The aims of the Group are to promote the history and experiences of Polish citizens, regardless of race and religion, from Kresy (the Eastern Borderlands of Poland) who suffered oppression before, during and after World War II; to promote and advance the education and learning of this history and to educate the public and promote this history, thereby fostering further cultural understanding.
Kresy Family Polish WWII History Group
This is a history group about people whose families lived in Kresy: the borderlands between Poland and the Soviet Union before WW II.
Between one and two million Polish citizens were forcibly removed from their homes in Kresy by the Soviets, in four separate waves, between 1940 and 1941, and were taken to remote regions of the Soviet Union. Families ended up in work camps, enduring starvation, illness and extreme weather conditions. Soldiers and convicted prisoners were taken to Gulag prison camps where conditions were even harsher.
Due to the so-called ‘Amnesty’ in August 1941, these Polish prisoners and refugees were freed, but because of the great distances, a lack of transport and their poor state of health, it often took many months for them to reach the southern Soviet Union, where the Polish Army was being formed. Tragically many people, weakened by starvation and illness, did not survive the journey.
Once the refugees arrived in Turkmenbasy (at that time part of the USSR), there were two evacuation phases shipping everyone from Krasnovodsk, USSR to Pahlevi, Persia (Iran) in 1942. On arrival in Pahlevi, the refugees who were able to, joined Anders' Army and the others were sent to Polish Refugee Camps in different parts of the world, including Africa and India, to recuperate.
In April 1943 the Soviet Union, as a result of the dispute about the Katyn Affair, suddenly closed its borders and revoked the 1941 ‘Amnesty’. Only about 115,000 (soldiers and civilians) had got out. The number left behind in the Soviet Union at this point far exceeded the number that had managed to leave and some Polish citizens never managed to get out.
Some of those who lived in Kresy, and were not deported, managed to make their own way across Europe to join the Polish Army, Navy and Air Force.
After the war the Poles were unwilling to return to their now Communist-run country. They dispersed all over the world to start new lives in different countries.
Our group members are a mixture of people from all over the world: survivors, their children, grandchildren, relatives and others interested in the war-time history of the Polish people.
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Kresy Family Management Committee 2021/22
Chair: Mirka Wojnar (UK)
Treasurer: John Binks (UK)
Secretary: Irena Bojanowska (UK)
Tadek Wojewódka (UK)
Jan Zajączkowski (UK)
Nicola Pażdzierska (UK)
Ewa Gradosielska Farmer (UK)
Andy Sacha (Switzerland)
Website Team: Elżunia Gradosielska Olsson (Sweden)
Ewa Honstvet (UK)
Basia Gillett (Australia)
Ela Marchlewska (Poland)
Website Manager: Tadek Wojewódka (UK)
Honorary Ambassador: Eugene Krajewski (UK)
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