Katyn Forest Knows, O Yes, She Does

 Katyn Forest Knows, O Yes, She Does

 one bullet each

390 one night

did the trees weep

shudder, cringe, flinch

year rings holding knowledge

still men hold close in secret keeps

thereafter

250 single bullets

shot after shot methodically delivered

nothing random night to night

light no chance plays

did the night birds sing

warnings prayers

mourning dawns

250 trigger pulls

no sharing, one per each uniform head

no trip wires

no mines

hand held small gun

execution after identification

leading minds need dying

250 uniformed

Poles of whom thou shall not speak

1940 in Katyn Forest 22,000 lying

know you no you know

NKVD drains brains blood

counting seventy years denying

genocide claims no one owns

but

Katyn Forest knows all

o yes she does

listen close

songs

dying roots embraced

*

Wikipedia page for 2007 film https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Katy%C5%84_(film)

Katyn is available with English subtitles via that company with the little red envelopes.

With English subtitles:

In Polish:

*

From Wikipedia  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Katyn_massacre

According to a report from 19 November 1939, the NKVD had about 40,000 Polish POWs: about 8,000–8,500 officers and warrant officers, 6,000–6,500 police officers and 25,000 soldiers and NCOs who were still being held as POWs.[1][13][22] In December, a wave of arrests took into custody some Polish officers who were not yet imprisoned, Ivan Serov reported to Lavrentiy Beria on 3 December that “in all, 1,057 former officers of the Polish Army had been arrested”.[10] The 25,000 soldiers and non-commissioned officers were assigned to forced labors (road construction, heavy metallurgy).[10]

Once at the camps, from October 1939 to February 1940, the Poles were subjected to lengthy interrogations and constant political agitation by NKVD officers such as Vasily Zarubin. The prisoners assumed that they would be released soon, but the interviews were in effect a selection process to determine who would live and who would die.[23][24] According to NKVD reports, if the prisoners could not be induced to adopt a pro-Soviet attitude, they were declared “hardened and uncompromising enemies of Soviet authority”.[23]

On 5 March 1940, pursuant to a note to Joseph Stalin from Beria, four members of the Soviet Politburo – Stalin, Vyacheslav Molotov, Kliment Voroshilov, and Anastas Mikoyan – signed an order to execute 25,700 Polish “nationalists and counterrevolutionaries” kept at camps and prisons in occupied western Ukraine and Belarus.[25][c] The reason for the massacre, according to historian Gerhard Weinberg, was that Stalin wanted to deprive a potential future Polish military of a large portion of its talent:

“It has been suggested that the motive for this terrible step [the Katyn massacre] was to reassure the Germans as to the reality of Soviet anti-Polish policy. This explanation is completely unconvincing in view of the care with which the Soviet regime kept the massacre secret from the very German government it was supposed to impress…. A more likely explanation is that… [the massacre] should be seen as looking forward to a future in which there might again be a Poland on the Soviet Union’s western border. Since he intended to keep the eastern portion of the country in any case, Stalin could be certain that any revived Poland would be unfriendly. Under those circumstances, depriving it of a large proportion of its military and technical elite would make it weaker”.[26]

In addition, Soviets realized that the prisoners constituted a large body of trained and motivated Poles who would not accept a Fourth Partition of Poland.[1]

Kaytn En Castellano

~Colors of Confinement, Rare Kodachrome Photographs of Japanese American Incarceration In World War II~

I’m a library grazer. Yep, I confess it. Each time I visit my local public library I can’t help but shop the shelves for all the new arrivals in all genres–even the entertainment ones that often astonish me with their very existence.  The downside of this book/dvd/cd grazing is that it about triples the time I spend in the library’s physical location. It also generally about triples the number of items I haul to the self check out computer and from there to the ever overflowing parlor couch where they get to catch their breath. One of the items my grazing discovered was this book of photographs from one of America’s dark actions against its own people–Japanese Americans.  (Btw, there was talk of rounding up German Americans too, but that never got going. Don’t believe that? Check out the holdings at the National Archives, KCMO–oh yeah.) Not only were people forced into camps but their personal property was confiscated and they lost everything–for nothing.  Is this bit of American history more than a tad disconcerting? It should be considering all the lip service paid to “human rights.”  The Native Americans had/have prisons without walls via the reservations. Japanese Americans had prisons with barbed wire.  As I viewed Bill Manbo’s photographs I was struck again and again at the incongruity of everything in them about people trying to maintain some sense of normalcy in a decidedly NOT normal situation–a downright irrational situation to my thinking.  Usually prison/confinement is the end result of doing something “wrong”–illegal–criminal. But these families had done nothing at all — except be Japanese Americans.  There’s definitely something askew in thinking that leads to such treatment of people innocent of any wrongdoing.  I wonder about the American population at large that was aware of people being taken from their communities and yet allowing it, accepting it, agreeing to it. And I wonder if our current prison system is just another sign of this confining mentality.  Maybe it is. Or it’s something even darker? At any rate, here is one man’s photographic record of history which shames the Americans who created and implemented this action. It also shames all those who knew it was wrong and watched it happen in silence.

Much thanks to the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University for this Vimeo film featuring Bill Manbo’s photographs.

http://documentarystudies.duke.edu/about

Colors of Confinement, Rare Kodachrome Photographs of Japanese American Incarceration in World War II, Editor Eric L. Muller with photographs by Bill Manbo. Published by the University of North Carolina in association with the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University, 2012.

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