KRESY SIBERIA MEMORIAL GALLERY
THE GALLERY'S MISSION
To preserve and present images (photographs, maps, documents, paintings) of the Kresy and it’s Polish citizens’ experiences of pre-war life, war-time deportation and forced labour, amnesty and survival during the Second World War, including exile in military and civilian camps, battles, and life after war.
The Memorial Gallery is a project of the Kresy-Siberia Group and contributions to the Gallery have primarily been made by members of the Group. For more information about the Group, please visit ABOUT US section
If you wish to contribute material for the Gallery, please contact the Gallery Administrator
The year 2009 will mark the 70th anniversary of the beginning of World War 2. Yet one aspect of Poland’s wartime history is hardly known to most people – the deportation, imprisonment, and other repression of the inhabitants of the Kresy, or Eastern Borderlands, on Josef Stalin’s orders, to Soviet slave labor camps and Gulags in Siberia, Kazakhstan and eastern Asia. Almost two million Polish citizens suffered this “Gehenna”. Many died in the camps from hypothermia, lack of nutrition, or diseases like typhoid or malaria. Others survived to join the Polish Forces under Allied command battling Nazi Germany in Africa and Europe, or to see out the war in refugee camps in the Middle East, Africa, India, New Zealand and Mexico. Most never returned to their fatherland because it was annexed by the Soviet regime after the war.
The Kresy-Siberia Group is "dedicated to researching, remembering and recognizing the Polish citizens deported, enslaved and killed by the Soviet Union during World War Two". It was established by a number of survivors and their descendants to tell the stories of the "Polish Gehenna" to the world. We have an active discussion group, a website, memorial wall and online gallery containing thousands of photographs and documents posted by our members.
However, our collection is getting very large and increasingly difficult to access – the information could be far better presented to the world. In addition, other historical sources of images and information, such as the Karta Centre in Warsaw, the Hoover Institution in California and the Sikorski Institute in London, also remain stored in archives and not as accessible as they could be for study and display. In the meantime, the last of the survivors are aging and dying out – and with them the memories and testimonies about their historic and heroic experiences. In the absence of a physical museum commemorating this history, our solution is to work with key partners to create a virtual museum on the internet and make it accessible to the world.