I would suggest that anyone truly interested in the treatment of the Katyn Forest massacre in the IMT trials read the following:
Telford Taylor, The Anatomy of the Nuremberg Trials: A Personal Memoir
(Alfred A. Knopf, 1992) at 472-7. [Taylor was one of the US prosecutors at the IMT trials and ultimately became Chief Counsel. My copy of his book is a proof for book review purposes, and the pagination may differ in the finished book.]
Robert E. Conot, Justice at Nuremberg
(Harper & Row, 1983) at 452-5.
Joseph E. Persico, Nuremberg: Infamy on Trial
(Penguin Books, paperback ed. 1994) at 358-9.
All the above sources, with access to memoirs, notes and recollections of the non-Russian participants, point out that the Russian insistence upon including the Katyn Massacre charge against the Germans was a source of profound embarrasment to the US, British and French judges and prosecutors, which they agreed to simply to prevent the Russians from walking out, as they appeared likely to do.
Against vigorous Russian opposition, the other judges decided to permit the German defendants to offer testimony rebutting the charge, and witnesses were called on both sides of the controversy.
It is hard to prove a negative, but the witnesses on the German side at least were able to show that the Wehrmacht forces which a Russian investigation claimed were responsible for the Massacre were not in the vicinity at the time it allegedly occured, and that all correspondence from the 11,000 Polish officers and enlisted men captured by the Russians had stopped long before the Germans occupied the area around Katyn.
On the Russian side the star witness was one Dr. Antonov Markov, a Bulgarian, who in 1943, at a time when Bulgaria had been allied with Germany, had previously certified in connection with a German investigation of the massacre, that the bodies of the Polish officers had been in the ground long before Germany had control of the territory around Katyn, and must therefor have been murdered by the Russians. By the time of the IMT trial, however, Bulgaria had switched to the Russian side and Markov now testified that the bodies could not have been in the ground before the Katyn area had been taken over by the Germans, and therefore they must have been shot by the Germans.
Obviously, Dr. Markov's testimony must have made a huge impression on the non-Russian judges, although the direct converse of the impression the Russians had intended! No lawyer or judge worth his salt could have ignored the strong order of fish which permeated the Russian case.
Here is how Persico sums up the situation:
For two days, July 1 and 2, forensic experts battled in Room 600 [the hearing room for the IMT trial.] Guilt turned on fixing the date when the Poles had died. The Russians claimed the deaths occured in the autumn of 1941, after the Soviet Union had been invaded and while the germans occupied the Katyn forest. The Germans claimed the Poles had died earlier, in 1940, when the Russians still held this territory.
In the end, the Germans had the better of it. among their most persuasive evidence was the fact that all letters from the Poles had ceased after April 1940, at which time the Russians controlled the forest. The judges, except for Nikitchenko [the Russian judge] were dismayed that the issue had ever arisen. To conclude that the Russians themselves had shat thousands of Poles would dilute the horror of the crimes of the Nazis. What was the court to do with this moral morass? Their responsibility, they decided, was not to place blame on one of the countries, but to determine if a certain charge against german war criminals was proved. They simply took the position that the Russian accusation against the Germans lacked sufficient evidence, and let the Katyn issue drop.
As David Thompson pointed out, the IMT made specific findings in the case of each of the individual and organizational defendants as to the specific elements of the charges they were found guilty of. In no case was there a finding of guilt for participation or complicity in the Katyn massacre, and no defendant's punishment rested on such a finding. I have elsewhere on this, and on the old, Forum indicated my disagreement with certain of the findings and sentences imposed by the IMT, but with those few exceptions I think the IMT's specific findings of guilt - absent any finding at all on the Katyn massacre - well justify the verdicts and sentences issued.
And as a matter of personal priviledge, I wish to make it clear that I am far from being a "neo-Communist." I despise the brutal régime of the Soviet Union every bit as much as I despise the brutal régime of Nazi Germany. I fought willingly in the Korean war against what I then believed and still do believe was an intolerable attempt to expand the totalitarian power of the North Korean State. I still think that was a just war on tha part of the US and its allies. I firmly believe in the limited role of government in our individual lives and the predominant (but not exclusive) role that individual freedoms should play in any decent form of government.
As to whether or not I may be "philosemitic", I confess I really don't know just what that appelation implies. I myself am a member of the United Church of Christ ( formerly the Congegational Church). As far as I know, I never met a member of the Jewish faith until I went East to college. There were none in the small Midwestern town I grew up in. And in college I simply didn't know the religious preference of most of my acquaintances. Of those I knew were Jewish, I met many whom I liked very much, and some whom I didn't like at all. The proportion was about the same with my acquaintances of other faiths.
And so it remains to this day, although I will confess that one of my three closest friends is a doctor who is a devout Jew - the others being a German Lutheran science professor at a local university and the third an Irish Catholic lawyer. It is also true that I am impressed by the exceedingly - indeed, astonishingly - high proportion of members of the Jewish faith who are generous supporters of so many non-profit and charitable organizations here in Houston - a proportion far, far higher that that they bear to the general population. And, indeed, I do believe the Jews have a right to their own state, although I have severe problems with much of the way they now choose to defend it.
In sum, I plead a vigorous "not guilty" to the charge of being a neo-Communist, and nolo contendere
to the charge of being philosemitic. And I can't help but wonder what connection the latter may have with the issue of the Katyn Forest Massacre, which involved Polish officers, not Jews.
With respect, I think that Mr. Mills, who has contributed much of interest to this forum, must have experienced, like Alexander, "a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day" preceding his posts on this thread.