The revolting accusation of collaboration with the Germans was not supported by the prosecution with even a shred of proof. The indictment quotes only a document allegedly found on General Okulicki at the moment of his arrest. The prosecution claims that this document proposed the creation of an anti-Soviet bloc in Europe, including Germany, formed under the aegis of Great Britain. General Okulicki and his colleagues were arrested by subterfuge, having accepted an invitation from Colonel Pimenov to attend a conference with General Ivanov. One can hardly believe that, going to meet representatives of the N.K.V.D., General Okulicki thought it necessary to take with him such a document so that it should conveniently fall into Soviet hands! What is more, according to the prosecution, General Okulicki conceived the idea of such a Polish-German bloc just at the time of the Warsaw Rising. Few people in the free world will believe that during the 63 days-long battle of the Home Army and the Polish population against the Germans who fought with unparalleled barbarism, one of the leaders of the rising should have conceived the idea of forming a joint bloc with the Germans.

The indictment claims further that Colonel Boguslawski, who, on behalf of General Bor, negotiated with the Germans the surrender of Warsaw, brought back with him the following statement from the German General von dem Bach:

"It is essential for the Poles to cease armed struggle against the Germans, since the common enemy of Poland and Germany is the Soviet Union." Allegedly "General Bor agreed" with this opinion.

The truth of the matter is that General Bor rejected all the proposals made by the Germans. Should one, however, accept the indictment which said that General Bor agreed with that opinion, it is difficult to understand why he didn't join the' Germans—as the Russian General Vlasov did—and why did he not fight the Russians at the head of some Polish units. Instead General Bor spent the rest of the war in a German prison camp in conditions which, as hundreds of British prisoners of war can testify, were not at all easy. It is worth while stressing one more detail in this monstrous accusation of the Polish Underground Movement of collaboration with the Germans. The Polish nation, and with it the Underground Movement, started its struggle against the Germans in September, 1939, and continued the fight throughout the war, through the defeat of France, through the period of isolation of Britain and the peak of Germany's military power, and during all that time the Poles invariably rejected all offers of collaboration with the Germans. The same nation and the same Underground Movement was now accused of entering into collaboration with the Germans on the eve of their defeat in March, 1945!

The indictment quotes a number of alleged acts of terror committed East of the Curzon Line, but does not give one single instance of terrorism West of that line. Should some of these accusations be true, it would only show that West of the Curzon Line people were probably grinding their teeth and waiting for a chance, hoping that at least that part of Poland would be free. In spite of heavy blows the idea of self-defence was rejected and possible out-bursts controlled.

East of the Curzon Line there was nothing to wait for. There could be no outside help. The Allies were not meant to get there and no solution seemed possible. East of the Curzon Line there were no considerations which would impose brakes on excited and desperate people. Even communications with the Headquarters of the Home Army were cut. There was nothing that could stop individual acts of self-defence or despair, and such acts as did take place could only have been of this type.

When analysing the indictment one more characteristic detail must not be omitted. It is the style of the depositions alleged to have been made by the defendants and witnesses during the preliminary hearings. These men, members of the Home Army, were accused of not recognising the annexation of the Eastern part of Poland by Russia, and of describing the Soviet forces in Poland as forces of occupation. At the same time, their supposed depositions refer to the Soviet forces entering Poland as forces of "liberation"; to Eastern Poland as "Western Ukraine" and "Western Byelorussia" and to Vilno as being in Lithuania; and they were alleged to have called the Polish Government—the "Emigre Government."

In other words, these people did not speak the language which they should have used according to the indictment.

The whole proceedings before the court concerning the existence of a tremendous diversionary organisation comprising tens of thousands of people, with an indictment mentioning 600 murders and many acts of sabotage, with 16 accused, lasted only two days. Two days were enough for the Tribunal to get a clear and complete picture of the crimes and to consider the accusations as proved. It is enough to compare this with the normal criminal procedure in the courts of any democratic country to get an idea of the methods used in Moscow.

As far as the most serious accusations were concerned, that is the organisation of diversionary activities and collaboration with the Germans, the evidence consisted exclusively of depositions of a few witnesses for the prosecution of unknown origin. As the accused did not plead guilty on these charges, the whole controversial matter was settled without any material evidence. How far the witnesses for the prosecution were truthful one can judge by a deposition made by a certain Janson, who was allegedly the commander of the Home Army in the Lwow district. He claimed that between January, 1944, and January, 1945, he had received from General Bor sums of money for "diversionary activities." It is worth while remembering that Soviet forces entered Lwow only in July, 1944, and thus "the diversionary activities" before that time must have been directed against the Germans. It is difficult to understand, however, how it was possible for General Bor, in a German prison camp since October, 1944, to continue sending money to Janson across the front line till January, 1945. During the trial. however, nobody questioned such details, and on the basis of such depositions of witnesses for the prosecution both the public prosecutors and the Soviet counsels for the defence considered the whole matter sufficiently cleared up after two days.
Perhaps it would be also worth while noting that some of the witnesses for the prosecution (Stankiewicz, Kuzminski, Urbanowicz) were alleged to have themselves committed murders of Soviet officers and soldiers. In this way the actual criminals were in the witness box, while the men whom the Soviet prosecutor did not even cause of personally committing murders or acts of sabotage were defendants at the bar.

General Okulicki demanded the hearing of six witnesses for the defence. The presiding judge decided to admit only three of them, because two of the men named by the defendant "could not be found" on Soviet territory, and a third one was on his way to a camp. (It was not explained to what sort of a camp he was going, and why a witness could not be brought from a camp). Later, however, the presiding judge announced that even the three witnesses he had originally admitted could not come to Moscow "owing to bad atmospheric conditions." Thus, in a trial in which the supreme penalty was threatening the defendants, the proceedings were neither adjourned nor was any attempt made to examine the witnesses at their place of residence. The trial ended without any witnesses for the defence being heard, and with the accused thus being deprived of their right to present a full case.
The only thing that was left to them was their own statements, without even a possibility of substantiating them with documents, witnesses, etc. In addition, even those small possibilities were limited by the presiding judge. When, e.g., General Okulicki asked Janson what had happened to units of the Home Army who, having revealed themselves to the Russians, fought the Germans together with them, the presiding judge interrupted him. He explained to the witness that he need not answer the question, and indeed Janson did not come forward with an answer. According to European standards, the accused were thus deprived of the possibility of suitable defence. Some of them, but not the main defendants, had Soviet counsels for the defence, but in accordance with Soviet tradition, those counsels accepted the indictment fully and limited their defence to the question of penalty. Even in this respect they did not go counter to the line of the public prosecutor, who himself demanded a comparatively lenient verdict. During the whole of the trial the counsels for the defence hardly ever spoke, and did not display any activity to counter the indictment. It was reported that Gen. Okulicki told in Court the well-known Soviet defence counsel Braude: "You were of small use to us. You may have been working for the prosecution."

If one is to believe the indictment, during the preliminary hearings, eleven of the accused pleaded guilty to all the charges; four of them pleaded guilty to some charges; and one pleaded not guilty. During the trial, the same defendants who allegedly had pleaded guilty, energetically denied all the most serious charges (organising terrorist activities, issuing orders to carry out acts of terror, collaborating with the Germans, intelligence with foreign powers, etc.) This diverge remains a mystery of the whole proceedings.

Should one accept all the doubtful evidence produced in the indictment the trial itself showed the same shortcomings and contradictions in the statements made by the prosecution. During the proceedings before the court no proof was produced of the existence of any terroristic instructions issued by the Polish Government or Polish authorities at home, no proof was produced of collaboration with the Germans, or of acts of terrorism which, according to the indictment, had taken place in Poland.

The charge of collaboration with the Germans was supported only in the depositions of the above-mentioned Janson. He declared that together with another member of the Home Army he conducted in 1943 and 1944 negotiations with the Hungarian and German commands "as to the joint diversionary and subversive activities against the Red Army. The Home Army leaders undertook to detail sufficiently strong detachments of men, while the Hungarian and German commands promised to supply arms and to organise the transport of diversionary gangs against the rear of the Bed Army. These negotiations were reported to Bor-Komorowski in Warsaw." This statement by Janson has been fully contradicted by events. One can hardly understand, how it happened that after the alleged agreement was concluded, Himmler arrived in Poland, German terror increased and the Underground Movement, including the Home Army, started open warfare against the Germans all over the country. Still later, the Home Army under the command of the same General Bor, fought the Germans in Warsaw for 63 days, gaining the recognition of its full combatant rights by the Allies.

In other words, the "Polish collaboration with the Germans" is known only to the authors of the Moscow trial. The Home Army and the Polish Underground Movement continued to fight the Germans to the bitter end.

Nevertheless, this sort of evidence formed the basis of the verdict.

The task of the prosecution, able to present only such "evidence" against the defendants would be quite hopeless in any independent court where normal procedure is observed. The Soviet prosecutor, however, short of real evidence, and being able to produce only some false proofs, based his whole accusation on interpretation.

Thus, discussing General Okulick's order of the day of January 19th, 1945, the Soviet prosecutor Afanasiev described it as "an order to intensify the struggle against the Red Army." He went on to quote the order, in the following terms:

"The developing Soviet offensive might soon lead to the occupation of the whole of Poland by the Bed Army which would, in fact, mean exchanging German for Soviet occupation. The war, forced upon Poland in 1939, will not end now as a Soviet victory, but will end for us only when we achieve our aim. In the changed conditions of the new occupation we must direct our activity towards restoring independence and defending the population in the face of danger. The Home Army having been disbanded, the commandeers' status will not be legalised, soldiers must be absolved from their oath of allegiance, paid two months' grant and absorbed in the underground, and arms must be hidden. Men who have in 'any way compromised their position, are to be transferred to other areas and also sent underground. The balance of the financial funds and what is left of the equipment is to be reported to Rubnik. Staffs, H.Q.s and the radio network is to be thoroughly camouflaged. Keep up communication with me and operate in accordance with the Government Delegate's organisation."

This Order of the Day by General Okulicki, which was to strengthen the case of the prosecution does not even mention any fight against the Red Army. In this secret document, in which General Okulicki would undoubtedly have expressed himself frankly, we find the following details: the General, who allegedly collaborated with the Germans, speaks of the "German occupation"; he was accused of disbanding the Home Army only formally, but he states in a secret order of the day that the army had really been disbanded, and gives detailed orders for its liquidation; he was supposedly preparing an armed rising against the Soviet Union, but he mentions only the defence of the population in the case of danger. In other words, the quoted order not only does not strengthen the public prosecutor's thesis, but at the same time weakens several other accusations.

The prosecution did not fare much better when it was trying to prove the existence or the planning of a Polish-German bloc. They could support this accusation only by the compromising depositions of the above-mentioned Janson and his tales of negotiations with the German Command in 1943 and 1944. The rest is pure speculation. According to the prosecutor, Poland, owing to her geographic position, had only one choice; either Germany or Russia. "The Polish Underground," said the Prosecutor, wholly directed by the emigre Government, chose the bloc with Germany." In this way the geographic position of Poland is to be a PROOF of Polish-German collaboration and of the guilt of the accused. While making this statement, the Soviet prosecutor admitted that the Polish Government, which according to the Soviet thesis had no support in Poland and no contact with the country, was wholly directing a widespread Polish Underground Movement.

All this was sufficient for the prosecutor to declare that the guilt of the four chief accused had been wholly proved.

Another prosecutor, Rudenko, who conducted the case against the remaining defendants, made a speech which was reported only very briefly, and did not bring anything new. Irrespective, however, of what Rudenko proved and of what he did not prove, he declared that the indictment was "fully founded and proved" by the findings of the preliminary and judicial examination. This included probably the pleading guilty by the accused during the preliminary hearings, either on all the charges or on some of them. It is interesting to note, therefore, that when speaking of three of the accused (Kobylanski, Michalowski and Stemler-Dabski) the prosecutor declared that sufficient proof of their guilt had not been collected, and therefore he dropped the charges. Now, according to the indictment, two of those accused pleaded guilty on all the charges, and one of them guilty on some charges. It remains a mystery why in the case of some of the accused their pleading guilty is regarded as sufficient proof, while in the case of others it is not; and also why if some of the accused plead not guilty it does not even weaken the case for the prosecution, while if others plead guilty they are released.

Before discussing the verdict, it is worth while to pay some attention to the atmosphere in which the trial took place, and to the activities of the Moscow radio and press. In an article in "Izvestia" broadcast by the Soviet radio on June 20th, 1945 (that is, before the verdict), Vsevolod Ivanov wrote:

"One feels stifled and short of breath looking at these leaders and participants of the Polish black underground now in the dock, these criminals who hand-cuff themselves to the cause of Fascism."

Speaking of the Polish Vice-Premier, Jankowski, Ivanov said:
"Tied to Fascists corpse, he can only hate, lie and deceive." General Okulicki was described as "the murderer and traitor to the cause of his people and Slavdom … an odious, scandalous figure, well-known in the sphere of espionage and diversion."

On the same day the Moscow radio quoted a "Pravda" article by Zaslavski entitled "The Polish-Fascist Bandits Under the Mask of Democrats." Here is a quotation from this article:

"Only Fascists could perpetrate such foul murders. The brand of Fascism lies on these crimes . . . Pro-Fascist journalists in various countries praised the "democratic" leaders in Poland. They said there were democratic parties in Poland which supported the Polish émigré Government in London, that these elements must be drawn in to form a Polish Provisional Government, This foul mystification has now been exposed."

On the epic of the Polish Underground Movement and the Polish Home Army, which according to Mr. Churchill was to remain "a deathless memory for friends of freedom all over -the world," Zaslavski of the Moscow "Pravda" has to say the following: "All the empty jabber about the Home Army's alleged struggle against the Germans is now exposed .. . The Home Army heads were negotiating with the German S.S. Gruppenfuehrer, von dem Bach, on the possibilities of a common struggle against the Red Army. One line runs from top to bottom of the Home Army."

And here is a Soviet sample of describing the defendants while the trial was in progress: "And to think that these same odorous human refuse, these political swindlers from the Polish reactionaries, posed to public opinion as real men, as democrats, as people influential in Poland. There has never been such a shameless swindle … The old bandit — Okulicki, an organiser of murder, the old Jesuit Jankowski, who is ready to betray his own father, not only Poland, and other such bandits, tricksters, and village Metternichs who thought to deceive all Europe and America."

This concentrated hatred, combined with the elimination by a foreign Power from the life of Poland of anything that was truly Polish, and with a brutal travesty of the most daring Polish achievements in the fight against the Germans—all this formed the background to the Moscow trial.

It is no wonder that in those circumstances some of the accused did not wish even to make a final speech in their own defence. One of those who did however speak was General Okulicki. Here is a fragment of his speech which characterises the trial:

"This trial has a political character. It concerns the punishment of the Polish Underground. You cannot prove that we did not fight the Germans for five years, but, as in all political trials, you want to deprive us of this political asset. The best Polish patriots and democrats took part in the fight. Do not accuse us of collaborating with the Germans. That means taking away our honour. You accuse 300,000 members of the Home Army— the Polish people."

On the basis of the "evidence" discussed above, the Soviet Tribunal declared that the guilt of 12 of the accused had been fully proved, and sentenced them to "deprivation of freedom" ranging from four months to ten years. The remaining three were acquitted in accordance with the wishes of the public prosecutor.

The Tribunal accepted as proved the accusation of diversionist and terrorist activities (which were denied by the defendants and by the documents), the accusation of General Okulicki of creating the organisation "Nie" (which was still in its preliminary stage in February, 1945), the accusation of the murder of soldiers and officers of the Red Army up to December, 1944 (thus before the organisation "Nie" was ever formed) and finally the accusation of "planning" a Polish-German military bloc directed against Russia (for which there was absolutely no proof).

The sentences were as follows:
General Okulicki: Ten years' deprivation of freedom.

Vice-Premier Jankowski: Eight years.

Members of the Government, Bien and Jasiukowicz: Five years.

Chairman of the Council of National Unity, Puzak: Eighteen months.

Vice-Chairmen of the Council of National Unity, Baginski: One year, and Zwierzynski: eight months.

Czarnowski: Six months.

Mierzwa, Stypulowski, Chacinski, Urbanski: Four months.

Michalowski, Stemler-Dabski and Kobylanski were acquitted.

It was announced that the trial of the member of the Government, Pajdak, who was ill, would take place separately. According to later rumours Pajdak was dead already at the time of the trial having allegedly committed suicide.

To conclude, the following "historic" view of the trial, published by the Moscow "Izvestia," should be quoted:

"Before the court stood the wreckage of old Poland, which for five centuries has conducted a sanguinary eternal strife against the Russian people."

This reported Soviet attitude to history is worth a moment's attention. The Soviet journalist has forgotten the partitions of Poland; the Praga massacre by Suvorov; the risings; the executions; the deportations to Siberia; the Russification of Poland. All that period of Russian oppression of Poland during nearly 150 years which had been condemned by Lenin and the young Bolshevik revolution, has now been completely forgotten.

The Soviet journalist at the same time admitted that the trial was in reality directed, not only against the Warsaw Rising and the five years of Poland's underground struggle, but also against five centuries of Poland's history which could inspire future Polish generations with new strength and faith. All this was to be compromised, destroyed and removed from the consciousness of Poles, who would be mere vassals in the years to come. The struggle of the enslaved Polish nation against Tsarism is to be utterly forgotten, and so, too, is Poland's struggle for freedom and independence which, in this newest Soviet interpretation has been condemned as "the sanguinary eternal strife of old Poland against the Russian people."


Table of Contents for source essay HERE. This is the source for the four previous posts.