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Katyn: A Crime Without Punishment - Cienciala

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Product #: BK2730
ISBN #: 9780300195477
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Katyn: A Crime Without Punishment


Edited by Anna M. Cienciala, Natalia S. Lebedeva, and Wojciech Materski
Translated by Marian Schwartz with Anna M. Cienciala and Maia A. Kipp


The 14,500 Polish army officers, police, gendarmes, and civilians taken prisoner by the Red Army when it invaded eastern Poland in September 1939 were held in three special NKVD camps and executed at three different sites in spring 1940, of which the one in Katyn Forest is the most famous. Another 7,300 prisoners held in NKVD jails in Ukraine and Belarus were also shot at this time, although many others disappeared without trace. The murder of these Poles is among the most monstrous mass murders undertaken by any modern government.

Three leading historians of the NKVD massacres of Polish prisoners of war at Katyn, Kharkov, and Tver-now subsumed under "Katyn"-present 122 documents selected from the published Russian and Polish volumes coedited by Natalia S. Lebedeva and Wojciech Materski. The documents, with introductions and notes by Anna M. Cienciala, detail the Soviet killings, the elaborate cover-up, the admission of the truth, and the Katyn question in Soviet/Russian-Polish relations up to the present.

"A gripping-at times horrifying-historical reconstruction, fortified by original and previously not accessible Soviet documents, of one of the worst crimes of World War II. Even those previously familiar with the basic facts and with the identity of the perpetrators will learn much from this powerful account. The historical analysis sets the scene for the crime and then reviews the systematic preparation of the gruesome executions; the Soviet efforts to escape culpability; and the difficult struggle of Soviet reformers-spurred by Polish demands-to overcome Gorbachev's reticence to confront the truth unambiguously. To this day, Russia's unwillingness to make a total break with Stalin's legacy stands in sharp contrast with Germany's total condemnation of Hitlerism and thus poses a serious obstacle not only to Polish-Russian reconciliation but also to Russian identification with Europe."
~ Zbigniew Brzezinski

"This is not only a story about a cruel crime that remains unpunished. It is also a story about historical truth versus denial, about moral impulses versus political cynicism. A piece of Polish history but also a message of universal importance."
~ Janusz Reiter, Ambassador of Poland

"An extremely important book on one of the signature crimes of Stalinism and one of the great efforts of obfuscation of Soviet propaganda."
~ Timothy Snyder, Yale University

Anna M. Cienciala, a specialist in twentieth-century Polish diplomatic history and Katyn, is a retired professor of history at the University of Kansas, Lawrence. Natalia S. Lebedeva, the leading Russian historian of Katyn, is a researcher at the Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, who has edited other documents and published articles on Soviet-Polish relations, the Comintern, and other subjects. Wojciech Materski, the leading Polish historian of Soviet/Russian-Polish relations and Katyn, is director of the Institute of Political Studies, Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw.

Publishing House: Yale University Press, New Haven & London, 2007
SoftCover book measuring 6.5" x 9.5" x 1.55"
563 pages
English Language Version

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