This article has so much information obtained from the book IRAN AND THE POLISH EXODUS FROM RUSSIA 1942, that it was impossible to select only a fewMessage 1 of 1 , Mar 18View Source
This article has so much information obtained from the book IRAN AND THE POLISH EXODUS FROM RUSSIA 1942, that it was impossible to select only a few appropriate quotes and my apologies for the immense of information, which is only a fraction from the link. http://www.google.com.au/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=11&ved=0CC8QFjAAOAo&url=http%3A%2F%2Fpolandusa.wordpress.com%2F2007%2F09%2F05%2Firan-and-the-polish-exodus-from-russia-1942%2F&ei=7QVHUdLUKeXYmAXf7IHQCg&usg=AFQjCNE5emk7Ymw1MBC-BadR2F1AeCPgFw&bvm=bv.43828540,d.aGc&cad=rja Also, has group heard of Skwarko’s book THE INVITED?
Sep 5, 2007 – It opened its doors on March 12 1942. ..... Skwarko's book, “The Invited,” recounts a journey from Anzali, through Persia and on to New ..... The new areas of assembly selected by Stalin proved terrible in terms of climate.
Quote - In Tehran’s Dulab cemetery, situated in a rundown area of the city, are the graves of thousands of Polish men, women and children. It is not the only such cemetery in Iran, but it is the largest and most well-known. All of the gravestones, row upon row of them, bear the same date: 1942.
In that year, Iran stood as a beacon of freedom and hope for almost a million Polish citizens released from the Soviet labour camps of Siberia and Kazakhstan. After enduring terrible conditions travelling across Russia, 115,000 of them were eventually allowed to enter Iran. Most of them went on to join the allied armies in the Middle East. The rest (mostly women and children) remained guests of Iran for up to three years, their lives totally transformed in the process. They never forgot the debt they owed to the country that had so generously opened its doors to them. Their reminiscences, as well as the many graves left behind in Tehran, Anzali and Ahvaz, are testimony to a chapter of Iranian history almost erased from the public memory.
Also quote - Pahlavi
The evacuation of Polish nationals from the Soviet Union took place by sea from Krasnovodsk to Pahlavi (Anzali), and (to a lesser extent) overland from Ashkabad to Mashhad. It was conducted in two phases: between 24 March and 5 April; and between the 10th and 30th of August 1942. In all, 115,000 people were evacuated, 37,000 of them civilians, 18,000 children (7% of the number of Polish citizens originally exiled to the Soviet Union).
Also quote - Food provision was inappropriate. Corned beef, fatty soup and lamb, distributed by the British soldiers, caused havoc with digestions accustomed only to small pieces of dry bread. They could not tolerate the rich food, and a large number died purely from the results of over-eating.
Beggarly, unwell and dishevelled, the Polish refugees were nourished more by the smiles and generosity of the Iranian people than by the food dished out by British and Indian soldiers. Iran at that time was going through one of the unhappier episodes of her history. Occupied by the Russians and the British, her relations with the soldiers of these two countries were understandably strained and difficult. With the Poles, however, there was an immediate affinity which was evident from the moment they arrived and which extended from the lowest to the highest levels of society.
On 11th April 1942 Josef Zajac, chief of Polish forces in the Middle East, noted in his diary on a visit to Tehran that the Persian population were better disposed to them than either the British or the White Russian émigrés (who were distinctly hostile). His relationship with the Iranian Minister of War, Aminollah Jahanbani (released a year earlier from prison for plotting against Shah Reza Pahlavi), was genuinely friendly and cordial. During the course of their discussions together on 13th April 1942, they discovered that they had been students together at the same French military academy. Personal friendships such as these further smoothed relations between the two populations. Contacts between Polish and Persian soldiers were equally cordial. The custom of Polish soldiers saluting Persian officers on the streets sprang up spontaneously, and did not go unnoticed by the Iranians.
Also quote - Through fighting “For Our Freedom and Yours” they had exchanged one master for another and were, for many years to come, treated as “the enemy” by the very Allies who had betrayed them at Teheran and Yalta.
On 31st August 1942, the evacuation of the Polish Army from the Soviet Union to Iran was completed. Almost 116,000 people, (over 78,000 soldiers and 37,000 civilians) were evacuated in two stages. This was less than 10 percent of all people from eastern Poland deported to the Soviet Union.
The announcement of the creation of the Polish Army in the Soviet Union was made by the Sikorski-Mayski agreement, signed on 30th July 1941. The military agreement signed in Moscow on 14th August 1941 placed the new Polish Army under the command of the Red Army (organisational and personal decisions were to be consulted). This made it extremely controversial.
General Władysław Sikorski was nominated Commander-in-Chief of Polish Military Forces in the Soviet Union, and Gen. Władysław Anders, who was kept prisoner by the NKVD since autumn 1939, was put in charge of the Soviet-based forces..
On the grounds of an “amnesty” granted by Stalin, Polish prisoners were freed from prisons and concentration camps and started assembling in Buzuluk, Tatishchev and Totskoye. They were in a miserable state – their health was bad, the conditions they had to travel in were long and harsh. Many who wanted to join the Polish Army never reached it, dying on the way from cold, hunger and disease.
The Polish high command counted on an army of at least 200,000 soldiers. Gen. Anders received a list of 1,658 Polish officers held by the Soviets. The list could not be any longer as the remaining officers had been murdered by the Russians in the spring of 1940.
Cooperation with the Soviets was difficult from the start. The Soviets ignored many clauses contained in the Sikorski-Mayski agreement, they did not free all Polish prisoners. Many Poles who had been liberated were forced by the Soviets to settle in Central Asia. They forbade Polish citizens who were not Polish, e.g. Ukrainians, Belarusians and Jews, from joining the Polish Army, claiming that they were no longer Polish citizens.
By October 1941, the Polish Army counted 40,000 people, but as the number of soldiers and civilians grew, problems with food supplies increased. The Soviets continually reduced food supplies. In December 1941, the camp in Totskoye did not receive any food. The soldiers had to live in tents in temperatures of minus 40 degrees Celsius. During the freezing weather, they had only rags to wear, and cloth was used instead of shoes. Hunger was the most painful. The civilians also suffered.
Due to increasing problems in Polish-Soviet relations, General Sikorski went to Moscow to meet Stalin on 3rd December 1941. General Anders was present at the meeting. Sikorski, who feared for the lives of the soldiers exposed to hunger and severe weather, wanted to evacuate the Polish troops to Iran, Stalin did not want this. He also made evasive answers as to the fate of the missing Polish officers, suggesting they had escaped to Manchuria. The Polish Army was to be organised into six divisions and form a total of 96,000 soldiers. 25,000 troops assigned for aviation, navy and armoured divisions were assigned to leave the Soviet Union immediately for Great Britain and the Near East.
Two divisions of infantry were to be armed by the Soviets, the remaining four by the British and Americans. The new divisions were supposed to be ready by the end of 1942, but the Soviet Union’s military situation improved and once again they were less inclined to fulfil their commitments.
It was not till 20th January- 25th February 1942 that Polish divisions were transferred to Central Asia. The new areas of assembly selected by Stalin proved terrible in terms of climate. Epidemics such as dysentery and typhus were spreading in the Army. Meanwhile the Soviets tried to hamper entry into the Polish Army. They blocked freeing Polish citizens incorporated into the Red Army and labour battalions. They blocked the above mentioned 25,000 soldiers from leaving the country.
By March, the army had only grown to a force of 66,750 soldiers. Their food rations were even lower – there was enough for 40,000 men. In March 1942 the rations were reduced to 26,000. The soldiers had to share these minimal portions with civilians.
Stalin pressurised General Anders to send out unprepared Polish divisions to fight. He had not wanted to form a Polish Army under independent Poland’s command, so he hoped to send out the divisions one by one to certain death. Anders realised that his main task was to save the Polish Army and on 18th March 1842 he once again raised the issue with Stalin of transporting the Polish Army to Iran. Stalin agreed for all soldiers without food to leave the country.
With Soviet help, between 24th March and 5th April 1942, 43,858 people (33,069 soldiers, 10,789 civilians) left the Soviet Union. 40,000 soldiers remained. General Anders was keen to do this quickly, before Stalin changed his mind. A deciding factor was that the British needed Polish help in Africa as a result of General Rommel’s offensive. On 2nd July 1942, the Polish government in exile was informed that Stalin decided to release the remaining Polish divisions to the Near East. Between 19th and 31st August, 69,247 people left the Soviet Union. Furthermore, thanks to the liquidation unit in Ashgabat, which operated till November 1942, 2,637 people got to Teheran. Among them 701 soldiers and 1,936 civilians, including 1,215 children.
In total, 115,742 people were transported to Iran in 1942, only 10 percent of the Polish citizens deported there. MSJ