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Top: Jewish Genocides Today and Yesterday: USSR Murder of Christians: Katyn Forest Massacre
KATYN: How the Soviets Manufactured War Crime Documents for the Nuremberg Court
The following is is a typical example of Nuremberg "evidence".
The "testimony" consists of
"written statements" said to have been signed by "eyewitnesses", but which are simply "quoted" in
a "report" written by the Stalinists and read aloud (in excerpt form) by the Soviet prosecutor. The
"statements" are not attached to the report, the "witnesses" do not appear in court, and the
"original documents" are not attached.
The Soviets were assigned by the Nuremberg Tribunal with the task of
introducing all the
evidence of German atrocities in Eastern Europe. Nearly all Nuremberg evidence is of similar
quality, if not worse.
The "forensic report" quoted in this "report" was
the ONLY forensic report ever introduced into
evidence at Nuremberg.
The victims at Katyn were buried in greatcoats and boots in perfect condition.
If they had been
alive doing heavy road construction work for another year and a half, from April 1940 until
September 1941 as claimed by the Russians, these articles would have shown severe wear. And,
of course, the victims would have been sending and receiving correspondance for another year
and a half. The 15,000 victims must have had hundreds of thousands of relatives, friends, and
acquaintances in Poland, yet nothing was heard from them after April 1940; no letter or postcard
written by any of these men after April 1940 has ever been produced. All mail sent to them after
April 1940 was returned by the Russians, marked "Return to Sender Gone Away".
Parts of this document have an air of very great realism, even though
it is known to be false from
beginning to end: the Soviets admitted their guilt for the Katyn shootings in November 1989. The
report describes how perjured statements are obtained using procedures which are identical to
those of the witchcraft trials of the Middle Ages. This is why civilized countries have rules against
oral and written hearsay and prior consistent statements (i.e, the multiplication of "evidence" by
repeating the same thing 10 times), and a requirement that cross examination be permitted in
Personally, I consider this document by far the most important document
ever introduced into
evidence at Nuremberg, and possibly in any other war crimes trial as well.
Note the constant references to totally irrelevant factual material (such
as the title and author of a
science book possessed by one of the Russian "witnesses") just as if they were really proof of
something. It reminds one of the joke: "My dog treed a 300pound possum last week, and if you
don't believe it, I'll show you the tree he treed him in."
Carlos W. Porter
Report by a Special Soviet Commission, 24 January 1944, concerning the
shooting of Polish
officer prisoners of war in the forest of Katyn. The executions had been carried out in autumn
1941 by the German "Staff of the Construction Battalion 537". In spring 1943 the Germans, by
blackmailing witnesses into giving false evidence and by other means, had tried to make it appear
that the Soviet NKWD was responsible for the shooting of the 11,000 victims.
Brochure in the Russian language from the year 1944. 56 pages in octavo
format, later bound.
Signature of German translation.
of the Special Commission for the examination and investigation of the
circumstances of the
shooting of Polish prisoners of war in the Katyn forest by the German fascist invaders.
The Special Commission for the examination and investigation of the circumstances
shooting of Polish prisoners of war in the forest of Katyn (near Smolensk) by the German fascist
invaders was formed by order of the Special State Commission to examine and investigate the
atrocities of the fascist German invaders and their accomplices.
The Commission consists of the following persons:
Member of the Special State Commission, Academician N.N. BURDENKO (President
Member of the on the Special State Commission, Academician ALEKSEJ TOLSTOI;
Member of the Special State Commission, Mythropolitos NIKOLAI;
President of the AllSlavic Committee, Lieutenant General GUNDOROW A.S.;
President of the Executive Committee of the Association of the Red Cross
and Red Half Moon,
People's Commissar for Education of the RSFSR <Russian Soviet Federal
Academician POTEMKIN W.P.;
Chief of the Forensic Head Office of the Red Army, CoronelGeneral SMIRNOW E.I.;
President of the Executive Committee for the Region of Smolensk, MEINIKOW R.E..
To deal with the tasks laid before the Commission, the Commission called
upon the following
Superior Forensic Expert of the People's Commissariat for Health Matters
of the USSR, Director
of the Scientific Research Institute for Forensic Medicine PROZOROWSKI W.I.; head of the
Professorship of Forensic Medicine of the 2nd Moscow Medical Institute, Doctor of Medical
Sciences, SMOLJANINOW W.M.; eldest scientific expert of the State Scientific Research
Institute for Forensic Medicine of the People's Commissariat for Health Matters of the USSR,
SEMENOWSKI P.S.; eldest scientific official of the State Scientific Research Institute for
Forensic Medicine of the People's Commissariat for Health Matters of the USSR, Professor
SCHWAIKOWA M.D.; chief pathologist of the Major Front of the Medical Service, Professor
The extensive material laid before his associates and the forensic medical
experts who arrived in
the city of Smolensk on 26 September 1943, immediately after the liberation of the city, and who
conducted the preliminary study and investigation of the circumstances of all atrocities committed
by the Germans, was made available to the Special Commission by Member of the Special State
Commission, Professor BURDENKO N.N..
The Special Commission carried out on-the-spot investigations and found
that the graves of the
Polish prisoners of war shot by the German occupiers are located 15 kilometres from the city of
Smolensk, on the Witebsker highway, in the region of the Katyn forest known as "Kosji Gori",
200 metres southwest of the highway, in the direction of the Dnjipr river.
The graves were excavated by order of the Special Commission, and in
the presence of all
members of the Special Commission and the forensic experts. A great number of corpses in Polish
uniforms were discovered in the graves. According to the calculations of the forensic experts, the
number of corpses amounts, in total, to 11,000.
The forensic experts thoroughly examined the disinterred corpses and
all objects and exhibits
found in the graves and on the corpses.
Simultaneous with the excavation of the graves and the examination of
the corpses, the Special
Commission carried out interrogations of the numerous witnesses and the local populace, whose
testimonies precisely established the time and circumstances of the crime committed by the
The following is clear from the testimonies of the witnesses:
The Katyn Forest
The Katyn forest was always a favourite holiday spot for the people of the city of Smolensk.
Those who lived in the vicinity pastured their livestock in the Katyn
forest and cut wood. There
were no restrictions or prohibitions against entering the Katyn forest.
This was the case in the Katyn forest until the outbreak of the war.
combat engineers camp which was only dissolved in July 1941 was still located in the forest in the
summer of 1941. Following the occupation of the city of Smolensk by the German invader, quite
a different system prevailed in the Katyn forest. The forest began to be guarded by reinforced
patrols, and numerous warning notices appeared, stating that all persons who entered the forest
without special permits would be shot.
Especially strictly guarded was that part of the Katyn forest known as
"Kosji Gori", as well as the
region along the banks of the Dnjepr, where a summer house rest centre for the NKWD offices at
Smolensk was located 700 metres from where the graves of the Polish prisoners of war were
discovered. After the arrival of the Germans, a German office was created at this location, called
"the Staff of the Construction Battalion 537".
Polish prisoners of war in the region of Smolensk
The Special Commission has established that, prior to the conquest of
the city of Smolensk by the
German occupiers, Polish prisoners of war, officers and enlisted men, worked on the construction
and repair of the highways in the west districts of the region. The Polish prisoners of war were
housed in three camps, i.e., camp no. 1ON, no. 2ON, and no. 3ON, which were located
approximately 2545 kilometres west of the city of Smolensk.
It has been established, based on the testimony of witnesses and documentary
proof, that the
above named camps could not be evacuated in time due to the unfavourable conditions after the
commencement of military operations.
All Polish prisoners of war, some of the guard personnel, and the camp
employees, fell, for this
reason, into German captivity.
The former head of camp no. 1ON, Major of Security WETOSCHINIKOW W.M.,
by the Special Commission, stated:
"I awaited the order relating to the dissolution of the camp. But
<phone> connections with the
city of Smolensk were interrupted. Therefore I drove together with a few fellow employees to
Smolensk to clarify the situation. I found the situation in Smolensk tense. I turned to the head of
railway traffic for the Smolensk stretch of the western railway, Comrade IWANOW, with a
request to provide the camp with <train> carriages to evacuate the Polish prisoners of war.
Comrade IWANOW answered, however, that I could not count on that. I made attempts to get in
connection with Moscow to obtain permission to cover the distance by foot, but I was not
"At this time, Smolensk was already cut off from the camp by the
Germans, and I don't know
what happened to the Polish prisoners of war and the guard personnel who remained behind in the
Engineer IWANOW S.W., head of traffic for the Smolensk stretch of the
western railway in July
1941, stated to the Special Commission:
"The administration of the camp for Polish prisoners of war contacted
my office with a request to
obtain train carriages for the evacuation of the Poles, but we had no carriages available. We were
furthermore unable to direct any carriages to the Gusino stretch, since the stretch was already
under fire. For this reason, we could not consider the request of the camp administration. Thus,
the Polish prisoners of war remained behind in the region of Smolensk."
That the Polish prisoners of war remained behind in the camps of the
region of Smolensk was
confirmed by the testimony of the numerous witnesses, who had seen these Poles in the vicinity of
the city of Smolensk in the early months of the occupation until the month of September 1941.
The female witness SASCHENEW Marija Akeksandrowna, a teacher at the primary
school of the
village of Senjkowo, stated to the Special Commission that she had hidden one of the Polish
prisoners of war in the attic of her house after he had escaped from the camp.
"The Pole wore a Polish military uniform, which I immediately recognized
since I had seen the
groups of Polish prisoners of war in 1940-41 on the highways, working under guard. I was very
interested in this Pole since he, as it turned out, had been a primary school teacher in Poland
before his callup. Since I had myself graduated from teacher's training college and wanted to be a
teacher, I struck up a conversation with him. He told me that he had attended a teacher's training
college in Poland, then went to a military school and became a lieutenant in the reserve. Upon the
outbreak of hostilities between Poland and Germany, he was called up for active military service.
He was in BreskLitovsk and was taken prisoner by units of the Red Army. He stayed in a camp
near Smolensk for over a year.
"When the Germans came and occupied the Polish camp, a hard system
prevailed there. The
Germans did not consider the Poles to be human beings, and pushed them around and mistreated
them in every possible way. There were cases in which Poles were shot without any reason. So he
decided to escape. He told me of his own accord that his wife was also a teacher and that he had
two brothers and a sister."
When he went away the following day, he mentioned a name which SASCHNEWA
noted in a
book. The book, presented <to the Special Commission> by SASHNEWA, "Practical Exercises in
the Natural Sciences" by Jagodowsky, contains the following note on the last page:
"LOECK, Jusef and Sophia, city of Smostjie, Agorodnaja Street no. 25."
The list <of Katyn shooting victims> published by the Germans contains
the name LOECK Jusef
under no. 3796 as having been shot in the spring of 1940 at Kosji Gori in the Katyn forest.
From the German reports, it therefore appears that LOECK Jusef was shot
one year before his
acquaintance with the female witness Saschnewa.
The witness DANILENKOW N.W., a farmer from the "Krasnaja Zarja"
collective farm and a
member of the village council of Katyn, stated:
"In the months of August September 1941, when the Germans came,
I met Poles working on the
highway in groups of 1520 men each."
Similar statements were made by the witnesses:
SOLDATENKOW, former village elder of the village of Borock,
KOLATSCHEW A.S., doctor of the city of Smolensk,
OGLOBLIN A.P., priest,
SERGEEW T.I. railway master
SMIRJAGIN P.A., engineer,
MOSKOWSKAJA A.M., resident of the city of Smolensk,
ALEKSEJEW A.M., foreman of the collective farm of the village of Borock,
KUTZEW I.W., technician of the water services,
GORODEZTKIJ W.P., priest,
BASEKINA A.T., bookkeeper,
WITROWA E.N., teacher,
SAWWATEJEW I.W., duty officer at the railway station at Gnesdowo, among others.
The raids in search of Polish prisoners of war
The presence of Polish prisoners of war in the region of Smolensk in
the autumn of 1941 was also
confirmed by the fact of the German raids in search of prisoners who had escaped from the camps.
The witness KARTOSCHKIN I.M., carpenter, stated:
"The Germans not only searched for Polish prisoners of war in the
forests in the autumn of 1941,
but there were also police house searches carried out at night in the villages."
The former village elder Nowie Bateki SACHAROW M.D. testified that the
Germans, in the
autumn of 1941, "combed" the villages and forests feverishly in search of for Polish prisoners of
The witness DANILEKNOW N.W., farmer on the "Krasnaja Zarja" collective farm, stated:
"In our region, special raids were carried out in search of escaped
Polish prisoners of war. Such
searches were conducted two or three times in my house. After one house search, I asked the
village elder, SERGEJEW Konstantin, whom they were looking for in our house. Segejew said
that an order had been issued by the German commander to search all houses without exception,
since Polish prisoners of war who had escaped from the camps were said to have hidden
themselves in our village. Some time later the searches stopped."
The witness FATJKOW T.E., a farmer at the collective farm, stated:
"Raids in search of Polish prisoners of war were carried out several
times. This was in the months
of August September 1941. After the month of September 1941, the raids stopped, and no one
saw any more Polish prisoners of war."
The shootings in the Katyn forest
The above mentioned "Staff of the Construction Battalion 537",
located in the summer house at
Kosji Gori, did no construction work. Its activity was carefully kept secret.
What this "staff" actually did was testified to by many witnesses,
including the female witnesses:
ALEKSEJAWA A.M., MICHAILOWA O.A., and KONACHOWSKAJA S.P., residents of the
village of Borock of the village council of Katyn.
Upon order of the German commandant of the settlement of Katyn, <transmitted>
by the village
eldest of the village of Borock, SOLDATENKOW W.J., they were sent to the summer house <of
Kosji Gori> to serve "staff" personnel.
After arrival at Kosji Gori, a number of regulations relating to their
behaviour were communicated
to them through an interpreter. It was most severely prohibited to stray away from the summer
house and into the forest, to enter rooms in the summer house without being asked and without
the accompaniment of a German soldiers, or to approach the region of the summer house during
the night. Only one particular path to the workplace and back was permitted, and only then when
accompanied by the soldiers.
ALEKSEJAWA, MICHAILOWA AND KONACHOWSKAJA were instructed in this regard
through an interpreter directly by the head of the German office, Lt. Col. ARNES, the women
having been called in solely for this purpose.
As to the personnel making up the "staff", ALEKSEJAWA A.M. stated:
"In the Kosji Gori summer house, there were always about 30 Germans.
The oldest of them was
Lt. Col. ARNES; his adjutant was Lt. Col. REKST. There were also a Lt. HOTT; a Sgt.
LUEMERT; a noncommissioned officer for economic affairs ROSE; his representative ISICKE;
Staff Sergeant GRENEWSKY, who headed a power plant; a photographer; a lance corporal,
whose family name I can no longer recall; an interpreter from the Volga German republic, his
name seems to me to have been Johann, but we called him Iwan; the cook; a German named
Gustav; and many others, whose first and last names are not known to me."
Soon after their entry into service, Aleksejewa, Michailowa, and Konachowskaja
began to notice
"some sort of dark doings" going on the summer house.
Alekskaja A.M. stated:
"We were warned several times by the interpreter Johann, on behalf
of ARNES, that we were to
keep quiet and not blabber about anything we saw or heard in the country house. Otherwise, we
noticed several things that made us understand that the Germans were carrying on dark doings in
this country house.
"At the end of August and during more than half of September 1941,
several trucks arrived
almost daily at the Kosji Gori summer house. At first, I paid them no attention; later I noted that,
when the trucks arrived, they always stopped somewhere on the path leading from the highway to
the summer house for half an hour or a full hour. I drew this conclusion because the noise of the
motors went silent for some time after the trucks entered the grounds of the country house. At the
same time, individual shots began to be fired. One shot followed another in short but regular
intervals. Then the shooting stopped and the trucks drove to the country house. German soldiers
and noncommissioned officers got down off the trucks. They talked in loud voices, went in the
bathroom, and then drank wine. The bathroom was always heated on these days. On the days
when the trucks arrived, soldiers also entered the summer house from some other unit. Beds were
laid out for these soldiers in the soldiers' mess hall, which had been opened in one of the rooms.
On these days, there was a great deal of cooking in the kitchen, and double portions of spirits
were brought to the table.
Shortly before the entry of the trucks, the soldiers went into the forest,
probably to where the
trucks were stopped.
After half an hour or a full hour, they came back on the trucks, together
the soldiers that lived in
the country house. I would probably never have observed this or noticed when the noise began
and went silent again. But every time the trucks entered, if we (myself, Konachowskaja, and
Michailowa) were in the courtyard, we were driven back into the kitchen or not allowed to leave
the kitchen if we were in there. Through this circumstance, and through the fact that I several
times noted fresh bloodstains on the clothing of two corporals, I was compelled to take careful
note of everything that went on in the country house. I then noticed the strange intermediate
pauses in the movement of the trucks and their behaviour in the forest. I also noticed that the
bloodstains were always on the clothing of the same two men, two corporals. One of them was a
big one with red hair; the other, of medium build, was blond. For this reason, I drew the
conclusion that the Germans were bringing people to the summer house by truck and then
shooting them. I even guessed where everything was happening and, when I left the house or
came back to it, I noticed earth thrown up at several places not far from the highway. The places
where the earth lay got bigger from day to day. In the course of time the earth at these spots
nevertheless took on its usual shape again.
To the question by the Special Commission as to which persons were shot
in the forest near the
country house, Aleksejewa answered that Polish prisoners of war were shot there; and to confirm
her testimony she stated:
"There were days on which the trucks did not enter the country house.
The soldiers however left
the country house and went into the forest. From there, frequent shots could be heard. After their
return, the soldiers always went into the bathroom and then they drank.
"And then there was another such case. Once, I stayed longer than
usual in the country house.
Michailowa and Konachowskaja had already gone away. I was not yet finished with my work, I
had stayed for that reason, when suddenly a soldier came up to me and said I could go. In so
doing, he made reference to Rose's order. The same soldier accompanied me to the highway.
"After I passed the curve in the highway 150200 metres from the
country house, I saw a group of
about 30 Polish prisoners of war marching along the highway under reinforced guard.
"That they were Poles I already knew, because I had already met
Polish prisoners of war on the
embankment roadway before the outbreak of the war <between Germany and the USSR> and for
some time after the Germans came; the Poles always wore the same uniform, with a characteristic
"I remained by the edge of the road to see where they were being
taken, and I saw them turn aside
at the curve to our Kosji Gori country house.
"Since I had already carefully observed all events from the country
house before this time, I took
great interest in this event on that day; I turned back a short distance on the embankment
roadway, and hid in the bushes by the side of the road to await further events. 20 or 30 minutes
later, I heard the characteristic individual shots which were so well known to me.
"Then everything came clear to me, and I went home quickly.
"From this fact, I concluded that the Germans not only shot the
Poles during the day, when we
were working, but also at night, during our absence.
"This became still more clear to me when I remembered that the entire
staff of officers and
soldiers living at the country house, except for the guards, slept until late in the day, and only
woke up around 12 noon.
"Sometimes we could tell when the Poles were arriving at Kosji Gori,
from the tense atmosphere
which prevailed in the country house on such days.
"All officers then left the country house; only individual duty
officers remained behind in the
building, and the duty officer controlled all posts by telephone without interruption..."
Michailowa OA stated:
"In September 1941, very frequent shots could be heard in the Kosji
Gori forest. At the beginning,
I took no particular notice of the trucks arriving at the country house; they were covered on all
four sides, painted green, and accompanied by noncommissioned officers. Later I noticed that
these trucks were never parked in our garages, and were not unloaded either. These trucks arrived
very often, especially in September 1941.
"Among the noncommissioned officers who always sat in the cabin
next to the driver, I noticed
one tall one with a pallid complexion and red hair. When these trucks came into the country
house, all the noncommissioned officers, as if they were obeying an order, went into the
bathroom, washed themselves for a long time, and then drank in the country house.
"Once this tall redhaired German left the truck and went straight
into the kitchen, where he asked
for water. As he drank the water from the glass, I noticed a bloodstain on the right cuff of his
Michailowa O.A. and Konachowskaja S.P. once saw with their own eyes how
prisoners of war were shot after apparently escaping the Germans and had being recaptured.
Michailowa stated the following in this regard:
"Once Konachowskaja and I were working in the kitchen as usual,
and we heard noise not far
from the house. When we came out of the kitchen, we saw two Polish prisoners of war
surrounded by German soldiers, explaining something to noncommissioned officer Rose. Then Lt.
Col. Arnes came up and spoke a few words to Rose. We got out of the way, since we were afraid
Rose would shoot us for our curiosity. But we were noticed anyway, and the mechanic Linewski
chased us away on Roses order into the kitchen, and then he led Poles away from the country
house. After a few minutes, we heard shots. The German soldiers and noncommissioned officers,
who returned shortly afterwards, were talking to each other excitedly. Konachowskaja and I were
driven to leave the kitchen once more by the desire to find out what the Germans had done with
the Poles whom they had arrested. Arnes' adjutant, who went out with us at the same time, asked
Rose something in German, whereupon the latter answered in German "Alles in Ordnung
<everything OK>". I understood these words, because they were often used by Germans in
conversations with each other. I concluded from all these events that the two Poles had been
Similar statements were made in this regard by Konachowskaja S.P.:
Intimidated by what was going on in the country house, Alekskaja, Michailowa,
Konachowskaja decided to quit their jobs at the country house on some pretext. They used the
salary cut from 9 to 3 marks monthly, implemented at the beginning of January 1942 and, upon
Michailowa's suggestion, did not go to work. The same evening, a car arrived; a man took them
to the country house, and locked them in a cold room for punishment. Michailowa was locked up
for 8 days; Aleksejewa and Konachowskaja for 3 days.
After they had undergone this punishment, they were all released.
During their work in the country house, Aleksejewa, Michailowa, and Konachowskaja
to exchange their observations of what was going on in the country house.Only in confinement,
when they were all locked in, did they exchange their thoughts during the night:
Michailowa stated during the interrogation of 24 December 1943:
"That was the first time we spoke of what was going on in the country
house. I told everything I
knew, but it turned out that Konachowskaja and Aleksejewa were already aware of all these
things. But they were afraid to speak to me about them. Here I found out that the Germans in
Kosji Gori were shooting Polish prisoners of war in particular, since Aleksejewa told how she was
going home from work once in the autumn of 1941 and personally saw the Germans herding a big
group of Polish prisoners of war into the Kosji Gori forest. Some time later she heard shots at that
Aleksejewa and Konachowskaja testified to the same effect.
Aleksejewa, Michailowa, and Konachowskaja came to the firm conviction,
after comparing their
observations, that mass shootings of Polish prisoners of war were being carried on at the Kosji
Gori country house in August and September 1941.
The testimonies of Aleksejewa are confirmed by the testimony of her father
Aleksejew Michail, to
whom she reported her observations concerning the crimes being committed by the Germans at
the country house in the autumn of 1941 while she was still working there.
"For a long time she didn't say a single word," Aleksejew
Michail testified, "Only when returned
from her work, she complained that it was strange to work there and that she didn't know how
she could get away. When I asked her what made it so strange, she answered that shots could
very often be heard in the forest. Once, when she came back home, she told me confidentially that
the Germans were shooting Poles in the Kosji Gori forest. After listening to my daughter, I
warned her most severely not to speak to anyone else about it. otherwise the Germans would find
out about it and our whole family would suffer."
The testimony concerning the transport of Polish prisoners of war to
Kosji Gori in small groups of
2030 men under a guard of 57 German soldiers is made by other witnesses interrogated by the
Special Commission: KISSELEW P.G., farmer from the Kosji Gori dairy farm; KRIWOSERZEW
M.G., joiner from the station Krasnyi Bor in the Katyn forest: IWANOW S.W., exforeman at
Gnesdowo station in the region of the Katyn forest; SAWWATEJEW IW, duty officer at the
same station; ALEKSEJEW M.A., president of the collective farm at the village of Borok;
OGLOBLIN A.P., priest of the church of Kuprin, and others.
These witnesses also heard shots resounding from the Kosji Gori forest.
An especially great
breakthrough for the investigation of the events at the Kosji Gori country house in the autumn of
1941 was provided by the professor of astronomy, Director BASILEWSKI B.W., of the
observatory at Smolensk. Professor Basilewski was appointed representative of the head of the
city (the mayor) by force during the first days of the German occupation of Smolensk, while the
lawyer MENSCHAGIN B.G. was appointed head of the city by the Germans, who later took him
away with them. MENSCHAGIN was a traitor who enjoyed the special trust of the German
command, and especially that of the commandant of Smolensk, von SCHWEZ.
In early September 1941, Basilewski asked Menschagin to ask commandant
von Schwez to
release the teacher SCHIGLINSKI from prisoner of war camp no. 126. In fulling this request,
Menschagin talked to von Schwez, and then told Basilewski that his request could not be granted
because, as von Schwez said, "an order had come from Berlin prescribing the immediate
application of the strictest regime relating to prisoners of war and permitting no indulgence in this
"I couldn't help objecting", testified witness Basilewski,
"'But What could be stricter than the
regime prevailing in the camp now?'" Menschagin looked at me strangely and, coming very close
to me, answered softly, "'It can be <a lot tougher>. The Russians will at least die off by
themselves, but as for the prisoners of war, it was simply proposed to exterminate them.'"
"'How? How am I to understand that?'" I cried.
"You are to understand it literally. There is such an order from
Berlin," answered Menschagin,
requesting me, 'for God's sake', not to say a word about it to anyone."
"Two weeks later, after the above mentioned talk with Menschagin,
when I was again received by
him, I could not help asking him: 'What have you heard about the Poles?'
Menschagin hesitated a little and then answered, 'It's all up with them.
Von Schwez told me that
they have been shot somewhere in the vicinity of Smolensk.'
"Since Menschagin noticed my excitement, he warned me again of the
need to keep this matter
strictly secret, and then he began to explain the German manner of procedure in this matter. He
said, 'the shooting of the Poles was a link in the whole chain of anti-Polish policies carried out by
the Germans, which was to be especially tightened up in view of conclusion of the treaty between
the Russians and the Poles.'"
Basilewski also told the Special Commission about his conversation with
the Special Leader of
the 7th Division of the German commander Hirschfeld, a Baltic German who spoke good Russian:
"Hirschfeld cynically explained that the perniciousness and inferiority
of the Poles had been
historically proven, and that the reduction in Polish population figures would serve to fertilize the
soil and provide a guarantee for the expansion of German living space.
"In this connection, Hirschfeld bragged that nothing was left of
the intelligentsia in Poland, since
they had all been hanged, shot, or taken away to concentration camps."
The testimony of the witness Basilewski was confirmed by the witness,
physics professor Jefimow
J.E., interrogated by the Special Commission, to whom Basilewski told of his conversation with
Menschagin in the autumn of 1941.
The testimony of Basilewski and Jefimow is strengthened by documentary
evidence in the form of
handwritten notes by Menschagin, in his own handwriting, jotted down in his notebook.
This notebook, containing 17 full pages, was found in the files of the
city administration of
Smolensk after its liberation. The fact that this notebook belonged to Menschagin, and was also in
his handwriting, is confirmed both by the testimony of Basilewski, who was well familiar with
Menschagin's handwriting, and by graphological reports.
As may be seen from the dates contained in the notebook, the contents
concern the period from
the early days of August 1941 until November of the same year.
Among the various notes with regards to economic matters (wood, electrical
etc.) there are a number of notes concerning instructions from the commander of Smolensk, made
by Menschagin in order not to forget them.
From these notes, it may be clearly seen that the city administration
was concerned with a number
of matters as the body carrying out all the instructions of the German command.
The first of the three pages of the note book describe the organization
of the Ghetto and the
system of reprisals to be carried out relating to the Jews. Page 10, dated 15 August 1941, states:
"All escaped Polish prisoners of war are to be arrested and brought to the command post." Page
15, (without date), states:
"Are there any rumours circulating among the populace of shootings
of Polish prisoners of war at
Kosji Gory (to Umnow)?"
From the initial notes, it may be seen that, on 15 August 1941, the Polish
prisoners of war were
still in the region of Smolensk, and that they were furthermore being arrested by the German
The second note proves that the German command, disturbed by the possibility
of the existence of
rumours among the civilian population about crimes committed by the Germans, gave special
instructions to investigate the matter.
Umnow, who is mentioned in the note, was chief of the Russian police
in Smolensk during the
first months of the occupation.
Beginning of German provocation
In the winter of 1942-43, the general military situation changed fundamentally,
and not in favour
of the Germans. The military power of the Soviet Union was constantly increasing, and the
alliance between the Soviet Union with the Allies was strengthening. The Germans decided to
initiate a provocation by taking the atrocities which they themselves had committed in the forest
of Katyn and accusing the Soviet authorities of having committed them. They thus intended to
divide the Russians and the Poles and wipe away the trace of their crime.
The priest from the village of Kuprino, district Smolensk, A.P. OGLOBLIN, testified:
"The Germans took up this matter after the events at Stalingrad,
when they were feeling unsure of
themselves. Among the people, it was said that the Germans were attempting to improve their
Concerned with expanding the Katyn provocation, the Germans first began
to search for
"witnesses" able to offer the testimony desired by the Germans, under the influence of promises,
bribes, or threats.
The farmer KISSELEW Parfen Gawrilowitsch, born 1870, who lived closer
to the Kosji Gori
country house than anyone else, attracted the attention of the Germans. Kisselew was told to
report to the Gestapo as early as the end of 1942, and after under the threat of reprisals was
requested to offer perjured testimony about the matter, stating that he knew that the Bolsheviks
had shot the Polish prisoners of war in the Kosji Gori country house of the NKWD in early 1940.
Kisselew testified in this regard:
"In autumn 1942, two policemen came to my house and said I had to
report to the Gestapo at
Gnesdowo railway station.
"The same day, I went to the Gestapo, which was housed in a twostory
house next to the railway
station. In the room which I entered, there was a German officer and an interpreter. The German
officer began to interrogate me through the interpreter, asking how long I had lived in the district,
what I did, and my financial situation. I told him I had lived in the farmstead next to Kosji Gori
since 1907 and worked on my property. About my financial situation, I said I was having
difficulties, because I was already old and my sons were in the army.
"After this short conversation, the officer explained to me that
the Gestapo had reports stating
that members of the KNWD office had shot the Polish prisoners of war in the Katyn forest not far
from Kosji Gori in 1940. He asked what testimony I could make about it. I answered that I had
never heard anything about the NKWD office carrying out any shootings in the Kosji Gori. I
furthermore explained to the officer that I considered it impossible to carry out shootings there,
since Kosji Gory was very openly exposed, and thickly populated. The whole populace in the
neighbouring villages must surely have known of it.
"The officer answered that I was to make such a statement, since
the aforementioned fact had
allegedly really taken place. A big reward was promised me for this testimony.
"I repeatedly explained to the officer that I had heard nothing
of the shootings, and that something
like this could simply not happen at all before the war in our region. The officer nevertheless
insisted that I was to make the perjured statement.
"After the first conversation, of which I have already spoken, I
was called to the Gestapo for a
second time in February 1942.
"At this time, it was known to me that other residents of the neighbouring
villages had also been
ordered to report to the Gestapo, and they had been ordered to make the same testimony.
"In the Gestapo were the same officer and interpreter who had interrogated me the first time.
"Again they demanded that I should testify that I was an eyewitness
to the shootings of Polish
officers allegedly carried out in 1940 by the NKWD.
I explained to the Gestapo officer once again that this was a lie, since
I had heard nothing of the
shootings before the war, and that I would not make the perjured statement. But the interpreter
refused to listen to me, took a handwritten document from the table, and read it to me. It said that
I, KISSELEW, lived in the farmstead not far from Kosji Gori, and had myself seen employees of
the NKWD shooting the Polish officers in 1940.
After the interpreter had read it to me, he suggested that I sign the
document. I refused. The
interpreter tried to force me to sign by means of threats and insults, Finally he said, 'Either you
sign immediately, or you will be killed. You have to choose!'
"I was now afraid, and signed the document, figuring that the matter
was at an end. After the
Germans organized the visit to the graves of Katyn by various 'delegations', I was forced to speak
before the Polish 'delegation.'"
Kisselew forgot the contents of the statement signed in the Gestapo office,
got mixed up, and
finally refused to speak. Then the Gestapo had him arrested, and, by beating him for a month a
half without mercy, forced him to agree to appear again in public.
In this regard, Kisselew testifies:
"In reality, it happened differently. In the spring of 1943, the
Germans announced that they had
discovered the graves of the Polish officers in in the Kosji Gori region of the Katyn forest, after
having been allegedly shot by the NKWD.
"Soon afterwards, a Gestapo interpreter came to my house and drove
me into the Kosji Gori
region of the Katyn forest. After leaving my house, the interpreter warned me privately that when
I was in the forest, to say everything just exactly as stated in the statement signed in the Gestapo
"When we got to the forest, I saw excavated graves and a group of
persons unknown to me. The
interpreter told me they were 'Polish delegates' who were coming to view the graves.
"When we approached the graves, the 'delegates' began to ask me
various questions in the Russian
language relating to the shooting of the Poles.
"But since over a month had passed since I was told to report to
the Gestapo, I had forgotten
everything contained in the document signed by me. So I got mixed up and finally said that I
didn't know anything about the shooting of the Polish officers.
"The German officer got very angry, and the interpreter pushed and
pulled me brutally away from
the 'delegation'. The next day, a car with a Gestapo officer in it came to my house. When the
officer found me in the courtyard, he explained that I was under arrest, put me in the car and took
me to Smolensk prison.
"After my arrest I was often called for interrogation, but they
beat me more than they interrogated
me. During my first interrogation they beat me badly and accused me of slandering them. Then
they brought me back to my cell.
"In the next interrogation, they told me I had to declare publicly
that I was an eyewitness to the
shootings of the Polish officers by the Bolsheviks and that I would not get out of prison until the
Gestapo was convinced that I would fulfil my task to the best of my ability. I told the officer that I
would rather rot in prison than pull the wool over people's eyes. After that, they beat me very
"These interrogations, in which I was beaten, were repeated. The
result was that I completely lost
my strength, partially lost my hearing, and could no longer move my right arm.
"Approximately a month after my arrest the German officer called
me to him and said, 'Now, you
see, Kisselew, what your obstinacy has cost you. We have decided to carry out a death sentence
upon you. Tomorrow you will be driven to the Katyn forest and hanged. I asked the officer not to
do that, and tried to convince him that I was unfit for the role of eyewitness to the shootings,
because I simply could not lie and would therefore simply get something mixed up again. But the
officer stuck to his insistence.
"A few minutes later, soldiers came into the room and began to beat
me with rubber truncheons. I
could not stand the beatings and mistreatment and agreed to confirm the perjured statement
regarding the shooting of the Polish officers by the Bolsheviks. Then I was released from prison.
At the same time, they told me that I had to speak in front of the 'delegates' at the first request of
the Germans in the Katyn forest. Each time, before we drove to the excavated graves in the Katyn
forest, the interpreter came to my home, called me out into the courtyard, took me aside so that
nobody could hear us, and made me learn everything by heart for half an hour, completely and in
detail, that I had to say about the alleged shootings of the Polish officers by the NKWD in 1940.
"I remember that the interpreter told me <to say> approximately the following:
"'I live on the farmstead in the Kosji Gori region not far from
the KNWD country house. In early
1940, I saw how them bringing the Poles into the forest and shooting them there every night.'
I also had to repeat word for word that this was the work of the NKWD.
"After I had learnt by heart everything the interpreter told me,
he drove me into the forest to the
excavated graves and told me to repeat everything in the presence of the visiting 'delegation'. My
remarks were strictly noted and orchestrated by the Gestapo interpreter.
"Once, when I appeared before a 'delegation', they asked me whether
I had ever seen the Poles
before they were shot by the Bolsheviks.
"I was not prepared for this question, and declared that I had seen
the Polish prisoners of war
before the beginning of the war engaged in road construction work, which was also true. At this,
the interpreter pushed me aside roughly, and chased me home. Please believe me when I say that I
was constantly tortured by remorse, because I knew that the Polish officers in reality were shot by
the Germans in 1941; there was no other way out for me, since I was afraid of repeated arrest and
The testimony of Kisselew P.G. regarding his visit to the Gestapo and
subsequent arrest and
beatings are confirmed by his wife, Kisselewa Asksinija, born 1870, who resides with him; his son,
Kisselew Wassili, born 1911; and his daughterinlaw, Kisselewa Maria, born 1918; as well as
railway master Sergejew Timotej Iwanowitch, born 1901, who also lives with Kisselew at the
The injuries inflicted upon Kisselew by the Gestapo (injured shoulder,
significant hearing loss)
were confirmed by forensic examination report.
In the search for 'witnesses', the Germans then took an interest in the
workers at Gnesdowo
railway station, located two and half kilometres away from Kosji Gori.
The Polish prisoners of war first arrived at this station in the spring
of 1940, and the Germans
obviously wished to obtain corresponding testimony from railway workers. To this purpose, the
Germans, in the spring of 1943, ordered the former station master of Gnesdowo, IWANOW
S.W., and the duty officer SAWWATEJEW I.W., among others, to report to the Gestapo.
Regarding the circumstances of his visit to the Gestapo, Iwanow S.W., born 1882, stated:
"...It was in March 1943. A German officer interrogated me in the
presence of an interpreter. He
asked me through the interpreter what I did, and what my job was at Gnesdowo before the
occupation of the area by the Germans; the officer asked me whether I knew that the Polish
prisoners of war arrived by railway in early 1940 in Gnesdowo in large groups.
"I said, that I knew nothing about it.
"The officer then asked me whether I knew that the Polish officers
were shot by the Bolsheviks in
the year in question, the spring of 1940, soon after their arrival.
"I answered that I knew nothing about it, and that this could not
be true, since I had seen the
Polish officers who arrived at Gnesdowo in the spring of 1940 doing road construction work in
194041, until the city of Smolensk was taken by the Germans.
"The officer then told me: 'If a German officer says that the Poles
were shot by the Bolsheviks,
then that corresponds to the facts. Therefore', the officer continued, 'you need have no fear; you
may sign the statement with a clear conscience, stating that the Polish prisoners of war were shot
by the Bolsheviks, and that you were an eyewitness to it.'"
"I answered that I was an old man, 61 years old, and didn't want
to burden my soul with sins. I
could only testify that the Polish officers actually arrived in the spring of 1940 in Gnesdowo.
"The German officer then attempted to convince me to make the desired
statement by promising
to transfer me from my present job as intermediate station master to another post, and to make me
station master at Gnesdowo, which is what I was under the Soviets, as well as taking care of me
from a financial point of view.
"The interpreter emphasized that the German command placed great
value on my testimony as
former railway employee at Gnesdowo, the station nearest the Katyn forest, and that I would not
be sorry if I made the desired statement.
"I saw that I was in an extremely difficult position and that a
sad fate awaited me, but I still
refused to make the perjured statement to the German officer.
"The officer then tricked me. He threatened me to have me beaten
or shot, declaring that I did not
understand my best interests. But I stood resolutely by my refusal.
"The interpreter then wrote a short statement in the German language,
one page long, and told me
what it said. The interpreter told me it only contained the fact that the Poles arrived in Gnesdowo.
But when I asked to sign my statement not only in German, but in Russian as well, the officer lost
his temper, beat me with a rubber truncheon, and threw me out."
SAWWATEJEW I.W. born 1880, testified:
"...In the Gestapo, I said that the Polish prisoners actually arrived
in the spring of 1940 at
Gnesdowo with their own railway transport, and that they continued by motor transport, where, I
don't know. I also added that I later saw the Poles several times on the MoscowMinsk highway
doing highway repair work in small groups.
"The officer told me that I was mistaken, and that I could not have
seen the Poles on the highway,
since they had been shot by the Bolsheviks. He asked me to make a statement about this. I
refused. After many threats and attempts at persuasion, the officer consulted with the interpreter
about something, speaking in the German language. The interpreter then wrote a short statement
and presented it to me for signature, saying that it contained <only> the statements I had made. I
asked the interpreter if I could read it through for myself, but he interrupted me with insults and
ordered me to sign the document immediately and to get out. I hesitated a minute; the interpreter
grabbed a rubber truncheon hanging on the wall and raised it to hit me. I then signed the
statement which had been placed before me. The interpreter told me to get out, and not to blab
anything to anybody or they would have me shot..."
In their search for "witnesses", the Germans did not stop at
the above mentioned persons. They
tried to find former NKWD employees and force them to make the perjured statements desired by
the Germans. The Germans then arrested the former NKWD garage worker for the region of
Smolensk, IGNATIUK E.L., and tried very hard, through threats and beatings, to force a
statement out of him saying that he was not a garage worker, but a driver, and had personally
driven the Polish prisoners of war to the location of the shootings. IGNATIUK E.L., born 1903,
"During my first interrogation by police chief ALFERTSCHIK, he accused
me of antiGerman
slander activity, and asked me what my job was with the NKWD. I answered that I was employed
in the NKWD office, region of Smolensk, as a worker. During the same interrogation, Alfertschik
asked me to make a statement saying that was I employed in the NKWD office not as a worker,
but as a driver. When Alfertschik failed to obtain the desired statement, he became enraged and
tied me up, him and his adjutant, whom he addressed by the name "Schorsch", tying a rag around
my head and mouth; they took down my pants, laid me on a table and beat me with rubber
truncheons. They then called me to interrogation once again, and Alfertschik asked me to make
the perjured statement that the Polish prisoners of war were shot in the Katyn forest in 1940 by
the Bolsheviks, and that I knew all about it since I had driven the Polish officers to the Katyn
forest and was present during the shootings. If I agreed to make such a statement, Alfertschik
promised to release me from prison and give me a job in the police, where living conditions were
very good; otherwise, he would have me shot. The last time, I was interrogated in the police
station by the examining magistrate ALEXANDROW, who, like Alfertschik, demanded the
desired perjured statement from me. But I refused.
"After this interrogation, they beat me repeatedly and brought me
to the Gestapo. In the Gestapo,
they demanded that I make the perjured statement about the shooting of the Polish officers in the
Katyn forest in 1940, that it was done by the Soviets, and that as a driver I allegedly had to know
all about it."
In the book published by the German Foreign Office, containing material
falsified by the Germans
on the "Katyn affair", the above mentioned KISSELEW P.G., among others, is presented as a
"witness". The following persons are also cited as "witnesses":
GODOSOW (identical with GODUNOW), born 1877;
SILWERSTOW GRIGORI, born 1891;
ANDREJEW IWAN, born 1917;
SHIGULEW MICHAIL, born 1915;
KRIWOSERZEW IWAN, born 1915, and
SACHAROW MATWEJ, born 1893.
It has been proven by investigation that the first two of the above mentioned
(GODOSOW and SILWERSTOW) died in 1943 before the liberation of the region of Smolensk
by the Red Army; the three following persons, ANDREJEW, SHIGULEW, and
KRIWOSERZEW), either fled with the Germans or were taken away with the Germans by force.
The last named SACHAROW MATWEJ, former railway carriage coupler at Smolensk railway
station, who worked as village elder in Nowye Bateki, was found and interrogated by the Special
Commission. Sacharow explained the manner in which the Germans obtained the perjured
statement on the "Katyn affair".
"In early March 1943," Sacharow stated, "a Gestapo worker
from Gnesdowo, whose name I can
no longer remember, came to my house and said that a German officer wanted to see me. When I
got to the Gestapo, the officer told me through an interpreter: 'We know that you worked as a
railway carriage coupler at Smolensk railway station, and therefore you must testify that the
railway carriages with the Polish prisoners of war came through the city of Smolensk to
Gnesdowo station in 1940, and that the Poles were then shot in the forest in the region of Kosji
Gori'. To this, I answered that the carriages with the Poles in them actually came through the city
of Smolensk in 1940 headed west, but which station they got off at, was not known to me. The
officer told me that if I didn't make the statement of my own free will, he would force me to. With
these words, he took a rubber truncheon from the wall and began to beat me. Then they laid me
on a bench, and the officer and interpreter both beat me. I no longer know how many times they
hit me, because I lost consciousness. When I came to, the officer asked me to sign the statement. I
allowed myself to be intimidated by their blows and threats to shoot me, made perjured testimony,
and signed the statement. I was then released by the Gestapo. A few days after my order to report
to the Gestapo, it was about midMarch 1943, the interpreter came to my house and said I had to
go to a German general and confirm my statement. When we got to the general, the general asked
me whether I confirmed my statement. I said yes, because the interpreter had told me on the way
that if I didn't confirm my statement, I would get even worse than the first time I went to the
Gestapo. Out of fear of torture, I answered that I did confirm my statement. The interpreter
ordered me to raise by right arm and told me that I had just sworn an oath, and could go home."
It has been proven that the Germans attempted to obtain the desired statements
persons as well, including the former assistant director of Smolensk prison, KAWERSNEW N.S.;
a worker in the same prison, KOWALEW W.G.; and others, by persuading, threatening and
mistreating the above mentioned persons. Since the search for for "witnesses" failed to bear fruit,
the Germans distributed the following leaflet in the neighbouring villages, an original of which is
contained in the files of the Special Commission:
"NOTICE TO THE CIVIL POPULATION
"Who can testify to the mass shootings of Polish prisoners of war
and priests <!!??> committed by
the Bolsheviks in 1940 in the Kosji Gori forest on the GnesdowoKatyn highway?
Who saw motor transports from Gnesdowo to Kosji Gori?
Who heard about the shootings or was personally an eyewitness?
Who knows residents capable of testifying in this regard?
All information in this connection will be rewarded.
All communications should be sent to the German police, Museumstrasse
6, or, in Gnesdowo, to
the German police, House no. 105 (at the railway station).
3 May 1943
Lieutenant, Field Police
The same notice was published in the newspaper "DER NEUE WEG"
(no. 35 (157) of 6 May
1943, published by the Germans, in the city of Smolensk.
That the Germans promised a reward for the desired testimony about the
"Katyn affair" was
proven by the Special Commission through the interrogation of witnesses and residents of the city
SOKOLOWA O.E., PUSCHTSCHINA E.A., BYTSCHKOW J.J., BONDAREW G.T.,
USTINOW E.P., and many others.
The falsification of the graves at Katyn
Simultaneously to the search for "witnesses", the Germans began
a corresponding falsification of
the graves in the Katyn forest. They began to remove all documents dated later than April 1940,
i.e., originating from the time at which, according to the German provocative slanders, the Poles
had been shot by the Bolsheviks from the clothing of the Poles shot by the Germans, that is, all
exhibits able to disprove these provocative slanders.
The investigations of the Special Commission have proven that the Germans
500 Russian prisoners of war recruited from camp no. 126 for this purpose. The Special
Commission has numerous witness testimonies at its disposal relating to this matter.
The testimonies of the doctors from the above named camp merit special
attention; the doctor of
medicine TSCHISCHOW A.T., who worked in camp no. 126 during the occupation of Smolensk,
"In early March 1943, a group totalling 500 men of the strongest
prisoners of war were selected
in the prisoner of war camp no. 126 in Smolensk in order, it was stated, to send them to
construction work. Not one of these prisoners of war ever returned to the camp."
The doctor of medicine CHMYROW W.A., who also worked in the camp during
"It is known to me that, approximately in the second half of February
or the beginning of March
1943, approximately 500 Red Army prisoners of war from our camp were transported in an
undisclosed direction. These prisoners of war were said to be going to do construction work, and
therefore the Germans selected the most powerfully built men."
Similar statements were made by the nurses SENKOWSKAJA O.G., TIMOFEJEWA
female witnesses ORLOVA P.M., DOBROSERDOVA E.G., and the witness KOTSCHETKOW
Where these 500 Soviet prisoners of war were actually sent from camp
no. 126 is clear from the
testimony of the female witness MOSKOWSKAJA A.M..
MOSKOSKAJA ALEKSANDRA MICHAILOWNA, who live on the outskirts of the city
Smolensk and worked in the kitchen of one of the German troop divisions during the occupation,
made a statement on 5 October 1943 to the Special Commission for the Examination of the
Atrocities of the German Invaders, with the request to be called upon to give important
She told the Special Commission that once, in March 1943, upon entering
her shed, located in the
farm on the banks of the Dnjepr, she found an unknown person, who, as it turned out, was a
Russian prisoner of war.
MOSKOWSKAJA A.M. (born 1922) stated:
"From conversation with him, I learned the following:
"His name was JEGOROW, first name Nikolai, from Leningrad.
"Since the end of 1941, he had lived in German concentration camps
for prisoners of war in the
city of Smolensk.
"In early March 1943, he was sent to the Katyn forest with a column
of 100 prisoners of war from
the camp. There they were all ordered, including Jegorow, to excavate graves containing corpses
in Polish officers's uniforms, to drag these corpses out of the graves, and to remove all
documents, photographs, and other objects from their pockets. It was strictly prohibited to leave
anything in their pockets. Two prisoners of war were shot because the German officer found
some papers on the corpses after the prisoners had already examined them. All objects,
documents, and letters removed from the clothing were examined by the German officers. Then
the prisoners of war were ordered to put some of these papers back in the pockets of the corpses;
the rest were thrown onto a pile of objects and documents removed from the corpses, and burnt
soon afterwards. Furthermore, other papers were produced from a chest or box that the Germans
had brought with them; these papers were placed in the pockets of the corpses of the Polish
officers. All the prisoners of war lived in the Katyn forest under fearful conditions and under strict
"In early April 1943, all the work planned by the Germans was finished;
the prisoners of war were
not forced to go to work for three days.
"In the night, the Germans woke them all up and took them somewhere.
The guard was
reinforced. Jegorow was suspicious, and took particular note of everything that happened. They
walked 3 to 4 hours in an unknown direction. They stopped in a meadow in the forest in front of a
ditch. Jegorow watched as the Germans separated a group of prisoners of war from the rest of the
human mass, forced them to the ditch, and then shot them.
"The prisoners of war were excited, and started shouting and moving
about. Not far from
Jegorow, a few prisoners jumped a guard, and the other guards ran to this spot.
"Jegorow took advantage of the momentary confusion to run into the
darkness of the woods; at
the same time, he heard shouts and shots behind him.
"After this fearful tale, which will remain seared into my memory
for an entire lifetime, I felt sorry
for Jegorow and invited him into my apartment so he could warm up and hide until he regained
his strength. But Jegorow refused. He said he absolutely had to leave that night in order to cross
the front line. But he didn't leave that night. The next morning, I found him still in the shed. As it
turned out, he had made repeated attempts to go away during the night, but after he had gone fifty
steps he felt weak and was forced to return. It was probably the result of the continual
malnutrition in the camp and the starvation during the last few days. We agreed that he would
stay one or two days with me, in order to recover his strength. I gave him food and went to work.
"When I came back that evening, my neighbours, BARANOWA MARIA IWANOWNA
KABANOWSKAJA KATHERINA VIKTOROWNA, told me that the German police had
discovered a Red Army prisoner of war in my shed during their patrol, whom they took away with
Since a prisoner of war had been found in Moskowskaja's shed, she was
told to report to the
Gestapo, where she was accused of hiding a prisoner of war. During her interrogation by the
Gestapo, Moskowskaja denied her relations with this prisoner of war and claimed that she knew
nothing of his presence in her shed. Since Moskowskaja did not admit her guilt and the prisoner
of war Jegorow did not betray her, she was released by the Gestapo.
Jegorow also told Moskowskaja that a group of prisoners of war working
in the Katyn forest, in
addition to digging up the bodies were further occupied with bringing corpses from other
locations. The corpses transported to the Katyn forest were piled up in the graves, together with
the corpses which had previously been dug up.
The fact that a great number of corpses of persons shot by the Germans
at other locations were
transported to the graves at Katyn is also confirmed by the testimony of the mechanic
SUCHATSCHEW P.F. (born 1912), a mechanical engineer from "Roskglawchjleb",
for the Germans as a machinist in the city mills of Smolensk, filed a request on 8.10.43 to be
permitted to testify.
When he appeared, he stated:
"In the mill, during the second half of March 1943, I once talked
to a German driver who spoke a
little Russian. After it came out that he was carrying meal for a division in the village of Sawenky
and would be coming back to Smolensk the next day, I asked him to take him with me in order
that I might have the opportunity to buy fats. In so doing, I was calculating that riding in a
German truck would eliminate the risk of my being stopped at a checkpoint.
"The German driver agreed for a sum of money. We left the same day
at about 10:00 P.M., taking
the SmolenskWitebsk highway.
"There were two of us in the truck: me and the German driver. It
was a bright night; the moon
was shining, but the fog hindered visibility. About 2223 kilometres from Smolensk, there was a
curve at a destroyed bridge with a rather steep embankment. We left the highway and travelled
down the embankment; then a truck suddenly appeared out of the fog. Either our brakes were not
very good or the driver was not very experienced; we could not brake the truck, and, since the
road was rather narrow, we had a collision with the truck coming in the opposite direction. The
collision was not a bad one, since the driver of the oncoming truck succeeded in swerving out of
the way, as a result only scraping the sides of both trucks. The oncoming truck turned over
however, and fell down the embankment. Our truck stayed where it was. The driver and I got out
of the driver's seat and went to the overturned truck.
"I immediately smelt a very strong stench of corpses, which probably
came from the truck. I came
closer, and saw that the truck was loaded with a cargo covered with tarpaulins and tied down
with ropes. The ropes broke due to the fall, and part of the cargo fell out. It was a cruel cargo.
"They were human corpses in military uniforms. As I remember, 67
men, including a German
driver and 2 Germans armed with machine guns, stood around the truck. The others were Russian
prisoners of war, since they spoke Russian and were clothed correspondingly.
"The Germans began to curse my driver, then they tried to get the
truck back up onto its wheels
again. After two minutes, another two trucks arrived at the scene of the accident and stopped
there. From these trucks came a group of Germans and Russian prisoners of war, a total of 10
men, and came up to us. Using our combined strength, we began to lift the truck. I took the
opportunity and quietly asked one of the Russian prisoners of war: 'What's that?' Just as quietly,
he answered: 'I don't know how many nights we've already spent transporting corpses into the
"The overturned truck was still not upright when a German noncommissioned
me and my driver, and ordered us to drive on immediately.
"Since we had not suffered any real damage during the collision,
my driver turned the truck back
onto the highway and then drove on.
"As we drove past the two trucks that had arrived later and were
covered with tarpaulins, I smelt
a fearful stench of corpses."
SUCHATSCHEW's testimony is confirmed by the testimony of Jegorow Wladimir
who served in the police during the occupation.
Jegorow testified that, at the end of March and the early days of April
1943, as he guarded the
bridges in the line of duty at the intersection of the MoscowMinsk and SmolenskWitebsk
highways, he repeatedly observed large trucks covered with tarpaulins, exuding the stench of
corpses, passing in the direction of Smolensk. Several persons, some of who carried weapons and
doubtlessly were German, always sat in the truck cabins and on top of the tarpaulins.
Jegorow mentioned his observations to the chief of police at the police
station in the village of
Archipowka, Golownew Kuzma Demjanowitsch, who advised him to keep quiet about it and
added: "That has nothing to do with us, we don't need to get mixed up in German affairs."
That the Germans transported corpses by truck to the Katyn forest was
also stated by
JAKOWLEWSOKOLOW FLOR MAKSINOWITSCH, born 1896, former supply agent for the
canteen of the Smolensk Trusts for dining rooms, and chief of the police district of Katyn during
the German occupation.
He reported that, in early April 1943, he personally observed four trucks
covered with tarpaulins
on which sat several men armed with machine guns and weapons, turning off the highway into the
Katyn forest. A strong stench of corpses was perceptible from the trucks.
All the above mentioned eyewitness testimony permits the conclusion that
the Germans also shot
Poles at other locations. In bringing the corpses to the Katyn forest, the Germans pursued a triple
objective: first, to wipe out all traces of their own crimes; second, to blame all their crimes on the
Soviets, and third, to multiple the number of "victims of Bolshevism" in the graves in the Katyn
"Visits" to the graves at Katyn
In April 1943, after the German invaders had finished all preparatory
measures at the graves in the
Katyn forest, they began a widespread agitation in the press and radio, attempting to blame the
Soviets for the atrocities which they had themselves committed against the Polish prisoners of
war. One of their methods of provocative agitation consisted of organizing "visits" to the graves
at Katyn by the residents of Smolensk and neighbouring areas, as well as by "delegations" from
the countries occupied by the German invaders and in a position of subservience to them.
The Special Commission interrogated a number of witnesses who participated
in the "visit" to the
graves at Katyn.
The witness, SUBKOW K.P., an anatomical pathologist working in Smolensk
in his capacity as
forensic expert, testified to the Special Commission:
"...The clothing on the corpses, especially the officers' greatcoats,
boots, and belts, held together
rather well. The metallic parts of their clothing, such as belt buckles, buttons, hooks, boot nails,
etc. were not completely rusted and still retained their metallic lustre at places. The tissue of the
corpses made available for examination, the tissue of the face, neck, and hands, was chiefly grey in
colour, in individual cases greenish brown; but there was no complete decomposition of the
tissues, there was no putrefaction. In individual cases, tendons lay exposed, whitish in colour; a
number of muscles were visible. During my stay at the excavations, people were working on the
floor of a deep ditch, separating the bodies and carrying them up out of the grave. They used
spades and other tools to do so, grabbing the corpses with their hands, and dragging them by the
arms, feet, and clothing from one place to another. In no individual case could one observe that
the bodies fell apart, or that individual parts of them came away.
"With respect to the above, I came to the conclusion that the period
of time during which the
corpses had remained in the earth absolutely could not amount to three years, as the Germans
claimed, but must be much less. Since I know that the decomposition of bodies in mass graves,
especially without coffins, occurs much more rapidly than in individual graves, I came to the
conclusion that the mass shootings of the Poles must have been carried out about one and a half
years ago, and must date from the autumn of 1941 or early 1942.
"As a result of visiting the excavations, I became firmly convinced
that this gigantic atrocity was
the act of the Germans."
Testimonies that the clothing on the corpses, the metal parts, the shoes
and the corpses
themselves, were well preserved, were offered by all the witnesses who had participated in "visits"
to the graves at Katyn and were then heard by the Special Commission, i.e.,: the foreman of the
Smolensk water pipeline network, KUTZEW J.S.; the female head of the school at Katyn,
WETROVA E.N.; the female telephonist of the Smolensk transport office, SCHTSCHEDROVA
N.G.; the resident of the village of Borok, ALEZEJEW M.A.; the resident of the village of
Nowye Bateki, KRISWOSERZEW N.G.; the duty officer at Gnesdowo station, SAWWATEJEW
J.W.; the female resident of Smolensk, PUSCHTSCHINA E.A.; the doctor of medicine from the
2nd hospital at Smolensk, SIDORUK T.A.; the doctor of medicine from the same hospital,
KESSAREW P.M., and others.
German attempts to wipe away the traces of their crime
The "visits" organized by the Germans failed to achieve their
aim. All persons who visited the
graves became convinced that they were witnessing the gross and obvious provocation of the
Therefore measures were taken by the Germans to silence all doubters.
The Special Commission interrogated a number of witnesses who have reported
how the Germans
persecuted persons who doubted the truth of the provocation or did not believe it. They were
fired from their jobs, arrested, and threatened with shooting. The Commission has established two
cases of shooting of persons who "couldn't keep their mouths shut". This tactic of violence was
carried out against the former German policeman SAGAINOW and against JEGOREW A.M.,
who participated in the excavations in the Katyn forest.
Testimonies relating to the persecution by the Germans of those persons
who expressed doubt
after visiting the graves in the Katyn forest were offered by:
The female attendant at pharmacy no. 1 of Smolensk, SUBAREWA M.S.; the
assistant to the
doctor of hygiene for the Health Division of the Stalinist District of Smolensk, KOSLOWA W.F.;
The former head of the Katyn police district, JAKOWLEWSOKOLOW F.M. testified:
"A situation arose which caused the most serious disquiet among
the German command, and
urgent instructions were issued to all local police offices to prohibit all harmful talk and to arrest
all those persons who expressed mistrust regarding the 'Katyn affair'".
"Such instructions were personally issued to me, as head of the
police district, by the following
persons: at the end of May 1943, by the German commander of the Katyn village, Lt. Col.
BRAUN, and, at the beginning of June, by the head of the police district of Smolensk,
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