The Ultimate Crime

Katyn & the Invention of Genocide

Recent months have seen remarkable events and developments in the legacy of Katyn, the village in the woods of western Russia where, in April 1940, Stalin’s secret police shot some twenty-two thousand Polish military officers. Those killings have bedeviled relations between the two countries ever since.

Most of the officers killed at Katyn were not career military but reservists who, in their everyday lives, worked as lawyers, doctors, writers, or businessmen. Poles, who look back on...

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About the Author

John Connelly, author of From Enemy to Brother: The Revolution in Catholic Teaching on the Jews (Harvard), teaches history at the University of California, Berkeley.