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European Memories

of the Gulag

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Anna Stasiewicz

Anna Stasiewicz was born a deportee at Ozyorki Station, Altai Krai, in August 1940. Her father as a member of the Polish Legion had been given a plot of land in the Kowalki settlement area of pre-1939 eastern Poland. It was his military past and current status as a settler that led to the family’s deportation.

He was deported on 10 February 1940 with his children and his partner, pregnant with Anna. It was Anna’s mother and brother who recounted to her the memories of the early years of deportation. On 31 August 1940, the family arrived in the village of Pervomaysky in the Novosibirsk region, reserved for Polish detainees. Her parents were set to do farm work.

They were amnestied in 1941 and settled on the Kraychikovo sovkhoz collective farm, also in the Novosibirsk region. In 1943, in response to the appeal from Wanda Wasilewska of the Union of Polish Patriots, Anna’s father and brother joined the re-formed Polish Army. Anna Stawiewicz’s memories of her 6 years spent in Russia before they returned to Poland in June 1946 are marked by hunger and disease.

When the family returned to their home region, they had no accommodation because of border changes. Anna and her mother moved into a building abandoned by the Nazi occupiers. The family were well received by their village neighbours. However, memories of deportation were shrouded in silence despite the shared knowledge of ex-deportees in nearby villages and requests within the family to share their experience. Anna’s memories of deportation only re-emerged during the medical supervision that revealed the impact on her health of that phase in her life.  

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Arrest

(Original language)

Anna Stasiewicz’s family was deported on 10 February 1940 because her father was a military settler.

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Arrest

(French version)

Anna Stasiewicz’s family was deported on 10 February 1940 because her father was a military settler.

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Her mother's pregnancy and her birth in Siberia (Original in Polish)

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Her mother's pregnancy and her birth in Siberia (French version)

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Her mother's pregnancy - The director's apology (Original in Polish)

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Her mother's pregnancy - The director's apology (French version)

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Taiga and relations with the Russians (Original in Polish)

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Taiga and relations with the Russians (French version)

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Her father and brother join the Polish army (Original in Polish)

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Her father and brother join the Polish army (French version)

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Dreaming of bread (Original in Polish)

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Dreaming of bread (French version)

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Medical visit (Original in Polish)

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Medical visit (French version)

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Returning to Poland in 1946 (Original in Polish)

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Returning to Poland in 1946 (French version)

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In Poland (Original in Polish)

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In Poland (French version)

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The good acceptance of the "repatriates" (Original in Polish)

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The good acceptance of the "repatriates" (French version)

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"No one came back unscathed" (Original in Polish)

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"No one came back unscathed" (French version)

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Discovering her family history (Original in Polish)

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Discovering her family history (French version)

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Forced into silence (Original in Polish)

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Forced into silence (French version)