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“Katyn” (2007) – Worth Watching

There are many war movies. This is a different one -it is a glimpse at the uncertainty & pain of those who were left behind, surviving the war.  The Katyn massacre, also known as the Katyn Forest massacre , was a mass murder of thousands of Polish prisoners of war (primarily military officers), intellectuals, policemen, and other public servants by the Soviet NKVD, based on a proposal from Lavrentiy Beria to execute all members of the Polish Officer Corps. Dated March 5, 1940, this official document was then approved (signed) by the entire Soviet Politburo including Joseph Stalin and Beria. The number of victims is estimated at about 22,000. Vasili Mikhailovich Blokhin, chief executioner for the NKVD, personally shot 6,000 of those condemned to death over a period of 28 days in April 1940.

Polish director Andrzej Wajda whose father, Captain Jakub Wajda, was murdered in the NKVD prison of Kharkov, helms this Oscar-nominated drama based on the 1940 massacre of some 20,000 Polish military officers and intelligentsia at the hands of Soviet troops, along with the stories of the wives and children who survived them. It also covers the Nazi imprisonment and death of some of the 184 professors of Jagiellonian University, Kraków, Poland sent to Sachsenhausen concentration camp. Some Katyn Forest scenes are re-enacted. The screenplay is based on Andrzej Mularczyk’s book “Post Mortem – the Katyn Story.”

Katyn has been called “an act of selective genocide against a part of Poland’s national elite, closely parallel to Hitler’s order to exterminate the Polish intellectual class” and “The worst single unpunished crime in history.”

While not for kids, the only violence is at the end when one group of executions are shown. Unless you speak Polish, there are subtitles too.


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