]
Ewa Gruner – Żarnoch
Text according to the version not yet censored before the speech by the officials of the Chancellery of the President of the Republic of Poland (in ) “Biuletyn Katyński” No. 41/ 1996
Robel Archive The history of documents and objects brought from Katyn in 1943 to the State Institute of Forensic Medicine and Criminology in Krakow.
“My darling! The worst thing is only fear for your health. – and worry about how you can withstand the cold without warm underwear and shoes. Ziut, darling, don’t worry about us, only take care of your health, because only you we have and you have to come back to us to help us…” – Janina Burzyńska, who lives in Grodno, wrote to her husband, Lt. Observer Józef Teodor Burzyński, imprisoned in the camp in Kozielsk, in January 1990.
The letter with the above mentioned fragment – and three others – was found at the addressee’s corpse during the exhumation in April 1943. In Katyn, the letters were sent to one of more than 3000 envelopes, in several boxes delivered from there to the Chemical Department of the State Institute of Forensic Medicine and Criminology in Cracow. Unfortunately, Dr. Jan Zygmunt Robel will not be able to see them, because in September 1944 the Germans evacuated the contents of the boxes brought from Katyn.
Dr. Jan Zygmunt Robel headed the research on the ‘Katyn legacy’ in Krakow.
It is not known yet in which way 137 documents and objects (e.g. remnants of glasses, cufflinks, medals, officer’s epaulettes) go to the Archive of Historical Records of the City of Krakow. The stench that could not be disposed of threatens to expose the package, so the director of the Archives, Professor Marian Friedberg, transfers the contents of the package to his apartment. After repacking the content by his wife, he delivers the parcel to the Archives of the Metropolitan Curia in Krakow.
After a search carried out by UB officers in the rooms of the Curia in November 1952, the package with the ‘Katyn legacy’ goes to the archives of the Ministry of Public Security (after changing the name of the Ministry of Internal Affairs) in Warsaw, at Rakowiecka Street. The management of this archive knows about the parcel, but no one – which is hard to believe – can think of the idea of handing over the ‘legacy’ to the Soviet authorities…
Despite the destruction of thousands of documents, first in 1954 and then in 1989, the ‘Katyn legacy’ waits patiently on its shelf for over thirty years for its return to the Krakow Metropolitan Curia. On 3 April 1990 a package of 15 envelopes, grouped in 8 tied folders, appeared in Krakow. It is accompanied by two lists of returned objects; detailed and abbreviated…
A few years later, the mentioned ‘objects’ will be properly preserved by women employees of the Conservation Department of the Jagiellonian Library and described by historians in the ‘Inventory of Katyn Documents’ of a currently unique value*
Inventory of Katyn documents kept in the Archives of the Metropolitan Curia in Cracow”, prepared by Stanisław M. Jankowski and Adam Roliński. Wyd: Centrum Dokumentacji Czynu Niepodległościowego, Rada Ochrony Pamięci, Walk i Męczeństwa, Kraków 2002.
In the Archives of the Metropolitan Curia in Krakow there are, described in the “Inventory…”, documents, correspondence and objects once belonging to the officers exhumed in Katyn
kpt. art. Jan Anasiewicz, s/o Walenty, b. 1908
por. rez. obs. Adam Binkowski, s/o Adam, b. 1891,
ppor. rez. piech. Władysław Borżym, s/o Bartłomiej, b. 1894,
mjr piech. mgr Józef Bryk, b. 1897,
por. obs. Józef Teodor Burzyński, s. Ignacego, b. 1911,
ppor. rez. piech. Szczepan Cerekwicki, s/o Jan, b. 1909,
mjr st. sp. piech. Stanisław Chodorowski, s/o Edward, b. 1887,
ppor. rez. Zbigniew Hiacynt Cichobłaziński, s/o Edward, b. 1912.
por. rez. piech. Hieronim Dobrowolski, s/o. Piotr, b. 1890,
ppor. rez. art. Józef Maurycy Drużbacki, s/o Feliks, b. 1906,
por. rez. Władysław Józef Garlicki, s/o Juliusz, b. 1899,
kpt. rez. piech. Stefan Kazimierz Horak, s/o Franciszek, b. 1892,
ppor. rez. tab. Bolesław Hrut, s/o Michał, b. 1896,
ppor. reż. kaw. Ludomir Katafiasz, s/o Stanisław, b. 1912,
kpt. piech. Józef Kosecki (Kossecki), s/o Józef, b. 1896,
ppor. rez. piech. Mirosław Leon Kowalski, s/o Leon, b. 1911,
ppor. rez. piech. Jan Alfons Matejczyk, s/o Jan , b. 1904,
mjr lek. wet. Leon Matolski, s/o Piotr, b. 1891,
mjr rez. lek. wet. Wojciech Mikiewicz, s/o Kazimierz, b. 1892,
ppor. rez. piech. Leon Mutke, s/o Karol, b. 1914,
por. rez. art. Marcin Antoni Niemczewski, s/o Władysław, b. 1905,
mjr piech. Józef Piesowicz, s/o Karol, b. 1894,
por. rez. kaw. Franciszek Przytarski, s/o Leonard, b. 1913,
ppor. rez. piech. Józef Robaczyk, s/o Stanisław, b. 1908,
mjr st. sp. piech. Józef Sadowski, s/o Wojciech, b. 1890,
por. rez. Joachim Schreer, s/o Juliusz Gustaw, b.1913
mjr st. sp. kaw. Józef Sokołowski, s/o Ignacy, b. 1891,
por. art. Antoni Zdzisław Wiśniewski, s/o Aleksander , b. 1911,
ppor. rez. mar. Zygmunt Nikodem Wojciechowski, s/o Antoni, b. 1905,
por. rez. piech. Alojzy Wojtowicz, s/o Wincenty b. 1895,
- Counting entering and departure from the station. The last car. soldiers with a dog, 1 km. Prison wagons each 15 in the compartment, departure at 1 p.m. Arrival to Suchienicze, stopping at 3 p.m. we stand all night. Soldiers are polite. Water boiled. Latrine.
- Departure to Smolensk. There is no drawing rations because we were supposed to have food and a bath in Smolensk. At each station shunting of the wagons with our steam locomotive. Late at night arrival in Smolensk.
- Arrival at Gnezdovo.2 wagons 402 km. to Moscow. 2 ambulances of prisoners + 1 lorry for things, 40 each and every hour.”
These sentences were read in Krakow from a small pocket calendar for the year 1939, published for advertising purposes by the Warsaw company ‘Gastronomia’. Covers fell out of the calendar and pins holding the sheets of paper fell out, so it all was falling apart while Dr. Jan Zygmunt Robel and his co-workers were reading it.
Notes from the war period began on 23 August 1939 and ended during the author’s stay in the hospital in Kowel, where he was taken captive by the Soviets. Most of the notes come from the camp in Kozelsk, from where the author was deported on 5 April 1940.
The author’s name wasn’t in the calendar. so we had to try to analyze every fragment, every piece of information. The most noteworthy were the telephone numbers of the officer casino and the barracks of the 23rd Light Artillery Regiment, the names of the officers of that unit with whom the writer was very close, and the most important mention of the fact that during the September campaign he took command of 5 batteries of the 23rd Light Artillery Regiment. Dr. Wojciech B. Moś from the Upper Silesian Museum easily solved the mystery and even found the friends of the owner of the ‘Katyn’ diary who were still alive in 2001– Second Lieutenant Tadeusz Edward Domagała,. Further research made it possible to determine his birthplace, the school he attended, the grades he had on his certificates, both at the junior high school in Będzin and at the Artillery Cadet School in Toruń. It was even possible to find a photograph of his fiancée, ‘Wera’, whose name day the officer mentions in his diary.
‘Nasz kolega z 23 pułku’ (‘Our friend from 23rd regiment’) (in) Stanisław M. Jankowski ‘Czterdziestu co godzinę’ (‘Forty of each every hour’) Wyd. Polska Fundacja Katyńska, Warsaw 2002.
“In the Russian internet – reminded Alexei Pamiatnych from the Russian ‘Memorial’ during the scientific session ‘Katyn Crime in the eyes of contemporary Russians’ – there are three pages devoted to Katyn issues. For eight years there has been a web page founded by Yuri Krasilnikov http://katyn.codis.ru/, where basic documents, articles and several books were placed: famous documents from the Special Folder, reports from exhumation works in Katyn in 1943 and 1944, books by Mackiewicz, Lojka, Abarinov and other materials. As a continuation of this site in February 2007 Sergei Romanov and I founded a new site http://community.livejournal.com/ru_katyn/, where we place various additional documents, often with their facsimile. For example, all 70 pages of documents submitted to Poland in 1992 already have their facsimiles, some previously unpublished materials of the Burdenka Commission, 55 original (mostly also unpublished) photographs from the exhumations in Mednoye in 1991 […] The advantage of the website is that it monitors and quickly publishes various news about Katyn from Russian and Polish sources and includes various Katyn materials that may be useful in discussions with supporters of any views.
It is also worth mentioning one more page with several books about Katyn http://katynbooks.narod.ru/, where recently one of the most famous document collections, the German “White Book” on Katyn ‘Amtliches Material zum Massenmord von Katyn’, was published in full (Berlin 1943).
A few years ago, on the website ‘Military and Historical Forum’, which is popular in the Russian Internet, I conducted a survey of opinions of the participants of the forum about Katyn. During two days my message with four questions was viewed more than 800 times. More than 40 people directly answered the questions. 5/6 believes that the topic of Katyn for Russian-Polish relations is not current, but 1/6 that it is. When asked whether it was necessary to close this topic at the political and legal level, leaving the matter to historians, 4/5 answered that it should indeed be dealt with by historians.
As for the murder, 1/3 believe that Poles were murdered by the NKVD, 2 people are sure it was Germany, but more than half have doubts; Germany or NKVD.[…]
Fragment of the article ‘Sprawa katyńska w Związku Radzieckim i w Federacji Rosyjskiej wokół śledztwa oficjalnego i poza nim’ (The Katyn case in the Soviet Union and the Russian Federation around the official investigation and beyond’) (in) „Zeszyty Katyńskie”, Warsaw No. 22 / 2007.
Katyn in literature An anthology of poetry, drama and prose prepared by Prof. Jerzy R. Krzyżanowski.
“This anthology should be in the home library of every Polish home”, that is how Cezary Chlebowski recommended the book ‘Katyn in Literature. International Anthology of Poetry, Drama and Prose’ prepared by Professor Jerzy R. Krzyżanowski, who has been living in the United States for many years.
“My bibliography includes over 200 items in eight languages – said the professor in one of his interviews in 1993. – I was advised further shipments from several countries, as interested friends and acquaintances continue to search by their friends and acquaintances, thus broadening the thematic and geographical circle, reaching from Moscow to Montreal and from Warsaw to Jerusalem. I expect that my collection will soon exceed 300 items, which will allow me to make the final selection of works I would like to include in the anthology.
– Who are the authors?
– The scale ranges from amateuers – poetasters to Nobel Prize winner Czesław Miłosz. The authors, and above all women authors, are most often recruited from among people directly affected by the Katyn tragedy, i.e. sons, daughters and relatives. There are also poets and professional writers among them, who could not remain indifferent to the Katyn murder or its silence.”
The anthology printed in Lublin at the end included works by 117 authors, written in seven languages, many of which had already been published in 14 countries, including England, Argentina, Australia, Belarus, Israel, France, Russia, the United States and Italy…
Among the authors you can find names such as: F. Goetel, W. Broniewski, J. Ficowski, K. Sutarski, Z. Herbert, K. Iłłłakowiczówna, J. Mackiewicz, Cz. Miłosz, K. Wierzyński, W. Odojewski, M. Hemar, F. Konarski, A. Wozniesieński. There are also authors of only one poem, both writing in Poland and abroad. Works published in foreign languages, e.g. in English, Russian or Hungarian, were published in translation…
The anthology is divided into nine chapters, as dictated by the rhythm of historical events. I. September, II. In captivity, III. Death in the forest, IV. Over the graves, V. Father!, VI. Against the collusion of silence, VII. For justice, VIII. Reflections and reverberations of tragedy, IX. Over the graves 1989 – 1991.