Report by a Special Soviet Commission, 24 January 1944, concerning the shooting
of Polish officer prisoners of war in the forest of Katyn. The executions
had been carried out in autumn 1941 by the German "Staff of the Construction
Battalion 537". In spring 1943 the Germans, by blackmailing witnesses
into giving false evidence and by other means, had tried to make it appear
that the Soviet NKWD was responsible for the shooting of the 11,000 victims.
Brochure in the Russian language from the year 1944. 56 pages in octavo
format, later bound. Signature of German translation.
of the Special Commission for the examination and investigation of the circumstances
of the shooting of Polish prisoners of war in the Katyn forest by the German
The Special Commission for the examination and investigation of the circumstances
of the shooting of Polish prisoners of war in the forest of Katyn (near
Smolensk) by the German fascist invaders was formed by order of the Special
State Commission to examine and investigate the atrocities of the fascist
German invaders and their accomplices.
The Commission consists of the following persons:
Member of the Special State Commission, Academician N.N. BURDENKO (President
of the Commission);
Member of the on the Special State Commission, Academician ALEKSEJ TOLSTOI;
Member of the Special State Commission, Mythropolitos NIKOLAI;
President of the AllSlavic Committee, Lieutenant General GUNDOROW A.S.;
President of the Executive Committee of the Association of the Red Cross
and Red Half Moon, POLESNIKOW S.A.;
People's Commissar for Education of the RSFSR <Russian Soviet Federal
Socialist Republic>, Academician POTEMKIN W.P.;
Chief of the Forensic Head Office of the Red Army, CoronelGeneral SMIRNOW
President of the Executive Committee for the Region of Smolensk, MEINIKOW
To deal with the tasks laid before the Commission, the Commission called
upon the following forensic experts:
Superior Forensic Expert of the People's Commissariat for Health Matters
of the USSR, Director of the Scientific Research Institute for Forensic
Medicine PROZOROWSKI W.I.; head of the Professorship of Forensic Medicine
of the 2nd Moscow Medical Institute, Doctor of Medical Sciences, SMOLJANINOW
W.M.; eldest scientific expert of the State Scientific Research Institute
for Forensic Medicine of the People's Commissariat for Health Matters of
the USSR, SEMENOWSKI P.S.; eldest scientific official of the State Scientific
Research Institute for Forensic Medicine of the People's Commissariat for
Health Matters of the USSR, Professor SCHWAIKOWA M.D.; chief pathologist
of the Major Front of the Medical Service, Professor WYROPAIJEW D.N..
The extensive material laid before his associates and the forensic medical
experts who arrived in the city of Smolensk on 26 September 1943, immediately
after the liberation of the city, and who conducted the preliminary study
and investigation of the circumstances of all atrocities committed by the
Germans, was made available to the Special Commission by Member of the Special
State Commission, Professor BURDENKO N.N..
The Special Commission carried out on-the-spot investigations and found
that the graves of the Polish prisoners of war shot by the German occupiers
are located 15 kilometres from the city of Smolensk, on the Witebsker highway,
in the region of the Katyn forest known as "Kosji Gori", 200 metres
southwest of the highway, in the direction of the Dnjipr river.
The graves were excavated by order of the Special Commission, and in the
presence of all members of the Special Commission and the forensic experts.
A great number of corpses in Polish uniforms were discovered in the graves.
According to the calculations of the forensic experts, the number of corpses
amounts, in total, to 11,000.
The forensic experts thoroughly examined the disinterred corpses and all
objects and exhibits found in the graves and on the corpses.
Simultaneous with the excavation of the graves and the examination of the
corpses, the Special Commission carried out interrogations of the numerous
witnesses and the local populace, whose testimonies precisely established
the time and circumstances of the crime committed by the German occupiers.
The following is clear from the testimonies of the witnesses:
The Katyn Forest
The Katyn forest was always a favourite holiday spot for the people of the
city of Smolensk.
Those who lived in the vicinity pastured their livestock in the Katyn forest
and cut wood. There were no restrictions or prohibitions against entering
the Katyn forest.
This was the case in the Katyn forest until the outbreak of the war. The
"Promstrachkasse" combat engineers camp which was only dissolved
in July 1941 was still located in the forest in the summer of 1941. Following
the occupation of the city of Smolensk by the German invader, quite a different
system prevailed in the Katyn forest. The forest began to be guarded by
reinforced patrols, and numerous warning notices appeared, stating that
all persons who entered the forest without special permits would be shot.
Especially strictly guarded was that part of the Katyn forest known as "Kosji
Gori", as well as the region along the banks of the Dnjepr, where a
summer house rest centre for the NKWD offices at Smolensk was located 700
metres from where the graves of the Polish prisoners of war were discovered.
After the arrival of the Germans, a German office was created at this location,
called "the Staff of the Construction Battalion 537".
Polish prisoners of war in the region of Smolensk
The Special Commission has established that, prior to the conquest of the
city of Smolensk by the German occupiers, Polish prisoners of war, officers
and enlisted men, worked on the construction and repair of the highways
in the west districts of the region. The Polish prisoners of war were housed
in three camps, i.e., camp no. 1ON, no. 2ON, and no. 3ON, which were located
approximately 2545 kilometres west of the city of Smolensk.
It has been established, based on the testimony of witnesses and documentary
proof, that the above named camps could not be evacuated in time due to
the unfavourable conditions after the commencement of military operations.
All Polish prisoners of war, some of the guard personnel, and the camp employees,
fell, for this reason, into German captivity.
The former head of camp no. 1ON, Major of Security WETOSCHINIKOW W.M., interrogated
by the Special Commission, stated:
"I awaited the order relating to the dissolution of the camp. But <phone>
connections with the city of Smolensk were interrupted. Therefore I drove
together with a few fellow employees to Smolensk to clarify the situation.
I found the situation in Smolensk tense. I turned to the head of railway
traffic for the Smolensk stretch of the western railway, Comrade IWANOW,
with a request to provide the camp with <train> carriages to evacuate
the Polish prisoners of war. Comrade IWANOW answered, however, that I could
not count on that. I made attempts to get in connection with Moscow to obtain
permission to cover the distance by foot, but I was not successful.
"At this time, Smolensk was already cut off from the camp by the Germans,
and I don't know what happened to the Polish prisoners of war and the guard
personnel who remained behind in the camp."
Engineer IWANOW S.W., head of traffic for the Smolensk stretch of the western
railway in July 1941, stated to the Special Commission:
"The administration of the camp for Polish prisoners of war contacted
my office with a request to obtain train carriages for the evacuation of
the Poles, but we had no carriages available. We were furthermore unable
to direct any carriages to the Gusino stretch, since the stretch was already
under fire. For this reason, we could not consider the request of the camp
administration. Thus, the Polish prisoners of war remained behind in the
region of Smolensk."
That the Polish prisoners of war remained behind in the camps of the region
of Smolensk was confirmed by the testimony of the numerous witnesses, who
had seen these Poles in the vicinity of the city of Smolensk in the early
months of the occupation until the month of September 1941.
The female witness SASCHENEW Marija Akeksandrowna, a teacher at the primary
school of the village of Senjkowo, stated to the Special Commission that
she had hidden one of the Polish prisoners of war in the attic of her house
after he had escaped from the camp.
"The Pole wore a Polish military uniform, which I immediately recognized
since I had seen the groups of Polish prisoners of war in 1940-41 on the
highways, working under guard. I was very interested in this Pole since
he, as it turned out, had been a primary school teacher in Poland before
his callup. Since I had myself graduated from teacher's training college
and wanted to be a teacher, I struck up a conversation with him. He told
me that he had attended a teacher's training college in Poland, then went
to a military school and became a lieutenant in the reserve. Upon the outbreak
of hostilities between Poland and Germany, he was called up for active military
service. He was in BreskLitovsk and was taken prisoner by units of the Red
Army. He stayed in a camp near Smolensk for over a year.
"When the Germans came and occupied the Polish camp, a hard system
prevailed there. The Germans did not consider the Poles to be human beings,
and pushed them around and mistreated them in every possible way. There
were cases in which Poles were shot without any reason. So he decided to
escape. He told me of his own accord that his wife was also a teacher and
that he had two brothers and a sister."
When he went away the following day, he mentioned a name which SASCHNEWA
noted in a book. The book, presented <to the Special Commission> by
SASHNEWA, "Practical Exercises in the Natural Sciences" by Jagodowsky,
contains the following note on the last page:
"LOECK, Jusef and Sophia, city of Smostjie, Agorodnaja Street no. 25."
The list <of Katyn shooting victims> published by the Germans contains
the name LOECK Jusef under no. 3796 as having been shot in the spring of
1940 at Kosji Gori in the Katyn forest.
From the German reports, it therefore appears that LOECK Jusef was shot
one year before his acquaintance with the female witness Saschnewa.
The witness DANILENKOW N.W., a farmer from the "Krasnaja Zarja"
collective farm and a member of the village council of Katyn, stated:
"In the months of August September 1941, when the Germans came, I met
Poles working on the highway in groups of 1520 men each."
Similar statements were made by the witnesses:
SOLDATENKOW, former village elder of the village of Borock,
KOLATSCHEW A.S., doctor of the city of Smolensk,
OGLOBLIN A.P., priest,
SERGEEW T.I. railway master
SMIRJAGIN P.A., engineer,
MOSKOWSKAJA A.M., resident of the city of Smolensk,
ALEKSEJEW A.M., foreman of the collective farm of the village of Borock,
KUTZEW I.W., technician of the water services,
GORODEZTKIJ W.P., priest,
BASEKINA A.T., bookkeeper,
WITROWA E.N., teacher,
SAWWATEJEW I.W., duty officer at the railway station at Gnesdowo, among
The raids in search of Polish prisoners of war
The presence of Polish prisoners of war in the region of Smolensk in the
autumn of 1941 was also confirmed by the fact of the German raids in search
of prisoners who had escaped from the camps.
The witness KARTOSCHKIN I.M., carpenter, stated:
"The Germans not only searched for Polish prisoners of war in the forests
in the autumn of 1941, but there were also police house searches carried
out at night in the villages."
The former village elder Nowie Bateki SACHAROW M.D. testified that the Germans,
in the autumn of 1941, "combed" the villages and forests feverishly
in search of for Polish prisoners of war.
The witness DANILEKNOW N.W., farmer on the "Krasnaja Zarja" collective
"In our region, special raids were carried out in search of escaped
Polish prisoners of war. Such searches were conducted two or three times
in my house. After one house search, I asked the village elder, SERGEJEW
Konstantin, whom they were looking for in our house. Segejew said that an
order had been issued by the German commander to search all houses without
exception, since Polish prisoners of war who had escaped from the camps
were said to have hidden themselves in our village. Some time later the
The witness FATJKOW T.E., a farmer at the collective farm, stated:
"Raids in search of Polish prisoners of war were carried out several
times. This was in the months of August September 1941. After the month
of September 1941, the raids stopped, and no one saw any more Polish prisoners
The shootings in the Katyn forest
The above mentioned "Staff of the Construction Battalion 537",
located in the summer house at Kosji Gori, did no construction work. Its
activity was carefully kept secret.
What this "staff" actually did was testified to by many witnesses,
including the female witnesses: ALEKSEJAWA A.M., MICHAILOWA O.A., and KONACHOWSKAJA
S.P., residents of the village of Borock of the village council of Katyn.
Upon order of the German commandant of the settlement of Katyn, <transmitted>
by the village eldest of the village of Borock, SOLDATENKOW W.J., they were
sent to the summer house <of Kosji Gori> to serve "staff"
After arrival at Kosji Gori, a number of regulations relating to their behaviour
were communicated to them through an interpreter. It was most severely prohibited
to stray away from the summer house and into the forest, to enter rooms
in the summer house without being asked and without the accompaniment of
a German soldiers, or to approach the region of the summer house during
the night. Only one particular path to the workplace and back was permitted,
and only then when accompanied by the soldiers.
ALEKSEJAWA, MICHAILOWA AND KONACHOWSKAJA were instructed in this regard
through an interpreter directly by the head of the German office, Lt. Col.
ARNES, the women having been called in solely for this purpose.
As to the personnel making up the "staff", ALEKSEJAWA A.M. stated:
"In the Kosji Gori summer house, there were always about 30 Germans.
The oldest of them was Lt. Col. ARNES; his adjutant was Lt. Col. REKST.
There were also a Lt. HOTT; a Sgt. LUEMERT; a noncommissioned officer for
economic affairs ROSE; his representative ISICKE; Staff Sergeant GRENEWSKY,
who headed a power plant; a photographer; a lance corporal, whose family
name I can no longer recall; an interpreter from the Volga German republic,
his name seems to me to have been Johann, but we called him Iwan; the cook;
a German named Gustav; and many others, whose first and last names are not
known to me."
Soon after their entry into service, Aleksejewa, Michailowa, and Konachowskaja
began to notice "some sort of dark doings" going on the summer
Alekskaja A.M. stated:
"We were warned several times by the interpreter Johann, on behalf
of ARNES, that we were to keep quiet and not blabber about anything we saw
or heard in the country house. Otherwise, we noticed several things that
made us understand that the Germans were carrying on dark doings in this
"At the end of August and during more than half of September 1941,
several trucks arrived almost daily at the Kosji Gori summer house. At first,
I paid them no attention; later I noted that, when the trucks arrived, they
always stopped somewhere on the path leading from the highway to the summer
house for half an hour or a full hour. I drew this conclusion because the
noise of the motors went silent for some time after the trucks entered the
grounds of the country house. At the same time, individual shots began to
be fired. One shot followed another in short but regular intervals. Then
the shooting stopped and the trucks drove to the country house. German soldiers
and noncommissioned officers got down off the trucks. They talked in loud
voices, went in the bathroom, and then drank wine. The bathroom was always
heated on these days. On the days when the trucks arrived, soldiers also
entered the summer house from some other unit. Beds were laid out for these
soldiers in the soldiers' mess hall, which had been opened in one of the
rooms. On these days, there was a great deal of cooking in the kitchen,
and double portions of spirits were brought to the table.
Shortly before the entry of the trucks, the soldiers went into the forest,
probably to where the trucks were stopped.
After half an hour or a full hour, they came back on the trucks, together
the soldiers that lived in the country house. I would probably never have
observed this or noticed when the noise began and went silent again. But
every time the trucks entered, if we (myself, Konachowskaja, and Michailowa)
were in the courtyard, we were driven back into the kitchen or not allowed
to leave the kitchen if we were in there. Through this circumstance, and
through the fact that I several times noted fresh bloodstains on the clothing
of two corporals, I was compelled to take careful note of everything that
went on in the country house. I then noticed the strange intermediate pauses
in the movement of the trucks and their behaviour in the forest. I also
noticed that the bloodstains were always on the clothing of the same two
men, two corporals. One of them was a big one with red hair; the other,
of medium build, was blond. For this reason, I drew the conclusion that
the Germans were bringing people to the summer house by truck and then shooting
them. I even guessed where everything was happening and, when I left the
house or came back to it, I noticed earth thrown up at several places not
far from the highway. The places where the earth lay got bigger from day
to day. In the course of time the earth at these spots nevertheless took
on its usual shape again.
To the question by the Special Commission as to which persons were shot
in the forest near the country house, Aleksejewa answered that Polish prisoners
of war were shot there; and to confirm her testimony she stated:
"There were days on which the trucks did not enter the country house.
The soldiers however left the country house and went into the forest. From
there, frequent shots could be heard. After their return, the soldiers always
went into the bathroom and then they drank.
"And then there was another such case. Once, I stayed longer than usual
in the country house. Michailowa and Konachowskaja had already gone away.
I was not yet finished with my work, I had stayed for that reason, when
suddenly a soldier came up to me and said I could go. In so doing, he made
reference to Rose's order. The same soldier accompanied me to the highway.
"After I passed the curve in the highway 150200 metres from the country
house, I saw a group of about 30 Polish prisoners of war marching along
the highway under reinforced guard.
"That they were Poles I already knew, because I had already met Polish
prisoners of war on the embankment roadway before the outbreak of the war
<between Germany and the USSR> and for some time after the Germans
came; the Poles always wore the same uniform, with a characteristic fourcornered
"I remained by the edge of the road to see where they were being taken,
and I saw them turn aside at the curve to our Kosji Gori country house.
"Since I had already carefully observed all events from the country
house before this time, I took great interest in this event on that day;
I turned back a short distance on the embankment roadway, and hid in the
bushes by the side of the road to await further events. 20 or 30 minutes
later, I heard the characteristic individual shots which were so well known
"Then everything came clear to me, and I went home quickly.
"From this fact, I concluded that the Germans not only shot the Poles
during the day, when we were working, but also at night, during our absence.
"This became still more clear to me when I remembered that the entire
staff of officers and soldiers living at the country house, except for the
guards, slept until late in the day, and only woke up around 12 noon.
"Sometimes we could tell when the Poles were arriving at Kosji Gori,
from the tense atmosphere which prevailed in the country house on such days.
"All officers then left the country house; only individual duty officers
remained behind in the building, and the duty officer controlled all posts
by telephone without interruption..."
Michailowa OA stated:
"In September 1941, very frequent shots could be heard in the Kosji
Gori forest. At the beginning, I took no particular notice of the trucks
arriving at the country house; they were covered on all four sides, painted
green, and accompanied by noncommissioned officers. Later I noticed that
these trucks were never parked in our garages, and were not unloaded either.
These trucks arrived very often, especially in September 1941.
"Among the noncommissioned officers who always sat in the cabin next
to the driver, I noticed one tall one with a pallid complexion and red hair.
When these trucks came into the country house, all the noncommissioned officers,
as if they were obeying an order, went into the bathroom, washed themselves
for a long time, and then drank in the country house.
"Once this tall redhaired German left the truck and went straight into
the kitchen, where he asked for water. As he drank the water from the glass,
I noticed a bloodstain on the right cuff of his uniform."
Michailowa O.A. and Konachowskaja S.P. once saw with their own eyes how
two Polish prisoners of war were shot after apparently escaping the Germans
and had being recaptured.
Michailowa stated the following in this regard:
"Once Konachowskaja and I were working in the kitchen as usual, and
we heard noise not far from the house. When we came out of the kitchen,
we saw two Polish prisoners of war surrounded by German soldiers, explaining
something to noncommissioned officer Rose. Then Lt. Col. Arnes came up and
spoke a few words to Rose. We got out of the way, since we were afraid Rose
would shoot us for our curiosity. But we were noticed anyway, and the mechanic
Linewski chased us away on Roses order into the kitchen, and then he led
Poles away from the country house. After a few minutes, we heard shots.
The German soldiers and noncommissioned officers, who returned shortly afterwards,
were talking to each other excitedly. Konachowskaja and I were driven to
leave the kitchen once more by the desire to find out what the Germans had
done with the Poles whom they had arrested. Arnes' adjutant, who went out
with us at the same time, asked Rose something in German, whereupon the
latter answered in German "Alles in Ordnung <everything OK>".
I understood these words, because they were often used by Germans in conversations
with each other. I concluded from all these events that the two Poles had
Similar statements were made in this regard by Konachowskaja S.P.:
Intimidated by what was going on in the country house, Alekskaja, Michailowa,
and Konachowskaja decided to quit their jobs at the country house on some
pretext. They used the salary cut from 9 to 3 marks monthly, implemented
at the beginning of January 1942 and, upon Michailowa's suggestion, did
not go to work. The same evening, a car arrived; a man took them to the
country house, and locked them in a cold room for punishment. Michailowa
was locked up for 8 days; Aleksejewa and Konachowskaja for 3 days.
After they had undergone this punishment, they were all released.
During their work in the country house, Aleksejewa, Michailowa, and Konachowskaja
were afraid to exchange their observations of what was going on in the country
house.Only in confinement, when they were all locked in, did they exchange
their thoughts during the night:
Michailowa stated during the interrogation of 24 December 1943:
"That was the first time we spoke of what was going on in the country
house. I told everything I knew, but it turned out that Konachowskaja and
Aleksejewa were already aware of all these things. But they were afraid
to speak to me about them. Here I found out that the Germans in Kosji Gori
were shooting Polish prisoners of war in particular, since Aleksejewa told
how she was going home from work once in the autumn of 1941 and personally
saw the Germans herding a big group of Polish prisoners of war into the
Kosji Gori forest. Some time later she heard shots at that spot."
Aleksejewa and Konachowskaja testified to the same effect.
Aleksejewa, Michailowa, and Konachowskaja came to the firm conviction, after
comparing their observations, that mass shootings of Polish prisoners of
war were being carried on at the Kosji Gori country house in August and
The testimonies of Aleksejewa are confirmed by the testimony of her father
Aleksejew Michail, to whom she reported her observations concerning the
crimes being committed by the Germans at the country house in the autumn
of 1941 while she was still working there.
"For a long time she didn't say a single word," Aleksejew Michail
testified, "Only when returned from her work, she complained that it
was strange to work there and that she didn't know how she could get away.
When I asked her what made it so strange, she answered that shots could
very often be heard in the forest. Once, when she came back home, she told
me confidentially that the Germans were shooting Poles in the Kosji Gori
forest. After listening to my daughter, I warned her most severely not to
speak to anyone else about it. otherwise the Germans would find out about
it and our whole family would suffer."
The testimony concerning the transport of Polish prisoners of war to Kosji
Gori in small groups of 2030 men under a guard of 57 German soldiers is
made by other witnesses interrogated by the Special Commission: KISSELEW
P.G., farmer from the Kosji Gori dairy farm; KRIWOSERZEW M.G., joiner from
the station Krasnyi Bor in the Katyn forest: IWANOW S.W., exforeman at Gnesdowo
station in the region of the Katyn forest; SAWWATEJEW IW, duty officer at
the same station; ALEKSEJEW M.A., president of the collective farm at the
village of Borok; OGLOBLIN A.P., priest of the church of Kuprin, and others.
These witnesses also heard shots resounding from the Kosji Gori forest.
An especially great breakthrough for the investigation of the events at
the Kosji Gori country house in the autumn of 1941 was provided by the professor
of astronomy, Director BASILEWSKI B.W., of the observatory at Smolensk.
Professor Basilewski was appointed representative of the head of the city
(the mayor) by force during the first days of the German occupation of Smolensk,
while the lawyer MENSCHAGIN B.G. was appointed head of the city by the Germans,
who later took him away with them. MENSCHAGIN was a traitor who enjoyed
the special trust of the German command, and especially that of the commandant
of Smolensk, von SCHWEZ.
In early September 1941, Basilewski asked Menschagin to ask commandant von
Schwez to release the teacher SCHIGLINSKI from prisoner of war camp no.
126. In fulling this request, Menschagin talked to von Schwez, and then
told Basilewski that his request could not be granted because, as von Schwez
said, "an order had come from Berlin prescribing the immediate application
of the strictest regime relating to prisoners of war and permitting no indulgence
in this matter."
"I couldn't help objecting", testified witness Basilewski, "'But
What could be stricter than the regime prevailing in the camp now?'"
Menschagin looked at me strangely and, coming very close to me, answered
softly, "'It can be <a lot tougher>. The Russians will at least
die off by themselves, but as for the prisoners of war, it was simply proposed
to exterminate them.'"
"'How? How am I to understand that?'" I cried.
"You are to understand it literally. There is such an order from Berlin,"
answered Menschagin, requesting me, 'for God's sake', not to say a word
about it to anyone."
"Two weeks later, after the above mentioned talk with Menschagin, when
I was again received by him, I could not help asking him: 'What have you
heard about the Poles?'
Menschagin hesitated a little and then answered, 'It's all up with them.
Von Schwez told me that they have been shot somewhere in the vicinity of
"Since Menschagin noticed my excitement, he warned me again of the
need to keep this matter strictly secret, and then he began to explain the
German manner of procedure in this matter. He said, 'the shooting of the
Poles was a link in the whole chain of anti-Polish policies carried out
by the Germans, which was to be especially tightened up in view of conclusion
of the treaty between the Russians and the Poles.'"
Basilewski also told the Special Commission about his conversation with
the Special Leader of the 7th Division of the German commander Hirschfeld,
a Baltic German who spoke good Russian:
"Hirschfeld cynically explained that the perniciousness and inferiority
of the Poles had been historically proven, and that the reduction in Polish
population figures would serve to fertilize the soil and provide a guarantee
for the expansion of German living space.
"In this connection, Hirschfeld bragged that nothing was left of the
intelligentsia in Poland, since they had all been hanged, shot, or taken
away to concentration camps."
The testimony of the witness Basilewski was confirmed by the witness, physics
professor Jefimow J.E., interrogated by the Special Commission, to whom
Basilewski told of his conversation with Menschagin in the autumn of 1941.
The testimony of Basilewski and Jefimow is strengthened by documentary evidence
in the form of handwritten notes by Menschagin, in his own handwriting,
jotted down in his notebook.
This notebook, containing 17 full pages, was found in the files of the city
administration of Smolensk after its liberation. The fact that this notebook
belonged to Menschagin, and was also in his handwriting, is confirmed both
by the testimony of Basilewski, who was well familiar with Menschagin's
handwriting, and by graphological reports.
As may be seen from the dates contained in the notebook, the contents concern
the period from the early days of August 1941 until November of the same
Among the various notes with regards to economic matters (wood, electrical
energy, commerce, etc.) there are a number of notes concerning instructions
from the commander of Smolensk, made by Menschagin in order not to forget
From these notes, it may be clearly seen that the city administration was
concerned with a number of matters as the body carrying out all the instructions
of the German command.
The first of the three pages of the note book describe the organization
of the Ghetto and the system of reprisals to be carried out relating to
the Jews. Page 10, dated 15 August 1941, states: "All escaped Polish
prisoners of war are to be arrested and brought to the command post."
Page 15, (without date), states:
"Are there any rumours circulating among the populace of shootings
of Polish prisoners of war at Kosji Gory (to Umnow)?"
From the initial notes, it may be seen that, on 15 August 1941, the Polish
prisoners of war were still in the region of Smolensk, and that they were
furthermore being arrested by the German authorities.
The second note proves that the German command, disturbed by the possibility
of the existence of rumours among the civilian population about crimes committed
by the Germans, gave special instructions to investigate the matter.
Umnow, who is mentioned in the note, was chief of the Russian police in
Smolensk during the first months of the occupation.
Beginning of German provocation
In the winter of 1942-43, the general military situation changed fundamentally,
and not in favour of the Germans. The military power of the Soviet Union
was constantly increasing, and the alliance between the Soviet Union with
the Allies was strengthening. The Germans decided to initiate a provocation
by taking the atrocities which they themselves had committed in the forest
of Katyn and accusing the Soviet authorities of having committed them. They
thus intended to divide the Russians and the Poles and wipe away the trace
of their crime.
The priest from the village of Kuprino, district Smolensk, A.P. OGLOBLIN,
"The Germans took up this matter after the events at Stalingrad, when
they were feeling unsure of themselves. Among the people, it was said that
the Germans were attempting to improve their position."
Concerned with expanding the Katyn provocation, the Germans first began
to search for "witnesses" able to offer the testimony desired
by the Germans, under the influence of promises, bribes, or threats.
The farmer KISSELEW Parfen Gawrilowitsch, born 1870, who lived closer to
the Kosji Gori country house than anyone else, attracted the attention of
the Germans. Kisselew was told to report to the Gestapo as early as the
end of 1942, and after under the threat of reprisals was requested to offer
perjured testimony about the matter, stating that he knew that the Bolsheviks
had shot the Polish prisoners of war in the Kosji Gori country house of
the NKWD in early 1940.
Kisselew testified in this regard:
"In autumn 1942, two policemen came to my house and said I had to report
to the Gestapo at Gnesdowo railway station.
"The same day, I went to the Gestapo, which was housed in a twostory
house next to the railway station. In the room which I entered, there was
a German officer and an interpreter. The German officer began to interrogate
me through the interpreter, asking how long I had lived in the district,
what I did, and my financial situation. I told him I had lived in the farmstead
next to Kosji Gori since 1907 and worked on my property. About my financial
situation, I said I was having difficulties, because I was already old and
my sons were in the army.
"After this short conversation, the officer explained to me that the
Gestapo had reports stating that members of the KNWD office had shot the
Polish prisoners of war in the Katyn forest not far from Kosji Gori in 1940.
He asked what testimony I could make about it. I answered that I had never
heard anything about the NKWD office carrying out any shootings in the Kosji
Gori. I furthermore explained to the officer that I considered it impossible
to carry out shootings there, since Kosji Gory was very openly exposed,
and thickly populated. The whole populace in the neighbouring villages must
surely have known of it.
"The officer answered that I was to make such a statement, since the
aforementioned fact had allegedly really taken place. A big reward was promised
me for this testimony.
"I repeatedly explained to the officer that I had heard nothing of
the shootings, and that something like this could simply not happen at all
before the war in our region. The officer nevertheless insisted that I was
to make the perjured statement.
"After the first conversation, of which I have already spoken, I was
called to the Gestapo for a second time in February 1942.
"At this time, it was known to me that other residents of the neighbouring
villages had also been ordered to report to the Gestapo, and they had been
ordered to make the same testimony.
"In the Gestapo were the same officer and interpreter who had interrogated
me the first time.
"Again they demanded that I should testify that I was an eyewitness
to the shootings of Polish officers allegedly carried out in 1940 by the
I explained to the Gestapo officer once again that this was a lie, since
I had heard nothing of the shootings before the war, and that I would not
make the perjured statement. But the interpreter refused to listen to me,
took a handwritten document from the table, and read it to me. It said that
I, KISSELEW, lived in the farmstead not far from Kosji Gori, and had myself
seen employees of the NKWD shooting the Polish officers in 1940.
After the interpreter had read it to me, he suggested that I sign the document.
I refused. The interpreter tried to force me to sign by means of threats
and insults, Finally he said, 'Either you sign immediately, or you will
be killed. You have to choose!'
"I was now afraid, and signed the document, figuring that the matter
was at an end. After the Germans organized the visit to the graves of Katyn
by various 'delegations', I was forced to speak before the Polish 'delegation.'"
Kisselew forgot the contents of the statement signed in the Gestapo office,
got mixed up, and finally refused to speak. Then the Gestapo had him arrested,
and, by beating him for a month a half without mercy, forced him to agree
to appear again in public.
In this regard, Kisselew testifies:
"In reality, it happened differently. In the spring of 1943, the Germans
announced that they had discovered the graves of the Polish officers in
in the Kosji Gori region of the Katyn forest, after having been allegedly
shot by the NKWD.
"Soon afterwards, a Gestapo interpreter came to my house and drove
me into the Kosji Gori region of the Katyn forest. After leaving my house,
the interpreter warned me privately that when I was in the forest, to say
everything just exactly as stated in the statement signed in the Gestapo
"When we got to the forest, I saw excavated graves and a group of persons
unknown to me. The interpreter told me they were 'Polish delegates' who
were coming to view the graves.
"When we approached the graves, the 'delegates' began to ask me various
questions in the Russian language relating to the shooting of the Poles.
"But since over a month had passed since I was told to report to the
Gestapo, I had forgotten everything contained in the document signed by
me. So I got mixed up and finally said that I didn't know anything about
the shooting of the Polish officers.
"The German officer got very angry, and the interpreter pushed and
pulled me brutally away from the 'delegation'. The next day, a car with
a Gestapo officer in it came to my house. When the officer found me in the
courtyard, he explained that I was under arrest, put me in the car and took
me to Smolensk prison.
"After my arrest I was often called for interrogation, but they beat
me more than they interrogated me. During my first interrogation they beat
me badly and accused me of slandering them. Then they brought me back to
"In the next interrogation, they told me I had to declare publicly
that I was an eyewitness to the shootings of the Polish officers by the
Bolsheviks and that I would not get out of prison until the Gestapo was
convinced that I would fulfil my task to the best of my ability. I told
the officer that I would rather rot in prison than pull the wool over people's
eyes. After that, they beat me very badly.
"These interrogations, in which I was beaten, were repeated. The result
was that I completely lost my strength, partially lost my hearing, and could
no longer move my right arm.
"Approximately a month after my arrest the German officer called me
to him and said, 'Now, you see, Kisselew, what your obstinacy has cost you.
We have decided to carry out a death sentence upon you. Tomorrow you will
be driven to the Katyn forest and hanged. I asked the officer not to do
that, and tried to convince him that I was unfit for the role of eyewitness
to the shootings, because I simply could not lie and would therefore simply
get something mixed up again. But the officer stuck to his insistence.
"A few minutes later, soldiers came into the room and began to beat
me with rubber truncheons. I could not stand the beatings and mistreatment
and agreed to confirm the perjured statement regarding the shooting of the
Polish officers by the Bolsheviks. Then I was released from prison. At the
same time, they told me that I had to speak in front of the 'delegates'
at the first request of the Germans in the Katyn forest. Each time, before
we drove to the excavated graves in the Katyn forest, the interpreter came
to my home, called me out into the courtyard, took me aside so that nobody
could hear us, and made me learn everything by heart for half an hour, completely
and in detail, that I had to say about the alleged shootings of the Polish
officers by the NKWD in 1940.
"I remember that the interpreter told me <to say> approximately
"'I live on the farmstead in the Kosji Gori region not far from the
KNWD country house. In early 1940, I saw how them bringing the Poles into
the forest and shooting them there every night.'
I also had to repeat word for word that this was the work of the NKWD.
"After I had learnt by heart everything the interpreter told me, he
drove me into the forest to the excavated graves and told me to repeat everything
in the presence of the visiting 'delegation'. My remarks were strictly noted
and orchestrated by the Gestapo interpreter.
"Once, when I appeared before a 'delegation', they asked me whether
I had ever seen the Poles before they were shot by the Bolsheviks.
"I was not prepared for this question, and declared that I had seen
the Polish prisoners of war before the beginning of the war engaged in road
construction work, which was also true. At this, the interpreter pushed
me aside roughly, and chased me home. Please believe me when I say that
I was constantly tortured by remorse, because I knew that the Polish officers
in reality were shot by the Germans in 1941; there was no other way out
for me, since I was afraid of repeated arrest and torture."
The testimony of Kisselew P.G. regarding his visit to the Gestapo and subsequent
arrest and beatings are confirmed by his wife, Kisselewa Asksinija, born
1870, who resides with him; his son, Kisselew Wassili, born 1911; and his
daughterinlaw, Kisselewa Maria, born 1918; as well as railway master Sergejew
Timotej Iwanowitch, born 1901, who also lives with Kisselew at the farmstead.
The injuries inflicted upon Kisselew by the Gestapo (injured shoulder, significant
hearing loss) were confirmed by forensic examination report.
In the search for 'witnesses', the Germans then took an interest in the
workers at Gnesdowo railway station, located two and half kilometres away
from Kosji Gori.
The Polish prisoners of war first arrived at this station in the spring
of 1940, and the Germans obviously wished to obtain corresponding testimony
from railway workers. To this purpose, the Germans, in the spring of 1943,
ordered the former station master of Gnesdowo, IWANOW S.W., and the duty
officer SAWWATEJEW I.W., among others, to report to the Gestapo.
Regarding the circumstances of his visit to the Gestapo, Iwanow S.W., born
"...It was in March 1943. A German officer interrogated me in the presence
of an interpreter. He asked me through the interpreter what I did, and what
my job was at Gnesdowo before the occupation of the area by the Germans;
the officer asked me whether I knew that the Polish prisoners of war arrived
by railway in early 1940 in Gnesdowo in large groups.
"I said, that I knew nothing about it.
"The officer then asked me whether I knew that the Polish officers
were shot by the Bolsheviks in the year in question, the spring of 1940,
soon after their arrival.
"I answered that I knew nothing about it, and that this could not be
true, since I had seen the Polish officers who arrived at Gnesdowo in the
spring of 1940 doing road construction work in 194041, until the city of
Smolensk was taken by the Germans.
"The officer then told me: 'If a German officer says that the Poles
were shot by the Bolsheviks, then that corresponds to the facts. Therefore',
the officer continued, 'you need have no fear; you may sign the statement
with a clear conscience, stating that the Polish prisoners of war were shot
by the Bolsheviks, and that you were an eyewitness to it.'"
"I answered that I was an old man, 61 years old, and didn't want to
burden my soul with sins. I could only testify that the Polish officers
actually arrived in the spring of 1940 in Gnesdowo.
"The German officer then attempted to convince me to make the desired
statement by promising to transfer me from my present job as intermediate
station master to another post, and to make me station master at Gnesdowo,
which is what I was under the Soviets, as well as taking care of me from
a financial point of view.
"The interpreter emphasized that the German command placed great value
on my testimony as former railway employee at Gnesdowo, the station nearest
the Katyn forest, and that I would not be sorry if I made the desired statement.
"I saw that I was in an extremely difficult position and that a sad
fate awaited me, but I still refused to make the perjured statement to the
"The officer then tricked me. He threatened me to have me beaten or
shot, declaring that I did not understand my best interests. But I stood
resolutely by my refusal.
"The interpreter then wrote a short statement in the German language,
one page long, and told me what it said. The interpreter told me it only
contained the fact that the Poles arrived in Gnesdowo. But when I asked
to sign my statement not only in German, but in Russian as well, the officer
lost his temper, beat me with a rubber truncheon, and threw me out."
SAWWATEJEW I.W. born 1880, testified:
"...In the Gestapo, I said that the Polish prisoners actually arrived
in the spring of 1940 at Gnesdowo with their own railway transport, and
that they continued by motor transport, where, I don't know. I also added
that I later saw the Poles several times on the MoscowMinsk highway doing
highway repair work in small groups.
"The officer told me that I was mistaken, and that I could not have
seen the Poles on the highway, since they had been shot by the Bolsheviks.
He asked me to make a statement about this. I refused. After many threats
and attempts at persuasion, the officer consulted with the interpreter about
something, speaking in the German language. The interpreter then wrote a
short statement and presented it to me for signature, saying that it contained
<only> the statements I had made. I asked the interpreter if I could
read it through for myself, but he interrupted me with insults and ordered
me to sign the document immediately and to get out. I hesitated a minute;
the interpreter grabbed a rubber truncheon hanging on the wall and raised
it to hit me. I then signed the statement which had been placed before me.
The interpreter told me to get out, and not to blab anything to anybody
or they would have me shot..."
In their search for "witnesses", the Germans did not stop at the
above mentioned persons. They tried to find former NKWD employees and force
them to make the perjured statements desired by the Germans. The Germans
then arrested the former NKWD garage worker for the region of Smolensk,
IGNATIUK E.L., and tried very hard, through threats and beatings, to force
a statement out of him saying that he was not a garage worker, but a driver,
and had personally driven the Polish prisoners of war to the location of
the shootings. IGNATIUK E.L., born 1903, stated:
"During my first interrogation by police chief ALFERTSCHIK, he accused
me of antiGerman slander activity, and asked me what my job was with the
NKWD. I answered that I was employed in the NKWD office, region of Smolensk,
as a worker. During the same interrogation, Alfertschik asked me to make
a statement saying that was I employed in the NKWD office not as a worker,
but as a driver. When Alfertschik failed to obtain the desired statement,
he became enraged and tied me up, him and his adjutant, whom he addressed
by the name "Schorsch", tying a rag around my head and mouth;
they took down my pants, laid me on a table and beat me with rubber truncheons.
They then called me to interrogation once again, and Alfertschik asked me
to make the perjured statement that the Polish prisoners of war were shot
in the Katyn forest in 1940 by the Bolsheviks, and that I knew all about
it since I had driven the Polish officers to the Katyn forest and was present
during the shootings. If I agreed to make such a statement, Alfertschik
promised to release me from prison and give me a job in the police, where
living conditions were very good; otherwise, he would have me shot. The
last time, I was interrogated in the police station by the examining magistrate
ALEXANDROW, who, like Alfertschik, demanded the desired perjured statement
from me. But I refused.
"After this interrogation, they beat me repeatedly and brought me to
the Gestapo. In the Gestapo, they demanded that I make the perjured statement
about the shooting of the Polish officers in the Katyn forest in 1940, that
it was done by the Soviets, and that as a driver I allegedly had to know
all about it."
In the book published by the German Foreign Office, containing material
falsified by the Germans on the "Katyn affair", the above mentioned
KISSELEW P.G., among others, is presented as a "witness". The
following persons are also cited as "witnesses":
GODOSOW (identical with GODUNOW), born 1877;
SILWERSTOW GRIGORI, born 1891;
ANDREJEW IWAN, born 1917;
SHIGULEW MICHAIL, born 1915;
KRIWOSERZEW IWAN, born 1915, and
SACHAROW MATWEJ, born 1893.
It has been proven by investigation that the first two of the above mentioned
persons (GODOSOW and SILWERSTOW) died in 1943 before the liberation of the
region of Smolensk by the Red Army; the three following persons, ANDREJEW,
SHIGULEW, and KRIWOSERZEW), either fled with the Germans or were taken away
with the Germans by force. The last named SACHAROW MATWEJ, former railway
carriage coupler at Smolensk railway station, who worked as village elder
in Nowye Bateki, was found and interrogated by the Special Commission. Sacharow
explained the manner in which the Germans obtained the perjured statement
on the "Katyn affair".
"In early March 1943," Sacharow stated, "a Gestapo worker
from Gnesdowo, whose name I can no longer remember, came to my house and
said that a German officer wanted to see me. When I got to the Gestapo,
the officer told me through an interpreter: 'We know that you worked as
a railway carriage coupler at Smolensk railway station, and therefore you
must testify that the railway carriages with the Polish prisoners of war
came through the city of Smolensk to Gnesdowo station in 1940, and that
the Poles were then shot in the forest in the region of Kosji Gori'. To
this, I answered that the carriages with the Poles in them actually came
through the city of Smolensk in 1940 headed west, but which station they
got off at, was not known to me. The officer told me that if I didn't make
the statement of my own free will, he would force me to. With these words,
he took a rubber truncheon from the wall and began to beat me. Then they
laid me on a bench, and the officer and interpreter both beat me. I no longer
know how many times they hit me, because I lost consciousness. When I came
to, the officer asked me to sign the statement. I allowed myself to be intimidated
by their blows and threats to shoot me, made perjured testimony, and signed
the statement. I was then released by the Gestapo. A few days after my order
to report to the Gestapo, it was about midMarch 1943, the interpreter came
to my house and said I had to go to a German general and confirm my statement.
When we got to the general, the general asked me whether I confirmed my
statement. I said yes, because the interpreter had told me on the way that
if I didn't confirm my statement, I would get even worse than the first
time I went to the Gestapo. Out of fear of torture, I answered that I did
confirm my statement. The interpreter ordered me to raise by right arm and
told me that I had just sworn an oath, and could go home."
It has been proven that the Germans attempted to obtain the desired statements
from other persons as well, including the former assistant director of Smolensk
prison, KAWERSNEW N.S.; a worker in the same prison, KOWALEW W.G.; and others,
by persuading, threatening and mistreating the above mentioned persons.
Since the search for for "witnesses" failed to bear fruit, the
Germans distributed the following leaflet in the neighbouring villages,
an original of which is contained in the files of the Special Commission:
"NOTICE TO THE CIVIL POPULATION
"Who can testify to the mass shootings of Polish prisoners of war and
priests <!!??> committed by the Bolsheviks in 1940 in the Kosji Gori
forest on the GnesdowoKatyn highway?
Who saw motor transports from Gnesdowo to Kosji Gori?
Who heard about the shootings or was personally an eyewitness?
Who knows residents capable of testifying in this regard?
All information in this connection will be rewarded.
All communications should be sent to the German police, Museumstrasse 6,
or, in Gnesdowo, to the German police, House no. 105 (at the railway station).
3 May 1943
Lieutenant, Field Police
The same notice was published in the newspaper "DER NEUE WEG"
(no. 35 (157) of 6 May 1943, published by the Germans, in the city of Smolensk.
That the Germans promised a reward for the desired testimony about the "Katyn
affair" was proven by the Special Commission through the interrogation
of witnesses and residents of the city of Smolensk:
SOKOLOWA O.E., PUSCHTSCHINA E.A., BYTSCHKOW J.J., BONDAREW G.T., USTINOW
E.P., and many others.
The falsification of the graves at Katyn
Simultaneously to the search for "witnesses", the Germans began
a corresponding falsification of the graves in the Katyn forest. They began
to remove all documents dated later than April 1940, i.e., originating from
the time at which, according to the German provocative slanders, the Poles
had been shot by the Bolsheviks from the clothing of the Poles shot by the
Germans, that is, all exhibits able to disprove these provocative slanders.
The investigations of the Special Commission have proven that the Germans
used approximately 500 Russian prisoners of war recruited from camp no.
126 for this purpose. The Special Commission has numerous witness testimonies
at its disposal relating to this matter.
The testimonies of the doctors from the above named camp merit special attention;
the doctor of medicine TSCHISCHOW A.T., who worked in camp no. 126 during
the occupation of Smolensk, stated:
"In early March 1943, a group totalling 500 men of the strongest prisoners
of war were selected in the prisoner of war camp no. 126 in Smolensk in
order, it was stated, to send them to construction work. Not one of these
prisoners of war ever returned to the camp."
The doctor of medicine CHMYROW W.A., who also worked in the camp during
the German occupation, stated:
"It is known to me that, approximately in the second half of February
or the beginning of March 1943, approximately 500 Red Army prisoners of
war from our camp were transported in an undisclosed direction. These prisoners
of war were said to be going to do construction work, and therefore the
Germans selected the most powerfully built men."
Similar statements were made by the nurses SENKOWSKAJA O.G., TIMOFEJEWA
A.J., the female witnesses ORLOVA P.M., DOBROSERDOVA E.G., and the witness
Where these 500 Soviet prisoners of war were actually sent from camp no.
126 is clear from the testimony of the female witness MOSKOWSKAJA A.M..
MOSKOSKAJA ALEKSANDRA MICHAILOWNA, who live on the outskirts of the city
of Smolensk and worked in the kitchen of one of the German troop divisions
during the occupation, made a statement on 5 October 1943 to the Special
Commission for the Examination of the Atrocities of the German Invaders,
with the request to be called upon to give important eyewitness testimony.
She told the Special Commission that once, in March 1943, upon entering
her shed, located in the farm on the banks of the Dnjepr, she found an unknown
person, who, as it turned out, was a Russian prisoner of war.
MOSKOWSKAJA A.M. (born 1922) stated:
"From conversation with him, I learned the following:
"His name was JEGOROW, first name Nikolai, from Leningrad.
"Since the end of 1941, he had lived in German concentration camps
for prisoners of war in the city of Smolensk.
"In early March 1943, he was sent to the Katyn forest with a column
of 100 prisoners of war from the camp. There they were all ordered, including
Jegorow, to excavate graves containing corpses in Polish officers's uniforms,
to drag these corpses out of the graves, and to remove all documents, photographs,
and other objects from their pockets. It was strictly prohibited to leave
anything in their pockets. Two prisoners of war were shot because the German
officer found some papers on the corpses after the prisoners had already
examined them. All objects, documents, and letters removed from the clothing
were examined by the German officers. Then the prisoners of war were ordered
to put some of these papers back in the pockets of the corpses; the rest
were thrown onto a pile of objects and documents removed from the corpses,
and burnt soon afterwards. Furthermore, other papers were produced from
a chest or box that the Germans had brought with them; these papers were
placed in the pockets of the corpses of the Polish officers. All the prisoners
of war lived in the Katyn forest under fearful conditions and under strict
"In early April 1943, all the work planned by the Germans was finished;
the prisoners of war were not forced to go to work for three days.
"In the night, the Germans woke them all up and took them somewhere.
The guard was reinforced. Jegorow was suspicious, and took particular note
of everything that happened. They walked 3 to 4 hours in an unknown direction.
They stopped in a meadow in the forest in front of a ditch. Jegorow watched
as the Germans separated a group of prisoners of war from the rest of the
human mass, forced them to the ditch, and then shot them.
"The prisoners of war were excited, and started shouting and moving
about. Not far from Jegorow, a few prisoners jumped a guard, and the other
guards ran to this spot.
"Jegorow took advantage of the momentary confusion to run into the
darkness of the woods; at the same time, he heard shouts and shots behind
"After this fearful tale, which will remain seared into my memory for
an entire lifetime, I felt sorry for Jegorow and invited him into my apartment
so he could warm up and hide until he regained his strength. But Jegorow
refused. He said he absolutely had to leave that night in order to cross
the front line. But he didn't leave that night. The next morning, I found
him still in the shed. As it turned out, he had made repeated attempts to
go away during the night, but after he had gone fifty steps he felt weak
and was forced to return. It was probably the result of the continual malnutrition
in the camp and the starvation during the last few days. We agreed that
he would stay one or two days with me, in order to recover his strength.
I gave him food and went to work.
"When I came back that evening, my neighbours, BARANOWA MARIA IWANOWNA
and KABANOWSKAJA KATHERINA VIKTOROWNA, told me that the German police had
discovered a Red Army prisoner of war in my shed during their patrol, whom
they took away with them."
Since a prisoner of war had been found in Moskowskaja's shed, she was told
to report to the Gestapo, where she was accused of hiding a prisoner of
war. During her interrogation by the Gestapo, Moskowskaja denied her relations
with this prisoner of war and claimed that she knew nothing of his presence
in her shed. Since Moskowskaja did not admit her guilt and the prisoner
of war Jegorow did not betray her, she was released by the Gestapo.
Jegorow also told Moskowskaja that a group of prisoners of war working in
the Katyn forest, in addition to digging up the bodies were further occupied
with bringing corpses from other locations. The corpses transported to the
Katyn forest were piled up in the graves, together with the corpses which
had previously been dug up.
The fact that a great number of corpses of persons shot by the Germans at
other locations were transported to the graves at Katyn is also confirmed
by the testimony of the mechanic SUCHATSCHEW.
SUCHATSCHEW P.F. (born 1912), a mechanical engineer from "Roskglawchjleb",
who worked for the Germans as a machinist in the city mills of Smolensk,
filed a request on 8.10.43 to be permitted to testify.
When he appeared, he stated:
"In the mill, during the second half of March 1943, I once talked to
a German driver who spoke a little Russian. After it came out that he was
carrying meal for a division in the village of Sawenky and would be coming
back to Smolensk the next day, I asked him to take him with me in order
that I might have the opportunity to buy fats. In so doing, I was calculating
that riding in a German truck would eliminate the risk of my being stopped
at a checkpoint.
"The German driver agreed for a sum of money. We left the same day
at about 10:00 P.M., taking the SmolenskWitebsk highway.
"There were two of us in the truck: me and the German driver. It was
a bright night; the moon was shining, but the fog hindered visibility. About
2223 kilometres from Smolensk, there was a curve at a destroyed bridge with
a rather steep embankment. We left the highway and travelled down the embankment;
then a truck suddenly appeared out of the fog. Either our brakes were not
very good or the driver was not very experienced; we could not brake the
truck, and, since the road was rather narrow, we had a collision with the
truck coming in the opposite direction. The collision was not a bad one,
since the driver of the oncoming truck succeeded in swerving out of the
way, as a result only scraping the sides of both trucks. The oncoming truck
turned over however, and fell down the embankment. Our truck stayed where
it was. The driver and I got out of the driver's seat and went to the overturned
"I immediately smelt a very strong stench of corpses, which probably
came from the truck. I came closer, and saw that the truck was loaded with
a cargo covered with tarpaulins and tied down with ropes. The ropes broke
due to the fall, and part of the cargo fell out. It was a cruel cargo.
"They were human corpses in military uniforms. As I remember, 67 men,
including a German driver and 2 Germans armed with machine guns, stood around
the truck. The others were Russian prisoners of war, since they spoke Russian
and were clothed correspondingly.
"The Germans began to curse my driver, then they tried to get the truck
back up onto its wheels again. After two minutes, another two trucks arrived
at the scene of the accident and stopped there. From these trucks came a
group of Germans and Russian prisoners of war, a total of 10 men, and came
up to us. Using our combined strength, we began to lift the truck. I took
the opportunity and quietly asked one of the Russian prisoners of war: 'What's
that?' Just as quietly, he answered: 'I don't know how many nights we've
already spent transporting corpses into the Katyn forest'."
"The overturned truck was still not upright when a German noncommissioned
officer approached me and my driver, and ordered us to drive on immediately.
"Since we had not suffered any real damage during the collision, my
driver turned the truck back onto the highway and then drove on.
"As we drove past the two trucks that had arrived later and were covered
with tarpaulins, I smelt a fearful stench of corpses."
SUCHATSCHEW's testimony is confirmed by the testimony of Jegorow Wladimir
Afansjewitsch, who served in the police during the occupation.
Jegorow testified that, at the end of March and the early days of April
1943, as he guarded the bridges in the line of duty at the intersection
of the MoscowMinsk and SmolenskWitebsk highways, he repeatedly observed
large trucks covered with tarpaulins, exuding the stench of corpses, passing
in the direction of Smolensk. Several persons, some of who carried weapons
and doubtlessly were German, always sat in the truck cabins and on top of
Jegorow mentioned his observations to the chief of police at the police
station in the village of Archipowka, Golownew Kuzma Demjanowitsch, who
advised him to keep quiet about it and added: "That has nothing to
do with us, we don't need to get mixed up in German affairs."
That the Germans transported corpses by truck to the Katyn forest was also
stated by JAKOWLEWSOKOLOW FLOR MAKSINOWITSCH, born 1896, former supply agent
for the canteen of the Smolensk Trusts for dining rooms, and chief of the
police district of Katyn during the German occupation.
He reported that, in early April 1943, he personally observed four trucks
covered with tarpaulins on which sat several men armed with machine guns
and weapons, turning off the highway into the Katyn forest. A strong stench
of corpses was perceptible from the trucks.
All the above mentioned eyewitness testimony permits the conclusion that
the Germans also shot Poles at other locations. In bringing the corpses
to the Katyn forest, the Germans pursued a triple objective: first, to wipe
out all traces of their own crimes; second, to blame all their crimes on
the Soviets, and third, to multiple the number of "victims of Bolshevism"
in the graves in the Katyn forest.
"Visits" to the graves at Katyn
In April 1943, after the German invaders had finished all preparatory measures
at the graves in the Katyn forest, they began a widespread agitation in
the press and radio, attempting to blame the Soviets for the atrocities
which they had themselves committed against the Polish prisoners of war.
One of their methods of provocative agitation consisted of organizing "visits"
to the graves at Katyn by the residents of Smolensk and neighbouring areas,
as well as by "delegations" from the countries occupied by the
German invaders and in a position of subservience to them.
The Special Commission interrogated a number of witnesses who participated
in the "visit" to the graves at Katyn.
The witness, SUBKOW K.P., an anatomical pathologist working in Smolensk
in his capacity as forensic expert, testified to the Special Commission:
"...The clothing on the corpses, especially the officers' greatcoats,
boots, and belts, held together rather well. The metallic parts of their
clothing, such as belt buckles, buttons, hooks, boot nails, etc. were not
completely rusted and still retained their metallic lustre at places. The
tissue of the corpses made available for examination, the tissue of the
face, neck, and hands, was chiefly grey in colour, in individual cases greenish
brown; but there was no complete decomposition of the tissues, there was
no putrefaction. In individual cases, tendons lay exposed, whitish in colour;
a number of muscles were visible. During my stay at the excavations, people
were working on the floor of a deep ditch, separating the bodies and carrying
them up out of the grave. They used spades and other tools to do so, grabbing
the corpses with their hands, and dragging them by the arms, feet, and clothing
from one place to another. In no individual case could one observe that
the bodies fell apart, or that individual parts of them came away.
"With respect to the above, I came to the conclusion that the period
of time during which the corpses had remained in the earth absolutely could
not amount to three years, as the Germans claimed, but must be much less.
Since I know that the decomposition of bodies in mass graves, especially
without coffins, occurs much more rapidly than in individual graves, I came
to the conclusion that the mass shootings of the Poles must have been carried
out about one and a half years ago, and must date from the autumn of 1941
or early 1942.
"As a result of visiting the excavations, I became firmly convinced
that this gigantic atrocity was the act of the Germans."
Testimonies that the clothing on the corpses, the metal parts, the shoes
and the corpses themselves, were well preserved, were offered by all the
witnesses who had participated in "visits" to the graves at Katyn
and were then heard by the Special Commission, i.e.,: the foreman of the
Smolensk water pipeline network, KUTZEW J.S.; the female head of the school
at Katyn, WETROVA E.N.; the female telephonist of the Smolensk transport
office, SCHTSCHEDROVA N.G.; the resident of the village of Borok, ALEZEJEW
M.A.; the resident of the village of Nowye Bateki, KRISWOSERZEW N.G.; the
duty officer at Gnesdowo station, SAWWATEJEW J.W.; the female resident of
Smolensk, PUSCHTSCHINA E.A.; the doctor of medicine from the 2nd hospital
at Smolensk, SIDORUK T.A.; the doctor of medicine from the same hospital,
KESSAREW P.M., and others.
German attempts to wipe away the traces of their crime
The "visits" organized by the Germans failed to achieve their
aim. All persons who visited the graves became convinced that they were
witnessing the gross and obvious provocation of the German fascists.
Therefore measures were taken by the Germans to silence all doubters.
The Special Commission interrogated a number of witnesses who have reported
how the Germans persecuted persons who doubted the truth of the provocation
or did not believe it. They were fired from their jobs, arrested, and threatened
with shooting. The Commission has established two cases of shooting of persons
who "couldn't keep their mouths shut". This tactic of violence
was carried out against the former German policeman SAGAINOW and against
JEGOREW A.M., who participated in the excavations in the Katyn forest.
Testimonies relating to the persecution by the Germans of those persons
who expressed doubt after visiting the graves in the Katyn forest were offered
The female attendant at pharmacy no. 1 of Smolensk, SUBAREWA M.S.; the assistant
to the doctor of hygiene for the Health Division of the Stalinist District
of Smolensk, KOSLOWA W.F.; and others.
The former head of the Katyn police district, JAKOWLEWSOKOLOW F.M. testified:
"A situation arose which caused the most serious disquiet among the
German command, and urgent instructions were issued to all local police
offices to prohibit all harmful talk and to arrest all those persons who
expressed mistrust regarding the 'Katyn affair'".
"Such instructions were personally issued to me, as head of the police
district, by the following persons: at the end of May 1943, by the German
commander of the Katyn village, Lt. Col. BRAUN, and, at the beginning of
June, by the head of the police district of Smolensk, KAMANEZKII.
"I issued instructions to the police in my district stating that all
persons expressing mistrust, and all doubters of the truthfulness of the
German communications on the shooting of the Polish prisoners of war by
the Bolsheviks, were to be arrested and brought to police headquarters.
"In forwarding these instructions from the German authorities, I hypocritically
concealed the fact that I was myself convinced that the 'Katyn affair' was
a German provocation. I became completely convinced of it after participating
in the 'excursion' in the Katyn forest."
When the German occupation troops noticed that the "excursions"
by the local populace to the graves at Katyn were not successful, they issued
an order in the summer of 1943 to fill in the graves.
Before their withdrawal from Smolensk, the Germans hastily began to wipe
away the traces of their atrocities. The country house occupied by the "Staff
of the Construction Battalion 537" was burnt to the ground. The Germans
searched for the three girls, Aleksejewa, Michailowa, and Konachowskaja,
in the village of Borok, in order to take them with them or to annihilate
them. They also sought their "chief witness" KISSELEW P.G., who
was, however, successful in concealing himself and his family. The Germans
burnt his house.
They also attempted to arrest other "witnesses": the former foreman
of Gnesdowo station, IWANOW S.W.; the former duty officer of the same station,
SAWWATEJEW J.W.; and the former railway carriage coupler at the station
at Smolensk, SACHAROW M.D.
During the very last days before the withdrawal from Smolensk the German
fascist occupiers also searched for the professors Basilewski and Jefimow.
These only succeeded in escaping kidnapping or death by hiding themselves
in the nick of time.
But the German fascist invaders were still not successful in covering their
traces and concealing their crime.
Forensic examination of the exhumed corpses proves with irrefutable clarity
that the shooting of the Polish prisoners of war was committed by the Germans
We proceed now to the files of the forensic expert Commission
Files of the forensic expert Commission
By order of the Special Commission for the examination and investigation
of the circumstances of the shooting of the Polish officer prisoners of
war by the German fascist invaders in the Katyn forest (in the vicinity
of the city of Smolensk), the forensic investigative commission, consisting
of: the superior forensic expert of the People's Commissariat for Health
Matters of the USSR, Director of the State Scientific Research Institute
for Forensic Medicine of the People's Commissariat for Health Matters of
the USSR, W.J. PROZOROWSKI;
Professor for Forensic Medicine of the 2nd Moscow State Medical Institute,
Dr. W.M. SMOLJANINOW;
Professor of anatomical pathology, Dr. D.N. WYROPAIJEW;
the eldest Scientific Official of the anatomical medical division of the
State Scientific Research Institute for Forensic Medicine of the People's
Commissariat for Health Matters of the USSR, Dr. P.S. SEMENOWSKI;
the eldest Scientific Official of the anatomical medical division of the
State Scientific Research Institute for Forensic Medicine of the People's
Commissariat for Health Matters of the USSR, Professor Ph.D. SCWAIKOW;
with the participation of:
the head forensic medical expert of the West front, Major of the medical
the forensic medical expert for Army N., Captain of the medical services,
the chief of the anatomical pathology laboratory 92, Major of the medical
the Major of the medical services, OGLOBIN;
Doctor of medicine and Lt. Col. of Medicine, SADYKOW;
Lt. of Medicine PUSCHKARJOWA;
The exhumation and forensic examination of the corpses of the Polish prisoners
of war from the grounds of Kosji Gori in the Katyn forest, 15 kilometres
from the city of Smolensk, was carried out in the period from 16 to 23 January
1944. The bodies of the Polish prisoners of war were buried in a common
grave measuring 60 x 60 x 3 m, in addition to another grave measuring 7
x 6 x 3.5 m. From the graves, 925 bodies were exhumed and examined. The
exhumation and forensic examination of the bodies were carried out to determine
a) the identity of the dead
b) the cause of death
c) the length of time they had been in the ground.
The circumstances of the matter (see document of the Special Commission);
Objective data: (see the record of the forensic medical examination of the
The forensic medical expert commission, based on the findings of the forensic
medical examination of the bodies, came to the following conclusion:
Following the excavation of the graves and exposure of the corpses, it was
a) among the great number of bodies of the Polish prisoners of war were
corpses in civilian clothing, the number of which, compared to the total
number of the examined bodies (2:925 of the exhumed bodies) is slight; the
bodies wore military footwear;
b) the clothing of the dead prisoners of war testifies to their belonging
to the officers and noncommissioned officers of the Polish army;
c) incisions in the pockets, which were turned inside out, as well as in
the boots, were discovered during the examination, revealing, as a rule,
traces of previous examination of the articles of clothing (military greatcoats,
trousers, etc.) on the bodies;
d) in some cases, the pockets of the articles of clothing bore no incisions.
In these cases, just in the pockets which had been cut or torn open, inside
the jacket linings, trouserbands, foot rags and socks, newspaper clippings,
brochures, prayer books, postage stamps, opened and unopened letters, receipts,
medals, and other documents such as valuables (1 gold piece, golden dollars,
tobacco pipes, pocket knives, cigarette paper, handkerchiefs and other articles,
e) some of the documents (which were not subjected to any particular examination)
exhibited dates from the period between 12 November 1940 to 20.6.1941;
f) the material of the clothing, especially the military greatcoats, jackets,
trousers, and underwear, are well preserved and could only be torn by hand
g) a small number of bodies (20:925 of the exhumed bodies) had their hands
tied behind their backs with white braided cord;
h) the condition of the clothing on the bodies, particularly the fact that
the jackets, shirts,military belts, trousers, and underwear were buttoned
up, boots or shoes tied, neckerchiefs and neckties bound around the necks,
suspenders buttoned up and the shirts tucked into the trousers, shows that
no exterior examination of the torso and limbs had been undertaken;
The wellpreserved condition skin tissues of the head, and the nonexistence
of any incisions therein or in the skin tissues of the chest or abdomen
(except for 3:925 cases), or other signs of expert activity, shows that
the bodies had not been subjected to forensic examination, a conclusion
confirmed by an examination of the bodies exhumed by the forensic expert
The exterior and interior examination of the 925 bodies justifies the statement
that the bodies exhibit gunshot wounds on the head and neck. In four cases,
these are accompanied by damage to the skull caused by a hard, heavy object.
In addition, some cases of injury to the abdomen, together with injuries
to the head, were established. As a rule, there was one entry hole, more
rarely two, in the back of the head near the nape of the neck, in the cavity
in the nape of the neck, or the edge of the same cavity. In some cases,
the entry wounds are on the back of the neck, at the height of the 1st,
2nd, or 3rd cervical vertebra. Most frequently, the exit holes are in the
forehead, but, more rarely, in the temple or crown of the head, or in the
face or neck. In 27 cases, the bullets remained in the body (without exit
holes). At the terminus of the entry wound channel, under the soft tissues
of the skull or bones thereof, in the cerebral membranes, or in the cerebral
matter, deformed, slightly deformed, or severely deformed jacketed bullets
were discovered, such as are used as ammunition for submachine guns, mostly
of 7.65 m, The number of entry holes in the bones of the neck justifies
the conclusion that, during the shooting, firearms of two different calibres
were used, most frequently, of less than 8 mm, i.e, 7.65 mm or less; in
a few cases, calibres of more than 8 mm, i.e., 9 mm, were used.
The state of the fractures of the bones of the skull, and, in many cases,
residues of gunpowder discovered on the exit holes or immediately close
by, show that the shots were fired at point blank range, or very close range.
The superimposition of the entry and exit holes shows that the holes must
have been fired from behind when the head was bent down. The entry channel
traversed vital parts of the brain, or immediately adjacent to these, so
that the destruction of the tissues of the brain must have caused death.
The injuries observed in the bones of the top of the skull, caused by a
blunt, hard, and heavy object inflicted simultaneously with the gunshot
wounds to the head, could not, by themselves, come into question as the
cause of death. The forensic examinations, carried out during the period
from 16 to 23 January 1944, revealed that the 925 bodies were neither in
a state of decomposition nor putrefaction, i.e., they were in the initial
stages of the loss of moisture (most frequently and particularly visible
in the chest or abdominal regions; fat and wax separation was most particularly
visible in bodies which had lain in direct contact with the ground); i.e,
the tissues of the bodies exhibited a loss of moisture and a separation
of fat and wax. Particularly worthy of note is the fact that the muscles
of the torso and limbs retained their macroscopic condition perfectly, while
their former colour was almost perfectly retained; the interior organs of
the chest and abdomen were also well preserved in relation to their configuration;
the heart muscle, upon incision, clearly retained its usual structure and
colour. The brain exhibited characteristic structural conditions, with a
clearly recognizable border between white and grey matter.
In addition to their macroscopic investigation of the tissues and bodily
organs, the Forensic Expert Commission took material for the subsequent
microscopic and chemical laboratory examination. The condition of the earth
at the burial site must have played a certain role in the preservation of
the tissues and bodily organs.
After the excavation of the graves and exposure of the corpses, the condition
of the bodies, following exposure to the air for a period, began to influenced
by the warmth and moisture of the spring and summer of 1943, a factor which
could strongly encourage the process of decomposition. But the degree of
moisture loss, and the fat and wax separation in the bodies, the especially
good preservation of the muscles and interior organs, as well as the articles
of clothing, justify us in stating that the bodies had only been buried
a short time. If we compare the condition of the bodies in the graves at
Kosji Gory with the bodies found at other burial sites in the city of Smolensk
and the near vicinity (GEDEONOWKA, MAGALENSCHTISCHINA, READOWKA, camp 126
at KRASNYI BOR, etc.) (see the Report of the Forensic Medical Expert Commission
of 22 October 1943), we must conclude that the bodies of the Polish prisoners
of war in the Kosji Gory region were interred about 2 years ago. This is
also confirmed by the findings of the documents in the articles of clothing,
indicating that an earlier point in time for burial cannot be considered
(see point e, page 48, and documentary table of contents).
Based on the findings of the examination, the Forensic Medical Expert Commission
has established that:
1) the killings of the officer and noncommissioned officer prisoners of
war took place by shooting;
2) that the shootings took place during a period approximately 2 years ago,
that is, in the months of SeptemberDecember 1941;
3) that the valuables and documents dating from 1941 and discovered by the
Forensic Expert Commission in the articles of clothing on the bodies, are
proof that the German fascist authorities failed to carry out a thorough
examination of the bodies in the spring and summer of 1943; the documents
discovered prove that the shootings took place after the month of June 1941;
4) that the Germans dissected only a very small number of the bodies of
Polish prisoners of war in 1943;
5) that the manner and type of shooting of the Polish prisoners of war is
identical with the shooting of peaceful Soviet citizens and Soviet prisoners
of war. This type of shooting was practised by the German fascist authorities
on a broad scale in the temporarily occupied regions of the USSR, including
the cities of Smolensk, Orel, Kharkow, Krasnodar, and Woronesch.
The Superior Forensic Official of the People's Commissariat for Health Matters
of the USSR, Director of the State Scientific Research Institute for Health
Medicine of the People's Commissariat for Health Matters of the USSR, W.J.
Professor of forensic medicine at the 2nd Moscow State Medical Institute,
Dr. W.M. SMOLJANINOW;
Professor of anatomical pathology, Dr. D.N. WYROPAEW;
The eldest scientific official of the Thanatological Division of the State
Scientific Research Institute for Forensic Medicine of the People's Commissariat
for Health Matters of the USSR, Dr. P.S. SEMENOWSKI;
The eldest scientific official of the forensic medical division of the State
Scientific Research Institute for Forensic Medicine of the People's Commissariat
for Health Matters of the USSR, Prof. M.D. SCHWAIKOWA.
Smolensk, 24 January 1944.
Documents found on the corpses
In addition to the information proven in the documents of the forensic medical
report, the time of the shootings of the Polish prisoners of war by the
Germans (autumn 1941, not the spring of 1940, as claimed by the Germans),
was also established by documents discovered during the excavation of the
graves, dating not only from the second half of 1940, but also from the
spring and summer (March -June) of 1941.
Among the documents discovered by the forensic experts, the following merit
1) on body 92:
A letter from Warsaw in the Russian language addressed to the Central Office
for Prisoners of War, Moscow, Kuibuschewstreet no. 12. In the letter, "Sophie"
asks "Sigon", to let her know the whereabouts of her husband,
Thomas Sigon. The letter is dated 12.9.1940. The envelope bears German postage
cancellation "Warsaw IX40", and cancellation "Moscow Post
Office 9 Expedition 28/IX40", as well a notice written in red ink,
in the Russian language, reading "Find camp and deliver 15/XI40"
2) on body 4:
A registered postcard no. 0112 from Tarnopol with cancellation "Tarnopol
12/X40". The manuscript text and address are obliterated.
3) on body 101:
Receipt no. 10293 dated 19.XII.1939, issued in camp Koselsk, for pawn of
a gold watch accepted by LEWANDOWSKY EDUARD ADAMOWITSCH. The reverse of
this receipt bears a note dated 14 March 1941, stating that the watch had
been sold to "Juwelirtorg".
4) on body 46:
A receipt issued in Starobelskyi camp on 16.XII.1939 for the pawn of a gold
watch accepted by ARASCHKEWITSCH WLADIMIR RUDOLPHOWITSCH. The reverse of
the receipt bears a note dated 25 March 1941, stating that the watch had
been sold to "Juwelirtorg".
5) on body 71:
A devotional image of paper with a picture of Jesus, discovered between
pages 144 and 145 of a Catholic prayer book. The reverse of the devotional
image bears a legible note with signature "Jadvinja" and date
"4 April 1941".
6) on body 46:
A receipt issued in camp no. 1ON on 5 May 1941 for the deposit of a sum
of money in the amount of 225 rubles accepted by ARASCHKEWITSCH.
7) on the same body (46):
A receipt issued in camp no. 1ON on 6 April 1941 for the deposit of a sum
of money in the amount of 102 rubles accepted by ARASCHKEWITSCH.
8) on body 101:
A receipt issued in camp no. 1ON on 18 May 1941 for the deposit of a sum
of money in the amount of 175 rubles accepted by LEWANDOWSKY.
9) on body 53:
An unforwarded postcard in the Polish language with the address:
Warsaw, Bagatelja 15, house 47,
Irene Kutschinskaja, date: 20 June 1941.
Sender: Stanislav Kutschinskij.
From the totality of material available to the Special Commission, particularly
from the testimonies of the 100 witnesses interrogated by the Commission,
the facts of the case as examined by the forensic experts, and the documents
and valuables taken from the graves in the Katyn forest, the following conclusions
may be drawn with irrefutable clarity:
1. The Polish prisoners of war in the three camps west of Smolensk were
housed there until the beginning of the war, were engaged in road construction
work, and remained there even after the invasion of Smolensk by the German
conqueror, until September 1943.
2. In the autumn of 1941, mass shootings of Polish prisoners of war taken
from the above mentioned camps were carried out by the German occupying
power in the Katyn forest.
3. The mass shootings of the Polish prisoners of war in the Katyn forest
was carried out by the German armed forces under the cover name "Staff
537 of the Construction Battalion", led by Lt. Col. Arnes and his associates
Lt. Reckst and Lt. Hott.
4. As a result of the deterioration of the general military situation for
Germany in early 1943, the German occupier took measures, provocative in
nature and intended to attribute their own crime to the Soviets, with a
view to causing hostility between the Russians and the Poles;
5. To this purpose,
a) the German fascist invaders attempted, through the use of persuasion,
threats, and barbaric tortures, to find "witnesses" among the
Soviet citizens from whom perjured statements were extorted to the effect
that the Polish prisoners of war had been shot by the Soviets in the spring
b) the German occupation authorities, in the spring of 1943, transported
the corpses of Polish prisoners of war from other locations and shot by
them at other sites, and laid them in the excavated graves of the Katyn
forest in an attempt to wipe away the traces of their own bestiality and
to increase the number of the "victims of Bolshevism" in the Katyn
c) while the German occupation authorities spread their provocation, they
used approximately 500 Russian prisoners of war for the job of excavating
the graves at Katyn in order to remove all documents and exhibits which
might prove German authorship of the crime. The Russian prisoners of war
were shot immediately after termination of this work.
6. The findings of the Forensic Expert Commission have established beyond
a) the time of the shootings: the autumn of 1941;
b) the German executioners, in shooting the Polish prisoners of war, used
the same methods (pistol shots in the back of the neck), as in the mass
shootings of Soviet citizens in other cities, particularly, Orel, Woronesch,Krasnodar,
7. The conclusions drawn from the statements of eyewitnesses and the forensic
report on the shootings of the Polish prisoners of war by the Germans in
the autumn of 1941 are fully confirmed by the exhibits and documents discovered
in the graves at Katyn.
8. In shooting the Polish prisoners of war in the Katyn forest, the German
fascist invaders were pursuing a consistent policy of the physical extermination
of the Slavic peoples.
President of the Special Commission, Member of the Special State Commission,
Member of the Special State Commission, Academician ALEKSEJ TOLSTOI;
Member of the Special State Commission, Mythropolitos NIKOLAI;
President of the AllSlavic Committee, Lieutenant General GUNDOROW A.S.;
President of the Executive Committee of the Association of the Red Cross
and Red Half Moon, S.A. POLESNIKOW;
People's Commissar for Education of the RSFSR, Academician W.P. POTEMKIN;
Chief of the Forensic Head Office of the Red Army, CoronelGeneral E.J. SMIRNOW;
President of the Executive Committee for the Region of Smolensk, R.E. MEINIKOW.
Smolensk, 24 January 1944