Breaking

The life of Polish refugees in Iran seen through rare photographs , 1942-1945

 

Following the Soviet invasion of Poland at the beginning of World War II in accordance with the Nazi–Soviet Pact against Poland, the Soviet Union acquired more than half the territory of the Second Polish Republic.

Within a few months, in order to de-polonize the attached lands, the Soviet NKVD rounded up and deported between 320,000 and 1 million Polish citizens to the eastern parts of the USSR, the Urals and Siberia. From 1940 to 1941 there were four waves of deportations of entire families with children, women and the elderly on freight trains.

These citizens include civil servants, local government officials, judges, members of the police force, forest workers, settlers, small farmers, traders, refugees from western Poland, children from summer camps and orphanages, families of anyone previously arrested. members and family members were involved. Anyone who fled abroad or went missing.

His fate completely changed in June 1941 when Germany unexpectedly attacked the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union agreed to release as many allies as it needed, all Polish citizens it had imprisoned.

Released from Moscow's infamous Lubyanka prison in August 1941, Polish General Wadysaw Anders began mobilizing the Polish Armed Forces (commonly known as the Anders Army) to fight against the Nazis.


However, creating a new Polish army was not easy. Many Polish prisoners of war were killed in labor camps in the Soviet Union. Many of those who survived were greatly weakened by camp conditions and malnutrition. Because the Soviets were at war with Germany, there was little food or provisions available for the Polish army.

Thus, after the Anglo-Soviet invasion of Iran in 1941, the Soviet Union agreed to evacuate Iran, part of the Polish formation. Non-military refugees, mostly women and children, were also transferred across the Caspian Sea to Iran.

Beginning in 1942, the port city of Pahlavi (now known as Anjali) became the main landing point for Polish refugees arriving in Iran from the Soviet Union, receiving 2,500 refugees per day. General Anders sent 74,000 Polish troops to Iran, including about 41,000 civilians, many of whom were children. In all, more than 116,000 refugees were relocated to Iran.


Despite these difficulties, Iranians openly received Polish refugees, and the Iranian government facilitated their entry into the country and provided them with provisions.

Polish schools, cultural and educational organizations, shops, bakeries, businesses and the press were established so that Poles felt more at home.

The refugees were weakened by two years of abuse and starvation, and many suffered from malaria, typhus, fever, respiratory diseases, and diseases caused by starvation.

Desperate for food after starving for so long, the refugees ate as much as they could, with disastrous consequences. Several hundred Poles, mostly children, died soon after arriving in Iran from acute dysentery due to overeating



Despite these difficulties, Iranians openly received Polish refugees, and the Iranian government facilitated their entry into the country and provided them with provisions.

Polish schools, cultural and educational organizations, shops, bakeries, businesses and the press were established so that Poles felt more at home.

The refugees were weakened by two years of abuse and starvation, and many suffered from malaria, typhus, fever, respiratory diseases, and diseases caused by starvation.

Desperate for food after starving for so long, the refugees ate as much as they could, with disastrous consequences. Several hundred Poles, mostly children, died soon after arriving in Iran from acute dysentery due to overeating

Between 1942-1945, about 2,000 children passed through Isfahan, so much so that it was briefly referred to as the "city of Polish children". Several schools were established to teach children the Polish language, mathematics, science and other standard subjects. In some schools, both Polish and Iranian history and geography were taught, as well as Persian.

Since Iran could not sustainably care for the large influx of refugees, other British-colonized countries began receiving Poles from Iran in the summer of 1942.

By 1944, Iran was already evacuating the Poles. They were on their way to other camps in places such as Tanganyika, Mexico, India, New Zealand and Britain.

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