October 4, 2010

Soviets "Communize" Eastern Poland


October 4, 1939

The Secretary of the Ukrainian Communist Party Nikita Kruschev announced today the "communization" of eastern Poland. Vast numbers of Polish citizens have been arrested by the NKVD, falsely accused of committing "crimes against revolution" or for staging "counter-revolutionary activities." The Polish intelligentsia and military officers have been the prime targets.  Over one million Poles inhabiting the eastern region were arrested and deported to the Soviet Union.  Between 230,000 and 450,000 Poles have been taken as prisoner, many of whom have been executed. Polish currency has been withdrawn from circulation without exchange for Russian roubles.  All state-owned and private Polish property has been nationalized and re-distributed. All Poles in Soviet occupied territory are expected to consent to Soviet citizenship. Those who refused to comply have disappeared, their whereabouts unknown. 

Soviet authorities have refused to allow the Red Cross to survey the conditions of Polish POWs on the grounds that Russia has not signed the 1929 Geneva Convention on the treatment of POWs and does not recognize the Hague Convention. According to Soviet authorities, the Polish POWs are not subject to the same Regulations for the Treatment of Prisoners of War, as they had been turned over to the NKVD by the Soviet military. They have been sentenced under the clauses of the Soviet Penal Code which include charges of treason and counter-revolution.

Since September 19, the People's Commissar for Internal Affairs, and First Rank Commissar for State Security, Lavrenty Beria had ordered the NKVD  to create the "Administration for Affairs of Prisoners of War and Internees to "manage" Polish prisoners. The NKVD has set up a vast network of transit camps and rail transport to POW camps in western Soviet Union. The camps are located at Jukhnovo (Babynino rail station),  Yuzhe (Talitsky),  Kozielsk,  Kozelshchyna, Oranki, Ostashkov,  Stolbnyi Island on Seliger Lake (near Ostashkov), Tyotkino rail station,  56 miles (90km) from Putyvl,  Starobielsk, Vologda,  Zaenikevo rail station, and Gryazovets.

Polish military officers have been deported to Kozelsk and Starobielsk, while Ostashkov is used to detain mainly Polish boy scouts, gendarmes, police officers, and prison officers. A vast number of Polish intelligentsia has been imprisoned there as well.  Data received indicate that of a total of 15, 570 Poles, 5,000 are detained at Kozelsk, 6,570 at Oshtakov, and 4,000 at Starobelsk.

Agents of the NKVD such as Vasily Zarubin have subjected the Polish POWs to lengthy "interrogations".  Psychological and physical torture has been applied with the purpose of obtaining their allegiance to the Soviet regime.  Those who refuse are being declared "hardened and uncompromising enemies of the Soviet authority."

Forced Labor of Prisoners in a Soviet Gulag

Polish Victims of Soviet Gulag

Poland Under Nazi Terror
Poland Under Soviet Terror
Creation of the 2nd Polish Corps
Katyn Massacre 

Polish Greatness.com


  1. I am an artist and I am working on the art project that is very ,much related to the massacre in Katyn. Specifically, I am interested how (if that all) the history of Katy was taught to Polish students up until 1988. I am searching for the history school books from 1946-1988 for the purpose of including them in the art exhibition. I plan to amass all of the books I can possibly locate. I very much appreciate your site and will share the link will all of my Facebook friends hoping that they pass it on. I believe that, still, very few people know about this part of War War II history. If you have knowledge about who could help me in my search I would very much appreciate your passing this information to me. Thank you for the blog. Ewa Bloch

    1. Hello Ewa, and thank you for your message. I do not know where you may be able to find these history books. But I suggest that you contact your local Polish library, or Polish Veteran's Society for information. If necessary you can also send an email to the librarian of the National Library of Poland requesting their recommendations. Their URL is http://bn.org.pl/en/ask-librarian/ You should also contact the National Katyn Memorial Fund at this URL http://www.katynbaltimore.com/index.html For decades after the war, Katyn was a taboo subject not only in Poland but in the West (for fear of aggravating the USSR). If there was anything taught to Polish students about Katyn, it was the Soviet propaganda that the Germans were responsible for the terrible atrocity. In a survey conducted by Mareco Poland, when asked who was responsible for the killings at Katyn, 71% of Polish respondents said the Russians; 8% said the Germans, and 21% did not know (the latter were in their 20s). Statistics were published by Newsweek.pl on March 21, 2010 by Marcin Marczak. I agree Ewa that there are few people, particularly in the West who know little or nothing about Katyn. The project you are planning about the Katyn Massacre is very important. I wish you good luck in your search for the history books, and much success in your art project! And thank you so much for your kind words!