Katyn massacre

WW II Soviet massacre in Poland

The Katyn massacre is the name of a series of killings by the Soviet army during World War II. Members of the NKVD killed nearly 22,000 Polish prisoners of war in a forest near Katyn, about 20 kilometres (12 mi) from Smolensk. Most of the prisoners killed were officers. The Katyn massacre happened in April and May 1940. Stalin ordered it on Beria's advice. In April 1990, the Soviet Union/Russia admitted it was responsible. In 1990, Mikhail Gorbachev officially apologised. The Katyn massacre is one in a series of similar massacres where up to 100,000 people were killed. Between 400 and 450 prisoners survived. People used their stories to change Soviet history books after the apology.

Katyn massacre
Part of the aftermath of the Soviet invasion of Poland (during World War II) and Soviet repressions of Polish citizens (1939–1946)
Katyn-Kharkov-Mednoye memorial in Świętokrzyskie Mountains, Poland
Katyn massacre is located in USSR
Katyn massacre
LocationKatyn Forest, Kalinin and Kharkiv prisons in Soviet Union
DateApril–May 1940
Attack type
Mass murder
Deathsaround 22,000
PerpetratorsSoviet Union (NKVD)

In the 1980s, Michail Gorbachev said that Beria and Vsevolod Merkulov were responsible. He said that the Katyn massacre was one of Stalin's atrocities.

Beria was accused of treason. He was executed in 1953. Merkulov was also executed in 1953 for being close to Beria. Beria and Merkulov were never tried for what they did at Katyn.