- Dear Kresy-Siberia members I submit the following question that I have received to your wisdom and discernment. I have respected the anonymity of the writer,Message 1 of 39 , Feb 20View SourceDear Kresy-Siberia membersI submit the following question that I have received to your wisdom and discernment. I have respected the anonymity of the writer, as I have not obtained their permission to share their e-mail.Should we stop using the term "refugees" to describe the Polish civilians that spent the war outside Poland after release from Soviet captivity and evacuation with the Polish Army under General Anders? If so, what should we call them?Kind regards,Stefan-------- Original Message --------Dear StefanI am going to write this in English, simply because I have been discussing this point concerning Kresy-Siberia in English for some time now.So - Refugees are people who make their own decision, for any reason at all (feeling threatened, hunger, unfriendly regime etc.) to leave their own homeland and search for another country to establish their life in.During WW2, Polish people – old, young, professionals, illiterate, peasants, rich, poor, were forcibly – literally under the point of a gun – deported to Siberia and other parts of the Soviet Union. They were told that they, their children and their children’s children will remain there and work for ‘the mother Russia ‘for ever and ever.In all, 1 million 1/2 were either DEPORTED to Kolhozes in the Soviet Union, or arrested and placed in Russian prisons in the Soviet Union, or were sent to gulags and coal and salt mines also in the Soviet Union.ALL OF THEM WERE DEPORTEES.When Germans began to invade Soviet Union (1941) and came close as Moscow, General Sikorski, Polish President in London, made a historical pact with Stalin which allowed Polish people to leave prisons, coal mines, kolhozes inside the Soviet Union on the condition that Polish men (and women) would form a Polish Army and help Soviets fight Germans.All Polish people therefore, who could, headed towards the South of the Soviet Union, where Polish authorities began to form the Polish Army. Polish civilians (women and children) also headed south. They could not return to Poland because that was where the German and Russia armies were fighting war.Because of the great number of children who were on their own (orphaned, lost, separated), as well as women, Polish authorities in Southern Russia had no choice but start establishing Polish orphanages and it was these orphanages and the Polish Army who were later transferred to Iran.The most important fact was that the Poles – soldiers, men, women and children HAD ALWAYS BEEN DETERMINED TO RETURN TO A FREE POLAND when the war ended.They had never thought of settling in any other country.They were never looking for any NEW HOME.They were going back to Poland to REBUILD POLAND.But Polish people could not stay in Iran longer than the three years. Consequently, the British government encouraged other countries to offer hospitality to Polish people, still on a temporary basis. NZ, India, Canada, Syria, India Kenya and Sth Africa did. Poles were transported to these countries. But still on a temporary basis. And thus, Polish Children who arrived in NZ, went to Polish schools to prepare to return to and rebuild, Poland.Then came the end of WW2 but Poland was left behind the Iron Curtain. Polish people, former deportees – (Poles from Eastern Poland, who were deported to the Soviet Union) – became Polish exiles who could not return to their homeland. Most of them remained permanently in countries which they were invited to on a temporary basis.My suggestion for the title in Polish and English -1. DEPORTEES FROM KRESY TO SIBERIA BECOME POLISH EXILES.2. POLSCY ZESLANCY Z KRESOW NA SYBERIE – POZNIEJ BEZDOMNI. OR -3. POLSCY ZESLANCY Z KRESOW NA SYBERIE – ZOSTAJA BEZDOMNI.Polish people who were deported from Kresy to Siberia, as well as to other parts of the Soviet Union during WW2 and who survived until the time when the ‘Amnesty’ was declared in 1941, were the ONLY people in the history of the Soviet Union who were deported and then allowed to leave Soviet Union OFFICIALLY AND LEGALLY.The uniqueness of this historical fact, makes it even more imperative to identify a correct and a distinctive name for this particular group of Polish victims of WW2.
- Mark O, my mother was in Eckeraforde, up the road, so to speak from Pinneburg, apart from being moved to Island for stealing and slaughtering a GermanMessage 39 of 39 , Feb 26View Source
Mark O, my mother was in Eckeraforde, up the road, so to speak from Pinneburg, apart from being moved to Island for stealing and slaughtering a German farmers’ cow, which made the British very angry. They the DP, were treated well by the British, with my father running a Black Market Rackets for Vodka. He would get cheap Vodka, go to the forest, make charcoal from Pine trees and distil the sub-standard Vodka through the charcoal and resell it for higher price. He did not get caught and would go by train, selling to various camps, but it did give them extra money.
My father was from Warsaw (the 1st Calvary Unit sent to defend Poland 1939 – he was captured, held in Stalag 1-A) released to German Farm in Flensburg, after Death March and then DP Camp Eckeraforde and did not go back to Warsaw. In fact, many citizens of Warsaw went back for look and returned to DP camp, saying there was nothing left of Warsaw and they did not want to be under Soviets. .
My mother was from Niwna, Zhitomirski Oblast and did not want to go back, in fact, it was arranged by British Officer in Charge, to alter her papers, so she could immigrate to a safe country after she married my father in Germany.
Mother was one of the lucky ones. Coming out of Stalin’s’ Hell, to German Farm which was half Heaven and then under British DP Camp, Immigrated to Australia under 2 year Work Contract and was accepted by Australian people.
Thank you for the DP link.
Thats very interesting!
Dad does recall walking out of the original camp he was in at Luebeck with some friends and walking into a German farm house and demanding food!
However, he was already suffering from dysentery and the eggs and sausage he was fed by the fearful woman was too much for his system after being starved and it ended up nearly killing him.
He was in a near coma for 3 months and woke up in an allied hospital which he thought was heaven because everything what white including the nurse who had blond hair - he thought she was an angel!
You also have to realize that he was not merely a slave laborer. He was an inmate of Neuengamme and survived the liquidation of the camp in the Cap Arcona disaster where the Germans tried to get rid of the remaining population by loading them onto ships and tricking the allies into sinking them. (He thought they were using the prisoners as human shields at the time).
As a result of all that almost any camp not bent on killing its inhabitants seemed like a pretty good place.
Also consider that as a Kresy DP he had experienced life under both the Stalin and Hitler which was marked by constant deprivation at both ends. And then of course his escaping the massacre at Janiewicze and becoming a refugee (in this case the term applies) to Wlodzimierz was even worse. So for him, the treatment he got from the allies (he was in the British zone) seemed like nothing more than the greatest kindness for which he has always been eternally grateful.
I will note that the rest of the family was not at Pinneburg and dad does say that he left their camp because he did not like it there. I have never questioned him about why but perhaps I should. So, there does appear to have been some ability to move about the country. He clearly recalls taking his quartermaster pay and going into Hamburg to go to night clubs!
I am not surprised that Germans looked down on the DPs. After all, how did they get there in the first place? Dad does say that in some ways the family was lucky to be sent to work on a farm because aside from the rations they were given they could always swipe a little here and there like an egg or two or take a drink of milk from a cow. Beyond that I have personally heard much of the same attitude toward DPs here in the US! In once case when I was a teenager a man said to dad in front of me, "Our people went over and fought and died for you people and now you come over here and marry our women and take our land!" (He was upset that my dad had bought a farm here that he had designs on himself) I believe this guy was in fact one of those GIs that was stationed in Germany late in the war or just after. It should be noted that the man's name was Rosenbaum, a rather ironically typically Jewish name but an ethnic Catholic German who apparently had a good deal of sympathy for the defeated Germans. Of course is anyone surprised that those same Germans would have an emotional stake in trying to demonstrate to Americans about how the slavs were really the sub-humans the NAZIs claimed they were? Im not!
I have heard the term "God Damned DP" plenty though it has largely faded into distant memory. All of those experiences have made me very sensitive to race based civil rights issues here. It is very easy to see the parallels to the race debate that has risen its head again here in the US, in particular the immigration issue with Mexico. Ive heard all that before and it rubs a sore spot with me having been on the receiving end myself. I sometimes get upset with ex-DPs here who seem to exhibit the exact same attitude toward other ethnic groups who I have heard say things like "We ought to take the goddam machine gun and shoot them all down!" A rather stunning comment coming from a man who was also a survivor of the 43 uprising.
I dont have the source anymore but I have read that the US military did have a propaganda problem with GIs fraternizing with German citizens, in particular women who were still inculcated with NAZI racist ideas and even did training films warning of creeping NAZism within the ranks. I think that is party what you are describing here. Certainly the NAZI attitudes did not simply melt away and German GIs in particular (among others) were susceptible to that kind of influence.
As for dress, if you look at those photos you will see that dad and all of his friends were all well dressed in sport coats slacks and the photos of them in the schools and other activities certainly tells a very different story from the others mentioned here. Just the fact that he had access to a camera to take the photos is evidence in itself. In the photo linked below you see dad on the far left. Note that they are wearing a kind of jump suit. Dad says these were in fact surplus British flight suits that had been died a different color so they could not be mistaken for British military. I really cant account for the difference in treatment but it is self evident that at least at Pinneburg the treatment was first rate. I am wondering if this might be the fact that it was a Brit run camp as despite the US's claim to moral superiority does in fact have a dark side to racism and bigotry? Its hard to say but given my own experiences I would not be surprised at that.
In the end, the camps were the best the allies could conjure up in a broken and devastated land and it was in fact to everyone's advantage to get them out of there both for short term logistical practicalities and for the restoration of some kind of stable reconstructions. In my family's case - as would be the case for nearly every Kresy inhabitant repatriation to what was already Ukraine was never going to happen. Even those still in the Kresy were eventually also deported to places like Pomerania in order to quell on going violence between ethnic Poles and Ukrainians. In fact I have been able to track down some of the families who also lived in Markostaw there.
In any event my personal feeling is that some slack has to be cut to the allies as a whole who were tasked with a massive problem that could have gone very wrong. To their credit they did not simply declare victory and leave. I expect that the Soviets would have just moved in which I think would have been a disaster. It certainly could have been a LOT worse!