Piotrowski on "the number deported"
Further to the recent discussions about "the number deported", I quote the following from Professor Tadeusz Piotrowski's lecture on the deportations. See the web page for more information at http://www.electronicmuseum.ca/WorldWarII/Deportations/Deportation.html
The four major deportations of Polish citizens from the Soviet zone took place on February 10, April 13, and June in 1940, and from mid-June 1941 until the invasion of the Soviet Union by Germany. How many people were deported? No one really knows and chances are that no one will ever know the full scale of that Soviet ethnic cleansing campaign.
The most conservative Polish count, based on Soviet documents, is as follows: 140 000 during the first, 60 000 during the second, 80 000 during the third, and 40 000 Polish citizens, mainly from the Wilno area, during the fourth deportation for a grand total of 320 000 persons. These Soviet figures, even if accurate (and some scholars question their veracity), do not give a complete picture of that horrendous Soviet ethnic cleansing campaign aimed against Polish citizens. If to add to them the various other deportations, smaller in scale, resulting in the displacement of civilians, prisoners of war, and people arrested for political reasons and detained in the prisons of Eastern Poland, about half of whom were eventually deported to Soviet forced-labour camps, we will arrive at 400 000 to 500 000 as the grand total of those deported using the Soviet documents as our point of departure.
By including voluntary workers, those who fled in June/July 1941, Red Army draftees, and other such categories we arrive at approximately 750 000 to 780 000 as the total number of Polish citizens who found themselves in the Soviet Union during the Soviet occupation of Eastern Poland. Earlier estimates of well-known historians provide figures ranging from 1.2 to 1.7 mln (including 385 000 children).
Ethnic Poles, an overall minority in Eastern Poland, constituted the majority of those deported, but no social category or Polish minority group was spared. The social categories included workers, artisans, peasants, foresters, soldiers, judges, clergy, professors, scientists, attorneys, engineers and teachers. But anyone listed in the index of "anti-Soviet elements" could have been deported and many were.
The minority groups included: Jews, Ukrainians, Belorussians, Lithuanians, and other Polish citizens. As can be seen, among these masses were the "oppressed minorities" that Stalin came to rescue from "Polish oppression" - his official excuse for the invasion of Poland. The Soviet line, that at least they were saved and spared the horrors of war, rings hollow in light of places like Katyn, the conditions of life obtaining in the sprawling network of various Soviet detention camps, and in the Gulag where they suffered untold misery, and where so many of them perished in circumstances defying description.
Political prisoners kept in Eastern Poland constituted yet another category of deportees. Thousands of such prisoners perished in the course of the Soviet occupation and, according to Soviet documents, at least 10 000 were slaughtered in local jails on the eve of the German invasion of the Soviet Union. Those, who were not killed, and they numbered into the thousands as well, were evacuated with the retreating Red Army - many of them were executed later.