The Butcher of Katyn

Mar 15, 2015 - 0 Comments

The Katyn forest shootings launched in the spring of 1940 ended some 28 days later with over 22,000 Polish nationals being sent to a mass grave -- 7000 of whom were shot by just one man. 

That grim tally gives Russia’s executioner extraordinaire, Vasily Blokhin, the dubious distinction of being the most prolific mass murderer in all of history.

His roundup of notable men slated to die unnoticed in the Polish backwoods near Smolensk began early in April on direct orders from Moscow. And Stalin’s official hit-list not only included the conquered country’s military elite, but some of her most prominent professors, artists, writers, civil servants, and even a prince.

The aim of the bloody pogrom? To cut off the head of Poland’s leadership so it could never be ruled by Poles again.

Butcher of Katyn, Vasily Blokhin

Katyn’s dead uncovered

If politics make for “strange bedfellows” then even stranger things can come of war -- three years after the mass killings, when fickle Germany seized from Russian forces the territory encompassing Katyn’s woodlands, they discovered the largest communal gravesite in the world hidden there.

Incredibly, the notorious Nazis were indignant to find so many uniformed Polish officers’ bodies “buried twelve-high” in the pit, each one with their hands bound behind them and a single gunshot wound to the back of the head.

So Germany did what German conscience dictated: They propagandized the massacre all over the planet.

Nazi poster depicting Katyn forest massacre

Katyn’s cover-up

The Germans’ campaign to discredit the Soviets and Socialism by exposing their war crime was immediately, albeit temporarily, successful. Their attempt to maintain control of the land wrested from their newly-made foe … not so much.

In stepped the allied nations then, who were openly and unabashedly courting the Third Reich’s recently scorned mistress of mayhem, Russia, to join them in their hot pursuit of Adolph Hitler.

But Stalin’s genocide of unarmed Poles would obviously be viewed no differently than Hitler’s concentration camps were. So the Allies conspired with Katyn’s perpetrators to cover up their unprecedented atrocity, pinning the blame instead on the already much-reviled Nazi government.

They then shamelessly handed over victimized Poland to her ruthless Russian murderers, on a silver platter.

Mass grave at Katyn exhumed in 1943

Liberating the ghosts of Katyn

For decades, the big lie concocted by nations such as the US, Britain, France and, of course, the USSR itself, was brutally forced upon the soviet-occupied peoples of Poland, and any Pole who refused to go along with it was swiftly and severely punished.

But the sociopolitical turbulence of the 1980s and 90s toppled even the ironfisted Russian empire’s impenetrable curtain. And with the implementation of democratic rule there came the right to speak freely once again, and a long awaited moment of truth.

Formerly top-secret documents authorizing the mass murders in and around Katyn’s forest -- which bore the signature of Josef Stalin himself -- were declassified. Their release to the world proving once and for all what every oppressed Polish citizen already knew: Russia, not Germany, orchestrated the slaughter.

By that belated date, unfortunately, the Soviet Union’s supreme butcher Vasily Blokhin had been dead for almost four decades, having gone insane from demons and drink before cowardly committing suicide in 1955.



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