The "Polish Operation" of the NKVD


Institute of National Remembrance's Investigation regarding the NKVD's "Polish operation".

On 25 January 2017, the Commission for the Prosecution of Crimes against the Polish Nation in Szczecin launched an investigation regarding the crimes against humanity, including the murder of 111,091 people and the deprivation of liberty combined with extreme torture of 28,744 persons of Polish nationality residing in the USSR. These crimes were committed by officers of the NKVD from 15 August 1937 to 15 November 1938 on the basis of operational order No. 00485 issued by the Interior Commissioner of the USSR, Nikolai Yezhov dated 11 August 1937.

The order of Nikolai Yezhov indicated that arrests should be made with regard to the members of the Polish Military Organization residing in the Soviet Union during the Polish-Bolshevik War, to emigrants from Poland, regardless of the time they emigrated to the USSR, as well as inhabitants of the former territory of the Republic of Poland, who ended up within the borders of the USSR as a result of the provisions of the Riga Treaty of 1921, former activists of the Polish Socialist Party, Polish clergy, teachers, officials, political refugees from Poland, activists for the Polish disapora, wealthier farmers, forestry workers and craftsmen.

The order decreed that all detainees be divided into two categories: the first - to be shot and the second - to be imprisoned or placed in work camps for a period ranging from 5 to 10 years. Additionally, it was forbidden to release any prisoners and detainees of labour camps whose sentences were about to end, but who had been sentenced for spying on behalf of Poland. Any cases regarding these persons were to be reconsidered by the Special Commission of the USSR. The "Polish operation" was conducted on the strength of a decision made by the NKVD and the Council of People's Commissars of the USSR of 15 November 1938.

According to the NKVD data, in the period from 15 August 1937 to 15 November 1938, as many as 139,835 Polish people were arrested, of whom 111,091 were sentenced to death and a further 28,744 were deprived of their liberty; they went on to live in life-threatening.

We now are appealing to people, especially the relatives of victims, who have knowledge or documents related to this matter, to apply to the Branch of the Commission for the Prosecution of Crimes against the Polish Nation in Szczecin at ul. Piotr Skargi 14.


Phone: (91) 312 94 03 (–06).