The representatives of the authorities attended the celebrations. The host, the mayor of Białystok, was represented by his deputies — Adam Musiuk and Zbigniew Nikitorowicz. The members were represented by MP Krzysztof Truskolaski and senator Mariusz Gromko. The Voivode of Podlasie, Bohdan Paszkowski, and the former Voivode Maciej Zenon Żywno also arrived.
There were also representatives of Siberian communities, headed by Jolanta Hryniewicka, the president of the Białystok branch of the Association of Siberian Deportees. Many descendants of Sybiraks also appeared — including the members of the Community of the Grandsons of Sybiraks and foreign guests from the Kresy-Syberia Foundation.
During the ceremony, many moving words of tribute were said to the victims of Siberia. In his speech, the Deputy Mayor of Białystok, Zbigniew Nikitorowicz, recalled the ruthlessness of the Soviet occupier, who systematically destroyed the elite of the Polish nation, committed brutal murders on Polish officers, but also did not shy away from harming innocent children, women and old men.
— However, despite these efforts, it was not possible to destroy Polishness. We can be proud of the strength of our national spirit — added Zbigniew Nikitorowicz. He appealed to us to keep alive the memory of these people: — Only in the name of memory and truth you can build the future — he emphasized.
In her speech, Jolanta Hryniewicka recalled: — For many Polish families, Siberia and Kazakhstan are not just ordinary places on the map. These are the signs of fate, the most painful and tragic. Many suffered and died in these wild areas. Always faithful to God and the motherland, they died because they were Poles — she said.
The vice-chairman of the City Council, Katarzyna Kisielewska-Martyniuk, spoke on behalf of the residents of Białystok: — We are standing next to a monument that resembles a mother. Women are the greatest victims of the war. They were the ones, who had to take care of their families, they had to do incredible work there to keep themselves and their children safe. Women also had to perpetuate Polishness in their children — she emphasized.
After the speeches, there was the Appeal of Remembrance and laying flowers in front of the monument of the Sybirak Mother.
As part of the ceremony, the president of the Białystok branch of the Association of Siberian Deportees, Jolanta Hryniewicka, by order of the President of the Main Board of the Association of Siberian Deportees, Kordian Borejka, decorated ladies: Izabela Caban, Teresa Sołowińska and Elwira Wileńska with Honorary Siberian Badge. These are people who have been supporting Sybiraks in Białystok socially through their work for years.
The official ceremony, however, is not the end of the celebration of the International Day of Siberian Deportee 2023. The Sybir Memorial Museum invites you today to the show “Siberian Friendship Book — Impressions” on the square behind the museum building.
After the performance, the artistic installation “Droga donikąd” (“The Road to Nowhere”) will be presented on the inner street from Węglowa Street. In turn, on the facade of the Museum from Poleska Street you will be able to see the occasional mapping.