The moving recording was presented at the beginning of 2023 as part of the traditional New Year’s meeting with Sybiraks.
The producers of the radio play, actors from Białystok and Gdańsk, including Marek Tyszkiewicz and Andrzej Żak, were also present.
Mr. Andrzej Żak received the manuscript of the nativity play and he decided to donate it to the collection of the Sybir Memorial Museum. One year later, the two actors decided to produce this radio play.
— Each action has somebody’s initiative at the beginning. It should be stressed, that the men were determined and successfully persuaded us to make this radio play — said the Director of the Sybir Memorial Museum, professor Wojciech Śleszyński. — The museum will try to publish the recording in an appropriate form so it is accessible to everyone — he assured the audience.
Today, the Sybir Memorial Museum is fulfilling this promise. The radio play, published in the form of a memory card placed in an elegant cover, with an accompanying brochure, is now on sale. It can be purchased both at the Museum headquarters at 1 Węglowa Street and online.
History of ‘The Nativity Play from Tara by the Irtysh River’
Nativity play was noted in 1919 and performed over 100 years ago in the distant Tara by the Irtysh river. This is where the community of polish exiles and their families gathered around the chapel, which was not only a place of prayer, but also the center of cultural and social life of our compatriots.
The children attended Polish language lessons there and once a year, at Christmas, everyone gathered to watch nativity plays presented with puppets on a box stage.
The nativity play, under the dictation of Mr. Stańczyk, an exile, was written by Marysia, the daughter of Antoni Korona, who came from Garwolin and was exiled to Siberia in 1905. The Koron family and their children returned to Poland in 1921.
Maria, married to Gniedziuk, in 1987 gave the manuscript to Andrzej Żak, who devoted himself to developing the material and preparing a radio play on the basic of it.
— Mrs. Maria’s youngest brother was married to my relative. Probably, if I hadn’t got into the theater school here in Bialystok, to the Department of Puppet, this nativity scene would not have seen the light of day. Because the rest of the memorabilia of Mrs. Maria, including her memories from Siberia, which today cannot be reconstructed, were thrown away by her heirs after her death during the renovation of the apartment — said Andrzej Żak.