by Vladimir Abarinov
In September 1939, some 15,000 Polish officers were taken prisoner by the invading Red Army and put in camps in Ostashkov, Starobelsk and Kozelsk, USSR. The last their families heard from them were letters dated April amd May 1940. In April 1943, the Germans told the world of a gruesome discovery in the forest of Katyn -- mass graves of some 4,200 Polish prisoners of war.
Making every effort to "prove" that the massacre was committed by Nazi Germany, the Soviet government wove a blanket of lies which tried to conceal the truth of the case for the next 50 years. Finally, in April of 1990, USSR President, Mikhail Gorbachev admitted the Soviet Union's responsibility for the killings. Shortly after his announcement, the bodies of the officers from the prison camps at Ostashkov and Starobelsk were discovered in mass graves.
It was the prisoners from Kozelsk who were taken to the Katyn forest in April and May of 1940, shot in the back of the head and dumped in common graves. These men, many of whom were reservists, were professionals earmarked for execution as part of Stalin's master plan to behead the Polish nation by destroying its elite.
Originally published in the Soviet Union in January 1991 as the "Labyrinth of Katyn", this book represents the first comprehensive attempt by a Soviet journalist to reveal the lies generated by the Soviet propoganda machine. Taking advantage of glastnost, a policy still in formation during much of his research, Abramov cites many Soviet documents which had never before been published in any language.
Abramov analyzes such evidence as a statement by the daughter of the man who signed the execution papers, Pyotr Soprunenko - the Soviet Adolf Eichmann. In a 1990 interview, Yelena Soprunenko said: "I can tell you one thing. The order about the Polish officers came from Stalin himself. My father says he saw the actual paper, with Stalin's signature on it. So what was he to do? Get himself arrested? Or shot himself? My father is being made a scapegoat for things that were decided by other people."
Drawing on Soviet articles, as well as Soviet archives, reminiscences, documents and records of his meetings with nearly 100 eyewittnesses, Abarinov definitely points out the real murderers of Katyn: the NKVD acting on Stalin's orders. This book represents the labors of an impassioned man who felt a moral obligation to set the record straight on a most heinous crime.
A powerful and gripping exposure of a monstrous crime...significant historical contribution, tapping previously inaccessible Soviet archives. -- Zbigiew Brzezinski