A war crime unprecedented in history. Katyn is also shaping relations in the current conflict in Ukraine

When we look at the reaction of non-participating states to the current war in Ukraine, we can speak of a global consensus. With the exception of Orbán’s Hungary, all the countries of the European Union and NATO surprisingly speak with one voice. However, one nation holds radical rhetoric towards the Russian Federation led by Vladimir Putin.

Poland has such traumatic experiences with Russia, and therefore the Soviet Union, which are obviously difficult to heal, and not at all at a time when bombs are falling on Ukrainian civilians near their borders. Of all the crimes Stalin committed during World War II, however, one is absolutely essential. He tried to wipe out the nation’s elite completely, in one place. Everyone in Poland knows this is hidden under the term Katyn.

What was the reason?

Thousands of corpses off the battlefield became the subject of war propaganda on both sides in 1943. The Nazis, who discovered mass graves near Katyn in Russia, blamed the Soviet Union for the event. He denied his guilt and, on the contrary, blamed everything on the German Nazis. It was not until 1990 that the Soviet Union, through Mikhail Gorbachev, made a confession that only confirmed the harsh truth that had been evident for many years. What was the main reason for the Katyn massacre?

Poland in two pieces

Even before war raged, the two great powers, led by cruel dictators, concluded a non-aggression pact. A treaty was signed in Moscow on August 23, 1939, a story better known as the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact. The mutual agreement lasted until Nazi Germany launched Operation Barbarossa in 1941 and invaded the Soviet Union.

Until then, however, the two great powers shared their spheres of influence uncompromisingly, and poor Poland had to face Nazi Germany, which started the Second World War with its attack on September 1, 1939, and only sixteen days lasted. to face the invasions of the Red Army. from the east.

The country was, of course, at an end, and the Germans and Soviets began the liquidation of all important or uncomfortable people. The Red Army arrested Polish commanders, soldiers and policemen, as well as representatives of the national elite, led by teachers, judges, scientists, artists and clergy.

When thousands of arrested Poles arrived in transports to Soviet prisons and labor camps, few knew what idea was going to pop into the head of the cruel Lavrentiy Berija. Stalin’s right-hand man found a solution to get rid of thousands of Poles.

A ruthless solution

The name Beria has essentially become synonymous with evil. Stalin’s purge enforcer was famous for his evil deeds, so it’s no surprise that the Katyn massacre was born in his head.

According to his thought process, it was undesirable for the enemies of the Soviet Union and Communism to ever return home, so he suggested to Stalin that they be killed mercilessly. To date, it is not known exactly how many victims in the period from 1940 to 1941 died. Around the three Russian villages of Katyn, Kalinin and Kharkov, 15-28,000 dead members of the nation’s Polish elite lay in mass graves.

In 1939, the Nazis carried out similar purges in operations called Intelligence and Tannenberg. Some 60,000 Poles, who belonged to the nation’s elite, died in these actions.

polish scar

The Katyn tragedy thus became the subject of propaganda used by the Nazis during the war against the Soviet Union when mass graves were discovered in 1943.

Even before the massacre was revealed, Stalin claimed that he had no idea of ​​the missing people of the Polish nation. During the Nuremberg trials, the Soviet Union tried to blame the Nazis, but it was already clear that the fault was on their side. The painful and still open scar between the two nations is unhealthily reflected in the country’s current relationship. The fact that the Soviet Union did not end the denial of the Katyn massacre until 1990 contributed greatly to this.

At this time, Mikhail Gorbachev finally brought the truth to the light of God. Even today, voices are emerging that question the whole massacre and offer conspiracy theories that smack of delirium and deliberate intentions rather than reality. They are further fueled by the 2010 tragedy, when a plane crashed with senior Polish officials, including President Lech Kaczynski, on his way to an act of reverence. However, March 5 is a day to honor the unnecessary cruelty of the time, which is a warning to us to this day.

Source: irozhlas.cz, zpravy.aktualne.cz

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