Poland disappointed with European ruling over the 1940 Katyn massacre



Poland disappointed with European ruling over the 1940 Katyn massacre

(Reuters) - The European Court of Human Rights ruled on Monday it was incompetent to judge whether Russia’s investigation into the 1940 Katyn killings of Polish war prisoners was insufficient.
An estimated 22,000 Polish military officers and intellectuals were killed Katyn, western Russia, many of them trucked in from prison camps, shot in the head from behind, and shoved into mass graves.
After blaming Nazi Germany for the Katyn massacre for decades, the Soviet Union admitted in April 1990 that its forces were responsible. But none of the culprits has ever been identified and investigations have been shelved.

Relatives of those murdered by the Soviet secret police during World War II claimed that the 1990-2004 investigation by Russian authorities into the massacre was “inadequate”.
But the court said it lacked jurisdiction to judge on the matter because the Katyn massacre took place before the adoption of the European Convention on Human Rights in 1950.
“I can only say that we are rather disappointed by this verdict,” Deputy Foreign Minister Artur Nowak-Far said in a statement.

I can understand their frustration. After Poland was invaded by Hitler these people fled east hoping to fight on with the Red Army & were shot for their trouble.

I suppose the European Court’s decision may be technically correct (you’d have to ask an international lawyer) but it’s still disappointing.



Actually the Polish army attempted to repel the Soviet invasion from the East. Germany and the Soviet Union were allies when the invasion took place and the Katyn massacre took place while the two countries were brothers in arms. Until June 1941 the Soviets and the Germans were both looked upon as the scourge of Europe (the Soviets were busy invading other eastern Eurpean countries while Germany was taking Western European countries. My grandfather took part in the fighting as he and his unit of WW1 veterans was activated to fight the Germans but his group was immediately sent East to fight the invading Reds. He spent most of 1940 in a Soviet POW camp.


Under a previous agreement, the Russians and Germans attacked Poland from the West and East. Needless to say, the Polish Army had no interest in helping the Russians and Polish-Russian tensions along the eastern border of Poland had been going on long before World War II. The Germans let the Red Cross know they had found a mass grave at the Katyn Forest site and the Red Cross investigated the incident at the time. There are books that go into great detail about that and other massacres of Polish troops and some civilians in other nearby parts of Poland. When Polish General Anders was captured by the Russians, he was sent to Lubianka Prison, a former hotel converted into a non-obvious prison building. He was pressured by the Russians to join them and convince what was left of the Polish Army to join the Russians. He refused. He then inquired about the Polish troops the Russians held in their prisons and labor camps. The reply showed thousands were unaccounted for. His repeated attempts to find out what happened to them provided no answers.

He managed to flee and joined the British Army. General Anders was given command of those Polish Army troops that had managed to escape Poland before the Russians or Germans could find them. The Germans, at the time, blamed the Katyn Forest massacre on the Russians. My father, who served in the Polish Army during the war, told me the killings were carried out by the Russians using German weapons.

Very sad.



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