Polish film maker Andrjez Wajda has a new film out about the Katyn Forest Massacre , simply titled Katyn. (Hang with me there is a Maryland connection)
The Nazi-Soviet Non-Aggression pact of 1939 not only secured a mutual bargain not to attack one another, it also contained a secret protocol in which Hitler and Stalin would carve up Poland and the deliver the Baltic states to the Soviet Union. When the Soviets moved into eastern Poland they rounded up and shot over 20,000 Polish citizens. Some were POWs others were lawyers, doctors, and businessman. Since Poland’s conscription policy at the time required all non-exempted college graduates to serve in the reserve officer corps, the Soviets were able to eliminate a large segment of the Polish intelligentsia, that could pose a threat to their control of their portion of Poland. The prisoners were shot and buried in the Katyn Forest.
The massacre was not discovered until the Germans invaded the Soviet Union and the Nazis used it as a propaganda tool to undermine the allied war effort. Stalin in turn blamed the Nazis. Official Soviet policy continued to lay blame on the Germans well after Stalin’s death. In 1989 Mikhail Gorbachev finally admitted that the NKVD executed the Poles on orders from Stalin.
There is a local monument to the Katyn victims here in Baltimore (see the pic above). The memorial is located at the end of President’s St. adjacent to the waterfront Marriott. Mostly people walk by the memorial scratching their heads in a vain attempt to figure out what it is. If they only knew.
Katyn could be up for best foreign film at the Academy Awards this year. Should it get nominated it would will have a good chance at winning. A win for Katyn would be the sign of a welcome trend in Hollywood. Last year’s best foreign film winner The Lives of Others, detailed the crimes of the Stasi, communist East Germany’s secret police. Instead of covering up for its own history of sympathy for Stalin and the crimes of communism, the film colony might be ready to seriously deal with the evil that communism was and still is.