Children of the Katyn Massacre

Accounts of Life After the 1940 Soviet Murder of Polish POWs


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About the Book

World War II was—and remains—one of the bloodiest wars in history. Not only did millions of soldiers die in combat but millions of civilians lost their lives—some for no greater crime than their religious heritage or their nationality. The Soviets, at first allied with the Germans, incarcerated thousands of Polish military officers and reservists in the pre-established Soviet camps of Ostashkov, Starobelsk and Kozelsk. On March 5, 1940, Joseph Stalin and his lieutenants signed an execution order for 25,700 Polish prisoners of war. After months of hardship and interrogation, 14,700 prisoners from these camps were taken to remote areas, murdered with a shot to the back of the head and buried in mass graves. Later, when Germany turned its sights on the Soviet Union, the USSR allied itself with the West. With the discovery of the first of the mass burials by the Germans in the Katyn Forest (the area from which the entire massacre gets its name), the Soviets attempted to place the blame for the atrocities on the Germans in spite of a plethora of evidence to the contrary. Only in 1990, with the fall of communism, did President Mikhail Gorbachev admit Soviet responsibility for the Katyn murders.

Compiled from a series of interviews, this emotionally moving account records the stories and fates of 18 men and women, 16 of whom lost their fathers in the Katyn massacre. The author traveled to Poland, Lithuania, Ukraine, Canada and the United States to talk extensively with the 18, recording their thoughts, feelings, memories and experiences of the hardships during and after the war. Photographs and maps are included.

About the Author(s)

Journalist Teresa Kaczorowska is the president of the Polish Writers’ Association, Ciechanów Division. She lives in Ciechanów, Poland.

Translator Frank Kujawinski lives in Chicago, Illinois.

Bibliographic Details

Teresa Kaczorowska

Foreword by Wesley Adamczyk

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 264
Bibliographic Info: 18 photos, maps, index
Copyright Date: 2006
pISBN: 978-0-7864-2756-7
eISBN: 978-0-7864-8376-1
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Foreword by Wesley Adamczyk      1
Author’s Preface and Acknowledgments      5
Translator’s Note      9

1. The Eleventh Urchin of Lvov      11
2. Construction Engineer /Publisher      23
3. A Participant in the Exhumation      33
4. American Professor      51
5. The Little Prince and the Fairy Tales      59
6. Little Ewa Always in Ribbons      81
7. Faithful to the Blue Uniform      91
8. In Love with the Land of His Birth      106
9. “When Tape Seals Our Lips”      118
10. Custodian of the House with the Turret      127
11. Witness to More Than One Crime      138
12. Stalwart from the Podkarpacie Region      150
13. Maja and the Cherries      162
14. Émigré Because of Martial Law      173
15. Devotee of Freedom      186
16. Fugitive from the Sailing Vessel “Dar Pomorza”      201
17. Child of Two Cultures      221
18. Katyn Pilgrims      233

Index      251