Author’s Notes: I am referencing primarily the excellent (2016) book entitled ‘Hitler’s Hangman – The Life of Heydrich’ by Robert Gerwarth. He accesses original records that
Author’s Note: The forces of Nazi Germany invaded West Poland on September 1st, 1939. The Soviet Red Army occupied East Poland on September 17th 1939.
Author’s Note: When I was young, we were taught at school that WWII started because Hitler’s ‘evil’ Nazi Germany invaded and annexed a ‘peaceful’ and
There had been only a few hundred bodies discovered by the Russian authorities, buried in the Katyn Forest area, and not the 10,000 claimed by the Nazis or the London Poles. All were dressed as Polish officers and had been executed with a single shot delivered to the back of the head. The ammunition used was of German manufacture, a fact that even Goebbels had to acknowledge in his diary. He attempted to explain this inconvenient fact away by claiming that German ammunition was sold to pro-Nazi factions in the Baltic States, and that it was this ammunition which was captured and used by the Red Army in its murder of these men in March 1940. However, this is revealed as a ‘lie’ by the fact that the Red Army had not entered the Baltic States until three months after the alleged incident was supposed to have taken place in the Katyn Forest, and therefore did not have access to German ammunition. Another obvious inconsistency evolved around the apparent age of the bodies. Were the bodies killed in 1940 by the Russians as the Nazis suggested (and the London Poles believed), or after July 1941 by the German invaders (as the Soviet authorities alleged)? Until July 1941, the Katyn Forest area had been a well known picnicking place for the people of Smolensk. It was only after July 1941 that the Nazi occupiers placed barbed wire around the area and prevented free movement in and out. Prior to July 1941, there was certainly no reported evidence of the presence of massed graves in the forest. What adds weight to the Russian claims of a German initiated massacre is the relative ‘freshness’ of the corpses, even in early 1944, despite the claims of General Anders, who never visited the Katyn Forest, or made any mention of Soviet brutality toward either himself or his Polish men whilst in Russia. Anders was of the opinion that the ‘type’ of soil in the Katyn Forest had inadvertently ‘preserved’ the bodies, giving the false impression of their death being nearer in time to the examiners, than was really the case.