Page 8, 2nd December 1949

2nd December 1949
Page 8
Page 8, 2nd December 1949 — Free Poles Want World I DE

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Locations: Wilberforce, Lincoln


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From a Special Correspondent

The Polish National Council in London recently debated a resolution, demanding an international inquiry into the massacre of the 10,000 Polish officers in Katyn in the spring of 1940.

This resoIutiort has been accepted by the London Polish Government and steps have been taken to convene an independent international tribunal,

probably in America.

The Socialist Prime Minister of the London Government, Mr. T. Tomaszewski, in an exclusive interview with THE CATHOLIC HERALD, explains why Poles here and elsewhere abroad feel such an inquiry to be necessary and opportune.

" By pressing for the elucidation of this crime and punishment of those responsible, we free Poles are acting in the interest and in the defence of many nations," said Mr. Tomaszewski.

" In the Soviet concentration camps today there are men of many different nations and creeds: Catholics, Protestants, Mohammedans and others, they all suffer the same tragic fate. The Catholic hierarchy is represented by many members with the Greek Catholic Archbishop. Mgr. Slipyj at their head.

" And for the nationalities there are Ukrainians, Poles, Germans, Lithuanians, Hungarians, Rumanians, as well as hundreds of

thousands of Russians in these camps.

" An international inquiry into the Katyn crime would focus the fight against these horrible death camps. And this fight ought to have an international character in it. European solidarity and unity should manifest itself.

" In the days of Wilberforce and Lincoln, the fight for the abolition of slavery was regarded as a common duty of humanity and every civilised nation wanted to contribute to it. It is the shame of the 20th century that the reintroduction of slavery in the Communist empire is tolerated without protest."

Referring to the recent Foreign Office statement that 19 million were confined in Russian labour camps, Mr. Tomaszewski went on:

I suppose that the true figure is nearer to 20 millions. And what makes the crime of these camps especially dreadful is the high mortality in them. I doubt whether the average life in a Soviet camp exceeds five years. Thus 1 am deeply convinced that more than three million people die yearly in them.

" And that is not simply a guess. It is an estimate based on the stories of countless Poles who were released from these camps in 1941 to join General Anders army.

" However, in this great chain of crimes against the individual the Katyn massacre stands out by its monstrosity. It was a planned, coldly prepared murder of thousands of Polish officers, who should have enjoyed the rights and privileges of prisoners of war laid down in international conventions."

" What can be gained from an independent, international tribunal to study this crime now without the participation of Russia?" I asked.

" True, those guilty cannot be punished now. But a trial will contribute towards a final elucidation of this crime.

" In any case the world conscience will be awakened. More light will be thrown on this immense prison which calls itself the Soviet Union. And surely a careful examination of the problem of the Soviet concentration camps is easier now than later, after many years when the number of living witnesses will have decreased and others will have forgotten many facts.

"That explains why we confidently hope that in the country of Washington and Jefferson an independent tribunal will be formed to examine the dreadful Katyn crime."

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