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The Warsaw Voice » Society » October 24, 2002
Past Crimes
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Katyń Comes Out
October 24, 2002   
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A new volume of documents concerning the crime committed in Katyń-The Fate of the Survivors-was presented at an October meeting between archivists and historians from Poland and Prof. Vladimir Kozlov, head of the Russian Federal Archives Service.

The meeting was organized by the Central Management of State Archives in Warsaw to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the signing of a Polish-Russian agreement concerning the exchange of archives.

"The agreement allowed Polish historians to have access to many previously secret Soviet archives, as well as find and make public the documents concerning the Katyń crime," said Prof. Daria Nałęcz, director of the State Archives. The cooperation between Polish investigators and Russian archivists resulted in the multi-volume publication, Katyń. Documents of the Crime.

The Katyń crime regards the murder of interned Polish officers and prisoners of war in Kozielsk, Starobielsk and Ostaszków by the Soviets in the spring of 1940. Some of them were shot and killed in the Katyń forest near Smolensk.

Following the Soviet invasion of Poland Sept. 17, 1939, 15,000 officers were taken into captivity to the Soviet Union. The decision to murder them as the enemies of communism and the Soviet Union was made by top-level communist officials. By the decision of the Soviet Politburo, signed by Stalin March 5, 1940, a mass execution of Polish prisoners of war took place.

Polish historians have already managed to collect substantial evidence and compile numerous documents concerning this tragedy, which were included in two volumes—Prisoners of an Undeclared War and The Crime. The newly published volume, The Fate of the Survivors, is a collection of 250 documents from the period between July 1940-April 13, 1943, when a mass grave of shot Polish officers was found in the Katyń forest. Another volume devoted to responses to the crime in Poland and the world is also being prepared, along with a Russian version of these documents.

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