Gazeta Wyborcza: Records of executed Poles disclosed in Russian archives
The Belarusian Katyn list is a document containing names of Poles murdered by the People’s Commissariat for Internal Affairs (NKVD), the Soviet secret police, in April and May 1940.
The list has been found in the Russian State Military Archives, Polish newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza reports. It contains 1996 names of “enemies of the people” who were convoyed to Minsk and there the trace is lost. The Belarusian authorities repeatedly put on record that Belarus does not possess the like of the list.
Gazeta Wyborcza refers to Professor Natallia Lebedeva, a Russian historian, who has dug out the records about arrested Poles taken from prisons of Brest, Pinsk, Baranavichi, Hrodna, Bialystok in 1940.
“I am absolutely sure there are two copies of the list, presumably in Minsk and Moscow,” Andrzej Kunert, Secretary of the Council for the Protection of Struggle and Martyrdom Sites, told Gazeta Wyborcza.
Not only Poles were victimized by NKVD
“Katyn crime” means the a mass execution of Polish nationals carried out by the People’s Commissariat for Internal Affairs (NKVD) in April and May 1940. In 1990 Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev handed over the list of 14,552 Polish officers murdered and buried in the territory of the USSR to the Polish side. In 1994 Poland received the list of 3435 victims of repressions from the Ukranian authorities.
Polish army officers were jailed and murdered in the territory of Belarus, experts state. According to historian Ihar Kuzniatsou, one in three executed in Katyn was born in Belarus.
“This list confirms that Minsk was final destination. But there is no documentary evidence that NKVD troikas [commissions of three persons who convicted people without trial – Belsat]took a decision of execution, and it is more than likely that such document does not exist,” Kuzniatsou said. It was the prisoners put in the list “Convoy to Minsk”who were taken by prisoner transport and murdered there, the expert stated.
Official Minsk says no
At the press conference on December 23, 2011 Aliaksandr Lukashenka declared: “We have studied all archival records in the country including those of the KGB archive. Not a single Pole was executed in Belarus. There were only reconsignment points in the territory of our country.”
Independent historians believe this declaration not to be true. The documents might have been lost, classified or destroyed, but it is undoubtful that Polish army officers and soldiers were shoot dead in the territory of Belarus.