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Augustów Roundup In Top-Secret NKVD Documents

August 21, 1945 Report from Viktor Semyonovich Abakumov to Lavrentiy Pavlovich Beria:

"Decrypt [Decipher] and deliver immediately

Via Cipher:

[Seals: “Central FSB Archive of the Russian Federation”, “Declassified". Central FSB Archive of the Russian Federation]

To the People’s Commissar of Internal Affairs of the Union of SSR [Soviet Socialist Republics], Comrade L.P. Beria:

In accordance with your orders, on the morning of August 20th of this year, I dispatched to Teruburg [presently Olecko in Poland] via plane, the deputy head of the Main “Smersh” Directorate, Major-General Gorgonov along with a group of seasoned members of the counterintelligence unit in order to carry out the liquidation of bandits arrested in the Augustow forests.

Upon arrival, Major General Gorgonov and head of the Main “Smersh” Directorate with the 3rd Byelorussian Front Lt. General Zelenin ascertained and reported as follows:

  Top Secret NKVD cipher concerning Augustow Roundup dated August 21 1945.
See the original report

“Acting on orders from the General Staff of the Red Army, between the 12th  and 19th of August, units of the 3rd Byelorussian Front, combed through the Augustow Forests in order to liquidate the gangs.

During the course of this operation, [our] front units detained inhabitants of communities located in the Augustow Forests, among them elderly and women.

All in all, units of the Red Army detained 7,049 people, among them 1,685 Latvians.

From among those detained, and upon investigation(s), 5,115 locals, including 1,171 Latvians were released, as no information about their participation in the gangs was determined.

From among the 1,934 detained:

844 people were identified and arrested as bandits, among them 252 Latvians, who were connected with bandit units in Latvia, and for this reason, these were turned over to the regional NKVD-NKGB units of the Latvian SSR, where [similar] liquidation operations against bandit formations are being carried out;

We are investigating 1,090 people, among whom are 262 Latvians, and for this reason, they were turned to the Latvian SSR NKVD-NKGB units.

Therefore, as of August 21 [1945] the number of those arrested is only 592 people, and from among those detained, we are still investigating 828 people.

Along with the arrested bandits, and in their hideouts in the forest, confiscated were: 11 grenade launchers, 31 heavy machine guns, 123 automatic machine guns, rifles and handguns, 456 mines and grenades, 23,000 bullets and 2 radio transmitters.

If you find it necessary to carry out the operation at this stage, we propose to liquidate the bandits as follows:

1) All identified bandits, numbering 562 people, to be liquidated. To this end, the Battalion of the Chief “Smersh” Directorate of the 3rd Byelorussian Front will be implemented, which has [already] been tried-and-tested during a number of counterintelligence operations. Members of the operations’ units, and the personnel of the battalion unit will be carefully instructed about the means of liquidating the bandits.

2) During the operation, all necessary steps will be taken in order to prevent the escape of anyone from among the bandits.

3) Responsibility for carrying out the liquidation of the bandits will rest with the head of the Chief “Smersh” Directorate, Major General Gorgonov, and head of the Chief Counterintelligence Unit of the 3rd Byelorussian Front, Lt. General Zelenin.

Comrades Gorgonov and Zelenin are good and experienced Checkists and will carry out this order.

The remaining 828 detained people will be investigated during the next five days, and all identified bandits will be liquidated in the similar way. We will report about the number of bandits identified from among this group of detainees.

Please forward further directives.


August 21, 1945

Head of the Chief “Smersh” Counterintelligence Directorate Lt. General(Abakumov)"

Also See:

"Unsolved Communist Crimes in Poland: The Augustów Roundup in July, 1945"

"Not Only Katyn" by Ireneusz Sewastianowicz and Stanisław Kulikowski

Chapter 1 - Before They Came
Chapter 2 - The Roundup Begins
Chapter 3 - Those Who Survived
Chapter 4 - Coincidence or Betrayal?
Chapter 5 - We Regret To Inform You
Chapter 6 - The Commotion Near Giby
Chapter 7 - We Will Not Be Silenced
Chapter 8 - Wrong Graves
Chapter 9 - Other Trails
Chapter 10 - The Missing
Chapter 11 - Notes and Bibliography





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