Soviet Genocide against the Polish People

GENOCIDE : Acts committed with the intent to destroy a national, ethnical, racial or religious group.

On March 5th 1940 at a meeting of the Politburo, Stalin sanctioned the murder of 15,000 POWs and 11,000 political prisoners - "hardened, incorrigible enemies of Soviet Rule"
Three years later, Stalin accused the Nazis of the Katyn mass murders. A lie which the world believed for over half a century and a blank page which enabled the Soviets to enslave the Polish people.
Katyn was only one of many Blank Pages. Of two million Poles deported to the Soviet Union, hundreds of thousands died from hunger, cold and disease. Of one million Poles detained in Soviet gulags, 45% perished - " ... under every sleeper on the railway line to Vorkuta, lies a Pole."
Genocide continued even during the 'liberation' of Poland. An NKVD unit of the Red Army was responsible for the Turza Wood massacre - "...they followed an established routing, interrogations took place every day except Thursday, and sentences were read out in the detention compound. On Thursday nights a lorry took the victims to Turza Wood. The lorry returned empty in the morning... "
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"Blank Pages, Soviet Genocide Against the Polish People" This book has two main aims.

It reveals the extent of Soviet genocide. The sheer number of instances of Soviet genocide made it more practical to use selected examples than to attempt to paint the full picture. The Soviet terror apparatus is shown in action, and its capacity for murder as well as its innate ability to obliterate the traces of crimes committed can be clearly seen. The crimes described are only the tip of the iceberg.
The book also hopes to expose 'blank pages in history', the Soviet technique of manipulating public opinion so that crimes remained unpunished. That us the reason why the Katyn Mass Murders, a classic example of blank pages, still predominate in a work not intended to be yet another book on Katyn.
A third, subsidiary aim is to serve as a small compendium on the subject.
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Blank Pages an instrument of tyranny

Soviet-Polish relations were virtually non-existent for almost 20 years before World War 2, with the exception of very limited contacts on the international and inter-governmental level. The Soviet Union and its people did not figure at all in the life of the average Pole. The reason for this was that an iron curtain had already descended in Eastern Europe in the inter-war period, separating the Baltic states, Poland and Romania from the Soviet Union. The Soviet presence in Eastern Europe, established in the wake of World War 2 came as an immense shock. It changed the fate of nations and the lives of the peoples of the region to an extent never before imagined.
During the war,the Soviets had deprived Poland of its independence, annihilated hundreds of thousands of its citizens and imposed an alien system of government which helped them exact Poland's subservience for many years after the end of the war. Most of these Soviet actions fall into the category of genocide and are covered by the 1951 International Convention. Under the terms of the convention, "genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial, or religious group, such as : (a) Killing members of the group; (b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group (c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; (d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; (e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.
For over fifty years, the rulers of the Soviet Union and the communist regime in Warsaw could not bring themselves to admit that in order to achieve their objectives they themselves or their predecessors committed genocide and violated basic human rights. One of the main reasons, no doubt, was their belief that learning the whole truth about the fate of hundreds of thousands of Poles could have raised questions in the minds of Soviet citizens about even larger numbers of their own people who had suffered a similar fate. The fear of losing political credibility led to the perfecting of a socio-political device now known as blank pages - a kind of historical 'cooking the books'.
Blank pages, a free translation from Polish 'Blank Spots' (Biale Plamy) that denoted unexplored areas of the globe. Historical blank pages differ in that they remained fully or partially unexplored by design. The term came into popular use during the Solidarity period, was later adopted by the official propaganda, and was finally recognised in the Soviet Union through glasnost and perestroika.
The complex nature of blank pages defies any short definition. It may be helpful to describe their main features. They surround the event or episode which is subject to manipulation. The general aim was to portray an idealised picture of the Stalinist form of communism. Facts which clashed with that aim became taboo and were rendered harmless. Historical truth was subordinated to political requirements. Academics and official communist historians may have tried to avoid untruths, but for political and ideological reasons they often traded in half truths. Historians did not respond to the public demand for the truth because they were not allowed to, or because they chose to avoid risky subjects.
Most blank pages relate to concrete historical events which had been condemned to limbo, or to total or partial silence in order to disguise the ugly truth. It often became necessary to disguise the fact that the truth had been suppressed. In these cases falsified information was used as a replacement. Depending on the historical importance of an event, blank page manipulation was also directed at the details surrounding the event itself.
Blank pages are usually garnished with euphemisms in order to lessen the impact of events and situations. For example, the worst Stalinist atrocities were committed only in the 'period of mistakes and distortions', mass deportations became 'transfers of population' and serious crimes became 'transgressions'.
The natural habitat of blank pages consisted of the four main carriers of historical information: family tradition, schools and textbooks, the mass media and History at University level.
Family tradition added little to historical truth, but was a mobilising and sustaining factor for the anti-blank page movement. The mass media, the largest disseminator of information, have a deplorable record. Together with the censors, they are to blame for the fact that even a limited amount of historical truth available through specialist research, foreign publications and broadcasts did not reach the public domain. Moreover, the material that did get through was shallow, sketchy, deliberately controversial and in many ways mendacious. Finally, professional historians generally toed the official line. The few who did know not were forced to rely on giving lectures in private apartments and on publishing in underground publications to make their views known.
In addition to presenting false facts and interpretations, historical material was doctored by the help of sophisticated means of disinformation. These include mixing truth with lies, reserving the former for matters of little importance and the latter to real issues. Placing some true facts within a mass of false information in order to dilute the impact of the truth. Presenting a deliberately truncated picture and use of unwarranted equations.. Facts can be changed by using faulty comparisons which are far from easy to find.
Lies have a remarkable ability to pose as truth. The Soviets believed that by controlling the meaning of words they could control reality.
The Blank Pages described in this study relate in the main to events which took place during two separate periods: The Soviet occupation of Eastern Poland 1939-1941 and the Soviet 'Liberation' of Poland 1944-1945.
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Topics covered in the book (a brief summary of the contents)

  • The Soviet Occupation of Eastern Poland 1939 - 1941
    • Deportation of Anti-Soviet elements into the Soviet Union
    • NKVD panic killings in June 1941
  • The Katyn Mass Murders and Further Aspects of the Katyn Murders Case
    • POW camps at Kozelsk, Starobelsk and Ostashkov
    • Prof Burdenko's Commission
    • The Polish Red Cross at Katyn
    • The Sad End of the Katyn Archive
    • Mass graves at Piatikhatki and Mednoye
    • Failure of German Propaganda
    • and more...
  • Soviet 'Liberation' Heralds Further Crimes
    • The Riddle of General Sikorski's death
    • Conquest by Violence and Murder
    • The Warsaw Uprising
    • The Polish SOE (Cichociemni)
  • Suppression of Anti-Soviet Opposition 1944 -1945
    • Graves in Turza Wood
    • Polish parallel at Kakolewnica
    • Mass deportations from Silesia
    • The Case The Sixteen
    • and more...
  • Collateral Information
    • Blank Pages and Stalinism
    • Stalin's obsession with Poland
    • Death quota in Belorussia - Kuropaty
    • Stalinism in Eastern Europe
  • Aspects of Responsibility
    • Summary of human losses
    • The Main Commission on Crimes against the Polish Nation
    • The Significance of Katyn Organisations
    • Case 159 - The First Investigation into Soviet Genocide
  • The Moral Dimension of the Soviet Crisis
    • Glasnost and Perestroika Misfire
    • Film Producers' Symposium on Destalinisation
  • Restitution Through Destalinisation
    • Denazification in West Germany
    • Destalinisation and Poland
  • The USA and UK Administrations Keep Genocide Secrets
    • Suppression of the truth on Soviet Genocide
    • The Skarzynski Confidential Report
    • The Onerous Inheritance of Genocide for the Former Soviet Union
    • Disintegration into the Commonwealth of Independent States
    • Russia's efforts to become the Soviet Union's successor
  • A Breakthrough ?
    • New documents
    • The Special File
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  Copyright © A.& M. Malcher - this page created by Pyrford Press, March 1998, updated September 2000, May 2001, October 2005
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