Every year on February 10, on the anniversary of the first mass deportation carried out by the Soviets in 1940, the flames of white and red lanterns shine in the evening in front of the Sybir Memorial Museum. They are put on the railway tracks coming out of the Museum by the representatives of the authorities, Sybiraks and their descendants and the inhabitants of Bialystok, who want to cherish the memory of the victims of the Soviet repressions.
At the beginning of the ceremony, Tadeusz Chwiedź, a Sybirak who died two days earlier, on Wednesday, February 8, 2023 was remembered and honored with one minute of silence.
As the first, the Deputy Mayor of the City of Bialystok, Przemysław Tuchliński lit the Light of Remembrance in the company of the Sybiraks — the candle was placed at the foot of the monument dedicated to the Sybirak Mothers.
— Today, when the war is going on across the eastern border, when we hear again about the lists of people destined for deportation, about barbarism and mass graves, it is especially important to speak out loud what the experience of Siberia was like — said Przemysław Tuchliński in his speech.
The Light of Remembrance was not the only celebration that took place on February 10. At noon, flowers were laid by the representatives of the city authorities, Sybiraks and the members of veterans’ organizations at the Monument-Tomb of the Unknown Sybirak. There were also representatives of the Sybir Memorial Museum. Further bouquets were laid at the Katyn Monument and the Monument-Sign of Remembrance of the Polish Golgotha of the East.
The celebration on February 10 remind us of the deportation action that took place on the night of February 9/10, 1940. At that time, the Soviets deported over 140,000 citizens of the Polish lands occupied on September 17, 1939, deep into the Soviet Union. Entire families were deported, surprised in the middle of the night, unprepared for the difficult winter journey and life in distant Siberia.