The day the order to kill the Polish elite was signed – level 2
In August 1939, the Soviet Union and Germany signed a non-aggression contract. They also secretly agreed to divide Poland.
The Germans attacked Poland first. It was on September 1, 1939. Two weeks later, the Soviet Union also attacked Poland.
The Polish people fought this double attack, but the other two armies were stronger. In a few weeks, Poland lost the war and it was divided between Germany and the Soviet Union.
Important Polish army leaders, scientists, teachers, and artists were taken to special camps in the Soviet Union. There were about 22,000 important Polish people in these camps.
On March 5, 1940, the Soviet leaders decided to kill the Polish elite. They were transported to hidden locations in the forest. Then, they were killed and buried in mass graves.
In 1943, the Germans discovered the mass graves and found thousands of dead bodies in them. Their hands were tied behind the back and they were shot in the back of the neck.
Stalin said that he wasn’t responsible for the massacre, but in 1990 the Soviet Union said that Stalin was responsible for the killing of the Polish elite.
Difficult words: sign (to write your name on a document), elite (people who are the best at something), bury (to put under the ground), grave (a place for a dead body under the ground), tie (to put together with a rope).
What was Stalin's role in the massacre of the Polish elite?
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