Wednesday, April 10, 2013


It was April 10, 1943 when the first ‘outsiders’ arrived in Katyn – they were journalists and among them were the following journalists (with the names of the newspapers which published them and country listed)
Jäderlund"Stockholms-Tidningen" (Sweden),
Mikasinowitsch"Novo Vreme" (Serbia),
Myklebust Norwegian Telegraphic Agency,
Sanchez — "Informaciones" (Spain),
Schnetzer — "Der Bund" (Switzerland),
Stoffels — "De Telegraaf" (Holland),
Szabolcs — "Esti Újság" (Hungary),
van der Maele — "Nouveau Journal" (Belgium).

Neutral Sweden was represented, as was Switzerland, and there was a reporter from Norway and one from Spain – two countries alligned with Germany, then there were Belgium and Holland which although occupied by Germany did form their own national SS brigades which supported the efforts of their occupier, and finally Hungary and Serbia which were nominally independent with governments supporting Germany. 
As it appears that the Stockhoms-Tidningen correspondent was correct in his testimony to the Madden Committee, and that the visit occured on April 10, which is corroborated by other facts, then we know that there were two groups present on the same day.  The first group of Polish witnesses totaled at least nine men: including Ferdynand Goetel and Jan Emil Skiwski; two physicians, Dr. K. Orzechowski and Dr. Grodzki; photographers, including Didur and several others, among them Jan Prochownik and the Head of the RGO, Edmond Sayfred.  Władysław Kawecki, a journalist then living in Kraków noted that he had been called in on April 9 to learn that he was to travel to Katyn on the following day as part of this group.
The visit of the non-Polish journalists did not lead to immediate publication of articles on the subject, as the individual editors wanted to wait for the German side to announce the matter. Clearly the Germans had had a different expectation.  In fact the Director of the Political Department of the German Foreign Office, Woermann, was contacted by an official of the Political Department, Tippelskirch on April 15 and he wrote that it would appear
to be expedient to prepare official records of the discovery of the mass graves of Polish officers shot by the GPU near Smolensk. These records should be of use for propaganda purposes abroad. This kind of propaganda is more essential as individual neutral journalists who were invited to view the site and place [of the discoveries] refused to publish their impressions. These Protocols are demanded by the Supreme Command of the Armed Forces (OKW)”.  
Jäderlund was also very clear the refusal of his editors to publish the article as, and so the news was not printed until the 18 of April, well after the Radio Berlin broadcast.
The journalists returned to Berlin, while the Polish group returned to Warsaw to confront their next steps.

©Krystyna Piórkowska