The Officers Wife
THE OFFICER’S WIFE is a true story of murder, deportation and shocking cover-up.
In an old safe, a man discovers his grandmother’s memoirs, old photos of an army officer and a mysterious postcard that link to a concealed crime; the Katyn Forest massacre. Weaving interviews with bold animation, The Officer's Wife explores the collision of truth, justice and memory in a family tragedy.
The cover-up of the Katyn massacre is still rarely acknowledged. Two million families (mostly spouses, children and relatives of Polish military officers murdered at Katyn) were taken from their homes in Poland and deported to Siberia by the Soviets in 1940 and the U.S. and Great Britain took an active role in covering it up.
Over half were dead within one year. Only 200,000 managed to survive and leave the Soviet Union. Those that escaped were told by the U.S. and Britain to keep their mouths shut about what happened.
This is their story.
Academy-award winner Jan A.P. Kaczmarek partnered with filmmaker Piotr Uzarowicz to create a moving story about a family caught in the crossfire of the Soviets and Nazis and the lifelong repercussions that followed.
In English with Polish subtitles available as an option.
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This 77-minute documentary can be viewed in either English or Polish. WARNING: The cruel experiences of the Polish victims are described in a graphic manner. The American viewer, accustomed to a sanitized version of history, may find this documentary disturbing.
A fairly large number of ageing survivors are interviewed. These include Wesley Adamczyk, who was seven years old when he was deported to Siberia, and whose father was shot at Katyn. Several professors are interviewed, including historian Marek Jan Chodakiewicz. They fill-in important details for the viewer.
MAIN CONTENT OF THE DOCUMENTARY
This DVD shows the German-Soviet conquest of Poland in 1939, the brutal Soviet rule over eastern Poland, the deportation of many Poles to the interior of the USSR, the unexpected attack of Hitler on his erstwhile Soviet ally, the ensuing "amnesty" of the surviving Poles in the USSR, the continued dying of the freed Poles from disease, the increasingly obvious absence of thousands of Polish officers, the realization that these officers must have been murdered, and finally the Katyn revelation confirming the worst.
The most painful blow was yet to fall. Owing to the Churchill-Roosevelt betrayal of Poland at Teheran and Yalta, the USSR was allowed to keep her stolen eastern Poland. This meant that the released deportees had no homes to return to. The imposition of the Soviet puppet Communist government meant that there was no free Poland of any kind to return to. This also guaranteed that the truth about the deportations and about Katyn would long be ruthlessly suppressed.
In addition, the truth about the events was covered up even in the west. The Polish Army was not allowed to march in the Victory Parade in London just because the Soviet Union objected. Even decades after WWII, the British authorities forbade British Poles from erecting a monument to the Katyn victims--lest this become an uncomfortable reminder of the Allies' duplicity towards Poland.
With the fall of Communism around 1990, there has been a revival of interest in Katyn. This documentary provides several examples of this.
HOW THIS DOCUMENTARY CAME TO BE
The director, Piotr Uzarowicz, always knew that his grandfather had been murdered by the Soviet Communists, at Katyn, in 1940. However, he grew up American, and had little interest in Polish history. His father seldom discussed the tragic family history, and Piotr thought that what happened was long ago. After his father died, everything changed. Piotr Uzarowicz, studied his father's belongings, and the family history came to life for him. His dad's belongings included a laminated letter from Piotr' grandfather, written from a Soviet POW camp shortly before he was murdered at Katyn.
Piotr Uzarowicz did thorough research. He visited archives in Poland, and went to the now-reconverted monasteries, near Smolensk, where his grandfather had been held captive. He also visited the murder site at Katyn itself.
Although Russia finally admitted responsibility for Katyn in 1990, fifty years after the crime, she has still not been forthright in publically condemning this crime. Many of the ageing survivors of Siberia think that Russia is stalling for time, until all the survivors die off.
The subject of the deportations and of the Katyn massacre is not solely of historical interest. Russia is once again growing bellicose. It is therefore all the more incumbent that we know the truth of history so that Russia is not allowed to repeat her aggression and her crimes ever again.
Numerous influential Poles perished in the April 2010 crash of an airplane near Smolensk. This was the second time in seventy years that the cream of the Polish nation had been wiped out. There is evidence of sabotage, and even more evidence of a coverup. This tragedy needs to be widely publicized, and investigated at the international level.