At the request of forum members, member wayupnorth, John Solski, has generously provided his Katyn thesis for posting.
John has added these comments to serve as an introduction. More information is also contained in this thread from the PSZ forum, including a photo of his father Joseph’s framed medal grouping:
Valour Cross and Monte Cassino Cross group
Click on the posting to magnify view:Joseph Solski was my father. He passed away in 1985. He was one of those with the familiar story, living in the eastern part of Poland, as it then was, near Lvov. Scooped up by the Russians and placed in their camps for 2 years, then released and sent off to join the British 8th, he was with second Polish Tank corp. Interestingly enough, I have learned more about my father from members of this forum than I did anywhere else. I had posted a picture of a shadow box of my fathers' medals and then assorted members sent me all kinds of information regarding my father. I shared that information with my older brother who lives in California and retired following a career in the Canadian military.
It was way back probably in 1978 or so when I first heard about Katyn. My brother had returned to our home to visit his little brother, me, and our parents. My brother was a fighter pilot in the CAF. Our father very rarely spoke about his experiences but on this occasion we got him talking. He told us about Katyn and in particular the details of seeing names and dates of Poles written on prison camp walls, then whitewashed over. Following that discussion, I started to research Katyn. Remember, this was pre-internet days so research meant working through libraries and inter-library loans. I was working on a double major in political science and anthropology at the time. My political science stream was Sino-Soviet studies. During my third year, I asked one of my profs whether I could do a paper on Katyn. He was astounded when I mentioned to him that I had an almost "primary" source available in the person of my father. I spent a good part of that term getting books sent from all over to Sudbury Ontario where I was located. I hand-wrote my first draft, then typed the final copy on a Brother portable manual typewriter. I submitted the paper and after the Prof returned it to me, he asked me whether I'd consider doing a thesis on this as an independent study in my fourth year. He offered to assist me and indicated that the history department was interested in this as well. I agreed to do this but then got accepted to law school, so I never returned for my fourth year of undergrad. The Prof, Dr. Yin, was an interesting fellow, not even five feet tall, who used to sit in the university library each day reading Pravda in Russian.
I recall my father’s response after reading my paper as “See I told you.... ". . . “We knew who did it, before we even knew what had happened". At the time, the Polish government in exile was hearing from front lines that no officers, just enlisted men were showing up from Soviet camps. Those enlisted men, such as my father, were telling the bosses the rumours they had heard and their observations of names and messages written on camp walls. The most startling one was the idea of putting the officers on barges then sinking them on Black Sea. At that point, roughly ten thousand men were still unaccounted for but since then I believe two other mass graves have been found.
The Russians, with the explicit approval of Stalin, proceeded in this fashion solely for the reason of decapitating Polish society. They assumed they would control at least the eastern half of Poland following the war so eliminating the leaders of Poland would make their future dominance easier.