October 10, 2013
Ms. Rose C. Cali
Michael L. Carter
Dr. Francis M.C. Cuss
Mr. Mitchell E. Hersh
Mr. George J. Hiltzik, Vice Chair
Mr. Douglas L. Kennedy
Mr. Ralph A. LaRossa, Chair
Mr. Thomas Maguire
Mr. John L. McGoldrick
Mr. William T. Mullen
Ms. Christine L. Padilla
Mr. Preston D. Pinkett III
Mr. J. Thomas Presby
Mr. Robert Van Dyk
Trustees of Montclair State University
Susan A. Cole PhD.
Provost Willard Gingrich
Montclair State University
1 Normal Ave
Montclair, New Jersey 07043
Dear Trustees, President Cole and Provost Gingrich:
I am in receipt of your response in which you claim that the factually and historically undocumented statements presented on the pages of Montclair State University comprise historical research.
I have to wonder if you have bothered to read the material which you are defending as research - actually it is clear you have not.
There are various points of the subject essay that lack any logic, documentation or factual reality. I will allow myself to present a few – as a full analysis would require a lengthy document. Among them are the following:
- Mr. Furr alleges in a blanket statement that the government of Poland (which was a government in exile: as the various portions of the country were either, incorporated into the Reich, reformatted as the General Gouvernement under German command, or incorporated by the Soviets into the USSR) collaborated with the Nazis, without presenting any evidence. To make such a ludicrous assertion, about a period when the British and US governments were dependent on the network of Polish agents in occupied Poland and throughout Europe, and further, while Polish airmen were flying as part of the British Air Force and troops were fighting throughout Europe and the Middle East, strains credibility.
It would be reasonable to expect the author to document his allegations, yet he does not do so. Yet you accept this as research.
- The author avoids discussion of the Nazi-Soviet (Ribbentrop-Molotov) Non-Aggression Treaty of August 23, 1939 and its various protocols including one in which the invasion of Poland by both parties, the Nazis and Soviets is discussed and the map of Poland is clearly split into two. Instead he misrepresents the historical facts by claiming that the Soviets wanted to stop incursion by the Germans. If that were the fact there would be no signed map delineating the border between Germany and the USSR and there would not exist a film showing a joint military parade of the two great allies celebrating the conquest of Poland and filmed in Brześć nad Bugiem. These items being but two of a multitude of documents and materials confirming the Nazi-Soviet Alliance.
- Given that the author spends much time elaborating on the report from Włodzimierz Wołyński, you should be made aware that Dr. Dominika Siemińska’s work is misquoted, and in fact it is manipulated to present his desired position. Dr. Siemińska, in correspondence with me, has graciously wondered if the author’s knowledge of Polish is so lacking that he might have erroneously totally misconstrued her position. Regrettably, based on his choice of sentences, it is clear that the author had clearly decided to misrepresent facts.
Since Dr. Siemińska’s material is available on the internet – it would be but a small effort to verify this fact.
- The author writes that Dr. Siemińska has
placed herself at risk – in an essay written in 2013 he refers to
materials published by a government institution and written by Dr.
Siemińska in 2012 – he has chosen to create an illusion of danger for Dr.
Siemińska – however, the reality is (and a reputable scholar would have
noted) that Dr. Siemińska is continuing her work for the Rada Ochrony in
Włódziemierz Wołyński during the 2013 period. Clearly, she has not suffered for her
Thus, these insinuations are a falsehood.
- The Katyn Massacre involved over 24,000 individuals with whom ALL contact was lost no later than May of 1940 and from among whom none ever either joined the Polish Army under British Command, the Polish Army under Soviet Command and finally, none of whom ever returned to Poland in the postwar period. Yes, there were some individuals who were separated off from the various imprisoned groups, the most famous (aside from those who elected to serve the Soviet Union) being Professor Stanisław Swianiewicz, an economist who specialized in studying the German economy. When his Kozielsk group arrived at Gniezdowo, the Katyn station, he was selected out from the group and saw his fellow prisoners being trucked away. You can if you wish view filmed interviews with him. Historians can list the ones who were separated off by name and even give the reason why.
Yet based on the discovery of three items, the author has determined that 24,000 individuals were either sent to Soviet work camps (GULAGs) or were in some indeterminate way individually shot by the Germans. At best this lack of logic would lead one to ask – if they were sent, as the author alleges, to work camps – then at least a certain number of them should have joined the Polish Army under Soviet command – as the Soviets were desperate for Polish officers and soldiers for that army, and accepted whoever would join to that army, while others should have survived the GULAG and returned to Poland in the late 1940’s or early 1950’s. But this issue is not raised.
- Mr. Furr, by engaging in a vitriolic ad hominem attack on Professor Anna Cienciala, alleges that she has mistranslated documents which were included in Katyn: A Crime Without Punishment which was coauthored by Natalia Lebedeva and Wojciech Materski. This volume was published by Yale University Press, and it would appear thereby, as is implied, that the co-authors reneged on their intellectual responsibility and that Yale does not vet the work that it publishes. I would wonder that Montclair State deems it appropriate to attack the scholarly credibility of materials published by Yale University.
Perhaps, in a desire for scholarly accuracy, the President and Provost of Montclair should advise Yale University Press of the error of its ways?
I will allow myself to inform you, that this English language work is a summary of the 4 volume Katyn Dokumenty Zbrodni, which was a joint publication of the:
- National Archives of Poland AND the
- Russian National Archival Services in Moscow, the
- Contemporary History Institute, the
- Institute of Slavic and Balkan Studies, the
- Institute of Military History and the
- Central Archives of the Federal Security Bureau,
with the aforementioned 5 being official Russian organizations.
There were seven Russian editors of these volumes, among who were members of the internationally hailed Memorial Society.
Thus, any allegations that the Soviet documents presented in these volumes, numbering 217 in just the first volume, were manipulated would be highly preposterous. Yet, here, in this first volume of materials co-edited by the various agencies, institutions and individuals listed above, with translations clearly vetted by the Russian side, in doc. 216 appears a group listing of all the individuals who were under discussion and in paragraph 2) the clear order that these individuals shall be executed by being shot.
How then can the Provost and President of Montclair allow the good name of Professor Cienciala be defamed on its pages – when clearly, even the FSB of Russia concurred to the issuance of these materials and approved the translation which definitively states that the prisoners were to be executed and that the document was signed by Stalin and the members of the Politbureau.
- Mr. Furr fails to mention that the Technical Committee of the Polish Red Cross worked on the site of the Katyn Massacre between April 12 and June 7, 1943 and these individuals worked on identifying the bodies of the officers and cadet officers who were buried in Katyn. They retrieved not three, not three hundred but thousands and thousands of individual items which identified not only the officers, but dated the last period when they were alive.
To assuage your concerns, I will advise you that the Technical Committee never submitted a report to the Germans as they saw that as an act that was not acceptable. Thus their reports went to the underground in Warsaw and then London.
- The author also fails to mention, not only the
- various groups of journalists from throughout Europe (France, Sweden, Finland, Spain, Denmark, Italy, Belgium, Netherlands, etc.)
- in addition to the members of the International Medical Commission
who visited the site in April-June 1943.
Interestingly, none of these individuals ever withdrew or altered their opinion that the crime was committed by the Soviets, with the exception of the two who lived behind the Iron Curtain after the war. The International Medical Commission members, forensic scientists, based their decision in part on the calcification inside the skulls, which is a process that would have taken well over two years to occur.
There were, additionally Polish POWs who were brought there, who also never issued a statement to the German media. So much for Polish collaboration.
- Finally, the author fails to mention the group of eight English-speaking POWs who were brought to Katyn by the Germans. They included four officers, three enlisted men and one civilian. Five of them left various forms of testimony (the enlisted men appear not to have left such records) – be it reports, articles, books, videos and audio tapes – the last recorded in 1995 – each of them confirming that the site evidence convinced them that the Soviets had committed the crime – based on the condition of the bodies as well as on the condition of the uniforms on those bodies.
None of the eight witnesses ever spoke publicly during the war, despite being given opportunity by the Germans. Instead those who could; sent coded messages advising the Western Allies that the Soviets were guilty.
Two of the officers were West Point graduates, and they affirmed in postwar reports, testimony (1952), correspondence with the US Army (1950) and in the previously mentioned audio and video material that based on the time period when the crime was committed, it had to be the Soviets. They also clearly stated that they had arrived at the site with a belief that the Soviets were the Allies and therefore this could not be. Yet, as one of the US Army officers stated on a video – as he pulled out one of the boots he had worn for 18 months and displayed what condition they were in – and compared this to the condition of the boots on the corpses – he stated that no one could have worn their boots daily for a period of two years (since the Furr/Soviet claim is that the officers were killed in the fall of 1941) and be in the excellent condition they were in.
Indeed, it is highly probable, that the plans for a full-fledged escape of the POW officers from Oflag 64, where the Americans were held, and which was organized by the US Army officers for June of 1944, as the Soviet Army headed west, and was approved of by MIS-X in Washington, was planned because of what these two officers had seen in Katyn. (vide – Shoemaker – The Escape Factory)
Would the position of Montclair State be that the US Army officers continued to perjure themselves for over forty years? If so – then where is the proof?
It is possible for me to continue listing the failures in scholarship, the manipulation of statements and the sheer illogicality of what the author has written. I would simply wonder if Montclair has any logicians and if they could consider the various facts listed above, with hundreds of documents released by the Russian government and FSB with the probability of three pieces of material (i.e. the badge and the two other items) countermanding all the other facts.
However, it is clear from your response that Montclair has not reviewed any of the scholarly material that disputes these unfounded allegations, that you have not bothered to (as I asked you to) review Katyn: A Crime Without Punishment by Cienciala, Lebedeva and Materski, which was published by Yale University Press or any of the other material available to you.
As one of the professors who has corresponded with me on this issue (and they are located worldwide) has written – it appears that Montclair is willing to allow anything to appear on their pages without subjecting it to scholarly peer review – thus destroying its own credibility as a scholarly institution.
More regrettably, by publishing defamatory words about the underground Polish government in calling it collaborationist – Montclair insults the memory of the tens of thousands of Polish airmen, sailors and soldiers as well as agents who died in service to the Allied effort in fighting Nazi Germany during World War II.
It appears that the presentation of facts and truth is not a quality valued by Montclair State University. Instead lack of scholarship and veracity is clouded in the illusion of freedom of speech.
English-speaking Witnesses to Katyn