My God was patient

Temporary exhibition of the Sybir Memorial Museum
December 13, 2017 - January 14, 2018

The exhibition My God was patient ... will be presented at the Sybir Memorial Museum on 26th Henryk Sienkiewicz Street in Białystok. The exhibition will be on display from December 13, 2017.

The exhibition is an attempt to reflect on the role of religion in the life of exiles. Through deportation, they were forced to function in a system that assumes the fight against all manifestations of religious worship. Since the beginning of the existence of the Soviet Union, Soviet policy makers have embarked on aggressive anti-religious activities. Their goal was to get rid of faith in the life of all the inhabitants of the Soviet empire. A particular type of repression affected the clergy, who were treated as the most dangerous opponents of the system.

Contrary to efforts of the communist authorities, it was a deep faith and often only a substitute for religious practices which helped thousands of deportees to keep hope and survive. The ritual activities were centered around things that are substitutes for good and happiness - God, in a cruel, exile reality. Therefore, even religious items made by hand from the simplest available materials for the Siberian deportees had (and still have) an enormous emotional value. One of such exquisite relic from the deportation is the patriotic gorget of Olga Jaworowska, who was deporteed from Białystok on February 10, 1940. A crowned eagle was embossed on a steel shield, and a bas-relief of the Virgin Mary and the Infant has been attached by means of rivets. At the foot of the eagle on the sash, there is an inscription: We fly to Thy protection.

The title of the exhibition was taken from the intangible heritage of Sibir - the relation of Leokadia Orlicka (in the collection of the Sybir Memorial Museum). Her family was arrested on June 20, 1941. At dawn, Russian soldiers and one civilian entered their home, desecrating the religious objects found there. Before leaving, the mother told us to kneel down and loudly began to say: We fly to Thy protection .... Then she took the crucifix off the wall and gave it us. The civilian tore it out of the hands of mother, broke it on the knee with greatness and threw it on the floor. I was waiting for a miracle that for that God's punishment would meet him immediately for such a profanation, but apparently my God was patient ... - Mrs. Leokadia recalled years later. Her words ("My God was patient ...") became the motto of the exhibition, because they are the essence of Siberian deportees relations towards God, objects of religious worship, cruel fate and towards people who inflicted it.

The exhibition is accompanied by a discussion panel with the participation of Professor Roman Bellkowski and of the priest - Professor Tadeusz Krahel, entitled The fate of the Catholic clergy in the USSR 1917-1988.

The Sybir Memorial Museum, 26th Sienkiewicza Street,
December 13, 2017 at 3.00 p.m

The exhibition was prepared by the Sybir Memorial Museum.
Authors of the exhibition: Piotr Popławski, Monika Szarejko, Magdalena Zięckowska-Tuchlińska.
The curator of the exhibition: Piotr Popławski, tel. 795 650 860, e-mail:

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