Gallery 4. Freed to Fight
You are in: Room 4a.
“Amnesty” for the innocent (1941)
- 22nd June 1941 Germany invaded Soviet occupied territories, codenamed “Operation Barbarossa”
Soviets suffered terrible defeats until the tide turned in 1943. The war on the Eastern front raged until 1945 and accounted for the majority of casualties in the 2nd World War
- Soviet Union became allied to Great Britain, and thereby with Poland
- 30th July 1941 General Sikorski negotiated the Sikorski-Maisky (or Polish-Soviet) Pact which granted “Amnesty” to the 1-2 million exiled Poles and allowed the formation of a Polish Army in the USSR
- General Anders was appointed Commander of the new Polish Armed Forces which was headquartered in Buzuluk, South Russia
- There was no assistance from the Soviet authorities. The released Polish POWs and civilians had to make their way to the Polish Army recruitment centres on their own – without money, food or organised transport
- The “Amnesty” led, in 1942, to the evacuation of approximately 116,000 Polish military and civilians to Persia.
Polish exiles in orphanage, USSR in 1941. Polish exiles in orphanage, USSR in 1941 Stanislawa Blazejowska, Semipalatinsk, Kazakhstan, 1941 Magadan in far North East Siberia where POWs worked in goldmines, 1942 after the "Amnesty” Detailed explanation of the Amnesty, leaving Archangielsk, travelling to Jangi Jul to join Anders Army. Finding family in Uzbekistan when he learned of amnesty, then joining Anders Army Formation of Anders Army at Amnesty Difficulty of getting on trains after Amnesty Photographs Testimonies“Amnesty” (1941) - the script for the audio narration
The Road of Bones: Polish POWs sent to Kolyma were granted Amnesty in August 1941 to join the Polish Army in the USSROperation Barbarossa: German invasion of USSR-controlled territories, 22nd June 1941 - 25th August 1941.
Deportee aged 15 years old, evacuated with Polish 2nd Corps and served at Monte Cassino