Katyn Forest Massacre


Katyn (kətĬn´), village, W central European Russia, 12 mi (19 km) W of Smolensk. During World War II, when it was part of the USSR, it was occupied by the Germans in Aug., 1941. In 1943 the German government announced that the mass grave of some 4,250 Polish officers had been found in a forest near Katyn and accused the Soviets of having massacred them. The officers had been captured during the Soviet invasion of Poland in 1939. The Soviet government denied the German charges and asserted that the Poles, war prisoners, had been captured and executed by invading German units in 1941. The Soviets refused to permit an investigation by the International Red Cross. In 1944, a Soviet investigating commission alleged that the Germans killed the officers. In 1951–52, a U.S. Congressional investigation charged that the Soviets had executed the Poles. In 1989 Soviet scholars revealed that Stalin had indeed ordered the massacre and the following year Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev apologized to the Polish people for the killings. In 1992 Russian officials released secret documents that proved Stalin's direct involvement in the Katyn massacre. A Russian criminal investigation into killings, begun in 1990, was halted by the chief military prosecutor in 2004.

See V. Abarinov, The Murderers of Katyn (1992); W. Materski, ed., Katyn: Documents of Genocide (tr. 1993); A. Paul Katyn (upd. ed. 2010).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2016, The Columbia University Press.

Katyn Forest Massacre: Selected full-text books and articles

Death in the Forest: The Story of the Katyn Forest Massacre By J. K. Zawodny University of Notre Dame Press, 1962
Katyn: The Long Cover-Up By Tolczyk, Dariusz New Criterion, Vol. 28, No. 9, May 2010
The Ultimate Crime: Katyn & the Invention of Genocide By Connelly, John Commonweal, Vol. 137, No. 14, August 13, 2010
Claims US 'Helped to Cover Up Katyn Atrocity' By Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), September 11, 2012
The Rise and Fall of the Brezhnev Doctrine in Soviet Foreign Policy By Matthew J. Ouimet University of North Carolina Press, 2003
Librarian’s tip: "Katyn" begins on p. 122
The Lesser Terror: Soviet State Security, 1939-1953 By Michael Parrish Praeger, 1996
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 2 "Mass Killings of Polish Pow Officers"
The Nuremberg Trial: A History of Nazi Germany as Revealed through the Testimony at Nuremberg By Joe J. Heydecker; Johannes Leeb; R. A. Downie; R. A. Downie World Publishing, 1962
Librarian’s tip: "The Mass Murder at Katyn" begins on p. 293
The Holocaust in the Soviet Union: Studies and Sources on the Destruction of the Jews in the Nazi-Occupied Territories of the USSR, 1941-1945 By Lucjan Dobroszycki; Jeffrey S. Gurock M.E. Sharpe, 1993
Librarian’s tip: "Polish Jewish Officers Who Were Killed in Katyn: An Ongoing Investigation in Light Of Documents Recently Released by the USSR" begins on p. 237
The Legacy of Katyn Forest. Polish Regime Shows New Assertiveness with Soviets by Admission on Katyn Massacre By William Echikson, writer of The Christian Science Monitor The Christian Science Monitor, April 11, 1989
Admiral Ambassador to Russia By Arthur A. Ageton; William H. Standley Henry Regnery, 1955
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 24 "Katyn Forest: Murder or High Strategy"
A primary source is a work that is being studied, or that provides first-hand or direct evidence on a topic. Common types of primary sources include works of literature, historical documents, original philosophical writings, and religious texts.
Allied Wartime Diplomacy: A Pattern in Poland By Edward J. Rozek Wiley, 1958
Librarian’s tip: "Increased Pressure and Katyn: The Soviets Rupture Diplomatic Relations begins on p. 115
The Rape of Poland: Pattern of Soviet Aggression By Stanislaw Mikolajczyk Whittlesey House, 1948
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 4 "Katyn"
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