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Death in the Forest: The Story of the Katyn Forest Massacre Paperback – April 1, 1988
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A definitive scholarly work by an American professor, the reissued classic Death in the Forest is an analysis of the cold blooded murder of more than 15, 000 Polish officers, captured when the USSR invaded Poland in 1939. Mass graves of more than 4,000 of them were discovered after the Germans invaded the Soviet Union in 1941. The Soviets till have not admitted this heinous crime which has poisoned the relations between Poland and the Soviet Union.
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Massacre in Katyn is very dry, almost dull reading, jumping here and there at times. It was okay for its time, when Soviet crimes were suppressed in the West, but with the collapse of the (ironically named) Warsaw Pact, other more worthy books have since come out, including the aforementioned magazine. Still, it was sad reading. The reformed Polish Army in England, after the beginning of Operation Barbarossa, asking for this or that staff officer or major, only to be lied to by being told that such and such an individual could not be found. Or the coverup started by the Truman administration, or the threats made by the British government to the Poles in exile. All very sad reading, but as mentioned before, the work has been surpassed by historians with more complete information.
When the invading Germans brought the atrocity to light in 1943, the Polish-government-in-exile requested the Red Cross to investigate. At once, Stalin blamed the Germans and accused the Poles of having fallen for German propaganda. He then conveniently used this unexpected turn of events as an excuse for severing ties with the rightful Polish government-embodied in the government-in-exile-in favor of a puppet Communist government that Stalin had previously hand picked. All this time, Churchill and especially Roosevelt were not particularly interested in the truth about Katyn. To the contrary, blame was placed on the victims (Poles) for being too emotional, too unwise, too chauvinistic, etc., for pressing their case.
In the end, Poland was betrayed, and the truth about Katyn was suppressed in Communist-ruled Poland. Not until the fall of Communism did the truth finally come out. In 1990, the Soviet Union finally admitted its guilt for the crime of Katyn. Of course, Katyn is symbolic of Soviet conduct towards Poland. While there were tens of thousands of victims at Katyn and related sites of murder, the total number of Polish victims of Soviet aggression exceed one million. Unfortunately, very few westerners know about this, or of the two million Polish gentiles who fell victim to the Germans.