For decades after World War II the memory of deportations of Polish citizens deep into the Soviet Union was omitted or falsified. The official propaganda of the People’s Republic of Poland omitted this tragic theme in lives of hundreds of thousands of Poles living on former eastern lands of the Second Republic of Poland on purpose. The permanent exhibition in the Educational and Exhibition Centre of the Sybir Memorial Museum is a story illustrated with personal souvenirs, documents and photographs about the fate of Poles forcibly deported deep into the Soviet Union during World War II and in subsequent years until 1956.
The exhibition includes both objects taken in a hurry from the family house on the day of the transport: a suitcase, an embroidered handkerchief, a porcelain figure, a prayer book, a handful of soil wrapped up in a piece of canvas, a sewing machine, scissors or a curling iron, and souvenirs brought from Siberia – a food container made of birch bark, a wadded jacket, a mask protecting from insects, or Soviet tobacco.
Through selected objects, photographs and documents for years carefully stored at homes in drawers, we discover the fate of thousands of compatriots and their families experiencing a drama of resettlement, slave labour, hunger, illnesses and a feeling of hopelessness. Presented artefacts remind us of the fate of the victims of four deportations.