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The Katyn Wood murders / by Joseph Mackiewicz ; with a foreword by Arthur Bliss Lane

Jan Peczkis|Saturday, March 20, 2010

This work is one of the first, if not the first, English-language book on this subject. In the Foreward, Arthur Bliss Lane, the former U.S. Ambassador to early-postwar Poland, commented: "The Katyn Massacre of over four thousand [We now know of about 25,000 total] Polish Army officers was one of the most horrible crimes of World War II, equaling the barbarity of Hitler's wholesale extermination of members of the Jewish race in the gas chambers of Oswiecim [Auschwitz] and Majdanek." (p. v). Lane's statement is ironic in view of the modern tendency to elevate the Holocaust over that of non-Jewish victims of the Nazis, and the continuing policy of devaluing Communist crimes in favor of Nazi ones.


The Katyn Wood murders / by Joseph Mackiewicz ; with a foreword by
                        Arthur Bliss Lane   The Katyn Wood murders / by Joseph Mackiewicz ; with a foreword by Arthur Bliss Lane by Jozef Mackiewicz
Edition: Hardcover Availability: Currently unavailable  
  5.0 out of 5 stars The Katyn Massacre: Some Seldom-Told Details, March 16, 2010 This work is one of the first, if not the first, English-language book on this subject. In the Foreward, Arthur Bliss Lane, the former U.S. Ambassador to early-postwar Poland, commented: "The Katyn Massacre of over four thousand [We now know of about 25,000 total] Polish Army officers was one of the most horrible crimes of World War II, equaling the barbarity of Hitler's wholesale extermination of members of the Jewish race in the gas chambers of Oswiecim [Auschwitz] and Majdanek." (p. v). Lane's statement is ironic in view of the modern tendency to elevate the Holocaust over that of non-Jewish victims of the Nazis, and the continuing policy of devaluing Communist crimes in favor of Nazi ones.

All correspondence of the incarcerated officers and their families came to an abrupt halt in the spring of 1940. (pp. 38-39). The International Commission formed by the Germans proved, by the state of incrustations inside the skulls, that the Katyn victims must have been murdered at least 3 years prior to spring 1943. (p. 116). The scale of the incriminatory documentary evidence itself is staggering: "About 3,300 letters and postcards were found on the bodies...None of these letters, none of these postcards bore a stamp or a date later than April, 1940." (p. 148; see also p. 163). Later, the Soviets claimed to have found documents on the bodies dated up to 1941, but never presented any independent evidence that these documents, even if genuine, originated from the bodies. (p. 224). Evidently aware of the unconvincing nature of their lies, the Communists tried instead to discredit the documentary evidence by making preposterous allegations of massive German doctoring of the bodies.

Even if the Germans were to have attempted the Herculean task of disinterring thousands of bodies, removing all incriminating recent documents, and planting thousands of old early-1940 documents (including thousands of convincingly-forged dated personal mementos) on them, this would have been impossible without leaving evidence of disturbance. The undisturbed nature of the bodies was proved by such things as the deformation of one body by its neighbor. (p. 117, 239). Mackiewicz, an invited Polish witness to the exhumations, himself saw: "Arms and legs entangled together, everything pressed down as by a roller...The pressed mass of bodies were squeezed together, glued with the cadaverous pulp as if soldered together..." (p. 147). The individual bodies were themselves cheat-proof, in terms of removing and planting documents, as described by eyewitness Mackiewicz: "As everything was soaked and glued with a most loathsome, stinking and gummy cadaverous liquid, it was impossible to unbutton the pockets or pull off the boots. It was therefore necessary to cut them with knives in order to find the personal belongings." (p. 143).

Throughout the Katyn affair, the Soviet mendacity wasn't even internally consistent. Pointedly, the "Germans did it" accusation was an after-the-fact artifice in the wake of the spring 1943 German announcement of the massacre. Up to that time, Poles seeking the whereabouts of the missing Polish officers were NEVER told that the incarcerated officers had fallen into German hands. (p. 86, 93-94). Instead, they were given evasive and absurd reponses (e. g., "They must have all escaped to Manchuria."). Later, faced with the incriminating fact that the heavy coats on the Katyn victims are not worn in the Smolensk-area climate after April until the ensuing winter, the Soviets changed their story. Instead of the Germans killing the Polish officers in July-August (1941), this now supposedly took place in September-December (1941). (pp. 220-222).

Although the Soviets finally admitted responsibility for Katyn in 1990, this book remains relevant. There are a few revisionist groups that are still denying Soviet responsibility to this day.
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