The authors of the book hope to collect &# 171; proof chain&# 187; instead of destroyed documentary evidence of execution
The Memorial Society is preparing for publication a book dedicated to the memory of Polish prisoners of war held in the Ostashkov camp of the NKVD of the USSR. By the decision of the Politburo of the Central Committee of the All-Union Communist Party of Bolsheviks on March 5, 1940, they were shot. The book of memory bears the name “Killed in Kalinin, Buried in Mednoye”.
Memorial’s information letter, timed to coincide with this event, says: “79 years ago, in early April 1940, the NKVD firing squad began to unload the Ostashkov camp (in the Nilov Pustyn monastery on Seliger), and by the second half of May 6295 Polish prisoners of war were shot and buried near the village of Mednoe, Tver region.
Almost 22 thousand prisoners of war and prisoners held in camps and prisons in Ukraine, Belarus, Tver and Smolensk regions were shot without trial by decision of several members of the Politburo of the Central Committee of the All-Union Communist Party of Bolsheviks on March 5, 1940. Not all of the executed were regular military personnel: among them were police officers and border guards, as well as doctors and lawyers, teachers and journalists, mobilized into the Polish army on the eve of the Wehrmacht’s invasion of Poland from the west on September 1, 1939, and then captured by the Soviet Union when 17 September of the same year, the Red Army invaded Poland from the east “.
Some of the documents on the Katyn case contain “state secrets”
One of the authors of the book, the head of the Polish program of the International Society “Memorial” Alexander Guryanov, explains that the publication involves the main part and additional. “The main content of the main part is a collection of biographical information about each of the executed prisoners,” – said the historian in an interview with the correspondent of the Russian service “Voice of America”. A total of 6,295 such references were collected, which the authors of the book call “biograms.” The authors consider the main goal of their work to perpetuate the memory of Polish servicemen who were shot on the territory of the USSR a few months after the signing of the Soviet-German Non-Aggression Pact (better known as the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact) and the beginning of World War II.
In this regard, Alexander Guryanov mentioned a note by the USSR People’s Commissar of Internal Affairs Lavrenty Beria to Stalin, which indicated the political motive for the decision to kill Polish servicemen: “It says that they are all“ inveterate enemies of Soviet power, ”and, based on this, all of them need apply the capital punishment – execution “.
The main addressees of the forthcoming publication will be Russian citizens. And since the small circulation of the book does not imply its going on sale, then, like the previous work of the “memorials” on this topic – “Killed in Katyn”, it will be sent to university libraries in Russian regions, as well as to local history museums and other educational and educational organization.
In addition, Alexander Guryanov hopes that the book “Killed in Kalinin, Buried in Mednoye” will be read in the Chief Military Prosecutor’s Office of the Russian Federation. And here’s why: 15 years ago, the department stopped the investigation of the Katyn case “in connection with the death of the accused.” However, as noted in “Memorial”, a significant part of the materials of this case still remain secret, since “it contains information constituting a state secret.” Therefore, these documents are not available either to the relatives of the executed, or to the researchers of the Katyn tragedy, or to anyone else from the citizens of Russia or Poland..
“… all the Poles liquidated there are considered destroyed by the German invaders”
Meanwhile, each biogram cited in the new book contains all the archival documents in which this prisoner of war is mentioned. But the main thing is that all these certificates “form proof that this person was actually shot in April or May 1940 during the NKVD execution operation, which was carried out by order of the supreme power of the Soviet Union. Namely – by the decision of the Politburo of the Central Committee of the All-Union Communist Party of Bolsheviks on March 5, 1940, “the source of the Voice of America emphasizes..
However, documentary evidence that this person was shot, or at least sentenced to death, has not survived. “Because the personal files of all those shot during the operation, which was carried out by the decision of the Politburo, were deliberately destroyed in 1959 at the suggestion of the then chairman of the KGB (Alexander Shelepin – AP). This proposal was sent to the First Secretary of the Central Committee of the CPSU Khrushchev with a justification so that some unforeseen accident would not lead to “the de-conspiracy of the NKVD operation,” says the historian.
Literally, the note mentioned by Guryanov reads: “There is an official version regarding those executed in the Katyn Forest, confirmed by the Commission’s investigation carried out on the initiative of the Soviet authorities in 1944, entitled:“ A Special Commission for the Establishment and Investigation of the Shooting of Prisoners of War in the Katyn Forest by the German fascist invaders in the Katyn Forest officers “.
According to the conclusions of this commission, all Poles liquidated there are considered destroyed by the German invaders. The materials of the investigation during that period were widely covered in the Soviet and foreign press. The conclusions of the commission are firmly entrenched in international public opinion “.
As a result, not a single direct document has survived, where on one page there would be a person’s personal data, and it is said that he was shot, ”states the head of the Polish program“ Memorial ”. However, other documents have survived, which, when taken together, form an evidentiary chain that this person was shot in the framework of the “Katyn case”.
At the end of the conversation, Alexander Guryanov mentioned that the book “Killed in Kalinin, Buried in Mednoye” will be published with private donations. And all the necessary information about this project can be obtained on the planeta.ru platform at https://planeta.ru/campaigns/miednoje
“Someone suffered in every fifth or sixth Polish family”
The next edition of International Memorial has a very positive attitude in Poland. Chief Specialist of the Scientific Department of the Gdansk Museum of World War II, Doctor of Historical Sciences Dmitry Pantio (Dmitriy Panto) stressed in a conversation with a correspondent for the Russian service of the Voice of America: “Of course, all the blank spots in history must be filled in and all the names of Polish citizens who died during the Katyn crime must be named. Therefore, of course, it is worth publishing the next volume of the Book of Memory, so that as many people as possible know not only the total number of those killed, but also so that these victims are not nameless, and it would be possible to pay tribute to the memory of these people. This is also important, because the Katyn crime was hushed up for a long time, and in Soviet times they tried to forget it “.
Dmitry Pantio himself recently once again visited Moscow, where he met with his colleagues from Memorial and conveyed to them the gratitude of Polish historians. “They did a lot both for our common history and for the study of the history of the repressions of the Poles in the Soviet Union..
Action in memory of the victims of the Katyn tragedy. St. Petersburg. May 14, 2015.
I certainly support this project, and I know that quite a few people donate for the publication of the book. Apparently, not only the Poles need this, but the Russians also want to know the truth about this crime, and they want the memory of its victims to be alive, “the Polish historian noted..
According to Dmitry’s testimony, in Poland, the history of the Katyn affair is of interest to people not only of the middle and older generation, but also of young people. “We can say that we are witnessing a kind of renaissance of historical knowledge, a large number of monuments and memorial plaques are being erected,” he notes. And he recalls that on April 13 in Poland, three memorable dates are celebrated at once. In 1940, on this day, the mass deportation of family members of Polish prisoners of war to the northern regions of Kazakhstan began, on April 13, 1943, Radio Berlin announced the location of the burial place of the executed Polish servicemen, and finally, in 1990, on this day, the Soviet authorities officially recognized the responsibility of the Stalinist USSR for this crime.
Polish prisoners of war in the Soviet Union after 1939
“We will have many events dedicated to these dates, the Federation of Katyn Families makes sure that the memory of these events is not interrupted. Andrzej Wajda’s film Katyn is shown on television every year on 5 March and 13 April. And in our museum, we also show it, of course. Indeed, in every fifth or sixth Polish family, someone suffered from repressions in the USSR. Children and even grandchildren of the Katyn victims make sure that the memory of their ancestors is still alive, ”stressed Dmitry Pantio, chief specialist of the scientific department of the Gdansk Museum of the Second World War..
The main documents of the Katyn case are still inaccessible due to the will of the Russian authorities ”
The Polish non-governmental organization KARTA researches facts about the country’s past and disseminates historical research. KARTA aims to strengthen mutual understanding and promote reconciliation with the past, as well as support civil society.
Head of the KARTA Center – Polish Historian Zbigniew Gluza This is how the young generation of his fellow citizens need a book about the crimes of Stalinism against Polish servicemen, when asked by a correspondent for the Russian service of the Voice of America: “I don’t think this is a generational problem. In every generation one can find those who are interested in the restoration of historical truth, although, of course, in the older one there are more such people..
This book has a symbolic meaning for Poland and the fact that it will appear in Russia in Russian makes it a gesture of brotherhood. And now this is an extremely rare fact in Polish-Russian relations, ”emphasizes Zbigniew Gluza.
Book cover "Killed in Katyn"
The Polish historian also says that in his country the fact of the publication of the book “Killed in Katyn” in Russian was noted. “I’ve heard the opinion that this one closes our historical accounts with Russia. But I think that this can only be an expression of one’s own opinion and attitude to the memory of a deceased ancestor in a particular family. Considering the current policy of Russia, Poland cannot consider Katyn Materials to be exhaustive. The main documents are still not available – by the will of the authorities, these are the countries “.
The head of the KARTA center also appreciated the work of the Polish program of the “Memorial” society and personally – Alexander Guryanov. “Our work, since 1992, has led to the appearance of the 29-volume work Index of the Repressed, which was published in Poland in 1995-2013. And researchers from both countries had a relationship with him. Highly appreciating the role of Memorial in Central Europe, representatives of Poland have nominated this organization for the Nobel Peace Prize three times, ”concluded Zbigniew Gluza.