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The number of Poles murdered by NKVD in 1937 Polish Operation was greater than expected!

Publication Date: June 22, 2019

archival documents related to the Polish Operation conducted by the NKVD in 1937-1938

At the headquarters of the Memorial Association in Moscow, a meeting was held devoted to archival documents related to the Polish Operation conducted by the NKVD in 1937-1938. Historian Sergey Prudowski spoke about the results of the analysis of documents from the archives in the Omsk Oblast and pointed out that the number of victims is greater than previously assumed.

Referring to documents stored in the archives of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) in the Omsk region of Siberia, Prudowski talked about the way how lists of people arrested were created, about the protocols of the so-called two’s (a group of two people consisting of the head of local NKVD and prosecutor), and the so-called albums. The "Albums" contained a set of information about each arrested - personal data, the crime he was accused of, and the sentence.

The historian presented numerical data sets contained in the protocols of the NKVD Commission at the national level and the USSR Prosecutor. This extrajudicial body was charged with approving the lists of persons on whom the death sentence was to be executed.

Memorial historian Nikita Pietrow pointed out that the work done by Prudowski is important because he showed the statistical data contained in the protocols, in other words numerical indicators of executions. The analysis of this source shows that in the Omsk Oblast the number of victims was higher than the number of victims registered in the existing database prepared by the Memorial.

Books of Memory

- We compared the data that Sergey Prudowski received, with those that have been already published (...) and we realized that the data published by Memorial, which is based on the so-called books of memory (lists of repressed persons), are not complete. A lot of work still needs to be done to fill in the gaps - the names and the number of victims - he stressed.

During the discussion, it was stressed that the NKVD's Polish Operation from 1937-38 actually affected every fourth USSR citizen of Polish nationality. Representatives of the Memorial also emphasized that their meeting coincides with the 79th anniversary of September 17, 1939 Soviet invasion of Poland, although the subject matter is not the same.

The Polish Operation began with the order of the NKVD head Nikolai Jezow on August 11, 1937, the order bearing the number 00485. The order stated that subject to arrest are all members of the Polish Military Organization, Polish soldiers remaining in Soviet captivity as a result of the Polish-Bolshevik war, residents of the former territory of the Republic of Poland who found themselves within the borders of the USSR as a result of the Treaty of Riga, former activists of the Polish Socialist Party, clergy, teachers, officials, and also wealthier peasants.

In accordance with this order, all the arrested were to be divided into two categories: the first to be executed, the second sentened to prison or labor camps with sentences from 5 to 10 years. As part of the Polish Operation, about 140,000 ethnic Poles were arrested. From that group, at least 111,091 people were subsequently murdered.

Source: TVP.pl, PAP.
Photo: lutskrada.gov.ua

 

 
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