Sibiracy is the plural of the Polish word Sibirak. In general, it refers to Poles who were “resettled” to Siberia. But in the context of today, February 10, it refers to the one or more million Poles who were actively forced from their homes in what had been Poland by the Soviets, beginning in 1940 and continuing into 1941. In the middle of the night, Soviet soldiers rounded up Polish families, gave them a few minutes to gather their possessions (wahtever they could carry) and loaded whole families into packed cattle cars, taking them on a many weeks long journey to Siberia. Once in Siberia, they were herded into crude barracks and put into forced labor. Many died. After the war turned with the German invasion of the Soviet Union, there was a general amnesty given. Maybe 1/5 of the Poles ever made it out of Siberia, some walking a thousand or more miles. Many died on the way. The survivors who endured today are called Sibiracy.

I wrote more about this topic a few years ago here: It still boggles my mind. Over a million people, and so few returned. And even more puzzling, this is not taught in any history books I ever read in school. It’s a mostly forgotten story. But it’s certainly worth telling now, and honoring the memory of all those lives lost, youth stolen from children, families ripped apart, lost opportunities, just tragic, very tragic…..

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1 Response to Sibiracy

  1. Mirosław Jędrzejewski - Lublin, Poland says:

    Hello. Well, that moved you about this. He even among contemporary Poles is not widely known. With that I have to pay attention to – the Polish properly said and written: SYBIRACY. And this concept is very popular. But the word has in our much wider significance! Specifies in general all those who were of Polish deported to Siberia by the Russians. At various times, over the centuries. Also, during the reign of the Tsars. Not only in these tragic times that you mentioned. But also the losers Polish uprisings in the 19th century. They’re all for us “SYBIRACY”. Best wishes!

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