Wednesday, December 31, 2014


Updated information concerning the services is posted below.

I wish to thank the Jesuits in Warsaw and the Pauline Fathers in New York.

Profesor Anna Cienciała
Profesor Emerita, University of Kansas
Nagrodzona Krzyżem Komandorskim z Gwiazdą Orderu Zasługi
Msza święta za jej duszę zostanie odprawiona w dniach
14 stycznia 2015 o godzinie 10:00
Msza świeta w Jezuickim Kościele Rektoralnym
na ul. Świętojańskiej w Warszawie
18 stycznia 2015 o godzinie 12:00
w Kościele Św. Stanisława, BiM na 7 ulicy w Manhattanie
22 stycznia 2015 (godz. do ustalenia)
Uroczystości Żałobne na University of Kansas – Lawrence
dalsze informacje na stronie
Professor Anna Cienciala
Professor Emerita, University of Kansas
Recipient – Commander’s Cross with Star of the Order of Merit
Holy Mass will be offered on
January 14, 2015 at 10:00
Jesuit Church of the Gracious Mother of God on ul. Świętojańska in Warsaw
on January 18, 2015 at 12:00PM
St. Stanislaus, B.M. Church on East 7th Street in Manhattan
on January 22, 2015 (time to TBA)
Memorial Service at the University of Kansas – Lawrence
Further details at

Saturday, December 27, 2014


Esteemed Professor Emerita Anna Cienciała died on Christmas Eve.

A specialist on Polish Interwar Diplomacy and author of numerous articles and books, both in English and Polish, she will nonetheless be remembered for her co-editing of Soviet documents, which were published by Yale University as Katyn A Crime Unpunished.

Professor Cienciała's introduction to each section, actually creating a monograph on the subject of Polish history, with a detailed description of the immediate post-WWI and pre-WWII period, serves as the best available succinct description of Polish history for the English reader.

Enclosed is information about Memorial Services - updates will be posted to my webpage (see below).

Please disseminate.

Krystyna Piórkowska

Professor Anna Cienciała
Profesor Emerita, University of Kansas
Nagrodzona Krzyżem Komandorskim z Gwiazdą Orderu Zaslugi

Msza Święta za Jej Duszę zostanie odprawiona w
dniu, 18 stycznia 2015 o godzinie 12:00
w Kościele Św. Stanisława, BiM na 7 ulicy w Manhattanie

Uroczystości Żałobne na University of Kansas – Lawrence
w dniu 22 stycznia 2015 (szczegóły do ustalenia)

Msza Świeta w Warszawie – przed 16 stycznia 2015
(szczegóły do ustalenia)

proszę śledzić
Professor Anna Cienciala
Profesor Emerita, University of Kansas
Recipient - Commander's Cross with Star of the Order Zaslugi

Holy Mass will be offered on
on January 18, 2015 at 12:00PM
at St. Stanislaus, B.M. Church on 7th Street in Manhattan

Memorial Service at the University of Kansas – Lawrence
on January 22, 2015 (details to follow)

Mass in Warsaw – prior to January 16, 2015
(details to follow)

Please check for further updates

Sunday, November 9, 2014


Many thanks to the Center for Russian and East European Studies at Kansas University which used Title VI Funds as well as the generosity of the Backus Family, which helps sponsor a series of lectures at the Center, for inviting me to present on October 27 and 28.  Special thanks to Bart Redford, Assistant Director of CREES and to Professor Anna Cienciala for selecting me, helping me get there and making sure I was where I should be when I should be.

This is the link to the October 27 Backus Lecture "English Speaking Witnesses to a Soviet War Crime"

This is the link to the October 28 Brownbag Lecture "Soviet Disinformation on Katyn and the Role of the Orthodox Church"


Tuesday, October 14, 2014


The Kansas University - Lawrence Center for Russian and East European Studies has invited me to lecture on two separate subjects.  These lectures are free and open to the public.

Please join me - there will be a Powerpoint presentation and a question and answer period at each session.  The October 27th lecture is a Title VI funded lecture.

Backus Lecture: "English-Speaking Witnesses to a Soviet War Crime: The Katyn Massacre in the Words of the POWs," Krystyna Piorkowska (Author, English-Speaking Witnesses to Katyn) (Lecture)

Monday October 27, 2014
Kansas Union, Pine Room
Contact: 4-4236,
Department: Center for Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies
Ticket Cost: Free
Free and open to the public

Brownbag: "Soviet Disinformation on Katyn and the Role of the Orthodox Church," Krystyna Piorkowska (Author, English-Speaking Witnesses to Katyn)

October 28, 2014
12:00 pm - 01:00 pm
Bailey Hall, 318

Monday, September 1, 2014


August 14, 2014

To the Editor - Polish American Studies

Although one can appreciate an additional article about Reverend Stanislaus Orlemanski[1], as he has been a seriously understudied individual, and certainly the transcript of the Soviet report is interesting, I find it necessary to correct several misconceptions that have been presented by Mr. Markiewicz in his recent article.[2] I will attempt to present my remarks by following the layout of the article, with one exception.

In almost every article that has appeared, Oskar Lange is presented as the intellectual, the professor, the economist, while Reverend Orlemanski is a quasi-country bumpkin, and Mr. Markiewicz falls into this same trap.  This was not the case.

On Page 61, Mr. Markiewicz refers solely to the possible plans for including Oskar Lange[3]  in the post-war Polish government, although later he does make passing reference to both Oskar Lange and Stanislaus Orlemanski. This then is the crux of the issue, as it was not solely Lange who was expected to take a role in the post-war government, and the trip to Moscow was predicated on Orlemanski joining him in that plan, which is documented in correspondence sent to the Papal Nuncio in Washington, confirming the expectation concerning Reverend Orlemanski.

On Page 56, there is presented a photograph of Stanislaus Orlemanski and it is described as follows: Reverend Stanisław Orlemański, founder of the pro-Soviet Kościuszko League, upon his graduation from Orchard Lake Seminary in 1910.  Yet, in 1910, Stanislaus Orlemanski was not ordained, nor did he ever complete theological and formation studies at Orchard Lake Seminary (more properly St. Cyril and Methodius Seminary). School records state that he solely graduated from St. Mary’s and further research confirms that he was ordained outside of the United States in late 1915. Thus at the time the photograph was taken he was not a Reverend, nor does the material held at the Polish Museum description state that[4], as it refers to an occurrence – a reunion in 1918, when he was indeed, an ordained priest and thus the image should clearly have omitted the use of Reverend.

However, these issues appear to be insignificant when one notes the repeat of a standard presentation of Stanislaus Orlemanski as solely a pro-Soviet sympathizer, and a simple parish priest. 

I would posit that Stanislaus Orlemanski was a much more complicated and multi-faceted individual, one that we may or may not agree with, but more complex than generally presented. The fact is that the Reverend Orlemanski had written a series of articles for, and been published by the conservative PRCUA in the mid-1920’s.  Thus his description as a leftist or pro-Soviet sympathizer requires layering and consideration, and not a blanket statement.  Certainly, at the least summary description of this alternate dimension is warranted. Certainly, the statement by John Olejniczak of the PRCUA, quoted on p. 59, that he “does not represent anyone at all” requires a deeper explanation, given the fact that no less than six lengthy articles had earlier been published by the self-same PRCUA.

In describing the April 1944 trip, the author makes it appear as though Lange and Orlemanski travelled to Moscow jointly, yet nothing could be farther from the truth.  Clearly, their journey began together, or rather was planned to be a joint trip.  Yet Reverend Orlemanski so disliked Oscar Lange that he had three conditions for his trip; one of which was that he refused to travel together with him. The commander of the airfield in Great Falls, from which both men started their trip, precisely noted that Oskar Lange flew out on April 11th, and then noted that it was that Reverend Orlemanski appeared in his office on April 18th.

In contradiction to the statement that:  During their trip, the two men reported on the state of soldiers in the Polish army forming in the USSR and visited children’s homes and schools. The two men met personally with Soviet dictator Josef Stalin and Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov. (p. 57) – which leads one to believe that their meetings were joint, and that the trips to the field were joint, leads one to an incorrect assumption - it was not so.  The meetings, as appears in eyewitness records, were separate and individual.  In fact, the very document that is cited by Mr. Markiewicz refers only to Reverend Orlemanski being present at the specific meeting that is reported on.

Once again, it should be noted that Orlemanski, just as he travelled alone outbound, returned separately from Moscow, while Lange remained there until early June.

Stanislaus Orlemanski had returned from Moscow, landing in Seattle, on May 11, 1944 – clearly, the meetings that Oskar Lange held with the Soviet authorities and the pro-Soviet Polish government required a lengthier presence, while Rev. Orlemanski may have wanted to return home for Ascension Thursday, which was May 18, 1944.  Thus it is impossible for them to have made joint statements upon their return, as appears to be indicated from the sentence structure in Mr. Markiewicz’s article “Upon their arrival back to the United States, Lange and Orlemański (sic) spoke very favorably of their visit, praising and lauding….”  

However, it is the following, un-footnoted sentence in Mr. Markiewicz’s article that is most troubling “President Roosevelt even invited Reverend Orlemański (sic) to the White House to describe his travels.  Speaking with the American leader for over two hours…” It is troubling, because heretofore all records indicate that no such meeting occurred, and that Secretary of State Cordell Hull argued against the proposal of such a meeting.  Additionally, since Reverend Orlemanski was clerically suspended and did not venture outside his rectory, his only contact with the US government occurred during an interview with a retired US Dept. of State Consular Official who travelled to Springfield, Massachusetts to interview him at the rectory of his parish, Our Lady of the Rosary Church.  Had Reverend Orlemanski travelled to meet with the President the press would have noted it – and the press was certainly noting the fact that he was not offering Mass at his church, or when he did offer Mass they noted that he had not given a sermon.

Clearly, if Mr. Markiewicz has located any documentation that shows that the Reverend did travel to meet the President, information, which is heretofore unknown, a reference note would be appropriate. 

Reverend Orlemanski met with various individuals in Moscow, both journalists and other Westerners, many of whom left journals and aide-de-memoires of this period.  None of them noted Lange’s presence while they were with Orlemanski.  Further, all the photographs published of the Stalin, Molotov and Orlemanski meetings (yes, there were two and not one) only show the three men together, with Orlemanski looming head and shoulders over the other two.  There is no photograph that has surfaced showing all four together, had there been a joint meeting of the four, it is highly probable that would have been such a photo.  The animosity of Reverend Orlemanski for Oskar Lange was so great that even Stalin respected it.[5]

What Mr. Markiewicz fails to note in his article, is that the entire trip took place with the knowledge and aid of the United States government, and as Major Jordan noted, the Reverend carried “military passes for the Alaska Defense Force and Western Defense Command... a passport from the State Department empowering him to travel to the Soviet Union by way of Egypt, Iraq and Iran. He also had visas for the three countries.”  No one could have received those other visas, or orders to fly on US Air Force equipment without government permission.  This aid significantly exceeded the well-known correspondence between Stalin and FDR on the subject of passports for the two travelers.

It is relevant to note that it was the Soviet News Agency (TASS) that betrayed Stalin’s (implied) promise that the Lange and Orlemanski trip would be kept secret, yet it was primarily Orlemanski’s presence which was immediately broadcast, forcing Roosevelt to explain the situation, although only discussing Orlemanski – it was as though Lange did not exist.

As for the Soviet report on the meeting which Mr. Markiewicz presents – it is clearly either a compilation of the two meetings which occurred or a summary of them (which appears implausible since Professor Miner quotes a report on the earlier meeting in his book[6]), and which are described not only in several aide de memoire’s, but also in State Dept. reports – and that it was only after the first meeting, when Rev. Orlemanski reported that Stalin had promised the moon and the stars (my terminology) that one of the Moscow Westerners asked why he did not have anything in writing.  The ‘promissory note’ which is frequently referred to appeared as a result of that second meeting.  To reiterate – the document that Mr. Markiewicz presents in his article clearly refers to this being a second meeting (vide P. 64) “He [Orlemański (sic)] said last time that something needs to be done in order to split the Polish Catholics in America.” (Emphasis mine – K.P.)

It is therefore misleading for the general reader or university undergraduate to be told that

This article presents two previously unknown Soviet archival documents. The first deals with the visit of Fr. Stanislaw Orlemanski, a pro-Soviet Polish-American Catholic priest to Moscow and his meeting with Stalin.

As the first two sentences of this article read.  These sentences lead one to believe that nothing from the Soviet archives has ever been printed on these matters, and at the least, a reference to Professor Miner’s book would have been appropriate.  Additionally Dr. Noskowa writes about this material in her work published in 2005, so there are at least two sources that precede Mr. Markiewicz's paper, and should have been referred to.

Although this writer agrees with the author’s statement that “Stalin took a great interest in Orlemański and his activities in the United States within the Polish American spheres” I believe that it is Stanislaus Orlemanski’s two decade long work in the Polish-American community that brought him to the attention of the Soviet authorities, and not solely “through his work as a parish priest and as a leading figure in the Kościuszko League”.

 Stanislaus Orlemanski took assertive positions in attempting to empower the Polish-American community; these actions had a long history, much earlier than the formation of the Kosciuszko League, and were both clerical and political.  Yet upon his return from Moscow, he accepted the suspensa of the clerical authorities (which originated from Washington and not Springfield) and submitted to the humiliation of presenting a public apology which had been written for him. 
I have not (yet) found records of his making public political statement after mid-July 1944, thus it would appear that his pro-Soviet position was less meaningful to him than his priestly duties.  It will take deeper research to determine the accuracy of that statement, but at this point it would behoove researchers to remove Reverend Stanislaus Orlemanski from a purely pro-Soviet position and allow a fuller picture to be presented, as I would have hoped that Mr. Markiewicz would have presented in his article.

[1] Stanislaus Orlemanski used the English form of both his Christian name and surname, particularly in English language materials, and so I will refer to him in that fashion. It is not apparent if this was a typo, but at certain points, Rev. Orlemanski’s name appears with a diacritical over the n, while the Reverend never used that form in any English language materials (vide p. 54). 
[2] I first began researching Rev. Orlemanski as a result of my work on the English-speaking witnesses to Katyn, and specifically the role of Father Marie Leopold Braun, AA, who was pastor of St. Louis des Français in Moscow.  This work has been conducted at the National Archives at College Park, at the Manuscript Division of Columbia University, the Augustinians General House Archives in Rome as well as their Provincial House, at least five other archives in other countries and also include the ‘general suspects’ i.e. FRUC etc. When I first began researching this issue it also related to the issue of the Military Ordinariate attached to the First Polish Army (i.e. Armia Berlinga). 
[3] In this case I will use the Polish spelling, as does Professor Anna Cienciala, since Lange did renounce his US citizenship and was a Polish Ambassador.
[4]To be precise – the description reads Abitutyenci Gimn. Sem. Pols. z roku 1910 w Orchard Lake, Mich., Zjazd Kolezenski odbedzie sie dnia 19go czerwca 1918 roku, referring to students not graduates nor priests.
[5] Interestingly, although this author’s research has not concentrated on Lange, various articles and reports have been reviewed.  It is clear that Lange’s visit did not hold as much attraction as the visit of Orlemanski, as neither TASS nor the English language press seems to have accorded it a similar level of attention.
[6] vide Miner, Steven M.  Stalin’s Holy War. University of North Carolina Press, 2003

Sunday, August 31, 2014


In their spring issue (April, 2014), Polish American Studies, which is issued by the Polish American Historical Association, published an article by a doctoral candidate at the Jagellonian University, Paweł Markiewicz, which is entitled

Previously Unknown Soviet Documents and Polish Americans During World War II

A most striking title and since Reverend Orlemanski has been a subtopic of my research (worked in archives in Washington, DC; Boston, MA and Rome, IT) and its quasi-abstract reads most attractively (vide below), I raced to read the material

This article presents two previously unknown Soviet archival documents. The first deals with the visit of Fr. Stanislaw Orlemanski, a pro-Soviet Polish-American Catholic priest to Moscow and his meeting with Stalin. This article presents two previously unknown Soviet archival documents. The first deals with the visit of Fr. Stanislaw Orlemanski, a pro-Soviet Polish-American Catholic priest to Moscow and his meeting with Stalin.

If only the author had fulfilled his sales pitch, if only this had been unknown material, there would not be a need to write this note.

There have been previous comments in this blog, on material which has appeared under the imprimatur of a university, and which is available on the internet and contains errors or misstatements of fact.  In each case the institution has been approached and asked to amend/ correct/ remove the material from their webpage. In an age where materials appear throughout the world, it is imperative that scholars be peer reviewed.  It is for that reason that this author is grateful for the criticism, advice, comments and suggestions - primarily of Professor Anna Cienciala as well as Professor Wojciech Materski, and to numerous others, some scholars, some not – many of whom have simply asked a question be it about a document or about a conclusion… even in writing a blog, one needs to be conscientiously precise.

In this case, the material appeared in print in a small press run, however, the damage is that it has also appeared on a website called (join 12,000,000) and thus enters into ‘facto-mythology’ as real history.  Seemingly well written, with a number of footnotes, of course referring to work by various members of PAHA, it omits discussion of a major work, published in 2003, which completely counters the title. In this case, as opposed to the Vanderbilt University case, I publish the author’s name since he is a doctoral candidate and thus expected to be “held to a higher standard”.
The premise of a scholarly publication is that it presents research and allows for an open discussion between researchers and scholars. I therefore approached the editor of Polish American Studies, Dr. James Pula and submitted a letter to the editor in which misstatements were noted and corrections including appropriate references were included.  Dr. Pula responded that the “article” would not be published. This refusal means that an entire generation of readers who find this material on the web will be misled.

In light of that it is necessary, as it has been earlier, to publish a commentary on this article which is flawed and not properly documented – specifically in one of its main assertions. The study of the Stalinist period is complex enough, and when documentation appears, it must be meticulous, not sloppy.  Declarations of fact must be precise and footnoted, not simply put in print. 

The letter follows – and if there is documentation for the main assertion – the author is asked - please present it!

Saturday, May 10, 2014


Footnote 105 –

that is not the language of the message – it is rather Stewart’s approximation of his message. A slight but significant difference.

“These messages were subsequently forwarded to Washington and provided first hand acknowledgement in July 1943 that Western forensics believed the Soviet Union was guilty…”  T

Neither Van Vliet nor Stewart were forensic specialists and I have no idea where this idea is taken from. I would appreciate learning where there is any documentation of either of them being a forensic specialist.

Further, the messages were not subsequently forwarded to Washington – please read the AP story of September 10, 2012 where this is described with some accuracy.   The code users were referred to as registered – because they were registered and all POW letters went through a specific Post Office – so they went to MIS-X BEFORE they got to Detroit. 

Van Vliet’s coded letters have yet to be located in the NA – but both Stewart and VV sent coded letters.  In fact, as Big X in Oflag 64, it was Van Vliet who arranged for hand guns to be shipped into the camp.

PLEASE – there were three John Van Vliet’s in the US Army over the years – and this one was Jr.  – it is important to differentiate.

Problematically, these several pages omit the entire fact that the two US Army officers were part of a group of eight men ordered taken to Katyn, and that of the eight at least three others left reports or other records behind confirming their opinion or where they were unable to do so, because of British MI-9 pressure – of not accusing the Germans.  They were not all officers, not even were they all military.

“…the other American officer, a West Point graduate, who was taken from his prisoner of war camp…” Both Van Vliet and Stewart were West Point graduates, and both were POWs and both were held in the same camp.

At the end of the trip the Germans tried to get a statement ….. but all the men refused…” The men had acknowledged the “terrible implications” when they were brought to Berlin, prior to departure for Katyn.  That is why when each of them was questioned PRIOR TO THE TRIP – each refused to aid and abet, that is why when the Senior Officer was asked to sign a parole, he refused and that is why four of the men in the original group of twelve were returned to their camps.   None of this was secret as it is part of the Madden testimony.

Many of the men who were brought with Van Vliet by the Germans were not medical personnel.”  To be accurate – the sentence should read –“Insofar as we currently know; only one of the eight men in the group brought to the massacre site was a medical man.

“However, a British medical captain was with the Americans….and the Nazi methodology.” This sentence implies a predominance of Americans in the group – yet the Americans were only two out of eight. What Nazi methodology – the doctor never made a reference to Nazi methodology.

“None of this information was reported before the end of the war….”  Yes, this information was reported prior to the end of the war – in November of 1944 and the report was forwarded by the British to the State Dept.

Page 40 –

Upon his release in 1945, Van Vliet filed a report …. with US Army Intelligence in Berlin.”

Van Vliet was never in Berlin in 1945.  Period. He did not file a report in Berlin.  In fact he did not file a report in Europe.  He reported to certain individuals, in some cases in lesser in some cases in greater detail – but there was no written report.   To file a report is a clear indication of a written document.  He was questioned (as I discovered in November 2013) under oath – and thus submitted a sworn deposition.  A highly significant document, with many legal implications, however, not a report.

“…Van Vliet was handed a gag order by Maj. Gen. Bissell….”  By quoting, not from Van Vliet’s testimony there is a miscontrual – Van Vliet testified clearly, that he was aware that people knew he had been in Katyn, he and Stewart had managed, all the time were in the Oflag to avoid discussing the matter.  He wanted to have formal protection to keep him from being questioned in a post-war world and he requested an order binding him to secrecy. 

The Van Vliet Report…. and subsequently was ‘deep sixed’ in the military intelligence archives by Maj. Gen. Bissell…”  The fact is that there is no proof that Maj. General Bissell ever deep sixed the report.  There is, in the newly declassified information enough to counter that allegation that I would suggest that one would want to refrain from making it as a blanket assertion.

“…FDR asked Earle to use his contacts in the Balkans and Poland to try and discover who was really responsible for the massacre.  From the Embassy Earle would send hundreds of pages of material from his sources…..” 

This highly unusual statement intrigues me, as until now I had never seen a statement that FDR has asked Earle to use his contacts in Poland.  Perhaps, I missed something.  Could I ask for a scan or a direct link to a document that refers to this?  Also although Earle sent a multitude of items, I never tallied it in the hundreds of pages.  Is there a specific chart or table totaling these items?  I would be grateful if I could have access to that.

However, with respect to Earle’s expulsion to Samoa – he also noted that when he was brought back, shortly after FDR’s demise – the Naval Commanders’ (technically Earle served in the Navy) apologized to him.  If correct, this would imply a split between the military and the administration on their view of the Soviet Union.

Page 45-6

The success of the Soviets made it very likely that the Red Army would liberate Poland and Eastern Europe, thereby putting Roosevelt at a marked disadvantage.”  This sentence avoids several facts – the first that the Red Army victory was to be based on the materiel and supplies received in the Lend Lease program and without with which Stalin had nothing.  Thus Roosevelt chose to use American materiel and supplies as an offset for the sacrifice of various ethnic groups which were ordered sent ahead of the Red Army to serve as cannon fodder.  It also avoids discussion of the fact that when it was possible for the US Army to liberate all of Germany – they were pulled back some 100 miles.  The refusal to implement and attack through the Balkans can be similarly viewed – FDR had made a decision to offer up Eastern and South Eastern Europe to Stalin – as FDR told Archbishop Spellman well PRIOR to Teheran – “The European people will simply have to endure the Soviet domination…”

Roosevelt chose to be at a disadvantage – he did not have to be at one.  (Apologies for my digression into a commentary on theories.)

Page 46
The remarks of the Polish government are presented without any indication that the Poles did other than simply complain and demand during the war.  There is no mention of the Polish Army under British Command in any of its aspects or the Polish RAF Squadrons.

Footnote 134 – “…the lands that were being so passionately demanding … had been taken from the Soviet Union during a war with the Soviet Union…”

There is no mention of the fact that the Bolsheviks (not yet the Soviet Union) had attacked Poland, no mention of the fact that these lands had historically been Polish for hundreds of years, that culturally and educationally they were linked with Poland over the generations.  Stalin’s grievance was over the fact that due to his error in judgment –what he saw as a sure victory was lost in that war.  Not these lands – but all the lands of Poland that he wanted to occupy.

Page 51

Footnote 151 – Soviet Army on the banks of the Vistula – members of the 1st Polish Army asked for permission to cross the river and join and were denied.

Footnote 152 – Use of Soviet airbases during the Uprising – the Soviets did not allow Americans to refuel on Soviet territory, thus many missions ended with the pilots crashing.  They were often aided by local Polish citizens who helped them make it out.  Others were not so lucky.

 Page 52 –

Instead the London government lost its only military power in Poland.”  This statement equates the Home Army units in Warsaw with the totality of the Home Army units in all of Poland. I would suggest that this is an extreme statement and incorrect.

Appendix – what is referred to as booklet forwarded by Earle – I would posit looks like the material published in Signal in a multiplicity of languages and easily available to be verified.  Not verifying the origins of this material is disappointing ‘honors’ work.

Friday, May 9, 2014


This is continuing commentary on the errors in the Vanderbilt University awarded History Honors Thesis

Page 24 –

warnings scratched into the cars…”  these were not cars – these were railroad wagons, actually freight or cargo wagons, and this was not a warning, they were a documentation listing the tally of individuals removed.  A similar tally was found in Kozielsk by the officers who were brought in from Lithuania in June of 1940.

Page 25

Page 26-27 and other pages –

which discuss the Soviet input into the war effort – fail at any time to mention not only the Polish input into the Battle of Britain, the land campaigns in North Africa and the ongoing input into of Polish intelligence into the British and US intelligence pool.  This was not simply an issue of the Poles fighting in Poland. Certainly these points could be used to countermand the statement on Soviet input.

Page 27 and ongoing-

The facts relating to the English-speaking witnesses are something that I have been studying in detail since 2009 and documented in printed form in the summer of 2012.  Certainly, additional facts have been made clearer - i.e. although by 2012 it was clear that that both Van Vliet and Stewart were code users, I did not locate copies of the coded letters concerning Katyn until August 2012; however, in 2012 I precisely describe the method in which coded letters functioned in detail.

However, among the multiple errors made concerning the witnesses I will only mention three at this time:

1- Both Lt. Col. John H. Van Vliet, Jr. and Captain (NOT Major) Donald B. Stewart were registered code users.  Thus any assertion to the contrary is erroneous. 

2- The description of secret reports – and the discussion of his original position imply that Stewart and by inference, Van Vliet, sent lengthy missives.  Instead these were simple aerograms – the standard approved for POWs aerogrammes which were coopted to serve another purpose.  They were no more than 1.5 pages long.  The author is comingling the letters with the 1950 re-created Van Vliet report and the testimony of both men to the Madden Committee.

3- The coded letters were sent in June and July 1943 and again in the spring of 1944 (the latter was in response to the Burdenko report). They simply confirmed Soviet guilt they were no more expansive than that 

4- There is no documentation that G-2 ever passed the reports on to the administration. (Which does not mean that I do not believe it was – but there is no ground for such a statement.)

Page 28-

Again this is not a report – it is a letter.

Page 31-

I would posit that the Catholic population in the US was not only concerned about the treatment of Poles in the USSR but of all Catholics in that nation.  (One may need to differentiate between the hierarchy and lay Catholics, and also try to understand the position of Eastern Rite Catholics.)

Page 33 –

 Charles Rozmarek was not only head of the Polish National Alliance – he was received by Roosevelt as head of the Polish American Congress which had been created in May of 1944.  The Polish National Alliance (PNA or ZNP) was a fraternal organization primarily serving the life insurance needs of its members. Clearly, there were other similar organizations – thus his role as the head of the PNA was not of overriding importance.  Rather the larger Polish American Congress (Kongres Polonii Amerykańskiej) was of greater importance.

Page 36 - 

Footnote 98 – The Madden Committee existed for not more than 14 months – not several years.

Page 37 –

OWI – it would have been appropriate to note that the then head of OWI was future Senator Cranston. 

Footnote 102-

Certainly not the only matter which was not disclosed to the Madden Committee – the coded letters were not discussed there, nor was the British Memo of June 1943, sent to MIS-X and others, which confirmed that there were British and US officers taken to Katyn.  Information had been sent from the Oflag in May of 1943 – before the group even got to Katyn.

Page 38 –

 Again, not a report – but rather coded letters sent by both Lt. Col. John H. Van Vliet, Jr. and Captain Donald B. Stewart. 

Footnote 104-

Previously the status of Maj. (sic) Stewart was classified…”  The status of Captain Stewart was never classified and he was the first witness to testify before the Madden Committee.  This assertion is patently false. 

Further, neither Stewart nor Van Vliet ever testified before the Madden Committee about being code users, neither was it mentioned in any of the audio or video material is that they made.  It was however, mentioned in Van Vliet’s final Oral History interview in 1995.  All soldiers who were code users were required to sign an oath upon returning to the US that they would never disclose the code use.  This requirement continued through Vietnam and even into Desert Storm. (I have not had occasion to interview veterans of later wars.)