In 1942, tens of thousands of Polish military and civilian refugees found themselves in the land of Iran. As a result of the evacuation of the Polish Army under the command of General Wladyslaw Anders from the Soviet Union, more than 120 thousand Poles reached Iran by sea and land. This included more than 77,000 soldiers and over 43,000 civilians including almost 20,000 children who miraculously survived something close to hell.
For the vast majority of them Iran was only meant to be the next stage in their migration to be free from the turmoil of war in their journey to more peaceful countries. For many of them, however – having experienced Soviet prisons and camps, misery, exile and diseases – their journey ended on Iranian soil, and their tombs there are dramatic testimony to the fate of Poles forcibly expelled from their own country. Their exile in Iran ended for over 2,900 Polish refugees, soldiers and civilian people.
Courtesy of the Embassy in Tehran, the Polish archives provide invaluable material documenting the fate of the Poles, whose wartime exile led them to the Iranian lands. In the set of documents, which we called the Iranian Archive 1942-1945, include among others. ‘Church Registers birth and Holy baptism (two volumes), INDEX dead in Iran and the USSR (three volumes), Index and the Book of the dead military in Iran and Iraq (three volumes), List of dead in Iran in the years 1942-1944; Indexes of the names of refugees and passport act drafted by the state of 26 August 1946, List refugees, including evacuated to East Africa, India, Mexico and New Zealand. ‘
These documents came to light years later, on the eve of the 60th anniversary of the evacuation of Poles from the Soviet Union to Iran and have become the basis prepared by the Council OPWiM book “Poles in Iran from 1942 to 1945.” Making the full Archive 1942-1945 available to the community, interested persons will undoubtedly value the information provided in the commemoration of the fate of Poles in the last World War.
Andrew Przewożnik, Secretary, Council for the Protection of Struggle and Martyrdom
Warsaw, April 2003
These files are all PDF documents which you can download and view. Some of them are very large files and may take time to download.