Hall Center For The Humanities


Anna Cienciala
Professor of History, Emerita

'KATYN - A Stalinist Crime: The Massacre of Polish Prisoners of War in the USSR, Spring 1940"
Special Events

Mon., Oct. 13, 2008, 3:30pm - 5:00pm
Location: Hall Center Conference Hall
This event is free and open to the public. Reception to follow.

In April and May 1940, following the Soviet invasion of Poland in September 1939, some 14,500 Polish prisoners, chiefly military officers and policemen, were shot by their Soviet captors. The prisoners were buried in the Katyn Forest (near Smolensk), at Kalinin (near Moscow), and at Kharkov (Ukraine). Katyn came to represent the three collective killing fields. In April 1943, the German government reported the discovery of mass graves in the Katyn Forest. Stalin's regime denied responsibility and accused German forces of having committed the killings in the summer of 1941 after invading the Soviet Union. The Soviet denial endured for 50 years. Only in 1990 did Mikhail Gorbachev admit Soviet responsibility. Both he and Boris Yeltsin handed over documents to the Poles.

It is these documents that Anna M. Cienciala and her co-editors used in their book of 600 pages, Katyn: A Crime Without Punishment (Yale University Press, 2008). Cienciala, professor emerita of history at KU, wrote long introductions to preface each of three groups of documents.

This event is sponsored by the Friends of the Hall Center.
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