On the night of August 23-24th 1939, Hitler’s envoy Ribbentrop and soviet Foreign Commissar Molotov signed a “Non-aggression Pact”, (the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact), in Moscow. The pact was accompanied with a number of other documents, signed by both parties, among them a Secret Protocol providing for a German-Soviet partition of Poland, as well as for Soviet domination in Finland, Latvia, Estonia and Bessarabia.


Following the above agreement, the German forces attacked Poland on September 1, 1939 from the north, west, and southwest. Less than three weeks later, on September 17, as the Polish forces abandoned by their Western allies, were desperately defending their country from technically-superior Wehrmacht, the Red Army invaded Eastern Poland (today called Western Ukraine and Western Belarus). While helping the Nazis do defeat Poland, the Soviets published a declaration according to which they were coming into Poland to "protect" their Ukrainian and Belorussian "brethren" abandoned by the “collapsed” Poland. On September 28, 1939, Soviet and German troops met in the middle of Poland and greeted each other as partners. As a result of German-Soviet aggression, Western Poland was incorporated into the 3d Reich while the USSR annexed most of Eastern Poland transferring Wilna to Lithuania (see the map here).


Meanwhile, a new Polish government was formed in Paris on September 30. 1939 under the leadership of general Wladyslaw Sikorski who took command over all

Polish armed forces including those continuing guerilla warfare in Poland and more than 60 000 emigre Poles armed and ready to fight the Nazis by the side of the Allies.



In occupied Poland both the Nazis and the Soviets established regime of terror, discrimination and ethnic cleansing.


Katyn massacre was only one of many crimes committed against Polish people during World War II


Katyn is a forest near Smolensk (Western Russia) where in 1940, Soviet secret police (NKVD) shot and buried more than 4 000 Polish officers  that had been taken prisoners by the Soviets in September, 1939. 


In 1944 the Soviets blamed the Nazis for that exesution. It was in 1989 only, shortly before the total collapse of the USSR, when the kremlin finally admitted that it was the Soviet NKVD who was responsible for the Katyn Massacre.


Basing on Stalin’s personal order of March 1940, more than 25 000 Poles were executed by shooting and hundreds of thousands were placed into concentration camps of Siberia, Central Asia and Sub-Arctic Russia.


Many more Poles were.killed or deported in 1945 after the “liberation” of Eastern Poland” and re-incorporation of what is today Western Ukraine and Belarus into the USSR. (See the map here)





Evidence of the Soviet Crime in Katyn found in 1943








The Road to Katyn: A Soldier's Story
by Salomon W. Slowes, Wladyslaw T. Bartoszewski (Editor)

Blackwell Pub (January 1, 1992)


The Murderers of Katyn
by Vladimir Abarinov

Hippocrene Books (October 1, 1992)


Katyn And The Soviet Massacre Of 1940: Truth, Justice And Memory (Basees/Curzon Series on Russian & East European Studies)
by George Sanford

(August 1, 2005)


In the Shadow of Katyn. Stalin’s Terror
by Stanislaw Swianiewicz

Hippocrene Books (October 1, 1992)











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