The bodies were in the ground for about three years; therefore, they were buried before the German army reached the area; (2) The bodies were those of the missing Polish officers; (3) Notes and diaries found on the bodies generally provided the exact dates of execution because they ended abruptly between April and May, 1940.
For half a century, the Soviet government denied its responsibility for the Katyn massacre. It accused the Nazis of killing the Polish officers and then trying to make the Soviet Union the culprit in the case. Western public opinion--and Western governments as well--were inclined to believe the Soviet government. Only in 1991 did the new Russian government confess that it was the KGB whose murderers had committed the massacre on Stalin's direct orders. It seems that the groups to be killed were put together on each occasion on the basis of lists received directly from Moscow. The Russian government of Boris Yeltsin finally apologized to Poland for the terrible deed. In 1993, the Russians sent a record of a Soviet Politburo meeting, initialed by Stalin, Vyacheslav Molotov, Anastas Mikoyan, Lazar Kaganoyich, and Lavrenty Beria, approving of the murder of the officers and intellectuals, altogether numbering 26,000 men.
Jerzewski Leopold, Katyn, 1940 ( New York, 1987); Zawodny J. K., Death in the Forest: The Story of the Katyn Forest Massacre ( South Bend, IN, 1962).
Kiernik, Wladislaw (1879-1971). Kiernik was a peasant politician from Galicia who was very active in the Polish Peasant party during the interwar years. During World War II, he opposed the tactics followed by the Peasant party's resistance against the Nazis, since he did not believe that it was effective enough. In June 1945, he went to Moscow to participate in the discussions, initiated by Joseph Stalin, for the formation of a provisional government with the participation of the Peasant party.
Between 1945 and 1947, Kiernik was minister of public administration. After 1945, he became more and more critical of the policies of Stanislaw Mikolajczyk (see Mikolajczyk, Stanislaw), the former head of the Polish government-in-exile, the London Poles, who had returned to Poland and simply was being pushed out of the government by the communists. In 1946 and 1947, Kiernik was a member of the National Council of the Homeland. He cooperated with Stanislaw Gomulka (see Gomulka, Stanislaw), the secretary general of the Polish Workers party, successor to the Polish Communist party. Kiernik was also a parliamentary deputy until 1952. He was second to Mikolajczyk in the Peasant party, quite well known among the general population.
After the referendum, which was rigged and ended with communist victory, Kiernik supported a Peasant party compromise with the communist-social democratic alliance. He was in a minority in his own party, most of whose members and leaders backed Mikolajczyk.
After the elections of 1947, Kiernik became openly hostile to Mikolajczyk. When the latter fled to England, Kiernik, who was then in the United States, returned to