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Kresy Family group

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​​12  R E C O L L E C T I O N S

Family Histories

The unjustifiable and scandalous forced deportations in 1940-1941 by the Soviet Union of the Polish people living in the Kresy was just the beginning of at least a further six years of enforced travels until the end of the Second World War finally enabled them to begin to settle down and return to some form of normality, albeit very few actually went back to Poland.

Two inhumane and brutal years were suffered in ‘posiolki’ or gulags in the vast wilderness of the Siberian steppe, other isolated areas of north-eastern Russia or the deserts of Kazakhstan before Stalin, realising that he needed soldiers to help him fight the war against Germany, granted the Poles a so-called ‘amnesty’ which enabled General Anders to organise two major evacuations of both military and civilians and, thus, deliver his countrymen from “Soviet Paradise”.

Sadly but not unexpectedly, the evacuations for some proved to be too much and many Poles who had survived Soviet imprisonment and oppressive enslavement were too bereaved, too weak, too malnourished and too ill to make it, and tragically died on route, albeit with freedom in sight. 

Experiences of this type of existence and of the daily need to fight for survival inevitably left individuals traumatised and, in some cases, indelibly scarred for life.

After the war, there were those who needed to or wanted to and were able to talk about their experiences but there were also those who were unable to. On these following pages, we have included a number of histories which have been penned by either the victim him-/herself or a member of their family, and each for very individual and personal reasons.

Click on links below to open the page.

BORSUK Agnieszka (nee Lichwa): the story of her enforced travels as a child

GALGAN Helena: Family deported to Kazakhstan in 1936

BITNER-GLINDZICZ Family: Excerpts from 'A Song For Kresy

GIERKA Jan: a 21-year-old soldier who died during the Battle of Monte Cassino

GORAL/RADOMSKI family: introduction to the family memoirs described in their book "Midnight Train to Siberia"

GRADOSIELSKA Danuta (nee Maczka): a schoolgirl from the Kresy becomes a soldier in the Polish 2nd Corps

GRADOSIELSKI Jerzy: PoW in Siberia, Sapper 5KDP, a hero of the Battle of Monte Cassino

GRZYBOWSKI Family: Stories of Klemens Grzybowski, military hero, his son Ryszard and daughter-in-law CzesiaDeported to Siberia but survived. Ryszard became chair of Ognisko Rodzin Osadników Kresowych (OROK) (Association of the Families of the Borderland Settlers) in the UK. OROK published “Stalin’s Ethnic Cleansing” and “From The Eastern Borderlands of Poland, Memories of Military Settlements 1921-1940”

HAJKOWSKI Edward: Transcription from handwritten wartime memoir written in 1994.

HERMANOWICZ Wiktor: Scans of original letters from Siberia and Scotland to a brother in Poland with translations.

HERZBAUM Edward: deportee, soldier and artist in Polish 2nd Corps. Excerpts from his war-time journals

KALICKI Helena (nee Miluk): deported as a four-year-old, describes her eight years of exile

KUBICA Jerry: personal memories, plus descriptions of army formation centres, Gulags and settlements From the past and the present 

LIPINSKI Romuald: a deportee and soldier of 12 Podolski Lancers, Polish 2nd Corps

MIŁOSZEWSKI and RAFALĄT Families: Richly illustrated a son tells of his family’s lives set against Poland’s historical background.

RYMASZEWSKA Aleksandra: the girl with a limp who survived deportation to become a stalwart of the Oldham Polish community

SMOLUCH Maria: A notebook written by a 17 year old describing her experiences in March and April 1942 

STANKIEWICZ Family: Sons recall their parents' history

STEPEK Family: The family describe life in Kazakhstan after 'the Amnesty'

SZYMAN Zofia:  A Life Remembered 

WOJTURSKI Family: Dominik Allen writes about his great grandfather and other family members

ŻUREK  family's long journey from Kresy, through Siberia, Uzbekistan, Persia, Palestine and Lebanon to a new life in Australia.  

More Personal memoirs on our Canadian colleagues' site: