Research, Remember, Recognise their history

by Fundacja Kresy-Syberia
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Research, Remember, Recognise their history
Research, Remember, Recognise their history
Research, Remember, Recognise their history
Research, Remember, Recognise their history
Research, Remember, Recognise their history
Research, Remember, Recognise their history
Research, Remember, Recognise their history
Research, Remember, Recognise their history
Research, Remember, Recognise their history
Research, Remember, Recognise their history
Research, Remember, Recognise their history

Project Report | Apr 19, 2024
Commemorating the 84th Anniversary - Deportations

By Anna Pacewicz | Chair

Balham memorial luncheon
Balham memorial luncheon

Hello to all our members, donors and friends - and a warm welcome to all of our new members (our Facebook group is now 2,600 members!). April for many of us is the time of year when we remember our parents and loved ones who were deported from their homes in Kresy to Kazahstan on 13th April 1940.

On Sunday 11th February 2024 Kresy-Siberia (UK) organised a memorial luncheon to commemorate the 84th
Anniversary of the start of the deportations of innocent Polish citizens by Stalin’s Soviet Russia to the gulags of Siberia during WW11. It was our first such event since the first COVID lockdown in 2020 and we were welcomed back to the White Eagle Club in Balham, London. This year we were hosted in the main restaurant. After a short speech of introduction by Marek Krason and a warm welcome to all our guests, our Guest of Honour Viceconsul Tomasz Balcerowski gave a short speech of welcome. After the speech participants stood up for a minutes silence to honour the
memory of all those deported to Siberia...

After the main course our first speaker was Kresy-Siberia Foundation Executive Marcin Kawala from Sweden. He discussed the use of deportation and exile in Siberia from the end of the 18th century as a method of punishment used in the Russian Empire, well before it was being used by Stalin’s Soviet Union into the Siberian gulags of the 20th century.

Iwona Januszajtis performed some of the songs which she has composed about the experiences of the deported. This was followed by audience participation in several well know Polish songs encouraging the non-polish speakers to join in the chorus of some of them, both vocally and providing the background ‘beat’ by using the tables as percussion instruments. 

The last speaker was the renowned historian Roger Moorhouse who spoke about thedeportations and the resilience of the polish spirit. Many questions were raised by the guests, and this promoted a lively discussion with the audience.

As usual there was a display. This year it was based on The Kresy-Siberia Foundation Conference which took place in the “Muzeum Pamieci Sybiru”, Bialystok, Poland in September 2023. (Sybir Memorial Museum,Bialystok).

The lottery finished off the day’s events with our youngest guest Ivy Schmidt helping Marek to draw the winning numbers.

At the end of the meeting a member unexpectedly handed over an envelope to the organisers of the meeting with a card and a sizable financial donation. The card had the following message –

“Dear Stefan, Anna and all at Kresy-Siberia. Thank you very much for all that you do to keep our memories alive. Most people have no idea what we went through or of how much we lost. Please accept this donation from a 95-year-old survivor of Stalin’s atrocities. This comes with sincere gratitude from the bottom of my heart. Helana (from Krasno-Wola near Lachwa). Dictated to my daughter Anna”.

Thank you to our wonderful UK team and members for such a wonderful event. And thank you to Helana for the heartfelt message which is a poignant reminder of our mission - to remember and recognise.

With Balham behind us, we look forward to our next event! After such a successful Kresy-Siberia “Generations Remember” Conference at Muzeum Pamieci Sybiru in Biaystok in September 2023, plans are well underway for our 2024 conference. Our Board Member in Warsaw, Stanley Urban, has confirmed the dates Friday 20th to Saturday 21st once again at Biaystok Muzeum Pamieci Sybiru (which, incidentally has just been awarded the Council of Europe Museum Award - congratulations!). We are still at the planning stages for the speakers and presentations - if you have any suggestions or if you are interested in presenting please get in touch! Early discussions include Roger Moorehouse, the role of Police as an institution in Kresy during the inter-war period and also screening the 2000 documentary film "A Forgotten Odyssey" by Jagna Wright and Aneta Naszynska. You can see more about the film here - https://www.aforgottenodyssey.com/

Aside from the events, our everyday work continues - welcoming new members to the group and maintaining the Kresy-Siberia Virtual Museum (https://kresy-siberia.org/). Shelley Upton has been updating the "Special Exhibitions" - a wonderful and varied collection including new additions such as "Identity & Culture: Autograph books and diaries of Polish children in exile – 1940-1950"; "Eastern Borderlands (1918-1939)" and "Poland’s Holocaust: A family Chronicle of Soviet and Nazi Terror". Irena Lowe in NZ tirelessly approves all the new users to the museum and checks and approves all of the Wall of Tribute and Hall of Images submissions. Tim Bucknall is ever our X Twitter champion (nearly 12,000 followers!) and he along with Mark & Iwona Krason lead all the activities and representation in the UK. 

Our Founder & President, Stefan Wisniowski, had a rocky start to the year with two hospitalisaitons however those stubborn Polish genes pulled him through once again and last month he journeyed alone from Australia to Canada to visit his Mum and family. He also had time to meet our dear friend and fellow-member Alexa Topolski in Montreal (Alexa's father was Aleksander Topolski who wrote the memoir "Without Vodka: Adventures in Wartime Russia". It is a reminder of all of our shared histories and generational memories. 

Thank you and please do donate so that we can continue our important work.

 

Balham memorial luncheon
Balham memorial luncheon
Balham memorial luncheon
Balham memorial luncheon
Balham memorial luncheon
Balham memorial luncheon
Stefan Wisniowski and Alexa Topolski, Montreal
Stefan Wisniowski and Alexa Topolski, Montreal

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Dec 20, 2023
Reflecting on the Generations Remember Conference

By Anna Pacewicz | Chair

Aug 22, 2023
Global Conference 2023

By Anna Pacewicz | Chair

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Organization Information

Fundacja Kresy-Syberia

Location: Warszawa, mazowieckie - Poland
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @KresySiberia
Project Leader:
Stefan Wisniowski
BIRCHGROVE , NSW Australia
$1,884 raised of $60,000 goal
 
23 donations
$58,116 to go
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