19th International March of Remembrance of Siberian Deportees
Siberian deportees and their families, representatives of state, representatives of provincial and local authorities, representatives of uniformed services, veterans, clergy, students and scouts - over a dozen thousand people from Poland and abroad took part in the 19th International March of Remembrance of Siberian Deportees.
The celebrations began at 10:00 o'clock in front of the Katyń Monument. The audience listened to the speech of Tadeusz Chwiedź - the president of the Białystok branch of the Siberian Deportees Association. Flowers were laid and candles were lighted in front of the monument.
During the ceremony, Jan Józef Kasprzyk - the Head of the Office for War Veterans and Victims of Oppression, presented the medals Pro Bono Poloniae and Pro Patria.
The Pro Bono Poloniae medal is awarded to people who were particularly distinguished in the dissemination of knowledge about the history of independence struggles and in the promotion of patriotic attitudes in Polish society, as well as, abroad. Hieronima Dzierma, Jolanta Hryniewicka, Józef Panasiuk and Hipolit Popławski were awarded.
In recognition of special merits in cultivating the memory of the struggle for independence of the homeland, the Pro Patria medal was awarded to profesor Wojciech Śleszyński - the director of the Sybir Memorial Museum, Teresa Bogojło, Teresa Borowska, Czesława Bułkowska, Elżbieta Choińska and Renata Iwanowska.
Then the participants marched down Świętojańska, Branickiego and Piastowska streets to the church of the Holy Spirit located on the Sybiraków street, where the Holy Mass was celebrated by Archbishop Edward Ozorowski.
The march is one of the main points of the anniversary of the Soviet agression of Poland. For 19 years, thousands of people from all over the country and abroad have been visiting Bialystok to show that the memory of the tragic fate of Polish citizens sent to the Soviet Union in the 1940s and 1950s is eternally alive.