Katyn - A Film



Andrzej Wajda

DVD running time of 115 minutes. Language Polish. Subtitles English.


94 Books about Poland | Polish War Graves in Britain

The film Katyn portrays the events of the Spring of 1940 when Soviet NKVD forces murdered 15,000 Polish officer prisoners of war. They were killed in the Katyn forest, Tver and Kharkiv and buried in mass graves. The German army, after their attack on the Soviet Union, discovered the graves in April 1943.

The Soviet Union denied all responsibility even although Stalin himself had ordered the execution of the Polish officers. It was not until 1990 that the Soviet Union finally admitted their culpability for this atrocity.

Katyn Movie Trailer

View the trailer for the film Katyn.


Michael Brooke, DVD Times (UK) 27 February 2008, wrote

It's a pretty good film by any reasonable standard - it's intelligent, thoroughly engrossing, technically assured, makes its numerous points through well-staged drama instead of soapbox oratory, begins and ends with two brilliantly-conceived set-pieces...The most avowedly Polish of filmmakers, Wajda has unapologetically targeted his film squarely at his fellow countrymen, and if international viewers are to appreciate it on the same level, it's up to them to do the necessary homework if they're not to feel like an outsider at a close family funeral.

Anne Applebaum, The New York Review of Books (US) 14 February 2008, wrote in A Movie That Matters

Katyn...tells the story of the near-simultaneous Soviet and German invasions of Poland in September 1939, and the Red Army's subsequent capture, imprisonment, and murder of some 20,000 Polish officers in the forests near the Russian village of Katyn and elsewhere, among them Wajda's father. The justification for the murder was straightforward. These were Poland's best-educated and most patriotic soldiers...They were the intellectual elite who could obstruct the Soviet Union's plans to absorb and "Sovietize" Poland's eastern territories. On the advice of his secret police chief, Lavrenty Beria, Stalin ordered them executed.

Added on 15 April 2008. Updated on 22 January 2012.