Death in the Forest: The Story of the Katyn Forest Massacre

By J. K. Zawodny | Go to book overview

II
The Graves in the Forest

IN THE PERSONAL diary of the German Minister of Propaganda, Goebbels, the following entry may be found under the date of April 9, 1943: "Polish mass graves have been found near Smolensk. The Bolsheviks simply shot down and then shoveled into mass graves some 10,000 Polish prisoners. . . ."1 Presumably it was a German war correspondent who had brought the gruesome discovery to Goebbels' attention. On April 13, 1943, at 9:15 a.m., New York time, the German radio broadcast a propaganda broadside aimed at cracking the unity of the Allies. It announced to the world that Polish officers had been murdered by the Soviets. On the basis of the German statements, it appeared that one Allied government had murdered nearly half of the officers' corps of another.

The Soviet response, after two days, was disseminated by all possible means of public communication. The Soviet Information Bureau issued a statement April 15, 1943, announcing that ". . . Polish prisoners-of-war who in 1941 were engaged in construction work west of Smolensk and who . . . fell into the hands of the German-Fascist hangmen . . ." had subsequently been executed.2 A Soviet reconnaissance plane appeared above the territory where the Germans had discovered the graves and hovered over the area.3

The Katyn Forest lies about ten miles west of Smolensk. The area originally belonged to two familities: Koźlinski and

-15-

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Death in the Forest: The Story of the Katyn Forest Massacre
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • DEATH ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Acknowledgements vii
  • Introduction ix
  • Contents xi
  • Illustrations xiii
  • Abbreviations xv
  • I- The Prisoners Who Vanished 3
  • II- The Graves in the Forest 15
  • III- The Inconvenient Allies-- Alive and Dead 29
  • IV- The Soviet Commission Investigation 49
  • V- Nuremberg- Crime and Punishment in International Politics 59
  • VI- Analysis of the Evidence 77
  • VII- Reconstruction- To the Edge of the Graves 101
  • Vlll Reconstruction- Marked to Live and Marked to Die 127
  • IX- Problems Caused by Katyn after the War 169
  • Appendix 199
  • Index 219
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