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This Day In History: 1993-01-12

Soviet Katyn Massacre survivor Józef Czapski, censored by VOA in 1950, dies in 1993

Polish military officer, writer and artist Józef Czapski, who had made a futile search for thousands of missing Polish officers in Soviet Russia during World War II killed on the orders of Stalin in 1940, was censored by the Voice of America (VOA) during his visit to the United States in 1950.

The censorship became a major scandal and resulted in congressional inquiries

READ: Pro-Stalin Voice of America Propaganda Revealed in 1984 VOA Interview with Józef Czapski, Cold War Radio Museum

Later, under strong pressure from the U.S. Congress, VOA stopped its censorship of the Katyn story but resumed it partially later in the Cold War until the Reagan administration put a stop to all VOA censorship about Soviet crimes. Czapski was re-interviewed by the VOA Polish Service in the 1980s.

During World War II, overseas radio broadcasts of the U.S. Office of War Information (OWI), which only later became known as the Voice of America, repeated and promoted Soviet propaganda lies under VOA’s first so-called director but in reality the radio program production chief John Houseman. Houseman’s extreme pro-Soviet line resulted in him being forced to resign in 1943.

But the real directors of these early “Voice of America” wartime broadcasts and Soviet sympathizers hired by John Houseman continued their collusion with Soviet propagandists and covered up Stalin’s crimes well into the mid-1940s.

Even in the late 1940s and in 1950, the Voice of America was censoring witnesses of Stalin’s crimes, including statements by Józef Czapski. In the 1970s, VOA limited extensive readings from books by Alexandr Solzhenitsyn in response to pressure from Moscow and directives from the Nixon and Ford administrations eager to promote the policy of detente with the Kremlin.

Title: Polish Information Centre, groups taken Jan. 21, ’43

Creator(s): Matson Photo Service, photographer

Date Created/Published: [19]43 January 21.

Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA



Józef Czapski on Katyn, Silenced Refugees