After former Russian Presidents Mikhail Gorbachev and Boris Yeltsin had acknowledged the guilt of the Soviets in Katyn Massacre, the story turned into the category of those, where the alternative points of view one might learn only by accident. Nevertheless, the arguments made by the supporters of German-Polish version are being refuted by newly discovered facts. These facts bring doubts of the guilt of USSR.
Yet, since so called “free” international and even Russian mass media did not report any of the new facts regarding the “Katyn case”, this article was written with the purpose to re-introduce some of the already refuted arguments of German version adherents.
Most killing evidence of Soviet guilt are of course the documents of so-called “special files” (sometimes, “secret files). Before declaring indisputable authenticity of these documents, it must be recalled that supporters of German version had already tried once to fabricate and bring into scientific circulation false documents proving Soviet guilt. We are talking about “Tartakov’s report”, which was published first in West-German weekly “7 Tage” and was quoted later in western media on numerous occasions. Nowadays, the majority of supporters of German version no longer express doubts regarding falsification of “Tartakov’s report”.
The researchers have exposed over 57 source-studying indications of documents’ forgery, concerning the documents of “Special Files #1”.The number of exposed indications of forgeries keeps growing continually.
What was the reason for this falsification? Yeltsin’s power and, even life, were under threat. So-called “communist-patriotic” opposition was gaining strength. The falsification of documents became necessary to discredit the opposition movement. Plenty can be said about absurdities found in the files.
For example, signatures of the members of the Politburo on the resolution is one of them. It is very unusual signature written slanted downwards and it is an obvious point of forgery. “The Beria’s note” is missing the date of document. "In “the Shelepin’s note”, the former Chairman of KGB Aleksandr Shelepin has used the new name of his own party instead of the old one, which was no longer valid at the time when “the note” was allegedly written. He mistakenly wrote it as CPSU (Communist Party of Soviet Union), instead of AUCP (B) (All-Union Communist Party (Bolsheviks). Every citizen of USSR, with more or less knowledge of the history, would automatically write the correct name of the only party in the country, when referring to the year of 1940 – AUCP (B). It would be impossible to make such a blunder for any KGB officer, even if this officer was ignorant in historical affairs, which is hard to imagine in the first place. The officer, who supposedly was writing this “report” must have the official documents of 1940 before his eyes, and could not mix up the government body issuing the order of execution by a firing squad, namely, “Central Committee of CPSU” instead of “The Political Bureau of AUCP (B)".
These indications of forgeries have been discussed for a long time, but it is almost unknown in Russia and abroad about the new evidence regarding falsifications of those documents. An independent examination conducted in 2009 established the following: the pages mentioning the execution of Polish servicemen and the page with a single full sentence, also carrying NKVD Chairman Lavrentiy Beria’s signature, were typed on two different typewriters. This would not be possible under secret practice of paperwork handling at NKVD office
It is very hard to find a convincing explanation: why the last one and half sentence of four-page document needed to be typed on a different typewriter. However, if the falsifiers took the page of some document with genuine signature of Beria and replaced other pages with their own, then everything falls into place. Thus, they would avoid the risk of being caught with the forged signature of Beria The exposure of document forgeries did not stop there. The prominent opposition figure Viktor Ilyukhin made the public statements even in the Russian Parliament, the actual technical performer of those forgeries had approached him and gave him the fake letterheads, stamps (seals), used while creating “special files”, at his disposal. Ilyukhin demonstrated those fake letterheads and stamps on Russian TV and at the session of Russian Parliament. His reputation would be at great risk, should his accusations turned out to be fabricated.
Despite, that well-known political figure did not need any scandalous popularity (he almost won the election to become governor of Province of Penza); the parliament majority did not react at all to his assertion. His statements were not taken seriously as should have been.
And, this politician, who had never complain about his health conditions, died suddenly, just few months later after he, in fact, accused Yeltsin’s circle in high treason. By the way, that “circle” brought to power current president of Russia.
One could brush aside the assertions of oppositional politician, but it would be impossible to do so in the case statements of one of Yeltsin’s comrade-in-arms. Mikhail Poltoranin, Minister of Information in Yeltsin’s administration. He made a public statement on Russian TV about how the documents were falsified in the time of “Yeltsin’s epoch” and mentioned the signs of falsification of documents of “special files”. Mikhail Poltoranin was ardent supporter of Yeltsin and even held the position of Minister of Press and Information exactly at the same time when the falsified documents of “special files” were introduced. The presentation of Ilyukhin at the State Duma and, especially, sensational exposure by Mikhail Poltoranin rendered impossible turning into account these documents as evidence until full and thorough examination. Nevertheless, this thorough examination is not likely to be accomplished for as long as thoroughly selected successor of Yeltsin is still in power in Russia.
Should we set aside the documents of “Special Files” until they could be examined, then it turns out that the case of Katyn Massacre does not look simple at all. It must be noted, that it was not the first mass execution of prisoners of war in the history of mankind. The history demonstrates us that the similar mass executions of POW’s had been always committed by the sides, who still were engaged in active combat.
When the war situation did not require such action, the POW’s were turned into slaves, used for various labor activities, or even were released. Following this logical pattern, the version of Germans executing POW’s in the autumn of 1941, i.e. at the time of war, and after Soviet-Polish Treaty, looks more probable, than execution by USSR in the peaceful for this state time of spring of 1940.
Moreover, every unbiased researcher should consider Germany as the “suspect #1”, based on the fact that Polish servicemen were shot from German firearms.
The representatives of Polish Red Cross were not unbiased researches when they attended exhumation of bodies and became the advocates of the Third Reich. They were told, that the usage of German firearms during the execution proves nothing, because Soviet NKVD could use any type of weapons, including those manufactured in Germany. This argument was supported by declaration that Germany was exporting firearms to Soviet Union for ten years. Such declaration is not supported by any documents.
It may sound paradoxical, but the fall of Communism helped the communists to prove their point in this matter and disprove their opponents. The anti-communists, who came to power in Russia, made every possible attempt to discredit communists by accusing them in the real or imaginary crimes. The anti-communists were trying very hard, but failed to find a single fact of execution by NKVD using Germany-produced pistols on the territories not occupied by Germans. Everywhere, on the territories not occupied by Germans, all executions before the war were conducted using domestically produced firearms: the revolver “Nagant M1895” and the pistol “Tokarev TT-33”. The only catchy point remained for the adherents of “Version of Goebbels” (as they are called in Russia) is somewhat doubtful document – the used ammunition write-off report completed at Ulyanovsk District NKVD headquarter. The ammunitions of the same caliber were found in the Polish graves. This argument does not pass any critical evaluation however, after thorough examination. The document is not about executions and mentions a “special operation” of some kind. Only inattentive (or biased) readers would miss the point that, besides of executions, NKVD conducted operations against felons. Also, the NKVD officers were using ammunition at the firing range. Consequently, the fact of write-off of 7.65 cartridges does not prove their usage for the executions.
Regarding the Mednoye execution episode; the combat activity in that area in the fall of 1941 explains the presence of Germany-made cartridges in its surroundings. Not to mention, that the multiple violations of exhumation procedures would bring into doubts any conclusions execution in Mednoye
The history demonstrated that the technical possibility of usage of various foreign-manufactured execution devices does not necessarily mean they were, used, in fact. And in the USSR of nineteen-thirtieth all executions we were performed with “duty-only”, or personally issued service firearms. The assumption that NKVD had carried out mass execution in just one sole episode using German-made firearms appears to be improbable and the reasons of such choice of weapons remains unexplainable. And by some miraculous coincidence, all of it happened exactly in the territory already occupied by Germans!
However, the claim that Germans have used their own German-made pistols in Katyn requires no explanations whatsoever. What type of firearms would Germans use for executions, if not their own?
All other minor proofs of Soviet guilt are easily disproved after attentive study of the problem. Here, is the one of the arguments:
It were the Germans themselves, who announced to entire World about finding of the bodies of Polish servicemen. They acknowledged themselves finding German-made ammunition. But, this crystal-clear honesty of the Nazis could impress only a person with poor knowledge of historical situation and related documents. It is very easy to explain – why Germans “found” themselves the bodies of Poles. Because it happened after the Battle of Stalingrad; they could not allow The Red Army to discover burial sites. There is an explanation in report of Polish Red Cross – why Nazis in “all honesty” did not conceal the very unpleasant fact for them: execution with German weapons:
“…The German authorities had been watchful and alert, that members of PRC would not be able to conceal even a single bullet, or cartridge. It would be very naïve to rely on the effectiveness of this order and impossible to follow up how it being carried out.”
The scenario of Goebbels’ show required participation of Polish citizens in exhumation process, but the organizers of the show became hostages of their own scenario. If they would attempt to hide the fact of usage of German firearms during the executions, the Poles would present as evidence the bullets and cartridges found in the graves and accuse the Nazis in lying. And nobody would ever believe in Goebbels’ version.
Another argument made by adherents of German version is Joseph Stalin’s mocking response to the inquiry made by General Wladislaw Anders about the fate of several thousands of Polish officers. Stalin responded: “they might have fled to Manchuria”. However, according Soviet minutes of the meeting between parties, Stalin was making his assumptions only about a few (already released by amnesty) Polish servicemen, not thousands. In such context, Stalin’s assumption appear to be plausible, not that absurd and mocking, as it was presented by Polish side.
The historian Israel Gutman has established another fact of dirty play by Polish negotiators. The Ambassador Stanislaw Kot, personal friend of General Sikorski, attended negotiations with Soviets and made changes to the protocol. Namely, he put into Anders’ mouth negative remarks towards the Jews actually made by Wladislaw Sikorski. By adding this fact to the list, one could consider the Polish records as unreliable and may reject given argument.
One more proof of alleged Soviet guilt: the executed in Katyn were found wearing winter military coats, warm underwear, scarves and gloves. That would be improbable should the events had taken place in August-September of 1941 (normally, August and September are relatively warm months in Russia). This fact proved to become conclusive for many people, first of all western correspondents (in particular, Edmund Stevens of “The Sunday Times”), who were present during the exhumation conducted by Burdenko commission, and made them to believe that the Poles were indeed executed by Russians. The Soviet officials, who accompanied western correspondents, were not able to argue in this case and this evidence of Soviet guilt was not refuted for a very long time. However, there is the ample explanation why executed Poles were dressed in winter overcoats. The month of September of 1941 was abnormally cold: the temperatures below the freezing point at the beginning of the month, early snowfalls and bad road conditions. For example, German general Heinz Guderian began requesting winter clothes for his tank units even in the beginning of September of 1941
Not surprising that the executed Poles were also dressed in winter overcoats in September of 1941. It is also very important to emphasize, that lack of refutation of whatever evidence of Soviet guilt from the Soviet propagandists is not necessarily meaning that such refutation does not exist.
This article does not have a purpose of ultimate disproval of “the Goebbels’ Version”. However, even simple listing of refuted evidences of Soviet guilt has demonstrated a certain tendency in the research of Katyn case. Such tendency demonstrates earnestly, that it is too early to finish investigating this tangled case. It is imperative to stop hushing up the alternative versions. This would bring more history amateur-researchers worldwide to the further investigation of Katyn case.