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February 10, 1940, the first mass deportation of Poles

Fri, 02/09/2018 - 14:09
February 10, 1940, the first mass deportation of Poles. Photo: Mikołaj Bujak

On the night of 9-10 February 1940, the first 140 thousand Poles that lived in these areas were deported from the Eastern Borderlands occupied by the Soviet Union, mainly families of Polish military personnel, state officials, as well as forest and railway workers. The USSR authorities considered them as an "uncertain element" which threatened the sovietization of the occupied lands.

Unfortunately, February 1940 did not end the suffering of Poles living in the Eastern Borderlands. Until June 1941, the Soviets carried out a total of four deportations. Historians estimate that within this timeframe at least several hundred thousand Poles were transported deep into the Soviet Union.

- Some 60-70 people, a goat in the middle of the wagon and a stove. Well it was -30°C, it was freezing cold because it was February. There was a hole next to this goat, that was the toilet. We learned to hold it so that once a day was enough - the Museum was told by a person who experienced the inhumane conditions of deportation.