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Exiled to Siberia
A Polish Child's WWII Journey

By Klaus Hergt

Crescent Lake Publishing

Copyright 2000 by Klaus Hergt; All rights reserved.
ISBN: 0-9700432-0-1

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Sources and Suggested Readings

The books by Jerzy Gorski (1989), Esther Hautzig (1968), Apolonja Kojder (1995), John Kramek (1990), Zdzislawa Kawecka (1989), Eugene Lachocki (1996), Anita Paschwa-Kozicka (1996), Barbara Porajska (1988), Stella H. Synowiec-Tobis (1998), and Eugenia Wasilewska (1970) are first-person biographies of Polish youths (ten to sixteen years of age) deported by the Soviets together with their families under the same administrative procedure as Hank because of their alleged anti-Soviet attitudes.

Rachel Rachlin and Israel Rachlin (1982) refer to a Jewish family from Lithuania, not to Poles, but otherwise document the same experience.

B. Plezere-Eglite (1996) covers the same subject matter, "administrative deportation," as the above mentioned books, but of a Latvian-not a Polish-child, though of comparable age to Hank. Its particular value lies in the drawings by a ten-year-old child depicting the various steps of the deportation process.

None of the books referred to above discuss the underlying social, political and historical events and relationships of that time comprehensively. Several books are exceptions to the foregoing: Anna and Norbert Kant (1991) were deported as adults and describe their experiences as trustees for the Polish government in the Soviet Union and their life there after the revocation of the "amnesty." Andrzej and Karolina Jus (1991) were a professional Polish-Jewish couple who describe their life in Poland during the war, first under the Soviets, then under the Germans, and eventually in postwar communist Poland. Jan S. Kowal (1992) was in high school when he was deported. He writes about his life in a city (Tarnopol) in prewar Poland, comments on the Polish class system, and gives examples of discrimination against Ukrainians. Vengeance of the Swallows by Tadeusz Piotrowski (1995) combines a first-person biography with the related political and historical circumstances, but the author and his family were deported to Germany, not the Soviet Union. His Poland's Holocaust (1998) contains a chapter on the Soviet terror in Eastern Poland as well as a chapter on the Nazi terror, but the remaining chapters deal with collaboration. His most recent work, Genocide and Rescue in Wolyn (2000), deals only with Polish-Ukrainian relations under the German occupation.

The Dark Side of the Moon is unique both in its content and time of publication (1946). Begun in 1943, its author, Zoe Zajdlerowa, had access to the official records of the Polish government-in-exile. She, however, wished to remain anonymous, perhaps out of a need to protect relatives in communist Poland. With a comment by Helena Sikorska, widow of General Wladyslaw Sikorski, and a preface by T. S. Eliot, the book covers the essentials of the history of Polish-Soviet relations until shortly after the end of the Second World War, including the formation and installation of the communist Lublin Government. It also depicts in moving language the trials faced by those Poles imprisoned, those condemned to a camp in the Gulag, as well as those simply deported. The political currents underlying the Soviet actions toward Poland as well as the formation of the Polish army under General Anders and of the Polish-Soviet Berling Army are also described. The book thereby gives a comprehensive overview of the fate of Poland from 1939 to 1945.

Books and articles written by Irena Beaupres-Stankiewicz et. al. (1989), Robert Conquest (1960), Jan T. Gross (1988), Peter Irons (1973), Richard Lukas (1982 and 1986), Robert Kesting (1991), Witold Majewski (1943), Rachel Toor (1981), Zbigniew Siemaszko (1991), Keith Sword (several 1994), and Elzbieta Wrobel and Janusz Wrobel (1992) are primarily historical texts with brief narrative summaries of individual experiences as illustrative examples.

Irena Grudzinska-Gross and Jan T. Gross (1981) devote their book to the fate of Polish children during the deportation by the Soviets. They present 120 narratives without going into their individual pre-deportation childhood or their post-deportation experiences. Their main emphasis is on the children's deportation and survival until their liberation through the "amnesty." These short narratives were selected from among the thousands deposited in the Hoover archives.

Richard Lukas (1989) discusses Polish-Jewish relations in German- occupied Poland editing over 50 personal accounts. Some of these contain only brief comments on the Soviet deportations. His 1994 work deals with the fate of Polish and Jewish children under the German occupation.

Eileen Egan (1995) as well as Lucjan Krolikowski (1983) focus mainly on the post-deportation experiences of Polish orphans. They include illustrative narratives and psychological observations.

The book The Rape of Poland by Stanislaw Mikolajczyk (1948), the successor to General Sikorski, is a first-person narrative with extensive reflections on the history of the time. It is primarily concerned with the attempts to establish a democratic government in Poland after the conclusion of the war.

Joseph Czapski (1951) reports on the historical background of the Polish army in the Soviet Union in 1941-42 and on his experiences, especially his unsuccessful efforts to locate over 15,000 missing-later found murdered by the Soviets-Polish officers.


Anonymous. [Zoe Zajdlerowa] 1946. Preface by T. S. Eliot. The Dark Side of the Moon. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons. Originally published in London in 1946.

Beaupre-Stankiewicz, Irena, Danuta Waszczuk-Kamieniecka, and Jadwiga Lewicka-Howells, eds. 3d ed. 1989. Isfahan: City of Polish Children. Hove, Sussex UK: Association of .Former Pupils of Polish Schools, Isfahan and Lebanon.

Benet, Sula. 1951. Song, Dance, and Customs of Peasant Poland. London, U.K.: Dennis Dobson Ltd.

Conquest, Robert. 1960. The Soviet Deportation of Nationalities. New York: St. Martin's Press.

Czapski, Joseph. Translated from the French by Gerard Hopkins. 1951. The Inhuman Land. London, U.K.: Chatto & Windus.

David, Kati. 1989. A Child's War: World War II through the Eyes of Children. New York: Four Walls Eight Windows.

Deutsch, Leo. 1905. Sixteen Years in Siberia. London, U.K.: John Murray.

Egan, Eileen. 1995. For Whom There is No Room. New York: Paulist Press.

Fluek, Toby Knobel. 1990. Memories of My Life in a Polish Village, 1930-1949. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.

Gorski, Jerzy W. 1989. Glodne stepy [Hungry Steppes]. London, U.K.: Polish Cultural Foundation Ltd.

Gross, Jan T. 1988. Revolution from Abroad: The Soviet Conquest of Poland's Western Ukraine and Western Belorussia. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Grudzinska-Gross, Irena, and Jan Tomasz Gross, eds. 1981. War through Children's Eyes: The Soviet Occupation of Poland and the Deportations, 1939-41. Stanford, CA: Hoover Institution Press.

Hautzig, Esther. 1968. The Endless Steppe: A Girl in Exile. New York: Thomas Y. Crowell Co.

Jus, Andrzej and Karolina. 1991. Our Journey in the Valley of Tears. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

Kant, Anna, and Norbert Kant. 1991. Extermination: Killing Poles in Stalin's Empire. London, U.K.: Unicorn Publ.

Kawecka, Zdzislawa Krystina. 1989, 2d. ed. Journey Without a Ticket: To England through Siberia. Nottingham, U.K.: Z. K. Kawecka.

Kojder, Apolonja Maria, and Barbara Glogowska. 1995. Marynia, Don't Cry: Memoir of Two Polish-Canadian Families. Toronto: Multicultural History Society of Ontario.

Kowal, Jan S. 1992. My First Survival or My Life in Poland and in the USSR. Ann Arbor, MI: n.p.

Kramek, John S. 1990. Refugee's Trails. St. Clair Shores, MI: Refugee's Trails Fund, Inc.

Krolikowski, Lucjan. 1983. Stolen Childhood: A Saga of Polish War Children. Buffalo, NY: Franciscan Fathers Minor Conventuals, St. Anthony of Padua, Province USA. Printed John Deyell Co., Canada.

Lachocki, Eugene. 1996. No Return. New Smyrna Beach, FL: Luthers.

Lukas, Richard C. 1982. Bitter Legacy: Polish-American Relations in the Wake of World War II. Lexington, KY: University Press of Kentucky.

___.1994. Did the Children Cry? Hitler's War Against the Jewish and Polish Children, 1939-1945. New York: Hippocrene Books.

___.1986. The Forgotten Holocaust: The Poles under German Occupation, 1939-1945. Lexington, KY: University Press of Kentucky.

___.1989. Out of the Inferno: Poles Remember the Holocaust. Lexington, KY: University Press of Kentucky.

Majewski, Witold. 1943. Polish Children Suffer. Foreword by Helena Sikorska. Canfield Gardens, U.K.: F. P. Agency Ltd.

Mikolajczyk, Stanislaw. 1948. The Rape of Poland: Pattern of Soviet Aggression. New York: McGraw-Hill Book Co. Inc.

Mostwin, Danuta. 1971. The Transplanted Family: A Study of Social Adjustment of the Polish Immigrant Family to the United States After the Second World War. New York: Arno Press Inc.

Paschwa-Kozicka, Anita. 1996. My Flight to Freedom: An Autobiography. Chicago: Panorama Publishing Co.

Piotrowski, Tadeusz. 2000. Genocide and Rescue in Wolyn: Recollections of the Ukrainian Nationalist Ethnic Cleansing Campaign Against the Poles During World War II. Jefferson, NC: McFarland.

___.1998. Poland's Holocaust: Ethnic Strife, Collaboration with Occupying Forces and Genocide in the Second Republic, 1918-1947. Jefferson, NC: McFarland.

___.1995. Vengeance of the Swallows: Memoir of a Polish Family's Ordeal under Soviet Aggression, Ukrainian Ethnic Cleansing and Nazi Enslavement, and Their Emigration to America. Jefferson, NC: McFarland.

Plezere-Eglite, B. 1996. Through the Eyes of a Child: Drawings of Eleven-Year Old Nita Mailed from Siberian Exile to Latvia, 25.03.1949-56. Riga, Latvia: "Latvia During 50 Years of Occupation" Museum Foundation, in Cooperation with the National Oral History Project, Institute of Philosophy and Sociology, Latvian Academy of Sciences.

Porajska, Barbara. 1988. From the Steppes to the Savannah. Port Erin, Isle of Man, U.K.: Ham Publ. Co. Ltd.

Rachlin, Rachel, and Israel Rachlin. 1982. Sixteen Years in Siberia: Memoirs of Rachel and Israel Rachlin. Translated from Danish by Brigitte M. de Weille. Tuscaloosa: University Alabama Press.

Sosnowski, Kiryl. 1983. The Tragedy of Children under Nazi Rule. New York: Howart Fertig. Originally published in Polish in Poznan, 1962.

Sword, Keith. 1994. Deportation and Exile: Poles in the Soviet Union, 1939-48. New York: St. Martin's Press.

___,ed. 1994. The Soviet Takeover of the Polish Eastern Provinces, 1939-41. New York: St.Martin's Press.

Synowiec-Tobis, Stella H. 1998. The Fulfillment of Visionary Return. Northbrook, IL: Artpol Printing.

Wasilewska, Eugenia. 1970. The Silver Madonna. New York: The John Day Co.

Wrobel, Elzbieta, and Janusz Wrobel. 1992. Rozproszeni Po Swiecie. [Scattered Throughout the World]. Chicago, IL: Panorama.


Irons, Peter H. "The Test is Poland: Polish Americans and the Origins of the Cold War." Polish American Studies 30 (1973): 51-59.

Kesting, Robert W. "American Support of Polish Refugees and their Santa Rosa Camp." Polish American Studies 48 (1991): 79-86.

Lopata, H.C. "A Life Record of an Immigrant." Society 13 (1975): 64-74.


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