God's Eye: Aerial Photography and the Katyn Forest Massacre (Paperback)
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A reprint of the classic study of the Katyn Forest Massacre where captured Polish officers were murdered by the Soviet Police as part of a campaign that killed over 25,000 prisoners
First published in 1999, Frank Fox’s God’s Eye , as one reviewer explained is part history and part biography. The historical part tells the story of Katyn and other killing fields where more than 20,000 Polish officers, soldiers, border guards, police, and other officials, as well as ordinary citizens, were executed during World War II. The narrative stretches from 1940 to the present, tracking successive investigations that uncovered the truth bit by bit. The hero of Fox’s book is a self-taught photo-interpreter of professional caliber named Waclaw Godziemba-Maliszewski. The data collected at the time of the crime were aerial reconnaissance photographs taken by the German Luftwaffe, which were seized, classified, and stored in the “evidence room” of the US National Archives until they were declassified in 1979. The methods used to finally solve the crime were modern photo interpretation and photogrammetry. German occupation forces stumbled onto mass graves at Katyn in April 1943. Nazi propaganda minister Josef Goebbels charged the Soviets with mass murder, hoping to exploit the grisly discovery to shatter the Anglo-American-Soviet wartime alliance. The Germans exhumed many of the corpses and brought in an international team of forensic experts and other observers to substantiate the Soviet atrocity.
Stalin blamed the Germans for the massacres, and London and Washington accepted his version of the story as the truth. As time went on, most historians in the West concluded that the Soviets were to blame, since what little evidence there was suggested that the Poles were killed while in Soviet, not German, captivity. Nevertheless, doubts persisted for decades.
The biographical part of Fox’s book focuses on Maliszewski’s indefatigable efforts to identify execution and burial sites, establish Soviet culpability, and pressure Warsaw and Moscow to complete a full official investigation. Maliszewski, who was born in Scotland in 1948, developed an interest in Katyn early in life when he learned that a relative had been among the victims. Interest turned into obsession, however, when he discovered that the solution to the crime might lie in aerial reconnaissance photographs that the Germans themselves had taken of Smolensk and the surrounding area. While doing research at the US National Archives, Maliszewski came across an intriguing article from the CIA’s in-house journal, Studies in Intelligence. The author, a respected CIA photo interpreter, had used the German film footage to analyze the physical characteristics of Katyn, identify burial sites, and draw inferences regarding German versus Soviet culpability.
About the Author
Frank Fox came to the United States from his native Lodz, Poland in 1937. During the War he served in Military Government in France and Germany. He earned a doctorate in history from the University of Delaware and taught at Temple and West Chester University. He was the recipient of multiple research grants from the American Philosophical Society and the Eleutherian Mills (DuPont) Foundation.
His writings have appeared in a variety of scholarly and popular publications, including: French Historical Studies, Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, East European Jewish Affairs, New York Magazine, PRINT, The World & I, and Affiche.
Frank’s New York Magazine cover story (September 9, 1974), titled, Why Nixon Did Himself In!, was a behavioral examination of Nixon’s Need To Fail. The story, with its cover illustration of Nixon hanging himself, was a sales spectacular for the publication.
The Philadelphia Port of History Museum in 1984, held an exhibit of his Polish Poster Collection. By special arrangement, Drexel University acquired the Frank Fox Collection, consisting of hundreds of original, spectacular Polish Posters and they have held multiple exhibits of his collection.
He also contributed a chapter on Polish Poster Art for Tony Fusco’s reference work “Posters” (New York, 1994). His essay “Poland and the American West” was published by Washington State University Press and in Western Amerykanski, a catalog for his 1999 exhibition of a part of his seminal collection of Polish Posters at the Gene Autry Museum of Western Heritage where he was the Guest Curator.
Dr. Fox had edited and translated from Polish, a controversial wartime memoir, Am I A Murderer? Testament of a Jewish Ghetto Policeman published in 1996 by Harper/Collins, and has written poetry for a cantata based on that work, which premiered in Philadelphia in 1977. This moving cantata was performed by bass voice, flute, piccolo, clarinet, bass clarinet, violin, viola, cello and piano with the score by Sylvia Glickman and Frank wrote the libretto.
In 1996 he was Guest Curator at the Katonah Museum of Art (Katonah, NY) where he mounted a breakthrough poster exhibit of his combative Solidarity-era Polish Posters entitled, Combat on Paper. He created a whole publication explaining the background and significance of the posters in the exhibit.
In 1998 he was invited to lecture at the National Museum in Warsaw on the occasion marking the 30th anniversary of the Polish Poster Museum.
His 1999 book, God’s Eye, Aerial Photography and the Katyn Forrest Massacre (West Chester University Press) gave historians worldwide a new perspective on the culprit of this wartime atrocity on Poland.
He was awarded the 2000 Josef Casimire Hofmann Award by the Polish Heritage Association of the Southeast for his lectures and volume titled "Combat on Paper" on Polish Poster Art.
He was also awarded the 2004 Distinguished Service Award by the American Council for Polish Culture in recognition of his scholarly contributions to promote awareness of Polish culture to fellow Americans.
Frank Fox died on August 2, 2016, at age 92.