„NKVD’s Polish operation 1937-1938” – inauguration of the exhibition at Kościuszko Square in Białystok

The Syberia Memorial Museum’s exhibition entitled „NKVD’s Polish operation 1937-1938” was inaugurated on 11th August at Kościuszko Square, in front of the Cathedral. The exhibition is presented on the 80th anniversary of issuing the order no. 00485, to commemorate the victims of the „operation”.

The reception of the visitors and guests was held by the director of Sybir Memorial Museum Professor Wojciech Śleszyński. Local authorities took part in the ceremony, including Białystok’s Vice-president Rafał Rudnicki, Member of Parliament Robert Tyszkiewicz, President of the Sybirak Association department in Białystok Tadeusz Chwiedź, historian Professor Mikołaj Iwanow and the coordinator of the exhibition Monika Szarejko.

The first repressions started in 1934-1935 when the deportations to Kazakhstan began. It is an important event, as it affected directly Poles. Out of 700,000 Poles living in the former Soviet Union, 140,000 were arrested during the „operation”, 130,000 of them sentenced, including 110,000 executed by killing them with a pistol shot in the back of their heads – reminded the Sybir Memorial Museum’s director.

Vicepresident Rafał Rudnicki and Member of Parliament Robert Tyszkiewicz spoke about the duty to search the truth and the privilege to commemorate the victims of „Polish operation”.

- We need to learn about the tragedy that struck the Polish nation! – Tadeusz Chwiedź appealed to those present at Kościuszko’s Square.

Professor Mikołaj Iwanow explained the modus operandi of the Soviet repression system in the late thirties of 20th century by a picturesque comparison: being a Pole in the Soviet Union then was like being a Jew in the Third Reich.

Do góry