Archives Katyn Report Research

Selected Katyn Records at NARA

Supplement to “Selected Records Relating to the Katyn Massacre at the National Archives and Records Administration”


I.  General Records of the Department of State (Record Group 59)

A.    The Central Decimal File (1940-1944, 1945-1949, 1950-1954)

a. 1940-1944

711.62114A/563.  van Vliet and Stewart’s sworn statement from their time as POWs certifying their visit to Katyn is attached to a memo from Bern on 2 May 1944.

711.62114A/5-2545.  What the State Department did know re: van Vliet.

740.00114 European War 1939/3901.  Polish Red Cross regarding mission soldiers on 18 Mar 1941, sent to US 2 June 1943.

740.00116 European War 1939/890.  (27 Apr 1943) Military attaché’s opinion was that the crime could have been committed by either the Soviets or the Germans.

740.00116 European War 1939/1273.  (25 Jan 1944)  Embassy staff return from Katyn, conclude that it was a German crime.

740.00116 European War 1939/1934.  (23 Feb 1944)  US Embassy Moscow. Refers to the telegram of 25 Jan 1944; Kathleen Harriman and John F Nelby accompany Special Commission to Establish and Investigate the Circumstances of the Shooting by the German Fascist Invaders of Captive Polish Officers in the Katyn Woods.  “It is apparent that the evidence in the Russian case is incomplete in several respects, that it is badly put together, and that the show was put on for the benefit of the correspondents without opportunity for independent investigation or verification.  On balance, however, and despite loopholes the Russian case is convincing.”

760c.61/863 and 864.  Deportees

760c.61/985.  British support for the reestablishment of Polish citizenship.

760c.61/987.  Soviet disruption of Polish efforts at relief to deportees. “On each occasion I have been instructed to say and have said that my government did not wish to interfere in Soviet-Polish relations.”“…I have reached the opinion that expressions by us of interest in the matter or of hope that the Russian and Poles will be able to come to a mutually satisfactory understanding will serve merely to annoy the Russians….”  Suggests communicating firmness to Soviets that conflict only benefits Hitler.

760c.61/1022. (16 Apr 1943). Polish intelligence blames Soviets for atrocities discovered near Smolensk.

760c.61/1030. (15 Apr 1943). References exhumations.

760c.61/1035. Diplomatic break USSR/Poland.  Molotov accuses Poland of conspiring with Hitler.

760c.61/1038.  Same.

760c.61/1076.  Relays testimony by Polish civilian nurse in Jan 1943 that Soviets drowned the missing officers; testimony based on hearsay.

760c.61/2038.  (3 June 1943).  Mention of role of Wanda Wasilewska.  Only small fraction of missing Polish officers joined Red Army.

760c.61/2040.  (n.d.) Refugees.

760c.61/2044.  (15 May 1943).  “The Katyn episode with a summary of observations in Switzerland on Soviet-German-Polish relations.”

760c.61/2047.  (28 Jun 1943).  Departmental position on resolving Polish/Soviet dispute.

760c.61/2055.  (11 Jun 1943).  Discounts OSS report that Poles had fled to USSR to escape Germans; asserts that they were deported.

760c.61/2055.  (27 Jun 1943).  Special report offering Sikorski’s argument “that the Polish Government had other proofs than those from German sources showing that the Russians murdered the Polish officers.”

760c.61/2056. (9 June 1943).  Telegram Roosevelt to Churchill.  “I also note with gratification that you do not mention the underlying territorial dispute between the Poles and the Russians, attempts at the solution of which would not add to the unity of the United Nations at this time, and that your approach to Stalin is based primarily upon the obvious necessity of creating the most favorable conditions for bringing the full weight of the armed forces of all the United Nations to bear upon the common enemy….The winning of the war is the paramount objective for all of us.  For this unite is necessary.”

760c.61/2057. (28 May 1943). Report filed 15 May: Churchill’s point of view “about the matter of the assassination of the Polish officers” is “not essentially different from that of the Poles.”  Report filed 17 May:  “There can be no doubt that the many eye-witnesses whom the Germans brought to the Katyn Forest corpses have seen horrible things and that some of them have become convinced that the explanations given by the Germans were correct. This does not [dis]prove, however, that Nazi propaganda—with its diabolical cleverness—has [not] built up a matter, of which only come elements were true.  The matter is—and will probably remain—a mystery that will not be cleared up for a very long time.” [NB: Items in brackets hand-written].

760c.61/2088. (10 Aug 1943). Romer’s aide-memoire to Biddle: Germans committing “mass murder” against Poles as reprisals inspired by Soviet sabotage against German occupation

760c.61/2099. (1 Oct 1943). Soviet aide-memoire expressing regret that US and British governments have not made “use of their influence in order to prevent acts of the Polish Government hostility to the Soviet Union and injurious to the cause of unity among the United Nations…The Soviet Government states the aide memoire does not share the opinion of the British and American Governments concerning the significance of these questions and considers it necessary to draw to the attention of American Government that the disruption of normal diplomatic relations between the Soviet Union and Poland was not directly connected with these questions but with the hostile direction of Polish policy toward the Soviet Union which found specific expression in attempt of Polish government to use German Fascist provocation concerning Polish Officers killed by Hitlerites in Smolensk district for purpose of wringing from the Soviet Union territorial concessions at the expense of Soviet Ukraine, Belo-Russia, and Lithuania.” Disavows need to remove Polish citizens from USSR, claims Poles voluntarily took Soviet citizenship.

760c.61/2116. Same.

760c.61/2133. (31 Dec 1943). FBI sends Young Communist League pamphlet of Apr 1943:  Emboldened by Soviet execution of 2 Polish fascist spies, Alter and Ehrlich, “the Polish and German fascists decided upon the bigger game.  Working together, they cooked up the provocation that the Soviet Union had executed 12,000 Polish officers in Smolensk.”

760c.61/2187. (21 Jan 1944). “It seems clear that from the standpoint of our own national interest, we should make every effort to avoid the Polish question becoming a definite issue between the Soviet Government and ourselves.”

760c.61/2196.  (31 Jan 1944). US Embassy Moscow to Secretary of State. “…the Soviet Government will expect some formula to take care of the Katyn massacre such as a statement by both governments upon resumption of relations that all outstanding issues had been satisfactorily agreed upon.”

760c.61/2211. (10 Feb 1944). Stalin wishes to have nothing to do with the current Polish administration because “it was responsible for the Katyn massacre story, for attacks on the Soviet Union in the Polish press, and because it was full of reactionaries who did not wish good relations with Soviet Government.”

760c.61/2220.  PRAVDA of 12 Feb maintains Katyn was an example of Polish-German collaboration.

760c.61/2222.  Another paper, same.

760c.61/2228.  Another paper, same.

760c.61/2229.  Another paper, same.

760c.61/2230.  Another paper, same.


b. 1945-49

760c.61/5-2245.  Moscow.  “Information disclosed after careful search”, Vishynski talking with American embassy.


c. 1950-54

648.6124/1-2650.  Documents submitted to London by Polish ambassador to Germany Joseph Lipski:  1) postdates 1946 – report by Committee of Enquiry Into the Question of the Polish Prisoners of War from 1939 Campaign, Missing in the USSR, 69 pp. 2) Mass Murder of Prisoners of War in Katyn March 1946

648.6124/11-1750.  “Facts and Documents…”

648.6126.  Entire decimal related to requests for information on Katyn.


II.  Records of the Office of War Information (Record Group 208)

A.    NC-148 367, Overseas Operations Branch, Bureau of Overseas Intelligence, Central Files Europe, 1941-1945.  Box 332

File E. Poland 6.10 contains a document on the statistics regarding deportation of Poles by Soviets.

File E. Poland 1.19 which has a listing of “Personalities of the Union of Polish Patriots in the USSR, 1943-1945”.


III.   Records of the US House of Representatives (Record Group 233)

A.   Motion pictures on the Hearing Before Select Committee to Investigate the Incorporation of the Baltic States into the USSR, film 233-KC-1266u.

“Reel 2, on the deportation of 26,000 Poles from east Poland to Russia from 1939-1941. Adam Treszka reports on statistics of Poles in Russia, military and civilian, and Poles freed in 1942. Reel 3, Treszka continues report on Poles in Russia, noting the number who died in Russia and that mate Poles remained in Siberia after 1942. Another Polish witness, elected member of Polish Parliament, 1930, testifies on his experiences in Russian and German prisoner of war camps in 1939 and his escape…”

“Reel 6, McTigue questions Gen. S. Kopanski about the Russian army in Poland.”

“Reel 7, …Kersten swears in Gen. Wladyslaw Anders and interpreter; reviews Gen. Anders’ testimony at the Katyn Massacre Committee and his World War II activities. Reel 8, McTigue questions Gen. Anders on his campaign against the Germans in September 1939”.


IV.    Records of the Army Staff (Record Group 319)

A.   Permanent Retention Files, 1918-1963 (HMS entry A1 1014), boxes 1-4.

Material related to and presented to the 1951 Congressional Inquiry.

B.   Army Intelligence Document (“ID”) Files

ID 161516 – This is an undated pamphlet entitled “The Crimean Diktat Must Be Annulled” and accompanying correspondence dated 1945.  The pamphlet, published by the Committee of Polish Citizens’ Organizations in Palestine, aims to convince the Allies of Russian ruthlessness in Poland.


V.    Records of the Defense Intelligence Agency (Record Group 373)

A.    GX Plots (HMS Entry UD-C 1)

This series consists of captured German aerial photography taken during World War II.  Within these records are a few aerial photographs that show the Katyn site, dating from September 1942 to at least April 1944.  The photographs are in good condition with the site being very easy to identify.  They include:

GX 1562, F 2077, SG: Frame 104 taken on September 2, 1942

GX 4344, F 4076, 43 SD: Frame 76 taken on October 13, 1943

GX 4257, F 4205, SD: Frames 120 to 123 taken on October 23, 1943

GX 3707 B, F 752, 44 SD: Frames 39 to 40 taken on April 28, 1944


VI.   Records of U.S. High Commissioner for Germany (Record Gr. 466)

A.    Office of the US High Commissioner for Germany, Security Segregated Records, 1953-1955.  (HMS entry A1 10-B).

Folder 321.6 “Katyn Massacre” mostly containing items on Kersten committee, but one suggestion of a former Wehrmacht officer who might provide testimony after the conclusion of Madden committee testimony.


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