The Katyn Order

Written by Douglas W. Jacobson
Review by John R. Vallely

Poland’s dilemma has always been based on geography. Located between Germany and Russia, Poland and its people have time and again been caught in the iron grip of one or both of these two rapacious neighbors. Douglas Jacobson relates a story of two examples of Polish suffering in a novel which combines the Soviet murder of thousands of Poles in the Katyn Forest in 1940 with the German campaign against Polish resistance fighters in Warsaw in 1944.

Adam Nowak, or “Wolf,” is a Polish-American trained by British intelligence and sent to Poland to assist the Home Army in the Warsaw Rebellion against its Nazi overlords. Nowak is, at first glance, a cold-blooded killer isolated from his comrades and concerned only with eliminating as many SS troopers as possible. Natalia Kowalski meets Nowak by chance in the doomed city, and the two patriots join forces to locate the document signed by Stalin ordering the murder of 22,000 Polish officers in Soviet prison camps. Providing the world with this proof of Soviet war crimes would, it was hoped, aid Poland in its quest for freedom from its communist “liberators.”

Soviet policeman Dimitri Tarnov is equally determined to find the document to both forestall Polish plans and also to save himself from being implicated in his relationship with the Nazis. Nowak and Natalia are continually threatened by Nazi forces as they are pursued by the equally bloodthirsty Tarnov. The reader is, of course, aware that the world did not learn of this proof of Stalin’s guilt until long after war’s end, but this doesn’t intrude upon the author’s well-constructed struggle between Communist and Nazi psychopaths and two lovers risking all to relieve Polish suffering.