The mother of two young boys, Maria Bitner-Glindzicz, as a deportee, escaped the hardships of work on the Akmolinsk-Kartaly railway, made her way to Guzar in Uzbekistan, crossed the Caspian Sea to Persia, and via Tehran journeyed to Palestine where she joined the Polish Army in 1943.
When the war ended, she was demobbed in England and met up with her sister, Helena Litynska. Helena had fought with the Polish Underground forces since 1940 and, in August 1944, took a part in the Warsaw Uprising. She was wounded during the fighting, captured by the Germans and imprisoned in various POW camps in Germany. Maria’s husband and her father were killed by the Russians sometime in 1940, around the time the family was deported. Their names are on the controversial Belarusian Katyń List. Maria lost her three brothers in the war; Julian the youngest was arrested with his father and was never heard of again; Roman died during the Polish Campaign in 1939; and Stanisław died after joining the Polish Army in Uzbekistan. When the family arrived in England in 1947, no adult male from either side of Maria’s family had survived the war.
This is the story of one of the thousands of Polish families who were deported to Siberia and Kazakhstan by the Soviets in 1940. The Glindzicz family had their roots in the Eastern Borderlands of Poland known as Kresy. The family held their lands in this region since before the Polish Lithuanian Commonwealth (1569-1648). The Glindzicz men supported all the major Polish uprisings against Czarist Russia. Mieczysław Glindzicz was a local commander in the 1863 Uprising.
Despite having fought loyally side by side with Britain throughout the Second World War, when it ended, the Poles of Kresy lost their homes and lands to the Soviet Union. Kresy was the territory Russia took when she was an ally of Germany.