This is an unsolved case and is likely to remain so. Is it less of an unsolved murder because it was done in a time of war many decades ago? I don’t think so. It doesn’t matter to me who is the likely killer. If they were British Soldiers or GIs or Nazis a killer is a killer. The line between who is an enemy target can get blurred, I know. In the case of these murdered nuns it was a very clear line. Not only were they innocent civilians, they were killed by soldiers on the same side as their country in WW2.
Lest We Forget
It is often words like ‘lest we forget’ that proceed discussing horrors like the Holocaust or Rwanda’s genocide. Here murdered nuns in Poland shine the spotlight on Allied cruelty. In 1945 Soviet troops were pushing through Eastern Poland. They came across nuns from the order of St. Catherine of Alexandria. In Olsztyn there was the hospital of St Mary’s. At other hospitals in Gdańsk-Wrzeszcz and Orneta a similar sequence of events took place. Soldiers attacked patients and as the nuns were their nurses they too were assaulted.
Elsewhere churches were burned and clergy killed. It was largely a case of soldiers looting the spoils of war. It had been a long hard fight. One in which the Soviet Union had suffered terribly. Their civilians had been murdered and brutalised by the Nazis. Their comrades had been torn from peace and killed on the front. They should have been angry. There was no excuse for being angry at the Poles though.
Polish People Treated with Contempt
It is often forgotten that it is not just right wing politics that is an issue. The extremes of both left and right have a history dripping in blood. Once the Germans had been defeated in Poland the Soviets stayed. Instead of looking at the civilians as fellow sufferers of Nazi cruelty the Soviets went to town on them. Of course a deeply religious people was something of an affront to many Soviets. Their core belief was violently anti church.
The Nuns Were Treated With Particular Cruelty
The Polish Institute of National Remembrance (IPN) has spent some time following up documented murders of nuns at this time. Sister Charytyna (Jadwiga Fahl), Sister Generosa (Maria Bolz), Sister Krzysztofora (Marta Klomfass) and Sister Liberia (Maria Domnik) are believed to be the skeletal remains excavated between July 2020 and now.
Currently they are waiting for DNA confirmation but the IPN are confident they have got it right. The skeletons were found with religious items that fit those in possession of the nuns when they were killed. A further three nuns reported to have been killed were found only after more recent burials were moved. These would not have been located except for a hand drawn map that the IPN had obtained. These nuns were found in a municipal cemetery in Orneta. They are believed to be the remains of Sister Rolanda (Maria Abraham), Sister Gunhilda (Dorota Steffen) and Sister Bona (Anna Pestka).
Heroes of the Soviet Union
According to eye witness accounts Sister Krzysztofora died after having her tongue cut off and her eyes gouged out. She was also stabbed 16 times. Sister Rolanda had her face mutilated while Sister Gunhilda was such a threat to these heroes that she needed shooting three times.
In 2009 the IPN estimated that approximately 150,000 Polish people lost their lives to the Soviets. These included men, women and children.
Throwing Stones in Glass Houses
These nuns are reported to have tried to shield their patients at these various hospitals. The history of the German atrocities in Poland are far better known. It is a modern trend to immediately follow any reporting of this sort with distraction techniques. I mean why am I concentrating on the unsolved murder by Soviet troops when the British Empire was so bad?
I am very safe in my thinking here. This is a recent story and a terrible, nasty, cowardly tale. When and if I see the same about British troops I will report on it. Meanwhile take a look at the way the Poles were treated during the two periods of the war the Soviets were in charge. For those trying to soft soap extreme left wing politics today. Those that claim only the extreme right are a danger. It might make rather uncomfortable reading.
I wonder where these Heroes of the Soviet Union ended up? Doting grandfathers with glorious pictures of their days in uniform on sideboards. Possibly they became stalwarts of their local communities. Maybe they were delighted by the fall of communism and toured Europe in the last of their years. Possibly they went on to be monsters in civilian lives, the monsters they were in their hearts. The monsters they must have been to do that to their Allies.
Take Care and please watch out for anyone painting extreme views as something to do with justice and liberty and humanity. I have seen a lot and know that extreme anything is the opposite of those things.