massacre, also known as the Katyn Forest massacre (Polish: zbrodnia
katyńska, 'Katyń crime'), was a mass murder of many thousands of Polish
prisoners of war (primarily military officers), intellectuals,
policemen, and other public servants by the Soviet NKVD, based on a
proposal from Lavrentiy Beria to execute all members of the Polish
Dated 5 March
1940, this official document was then approved (signed) by the entire
Soviet Politburo including Joseph Stalin and Lavrentiy Beria.
The number of victims is
estimated at about 22,000, the most commonly cited number being 21,768.
The victims were murdered in the Katyn
Russia, the Kalinin
and Kharkov prisons and elsewhere. About 8,000
were officers taken prisoner during the 1939 Soviet invasion of Poland, the rest
being Poles arrested for allegedly being "intelligence agents,
gendarmes, saboteurs, landowners, factory owners, lawyers, priests, and
conscription system required every unexempted university graduate to
become a reserve officer, the Soviets were able to round up much of the
Polish intelligentsia, and the Jewish, Ukrainian, Georgian and
Belarusian intelligentsia of Polish citizenship.
The "Katyn massacre" refers specifically to the massacre at
Katyn Forest, near the villages of Katyn and Gnezdovo (ca.
19 km west of Smolensk, Russia), of Polish military officers
in the Kozelsk prisoner-of-war camp. This was the largest of the
simultaneous executions of prisoners of war from geographically distant
Starobelsk and Ostashkov camps, and the executions of political
prisoners from West Belarus and West Ukraine, shot on Stalin's orders at
Forest, at the NKVD headquarters in Smolensk, at a Smolensk
slaughterhouse, and at prisons in Kalinin (Tver),
other Soviet cities.
The Belorussian and Ukrainian Katyn Lists are NKVD lists of names of
Polish prisoners to be murdered at various locations in Belarus and Western Ukraine.
The modern Polish investigation of the Katyn Massacre covered not only
the massacre at Katyn forest, but also the other mass murders mentioned
above. There are Polish organisations such as the Katyn Committee and
the Federation of Katyn Families, which again are inclusive of victims
of the various mass murders at the various locations.