Tadeusz Chwiedź was born on February 18, 1935 in Bialystok.
He was deported to Kazakhstan with his mother and sister in 1940. “Mother anticipated it, because the first deportation had already taken place. She opened the door. At each window there was a soldier of NKVD with a bayonet on a rifle, as for criminals, murderers. Mother, upset, did not know what to do. We, scared, cuddled up to our mother” — this is how he always mentioned the night of April 13, 1940.
He stayed in a sovkhoz in the Kazakh steppe until April 1946.
After returning home, he studied. In 1953, he graduated from the Mechanical Technical School, then technical studies at the Higher School of Engineering in Bialystok. On the basis of a work order, he took up employment in local industry and municipal economy.
Tadeusz Chwiedź devoted himself to activities for the benefit of the Siberian community, for several dozen years he actively worked in the Sybiraks’ Association. In the years 2002-2006 he was the 1st Deputy President of the Main Board of the Sybiraks’ Association, in the years 2006-2015 he was the President of the Main Board of the Sybiraks’ Association. From May 30, 1998 until his death, he held the position of the President of the Management Board of the Provincial Branch of the Association of Siberian Deportees in Bialystok. From 2002, he also served as the Chairman of the Provincial Council for War Veterans and Victims of Oppression in Bialystok.
He worked to popularize knowledge about Siberia and Sybiraks, also as an author of books. He published two volumes of historical studies from an exile’s perspective: “Memory and Reconciliation” and “Sybir. The Land of Suffering”.
His great work was the March of Memory of Siberian Deportees in Bialystok, of which he was the originator and organizer for many years. For almost two decades, this initiative gathered representatives of Siberian communities and veterans from around the world every year.
For his social activity in 2002 he was awarded the Commander’s Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta. In 2021, he received the Pro Bono Poloniae medal awarded by the Office for War Veterans and Victims of Oppression. Honored with many decorations, including veterans’ medals and badges, in 2010 he was awarded the “Witness of History” Honorary Award.
Tadeusz Chwiedź was a great advocate of the creation of the Sybir Memorial Museum in Bialystok. He has supported our institution since its inception. We could always count on his kindness, advice and help. In 2019, we had the honor to honor him with a statuette and the title “Friend of the Sybir Memorial Museum”.
We think with sadness about the meetings with the Sybiraks, which are so important for us. He will be missed from now on and his always strong voice of a guardian of the memory of the victims of the “inhuman land”.