A history of one person, the whole family or many generations? The exhibition of the Sybir Memorial Museum is a story, which is taken differently by everyone. No one is indifferent.
Located in the area of two thousand meters exposition speaks about the Polish people in the Russia of the Tsars and in the Soviet Union. Our relatives went there wearing handcuffs or by a freight car, they also went there in search for a better life.
PART ONE – THE END OF SOME WORLD…
The first part of the exhibition, located on the ground floor, is a spatial, visual and aural representation of the pre-war microcosm and its inhabitants. A microcosm that perishes instantly and irretrievably with the onslaught of war. The images that slide in front of the eyes of the visitors are the handshake of the invaders, red flags waving in the wind, children’s toys abandoned in a hurry… The symbols of this time are the suitcases packed in panic, often full of useless things and the sound of the wheels of carriages carrying people to the East.
PART TWO – SYBIR
The second part of the story, located on the first floor, symbolizes the white empty space. That’s Sybir – a place of suffering, to which the deported by the Soviets people were taken. Time is looping here: people getting off the wagons encounter the traces of Poles, who were sent here before them, even during the tsarist times, but also traces of voluntary peasant settlers, Polish scientists, industrialists and officials in the tsarist service, as well as compatriots deported in the thirties of the twentieth century. These are, in fact, two realities: the world of the frosty Siberian taiga and the world of the Kazakh, empty steppe. Each of them is beautiful and cruel at the same time. Unimaginable suffering is intertwined here with daring courage, humiliation and death with ambition and a desire for a better life, failure with great success, and human passion – with the arrangements of blind fate. The culmination of this story are the portraits of Sybiraks from all over the world who survived this ordeal, their children and grandchildren. It is a symbol of survival, victory and memory.
THE MEMORIAL OF KATYN MASSACRE
One element of the exhibition breaks out of this ultimately optimistic symbolism. There is neither victory nor survival in it. From the bright, serene hall, visitors go down to a dark room covered with a rusty sheet metal with a silhouette of a kneeling soldier as its focal point. It is the Katyn Memorial – a symbol of memory that encourages reflection on the essence of humanity.
The project “Implementation of the permanent exhibition and purchase of equipment for the Sybir Memorial Museum” is implemented under Measure 8.1 Protection of cultural heritage and development of cultural resources, the Infrastructure and Environment Operational Program 2014—2020.