On April 13, 1943, the Germans announced to the World the discovery of enormous pits, filled with the corpses of murdered Polish officers, in the Katyn Forest

The Polish Government responded on April 17, 1943 with an official statement, published in London on April 18


The Council of Ministers, at a meeting held in London on the 17th of April 1943, after acquainting itself with all information received in the matter of Polish officers, whose bodies had been recently discovered near Smolensk, and having taken notice of a report in this matter received from Poland, issued the following statement:

No Pole can help, but be deeply shocked by the news, now given the widest publicity by the Germans, of the discovery of the bodies of the Polish officers missing in the USSR, in a common grave near Smolensk, and of the mass execution of which they were victims.

The Polish Government have instructed their representative in Switzerland to request the International Red Cross in Geneva to send a delegation to investigate the true state of affairs on the spot. It is to be desired that the findings of this protective institution, which is to be entrusted with the task of clarifying the matter and of establishing responsibility, should be issued without delay.

At the same time, however, the Polish Government, on behalf of the Polish Nation, deny to the Germans any right to base on a crime they ascribe to others, arguments in their own defence. The profoundly hypocritical indignation of German propaganda will not succeed in concealing from the World the many cruel and reiterated crimes still being perpetrated against the Polish people.

The Polish Government recall such facts as: the removal of Polish officers from prisoner-of-war camps in the Reich and the subsequent shooting of them for political offences alleged to have been committed before the war; mass arrests of reserve officers subsequently deported to concentration camps, to die a slow death - from Cracow and the neighbouring districts alone, 6000 were deported in June 1942; the compulsory enlistment in the German Army of Polish prisoners-of-war from territories illegally incorporated in the Reich; the forcible conscription of about 200 000 Poles from the same territories, and the execution of the families of those, who managed to escape; the massacre of one-and-a-half million people by executions or in concentration camps; the recent imprisonment of 80 000 people of military age, officers and men, and their torture and murder in the camps of Majdanek and Treblinka.

It is not to enable the Germans to lay impudent claims and pose as the defenders of Christianity and European civilization, that Poland is making immense sacrifices, fighting and enduring suffering. The blood of Polish soldiers and Polish citizens, wherever it is shed, cries for atonement before the conscience of the free peoples of the World. The Polish Government condemn all the crimes committed against Polish citizens and refuse the right to make political capital of such sacrifices to all, who are themselves guilty of such crimes.





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