From: Wiadomości Polskie (Redaguje Stowarzyszenie Polaków w Nowej Zelandii), February 2010 -
After 70 years it is still an open question as to how many Polish citizens were forcibly deported by the Soviets to forced labour camps in the former USSR. It is unlikely that we shall ever know, considering that we don't even know the total lives lost during World War II. The traditionally assumed figure of six million Poles is now being questioned. A renowned expert in Polish war history [Paweł Wieczorkiewicz] puts forward a total of over eight million Polish citizens. The annexation by the Soviet Union of much of Polish territory, sanctioned by the Allies, makes it impossible to obtain accurate figures. The first post-war census in 1946 revealed a population fall of almost 13 million citizens, from a pre-war of over 36,000,000 to post-war 23,900,000. No-one knows how many were in the Soviet-annexed territories, how many lost their lives, or failed to return to Poland to avoid life under Communism. For 45 years the Communist rulers of Poland
kept a complete silence about the deportations. Only the Polish Government-in-Exile kept estimates at the time. It was estimated that in the period 1940-1953 deportations of Polish citizens to the Soviet Union were in the millions.
The Soviets deported:
1,114,000 Polish citizens living in the Soviet occupied territories of Poland - mass deportations,
336,000 refugees from central and western Poland,
250,000 individual arrests and deportations,
140,000 confined to forced labour at home,
180,000 Army officers and soldiers,
50,000 Polish Underground Army soldiers deported or liquidated,
10,000 coal miners from Silesia,
- a total of some 2.3 million people.
The number who lost their lives in exile is estimated at over a million people.
Protest from a victim:
Protest by a former deportee and author [Stanisław Rymaszewski] of a well documented memoir of his exile in Siberia [„W obronie zaginionych krzyży”]: it was a reaction to the statistics published in the renowned historical publication "Karta", concerning Soviet repression of Polish citizens, published in 2002. According to this source, based on the archives of the Soviet Secret Police (NKVD) and quoting Russian, Belarusian and Lithuanian historians, in the period 1939-1941 some 330,000 Polish citizens were deported. Objections to this are not only the low figures, but also the classification of individual groups as if they were not part of the Polish nation, ignoring the fact that these were also crimes against the Polish State as an institution which was dealt a mortal blow by the occupiers. He deplores the use of faulty and incomplete Russian statistics to close this period of Polish history as a mere footnote, ignoring the plentiful evidence
of victims (both living and the dead) of these crimes.
The protest went unheeded. To this day there is a lack of thorough research into this period of history. Strangely, it was unreliable sources from the Russian oppressors that have taken root in Poland and elsewhere. (Summarised from an article in the Polish daily newspaper "Nasz Dziennik".)
One does not have to be an historian to see the falsehood of the low figures presented in "Karta", which are based solely on Russian sources, and submitted by a Russian professor. The statistical tables shown there list the names of the railway stations from which the Poles were deported, the dates, numbers of deportees being transported, the destination, even the name of the commanding Red Army officer. Although the deportations of 10th February, 1940 were the first of the four main mass deportations, none of the transports listed in the publication show this date. Furthermore, as an example of the unreliability of the data, there is no mention of deportations to the Komi region of northern Russia, to which many victims were deported. The Polish historians failed to check other glaringly obvious sources, available to everyone, which the periodical also failed to take into account, such as the archival records available on the Internet and published
there by the Russians themselves. Having been confronted with this additional evidence, one historian from the Communist era simply stated that he had no intention of changing his mind. To the Russian authorities the deportations were "official escort activities of the NKVD Army (secret police)". The deportees were described as "special resettlers".
- Extracted from sources on the Internet, and adapted from a translation by Stanisław Manterys
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