Feature

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Polakkene går mann av huse for å se Andrej Wajdas film om Katyn-massakren. Gudene skal vite at polakkene led mye under krigen, men Katyn står i en særstilling: Sovjetunionen var ikke i krig med Polen, (men hadde okkupert halvparten av landet etter en hemmelig avtale med nazistene). Likevel henrettet sovjeterne kaldt og rolig 15.000 polske offiserer. Offiserene tilhørte landets elite. Mange var reserveoffiserer, og var høyt utdannede, ingeniører, teknikere og professorer. Nazistene oppdaget massegravene og gjorde et stort nummer av det, men hadde vansker med å bli trodd.

I etterkrigstiden har Katyn vært et stort tabu, Selv i dag vil ikke russerne utlevere navnene på morderne.

One by one the unshaven Polish officers are hauled into a cellar and shot in the back of their heads by Soviet officers. The wall opposite is splattered with blood and chunks of brain.

You need a strong stomach to watch Andrzej Wajda’s new film, Katyn: the execution scene lasts 20 minutes and the audience at the Atlantic Cinema in Warsaw stayed silently in their seats long after the screen went blank.

More than 200,000 Poles saw the film in the first weekend after its release. Now, a fortnight later, it is playing to full houses.

«I’m really shocked,» said Agnieszka Bendkowska, an architecture student, outside the cinema. «It shows that the Russians are as bad as the Germans.»
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The Katyn killings, too, have become a metaphor for Poland’s troubled relationship with Berlin and Moscow. In September 1939 Poland was crushed between the armies of Hitler and Stalin. From the occupied east of Poland, Soviet commissars deported hundreds of thousands to Siberia. Some of the captured officers and intellectuals, held in three Soviet camps at Kozelsk, Starobilsk and Ostashkov, were offered a role in an army that was to fight alongside the Red Army. But 15,000 were deemed unsuitable and murdered. It was an astonishing crime – Poland and the Soviet Union were not even at war.

For decades Moscow lied about the massacre, blaming it on the Nazis. The Germans had stumbled on the graves when they invaded the Soviet Union and duly made propaganda out of it.

Between 1945 and 1989 it was forbidden for Poles to even suggest that their relatives had been slaughtered on Soviet territory in 1940. Even now the Russians are withholding information from the Poles about the identity of the killers.


Nationalists exploit war film to stir hatred from the past