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Katyn: A Crime Without Punishment

Anna M. Cienciala
Natalia S. Lebedeva
Wojciech Materski
Documents translated by Marian Schwartz
Anna M. Cienciala
Maia A. Kipp
Copyright Date: 2007
Published by: Yale University Press
Pages: 624
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  • Book Info
    Book Description:

    The 14,500 Polish army officers, police, gendarmes, and civilians taken prisoner by the Red Army when it invaded eastern Poland in September 1939 were held in three special NKVD camps and executed at three different sites in spring 1940, of which the one in Katyn Forest is the most famous. Another 7,300 prisoners held in NKVD jails in Ukraine and Belarus were also shot at this time, although many others disappeared without trace. The murder of these Poles is among the most monstrous mass murders undertaken by any modern government.

    Three leading historians of the NKVD massacres of Polish prisoners of war at Katyn, Kharkov, and Tver-now subsumed under "Katyn"-present 122 documents selected from the published Russian and Polish volumes coedited by Natalia S. Lebedeva and Wojciech Materski. The documents, with introductions and notes by Anna M. Cienciala, detail the Soviet killings, the elaborate cover-up, the admission of the truth, and the Katyn question in Soviet/Russian-Polish relations up to the present.

    eISBN: 978-0-300-15185-5
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Preface
    (pp. ix-xiv)
    Anna M. Cienciala
  4. Note on the Documents
    (pp. xv-xix)
    Anna M. Cienciala
  5. Notes on Russian Transliteration and Polish Pronunciation
    (pp. xx-xxi)
  6. List of Abbreviations and Acronyms
    (pp. xxii-xxx)
  7. PART I Prisoners of an Undeclared War, 23 August 1939–5 March 1940
    (pp. 1-120)

    Today the word “Katyn” stands for one of the most heinous yet least known of the Stalinist crimes: the massacre in spring 1940 of some 14,500 Polish officers and policemen taken prisoner by the Red Army during the September 1939 invasion of eastern Poland. The prisoners were held for several months in three special NKVD prisoner-of-war camps at Kozelsk, Ostashkov, and Starobelsk. They corresponded with their families and friends from late November–early December 1939 until mid-March 1940, when all trace of them disappeared. The 7,300 Polish prisoners held in NKVD jails in the western regions of the Ukrainian Soviet...

  8. Illustrations
    (pp. None)
  9. PART II Extermination, March–June 1940
    (pp. 121-205)

    The Politburo decision of 5 March 1940 to shoot the Polish prisoners of war—those in the three special camps, Ostashkov, Starobelsk, and Kozelsk, as well as those in the jails of western Belorussia and western Ukraine (docs. 47, 53)—set the NKVD killing machine in motion. In April, NCOs still at liberty in the western USSR and officers in Soviet hospitals were also swept up in the dragnet (docs. 58, 68). The prisoners’ families also suffered. A month earlier, orders had gone out to camp commanders to compile lists of the prisoners and their families (doc. 49), and record...

  10. PART III Katyn and Its Echoes, 1940 to the Present
    (pp. 206-354)

    The search for the missing officers began long before the Katyn revelations of spring 1943. The selected survivors from the three special camps were transferred first to Yukhnov camp near Smolensk and then to Griazovets camp near Vologda (docs. 84–86; see map 4). It is clear that some of those who found themselves in Griazovets were chosen for their pro-Soviet attitudes; some were requested by the German and Italian governments; others, requested by NKVD Intelligence, were most likely informers or agents; and the rest seem to have been chosen with a view to their potential usefulness to the USSR....

  11. List of Documents with Sources
    (pp. 355-376)
  12. Appendix of Camp Statistics
    (pp. 377-382)
  13. Biographical Sketches
    (pp. 383-414)
  14. Glossary of Organizations and Political Parties
    (pp. 415-420)
  15. Maps and Aerial Photographs
    (pp. 421-444)
  16. Notes
    (pp. 445-536)
  17. Illustration Credits
    (pp. 537-538)
  18. Index
    (pp. 539-562)
  19. Back Matter
    (pp. 563-563)