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Permanent exhibition: Exiled to Siberia. The fate of Polish citizens deported deep into the Soviet Union during the Second World War.

On 9.02.2023, the inauguration ceremony of the permanent exhibition entitled. “Exiled to Siberia. The fate of Polish citizens deported deep into the Soviet Union during World War II” at the UP’s Centre for the Documentation of Deportations, Expulsions and Resettlements. The exhibition was prepared within the framework of the programme implemented by the Pedagogical University entitled. “Initiative of Excellence – Research University” and is related to the priority research area: “Forced Migration and Crimes against Humanity. Memory and post-memory in the educational process’. At the same time, a ceremony was held to commemorate the 83rd anniversary of the first mass deportation of Polish citizens deep into the USSR on 10.02.1940. The event, organised at the Centre’s headquarters – Fort Skotniki, was attended by Siberian, including representatives of the Krakow, Katowice and Częstochowa Branches of the Siberian Association, the Pedagogical University of Krakow, the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage, the Malopolska Voivodeship Office and the Institute of National Remembrance in Krakow. The exhibition presents the history of hundreds of thousands of our compatriots. One form of Soviet repression was the deportation of Polish citizens to labour camps and the mass deportation of Polish families (including children) deep into the USSR. Between 1940 and 1941, hundreds of thousands of Polish citizens, mainly from the eastern areas of the country, the so-called Kresy (Borderlands), were deported in 4 deportations in cattle wagons. In order to survive in exile, Poles had to work hard, for example in mines, at clearing forests in freezing Siberia or on the land in the Kazakh SSR. This murderous toil, as well as the cold, hunger, the ever-present fear of the Soviet authorities, humiliation, disease and death, was the everyday reality for the Polish exiles, who were commonly referred to as Siberians. The exhibition tells the story of this part of the tragic fate of the Poles. The exhibition was prepared by the Centre’s team, led by Professor Hubert Chudzio, based on the unit’s archival collections.