Archive for the ‘Drowning at the Barents Sea’ Category

Of the 22,000 victims of the Katyn massacre, about 2,000 of those were drowned at sea by the hands of Stalin’s secret police. 2,000 Polish officers were taken on a leaky barge far north of Russia, where the Barge was shot down and the men drowned in the icy water of the Barents Sea.

A letter, signed by Lt. Leanord Kordecki, reads as follows: “I am writing in terrible distress and in haste and in the last hour of my life and that of my colleagues. I hope that some day this will reach the conscience of the world and will tell of our martyrdom. We have been sailing for four days now in an old Soviet barge northward in the direction of the Barents Sea. We are being towed by a Soviet naval vessel, the Zarya Vostoka. The holds and deck are crowded with our officers. There is nowhere even to lie down. I think there are about 2,000 Polish officers aboard. On May 7th, 1940, we were disembarked from two trains of cattle-cars in Archangel harbor and forcefully embarked on this leaky barge. Since then we have received no food or water. On every side you can hear the screams of the sick and dying. The Soviet guards push us about, strike us with their rifles and curse us, but they ignore our pleas for water. We are sailing through a rough and icy sea. All the prisoners are frozen and resigned to their fate. This morning the Soviet ship heaved to and sent its lifeboats to our barge. All the guards were taken aboard and sailed away. The next minute gunfire from the ship shattered the barge and wounded and killed many officers. The last judgment is approaching. A second salvo has hit the barge. We are sinking…I am putting this letter into a bottle and throwing it into the sea. Maybe the good Lord will carry it to safety and tell the world of our terrible fate. Farewell- and bless my wife and children.”

The first report of this tragedy was published in the London Daily Telegraph in 1978.

Sources:

Floyd, David. “Russia Drowned 2,000 Polish Officers at Sea.” Daily Telegraph, London. 1978. Web. 31 Jan. 2011. http://www.auntentico.org/oa09165.php.

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