NKVD Letter № 00794/B

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Beria's proposal to try and execute Polish nationals (1940)
by Lavrentiy Beria
14964Beria's proposal to try and execute Polish nationals1940Lavrentiy Beria
the coat of arms OF THE USSR
the coat of arms OF THE USSR

March 1940
№ 794/B

Central Committee, VKP(b)

A large quantity of former officials of the Polish Army, employees of the Polish Police and intelligence services, members of the Polish Nationalistic Party, counter-revolutionaries, discovered members pertaining to insurgent groups of counter-revolutionaries, fugitive and others, all of them sworn enemies of the Soviet régime, who hate the Soviet system, are at the moment in prisoners of war field camps of the NKVD OF THE USSR and in prisons of Ukraine and Byelorussia.

The prisoners of war and policemen in field camps conduct anti-Soviet agitation. Each one of them is only hoping and awaits release in order to have the capability actively to be included in activities against the Soviet régime.

The organs of the NKVD in the western provinces of Ukraine and Byelorussia have discovered a number of insurgent counter-revolutionary organizations.

Former officials of the former Polish Army and policemen, as well as of gendarmerie have shown that they are participating in espionage and insurgent activities. Among the prisoners (without considering the soldiers and officials composition) there are 14,736 former officials, government civil employees, landowners, police, gendarmes, prison guards, colonizers of border regions and intelligence officials – by nationality more than 97% are Polish, among them:

295 generals, colonels and lieutenant colonels
2080 majors and captains
6049 lieutenants, second lieutenant and lieutenants
1030 Senior officers and low-order commanders of the police
5138 Policemen, gendarmes, prison guards and personnel to us of intelligence
144 officials, landowners, Roman Catholic priests and colonizers of border regions

In the western region of Ukraine and Byelorussia, there are 18,632 Prisoners (10,685 of them Poles), including:

1207 former officials
5141 former policemen, intelligence officials and gendarmerie
347 spies and saboteurs
465 former landowners, factory owners and civil employees of government
5345 Members of several insurgent organizations and other counter-revolutionary elements.
6127 Fugitives

On the basis of the fact that they all are declared enemy of the Soviet régime, the NKVD OF THE USSR considers it necessary:

I To authorize the NKVD OF THE USSR:

1) in the matters about the prisoners of war in field camps of 14,700 people of former Polish officials, landowners, policemen, civil employees of government, intelligence officials, gendarmes, colonizers of the border regions and prison guards

2) and also the matter about those arrested and located in prisons in the western regions of Ukraine and Byelorussia in a quantity of 11,000 people, insurgents, spies and saboteurs, former landowners, factory owners, former Polish police officials, fugitive civil employees of government, the highest method of punishment due to apply to them - execution.

II The examination of the cases will have to be carried out without instructing summary and without raising positions. The manifestos with the final decision about the end consequence and accusatory conclusion in following:

a) for the people located in field camps for prisoners of war, the certificate form emitted by the NKVD OF THE USSR;

b) for the arrested persons in the certificate form emitted by the NKVD OF THE RSS of Ukraine and the NKVD OF THE RSS of Byelorussia.

III the cases will have to be examined and the verdicts pronounced by a court of three consistent members of the comrades Merkulov, Kobulov and Bashtakov (chief of the 1st special section NKVD OF THE USSR)

Of the Union OF SSR

(signature) L. Beria

[On the 1st page in a bold hand across the entire text are the signatures (following the word "za", i.e. "for [the proposal]") of Stalin, Voroshilov, Molotov and Mikoyan made with colored pencils. A handwritten note says "com[rade] Kalinin - for [the proposal] / com[rade] Kaganovich for [the proposal]".

On the top of the first page, above the "TOP SECRET" designation, there is supposed to be a form stamp, which can be barely seen. Inside the stamp it is written by hand: "13 144OP", which signifies protocol no. 13, item 144 OP, where "OP" is "osobaya papka", "special file".

Below the "TOP SECRET" designation there is a date "from 5.III.1940"; this is the date of the Politburo decision according to this proposal.

On p. 3 in the enumeration of the composition of "troika", Beria's surname is crossed-out and the surname "Kobulov" is inscribed by hand.]

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