The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Katyn Indictment

"As if there had not been problems enough in drawing up an indictment, the Russians at the last moment demanded that the massacre of 925 Polish officers at Katyn be added. It was breathtaking. They had never mentioned it before. Everyone else was pretty certain that the Russians themselves had murdered the Poles. All those anxieties about protecting the Russians in particular against embarrassing evidence, all that concern about avoiding accusations of tu quoque, and here were the Russians wanting to deliver as large a collection of skeletons as could have been found. The others tried to argue the Russians out of their folly. They pointed out that there were no witnesses to the Katyn murders who 'would meet the high standards of credibility required in a criminal trial'; they pleaded that all the other prosecution evidence was from German sources whereas this charge was backed only by a Soviet government report. The Russians were adament. So on their heads be it. The charge went into the indictment; the other prosecutors made it quite clear they would play no part at all in this section of the case. In a final twist, which only made matters worse, twelve days after the indictment was signed the Russians insisted on changing the number of Polish officers killed to 11,000." (Tusa, Ann & John. The Nuremberg Trial. Birmingham, Alabama: The Notable Trials Library, Division of Gryphon Editions, Inc., 1990, p. 113)

[Emphasis Nizkor's]

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July 27, 1999

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