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Katyn massacre facts for kids

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Polish POWs captured by the Red Army during the Soviet invasion of Poland

The Katyn massacre is the name of a series of killings, done by the Soviet army, during World War II. Members of the NKVD killed about 22,000 Polish prisoners of war, in a forest near Katyn, about 20 kilometres (12 mi) from Smolensk. Most of the prisoners killed were officers. The Katyn massacre happened in May 1940, and was ordered by Stalin himself on Beria's recommendations Between 4.000 and 5.000 people were killed in Katyn. It took until 1990 for the Soviet Union/Russia to say it was responsible. In 1990, Mikhail Gorbachev officially apologised. The Katyn massacre is one in a series of similar massacres, where up to 100,000 people were killed. Between 400 and 450 prisoners survived. Using their stories, Soviet history books were rewritten after the apology.

In the 1980s, Michail Gorbachev declared that Beria and Vsevolod Merkulov had been responsible, and that the Karyn massacre was one Stalin's atrocities. Beria was accused of treason (he did in the 1920s, with the British), and execued, in 1953. Merkulov was also executed in 1953, for being close to Beria.

Neither Beria, nor Merklulov were ever tried for what they had done at Katyn.

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