In 1951-52, when the House Select Committee to Conduct an Investigation of the Facts, Evidence and Circumstance of the Katyn Forest Massacre of the Eighty Second Congress, (generally referred to as the Madden Committee as it was chaired by Ray Madden) conducted its hearings, average Americans had their first opportunity to learn about the details of the Katyn massacre.
Seventy years have passed, and today, most Americans don’t know what the Katyn Massacre was, while most Polish people don’t know what the Madden Committee was.
The commentary presented by Krystyna Piórkowska will introduce the Massacre, discuss the role of the Madden Committee and dispel myths about its creation, constituent members, and the betrayal (if any) of a member US military intelligence.
The Katyn Massacre was a series of extra-legal executions of some 24,000 Polish citizens by the Soviet NKVD. They had been taken prisoner by the Soviet Army, upon its invasion of Poland in September 1939, when it was allied with Nazi Germany. These individuals were of varying faiths and ethnicities, but were all linked by the fact that they were Polish citizens and served in the Army (active or reserve) or served in the uniformed services – police, forest rangers, prison guards, etc. and many had college degrees.
Krystyna Piórkowska has been studying the Western Allies and the English-speaking Witnesses to Katyn for 12 years. Her work led to the discovery of heretofore unknown materials – a witness report, coded letters, materials involved with the Ruhr River Dam Buster Raids and finally, the sworn testimony submitted to JAG in Paris on May 10, 1945. Much of that work appeared in English-speaking "Witnesses to Katyn Recent Research."
Photo credit: St. Patrick's Cathedral/ Tony Correa