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History of Siberian Exiles

The first Poles sent to Siberia were prisoners of war from various battles fought against Russia in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. After the partitions in the late 1700s, Poles were exiled to Siberia in large numbers following the anti-Russian insurrections of 1794, 1830-1 and 1863, as well as during the Napoleonic wars when Poles who fought with the French were captured. But all during the 1800s thousands of Poles were sent to Siberia for various anti-Russian activities and plots, real or imagined, along with Polish common criminals.

Read more: History of Siberian Exiles

   

Memories from Deportation to Kazakhstan

Introduction

In the effect of the secret protocol of Ribbentrop-Molotov non-aggression pact Poland was invaded from the West by Nazi Germany and later from the East by Soviet Russia in September 1939. German attack to Poland on September 1st 1939 is also considered the beginning of the World War II. Although the attack by Germany was anticipated, the Soviet invasion (September 17) caught Poland and the Western world as a surprise. The invasion of Poland from both sides concluded a fourth partition of Poland. The Soviet invasion was followed by massive involuntary deportations of Polish population, especially so called "social enemies" to the East. This operation was done by NKVD and involved about 1 million people. The women and children were sent usually to the remote settlements to the Siberia or Kazakhstan, the men were sent to labor camps where they worked in inhuman conditions, many died. The memoirs presented here depict very well the fate of these people on the example of one family. Read the Long History of Siberian Exiles

Here is a map of Kostanay region in Kazakstan: Kostanay region

by Stefania Borstowa

Read more: Memories from Deportation to Kazakhstan

   

Lincoln Ignored Poles, Feted The Czar (Tsar)

Historians routinely rate Abraham Lincoln our greatest president, a secular saint who could do no wrong. But like most politicians, he did what was politically expedient. Such was the case involving the Polish insurrection of 1863 against Russia.

Lincoln, of course, was president during the American Civil War and one area of importance to him was that of foreign relations. Regarding countries that mattered, Britain and France favored the South, and Russia was considered a staunch supporter of the North. These alliances were critical, for if any one of those countries overtly supported the Confederacy with supplies and money the Union might be doomed.

In Europe at the time, Britain and France were aligned against Russia and the latter enjoyed excellent relations with the U.S., a far cry from the 1830s when Russia was excoriated by the American press and public for its treatment of the Polish insurrectionists. In the 1860s Russia was looked upon by Americans as comparable to the U.S., largely because Czar Alexander II was considered to be a liberal reformer. He had freed the Russian serfs in 1861 (but not Polish serfs) and made other progressive reforms. Both countries were also thought of as vibrant, expanding empires.

Read more: Lincoln Ignored Poles, Feted The Czar (Tsar)

   

Contribution of Poles into Astronomy

Poles and Polish Americans have been pious Christians for centuries, but their fascination with the heavens has also extended beyond the religious sphere. Of course, one of the most outstanding astronomers in history was the Pole Mikołaj Kopernik, commonly known by his Latinized name, Nicholas Copernicus. It was he who in the sixteenth century put forth the idea that the Earth was not the center of the universe but that it and the other planets revolved around the Sun. This was a revolutionary concept at the time which totally changed the study of the heavens.

But even before Copernicus came the astronomer and mathematician Wojciech of Brudzewo (1445-1495). A professor at Jagiellonian University in Kraków, one of his students was Copernicus. Wojciech had doubts about the Earth being the center of the universe and no doubt influenced his famous pupil. He was the first person to state that the Moon always shows the same side to the Earth. There was also Marcin Bylica (1433-1493), a teacher who developed astronomical tables and donated instruments to the university, still on display today, including one of the earliest known celestial globes. And Jan of Głogów (1445-1507), another teacher of Copernicus, was another noted professor of astrology and astronomy in Kraków who wrote extensively on those subjects.

Read more: Contribution of Poles into Astronomy

   

Daily Life in Krutoyarka in Summer 1940

Check earlier articles with the memories from Kazakhstan

Village Krutoyanka (Northern Kazakhstan) is located on two lakes, one with drinkable water and another lake which Is salty. The “good” lake has a good and tasty water. The animals – horses and cattle drink water from this lake. When Spring starts, the sheep is washed in the lake before shearing. In spite of all these different uses we also drunk this water and we never became sick from the millions of bacteria there. The salty lake is overgrown with weeds, its water has brown color with marshy-herb like smell not drinkable. Here is a google map showing where Kustanay region is located

Read more: Daily Life in Krutoyarka in Summer 1940

   

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