The night of February 10th, 1940. We remember – field game in Białowieża

“We came to work in Białowieża as young forestry graduates. We applied for the assignment to the Directorate of State Forests. We were welcomed, although a test of our knowledge was carried out.

We had to undergo military training, demonstrate the ability to recognize tree species and measure the volume of wood. We also got to know the sound code system used to transmit information. After completing the exams, the dream job was about to begin...

Unfortunately, in the office of the management instead of the well-known director, who took us to the test, the NKVD was waiting for us. They started to shout and poke us. Finally, we were thrown outside because we did not have the proper Soviet papers ... How could we get them? We were running out of time and only three possibilities – find a brilliant counterfeiter of documents, get along with a representative of the new Soviet power or bring a testimony of morality. What will we have to do in return? We set off into the field…

Equipped with documents obtained in the sweat of forehead, we appeared in the Directorate of State Forests. Vainly. We have been arrested and driven to the railway station under arms. Cattle wagons and the road to the unknown have already been waiting.”

This scenario was played by high school students from Białystok and Białowieża who participated in outdoor game “In the footsteps of Białowieża foresters” organised by Sybir Memorial Museum as part of the celebration of the 78th anniversary of the first mass deportation of Polish citizens to the USSR. The game was attended by high school students from Białystok and Białowieża.

We wish to express our deep gratitude to Regional Directorate of State Forests in Bialystok, Association "East Group”, Forest Research Institute, Ms Anna Kulbacka - director of the Technical College of Forestry in Białowieża, Mr. Michał Drynkowski, owner of the Carska Restaurant, priest Bogdan Popławski - parish priest from Białowieża and the Białowieża Forest Heritage Association.

Photographic materials: Zagataphoto, Kolekcjoner Kadrów, Fly Away Plus.

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