Polish-Uzbekistan Historical Commission established - Muzeum Pamięci Sybiru

24 May 2023

Polish-Uzbekistan Historical Commission established

An act of establishing a historical commission was signed at the Sybir Memorial Museum in Bialystok. The cooperation was established thanks to the support of the Polish Ambassador in Tashkent, Radosław Gruk.

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Both the cooperation agreement between the institutions and the act of establishing the Polish-Uzbekistan Historical Commission were signed on Wednesday, May 24, 2023 by the representatives of the Sybir Memorial Museum and the Museum of the Second World War in Gdańsk, and the representatives of the National University of Uzbekistan named after Mirzo Ulugbek in Tashkent, adopting the following functions in the Commission:

  • Committee Chair from the Polish side — Grzegorz Berendt, PhD, DSc, Professor of the University of Gdańsk, Director of the Museum of the Second World War in Gdańsk,
  • Vice-Chairman from the Polish side — Wojciech Śleszyński, PhD, DSc, ProfTit, Director of the Sybir Memorial Museum,
  • Committee Chair from the Uzbekistan side Tatyana Doroshenko, PhD,
  • Vice-Chair — Professor Rahbar Murtazaeva.

A member of the Commission on the Uzbekistan side was also professor Dilrom Inotajewa. The secretaries will be: on the Polish side — Dmitrij Panto, PhD, employee of the Museum of the Second World War, and on the Uzbekistan side — Kamoła Saipowa, PhD, Head of the Department of Modern History of Uzbekistan, National University of Uzbekistan named after Mirzo Ulugbek in Tashkent.

The aim of the Polish-Uzbekistan Historical Commission will be to search for historical sources and exchange materials between Polish and Uzbekistan scientists, conduct joint research, develop cooperation in the field of science, education and popularization of knowledge.

— In view of the difficulty with reaching the Russian, Belarusian and, due to the war, also Ukrainian archives, we are looking for new opportunities, we are opening up to Central Asia — said just before signing the agreement, the director of the Sybir Memorial Museum, professor Wojciech Śleszyński. There is a huge amount of documents about Poles in Uzbekistan. After all, that is where Anders’ Army units were formed — he reminded. — Thanks to the signed agreements, we will obtain materials that are not yet known. We will be able to actively explore the fate of people who ended up in Uzbekistan. Their descendants wait for this information in Poland.

— The next stage will be inviting researchers from research centers in Uzbekistan and Poland to cooperate — assured Professor Śleszyński.

— Cooperation involves reciprocity — stressed Grzegorz Berendt, PhD, DSc, Director of the Museum of the Second World War in Gdańsk. — It has already been said how much Poland can gain from this cooperation. For our part, as employees of museums, but also universities, we can vouch for the fact that our partners will receive all possible assistance from us in conducting research in Poland on topics important to the Uzbekistan side — he said.

— We are happy with establishing cooperation and the opportunity to come to Poland — said Tatiana Doroshenko, PhD, from the National University of Uzbekistan named after Mirzo Ulugbek in Tashkent. — We count on fruitful cooperation with the Sybir Memorial Museum and the Museum of the Second World War in Gdańsk — she added.

– ‘Both museums and our university play a very important role in their countries,’ — noted Professor Rahbar Murtazaeva. — There are a lot of materials about Poles in Uzbekistan archives. I assure you that we will help you reach documents that you do not know yet — she said. — As historians, we promise that we will help to enrich the collections of both museums. I also hope that young researchers will also be interested in the topic —said the Uzbekistan historian.

Reaching historical sources from Uzbekistan is very important for Polish scientists, especially those who are concerned with the subject of Sybir and the history of Anders’ Army.

Among others, the units of so-called General Anders’ Army were formed in the Uzbekistan SSR. In 1942, Sybiraks from all over the Soviet Union came there, who heard the news about the chance to leave the USSR in the ranks of the Polish Armed Forces. Many of them were exhausted by hunger, slave labor and disease. Unable to go further, they rested in Uzbekistan soil. Today, there are 17 Polish cemeteries with 2100 graves in Uzbekistan.

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