Cover Osteuropa 7-8/2009

In Osteuropa 7-8/2009

Against Better Knowledge
Katyn and the Allied Handling of War Crimes

Claudia Weber

Deutsche Fassung


In 1943, the Wehrmacht discovered the corpses of 15,000 Polish POWs who had been murdered by the NKVD in 1940. Nazi propaganda tried to capitalize on this. But this benefited the Soviet Union, which the Nazi regime held responsible for the murders. The Allies in the West knew the truth about the massacre, but did not want to play into the hands of the Nazis. The Allies kept silent, because they put a greater value on the maintenance of the anti-Hitler coalition. Even during the Nuremberg trials, they did not contest the Soviet assertions, because that would have called into question the entire allied policy of prosecuting war crimes.

(Osteuropa 7-8/2009, pp. 227–248)