KATYN by Allen Paul

KATYN

The Untold Story of Stalin's Polish Massacre
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KIRKUS REVIEW

 Powerful examination of Stalin's infamous WW II campaign against Poland's professional and middle classes, exemplified by the 1940 execution (denied by the Soviets until 1990) of most of Poland's officer corps in the Katy Forest and at still-unknown sites. The Katy Forest massacre, in which 15,000 Polish officers held by the Bolsheviks were shot by the NKVD, has become the ``complex symbol of Polish suffering at the hands of Stalin,'' argues Paul, who began his research at the Center for European Studies in Bologna, Italy, under the auspices of Johns Hopkins Univ. School of Advanced International Studies. Using US Congressional testimony released only in 1989, buttressed by extensive interviews with survivors, Paul claims to present the most definitive view to date of Katy, blending historical reportage with narratives of three families caught up in Stalin's crimes. Indeed, for 50 years the story was buried not only by the Soviets but by Western governments, which concealed knowledge of Soviet guilt to protect their relationships with the USSR. Paul presents evidence of Stalin's one-word written order, ``Liquidate,'' which led to the murders, then details Soviet attempts to deny knowledge of the atrocity and, later, to blame the Nazis for it (after the Germans discovered some of the mass graves, the Nazis sought to propagandize the crime in order to divide the Allies). According to Paul, Stalin even manipulated the discovery ``to deal the legitimate government of Poland a lethal blow'' and set up a puppet regime. Moreover, Paul says, during the war years, the Soviets deported to Siberia and other harsh climes more than a million middle-class Poles, many of whom ``perished from starvation, forced labor and neglect.'' Well researched and ably written: a fine and harrowing study. (Eight-page photo insert--not seen.)

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1991
ISBN: 0-684-19215-2
Page count: 352pp
Publisher: Scribner
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1st, 1991




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