]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]     SOVIETS MURDER THE TRUTH IN     [[[[[[[[[[[ 
                      MEMORIAL TO KATYN MASSACRE       (1/7/1988)
                         By Zdzislaw M. Rurarz
   Mr.  Rurarz  is former  Polish  ambassador to  Japan.   He was
            granted political asylum in the U.S. in 1981.
    (From The Wall Street Journal, 6 January 1989, p. A10:3)

            [Kindly uploaded by Freeman 10602PANC]

   Anyone who believes  glasnost has opened the  way for truth in
the Soviet  Union should  be disabused  of his  opinion by  a new
Soviet lie  that almost  outclasses even  the lies  of the Stalin
   On Nov. 6, Izvestia reported  that the Soviet government plans
to erect a memorial at  Katyn, in Russia, where ``Polish officers
together with Soviet  prisoners ... were shot  by the fascists in
1943 as  our army  approached.''  Moscow  World Service confirmed
the memorial plans, saying the  slaughter took place ``during the
offensive of Soviet troops in 1943.''
   These  reports have  the audacity  to attach  new dates  to an
atrocity that  has never  been acknowledged  by its perpetrators:
the massacre of  4,134 Polish officers taken  prisoner by the Red
Army.  Many people in the West are unaware that the massacre ever
took place.
   Poland was attacked by Germany on  Sept. 1, 1939, and on Sept.
17  by  the Red  Army,  which  took about  200,000  Polish troops
prisoner, even though  Poland had not declared  war on the Soviet
Union.   Among  the  POWs were  15,000  army  officers  and state
functionaries.  Most of them were  interned in three POW camps at
Kozielsk, Starobielsk and  Ostashkov, in the  western part of the
Soviet Union.  They were permitted to write to their relatives in
German-occupied  Poland,  but  in April  1940,  all  such letters
abruptly ceased.
   When Polish-Soviet diplomatic relations were re-established in
July 1941,  and the  Soviets agreed  to form  the Polish  army on
their  territory, almost  no officers  could  be found  among the
freed Polish POWs.  Asked what  had happened to them, Stalin told
the Poles that perhaps they had escaped to Manchuria!
   On April 13, 1943, German  radio reported the discovery in the
Katyn forests near Smolensk of  mass graves containing the bodies
of  Polish  officers who  the  Germans  said were  killed  by the
Soviets in the spring of 1940.
   In response,  the Soviets  turned the  tables and  accused the
Germans  of  the  crime,   suddenly  ``remembering''  that  while
retreating  from  the Germans  they  had left  behind  the Polish
officers, who,  they said,  were then  caught by  the Germans and
shot ``in the fall of 1941.''
   When  the  Polish  government-in-exile  in  London  asked  the
International Red  Cross to  investigate, the  Soviet Union broke
diplomatic  relations  with  the   exiles  and  objected  to  any
investigation.  Britain and the U.S.  took the Soviet side in the
   But  other  international  experts,  including  the  one  from
neutral Switzerland, as well as the Polish Red Cross, established
beyond any doubt the time of the execution -- between April 4 and
May 13, 1940.   Evidence found in  the pockets of  the victims --
such  as diaries,  unsent letters  and  Soviet newspapers  -- and
forensic tests  confirmed the  date.  In  all, 4,143  bodies were
positively identified.
   The Soviets recaptured  Katyn on Sept. 25,  1943, and formed a
commission to ``investigate  the crime.''  On  Jan. 24, 1944, the
commission issued a statement, again blaming the Germans.  Soviet
forensic experts again  ruled that the  execution had taken place
``in the fall of 1941.''   Later, during the Nuremberg trial, the
Soviets attempted  to accuse the  Germans of this  crime but were
unsuccessful in proving it and the case was dropped.  On Dec. 22,
1952, the U.S. Congress, following an investigation by its Select
Committee on the Katyn Forest Massacre, unanimously ruled that it
was the Soviets who were guilty.
   Last  year,  in   the  National  Archives,   I  found  wartime
photographs --  covering the period  Sept. 26, 1943,  to June 10,
1944  --   taken  by   German  reconnaissance   aircraft  of  the
Smolensk-Katyn area after it was recaptured by the Red Army.  The
photos leave no doubt the cemetery at  Katyn -- as it was left by
the Germans  -- had been  destroyed.  The Germans  had marked six
mass graves in the shape of squares and put up crosses.
   Since   World  War   II  the   Katyn  massacre   slipped  into
near-oblivion,  except in  Poland.  But  it  has resurfaced  as a
result of  a joint  declaration by  Mikhail Gorbachev  and Polish
leader  Gen.  Wojciech Jaruzelski  in  April 21,  1987.   The two
agreed that ``blank  spots'' is Soviet-Polish  relations would be
removed.  Although the Soviets  committed many crimes against the
Poles during and  after World War  II, Katyn remains  high on the
agenda, and the joint  Soviet-Polish commission of historians has
addressed it.  The  Polish side has  no doubt who  is guilty, but
the Soviets keep repeating the old claim to have ``no evidence to
the contrary'' in their archives.  The issue remains deadlocked.
   Meanwhile, the Katyn cemetery has been opened to the public --
and the  Germans are  still blamed  for the  crime.  However, the
Soviets have added a twist: They  now claim about 500 Soviet POWs
perished with  the Polish officers.   If that  weren't enough, on
Nov.  6,  Soviet  officials  announced  a  ``new''  date  of  the
massacre, putting it in 1943,  although no details concerning the
month are mentioned.
   This new and ridiculous story is  a bad omen, and not only for
Soviet-Polish  relations: The  U.S.  agreed Tuesday  to  a Soviet
proposal  that a  human-rights conference  be  held in  Moscow in
1991.  Mr. Gorbachev  has very much wanted  the rights talks, and
such a meeting would represent a significant achievement for him.
U.S. officials  say they had  observed broad  improvements in the
Soviets' handling  of human rights.   But even  if under glasnost
the Soviets cannot admit the truth, and instead produce new lies,
can their assertions on human  rights be trusted?  Is it possible
that by  not admitting  old crimes the  Soviet Union  is posed to
commit new ones?
   We  must be  vigilant  when we  can  see such  things actually
unfolding before our eyes.

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