The book shows the background and mechanics of the Soviet mass executions in spring 1940 of 14,500 Polish prisoners of war - army officers, police, gendarmes, and civilians - taken by the Red Army when it invaded eastern Poland in September 1939. They were executed at three different sites, of which the most famous is Katyn. Seven thousand three hundred other prisoners were also shot elsewhere at this time. Katyn presents 122 documents, with introductions and endnotes, selected from the published Russian and Polish volumes co-edited by Natalia S. Lebedeva and Wojciech Materski. The documents detail Soviet killings, the elaborate cover-up of the crime, the admission of truth, and the Katyn question in Soviet/Russian-Polish relations in the years 1941-2000.
Anna M. Cienciala, a specialist in twentieth-century Polish diplomatic history, is retired professor of history, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS. Natalia S. Lebedeva, the leading Russian historian of Katyn, is a researcher at the Russian Academy of Sciences and lives in Moscow. Wojciech Materski, a Polish diplomatic historian and Katyn specialist, is director of the Institute of Political Studies, Polish Academy of Sciences, and lives in Warsaw.