Some of them were little more than walking skeletons covered in rags and lice. Stalin began emptying Poland of anyone who could resist the occupation. refugees.20 A number of Polish refugees stayed in Iran permanently, some eventually marrying Iranian citizens and having children. Pahlavi was only a temporary shelter. In 1939, the territory of Poland was divided between the two invading countries. On the way to the bases of the newly formed Polish army, an epidemic-sized outbreak of dysentery occurred, which decimated men, women, and children; thousands died along the way! Additionally, in Egypt, there were schools for the refugees at Heliopolis and Tall al-Kabir. Some 22,000 Poles found their way to the Near East, and what is now called the Middle East, mostly to Iran, Iraq, and Palestine. With news of their mass release, Poles began to slowly make their way towards Iran. Nearly 3,000 refugees died within months of arriving in Iran and were buried in cemeteries, and many of these burial sites are still Polish refugees in a camp on the outskirts of Tehran Photo Credit, Polish women do laundry at a Red Cross camp. Etched on row after row of identical tombstones is a single year of death: 1942. Photo Credit, A Polish woman holding her baby girl at an evacuee camp in Tehran. In 1927, both nations signed a Friendship Treaty and in 1928, Poland opened a consulate in Tabriz. Photo by Nick Parrino, 1943 / Wikimedia Commons. Left: The Polish cemetery in Bander Anzali (Pahlavi) / Wikimedia Commons Proceeds are donated to charity. Only a few days earlier, they had been alarmed to hear that civilians, women and children, were to be included among the evacuees, something for which they were totally unprepared. Every unoccupied house in the city was requisitioned, every chair appropriated from local cinemas. On 1 September 1939, Poland was invaded by Germany which sparked the beginning of World War II. Enter your email address to receive notifications of new posts by email. Abolghasem Jala took thousands of portraits of Polish refugees … Photo Credit, Evacuees wore donated woolen bathrobes as overcoats. Photo Credit, A Polish girl wearing a heavy sheepskin coat at a refugee camp Photo Credit, A Polish refugee working as a guard at the camp Photo Credit, A Polish woman and her grandchildren in a Red Cross camp in Tehran. The Polish-Mexican agreement called for providing assistance to several thousand Polish refugees from Russia who were then held in temporary camps in Iran. Our logo, banner, and trademark are registered and fully copyright protected (not subject to Creative Commons). But his work was never recognized or published. Photo Credit. Professor of Spanish Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window), Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window), Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window), Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window), Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window), Click to share on Tumblr (Opens in new window), Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window), A Modern Republic: The Ideals of the Founders, The Legacy of the Ancient Roman Republic and Empire, The Political and Cultural Legacy of Ancient Greece, How the Needs of Monks and Empire Builders Helped Mold the Modern-Day Office. Photo Credit, A Polish woman at a Red Cross camp in Tehran. The remaining 4,300 refugees at the end of 1945 were evacuated to Baghdad and Beirut. At most, it is thought 300,000 Poles fled. Remaining in Iran were 3,933 refugees in Tehran, 2,388 in Isfahan, 2,834 in Ahvaz and 66 in Mashhad. While most signs of Polish life in Iran have faded, a few have remained. Hundreds of thousands of Polish citizens were compelled to leave their homes and were sent to Kazakhstan, Siberia, and other parts of the USSR. Fast forward to 1941 and Nazi Germany launched a full-scale invasion of the Soviet Union (Operation Barbarossa, the largest military campaign in history). University of Oregon. The civilians were left in the refugee camps that sprawled up around the country. Nevertheless, the facilities were still inadequate. Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email. In all, 2,806 refugees died within a few months of arriving and were buried in cemeteries around Iran. A Polish orphanage and children’s camp opened at Isfahan, where 2,300 children and 300 adults were residing, and in total eight elementary schools were constructed. Right: Polish military cemetery, Tehran / Wikimedia Commons. During August of 1942, two schools were constructed for the children – one for the younger ones (aged 8 –15) and one for the older children; attendance began on September 1, 1942. It stretched for several miles on either side of the lagoon: a vast complex of bathhouses, latrines, disinfection booths, laundries, sleeping quarters, bakeries and a hospital. Individual pages signify the copyright for the content on that page. That same year, Iran recognized and established diplomatic relations. Young Polish refugee at a camp operated by the Red Cross in Tehran, Iran. A Polish boy carrying loaves of bread provided by the Red Cross Photo Credit, A Polish girl landscaping the patch of earth in front of her tent. They had not quite escaped, however. The first schools for the refugees were opened in Tehran and one year later there were ten Polish educational institutions opened. How filmmaker Khosrow Sinai uncovered the hidden history of Polish refugees in Iran. Their alien names and the dates on their tombstones chronicle a calamity, even to a visitor without knowledge of their history. Holding fiercely to their precious bundles of possessions, they disembarked in their thousands at Pahlavi and kissed the soil of Persia. The photographer noted that the Poles took great pride in the cleanliness of their camp. To say life was miserable for the Polish at this time would be an understatement. See "Terms of Service" link for more information. Last year, a woman who had passed through Iran as a child came to visit her mother's grave. Gholam Abdol-Rahimi, a struggling photographer in Pahlavi, emerged from bed to witness ships disgorging disheveled refugees. Portrait of Polish refugee children, taken by Abolghasem Jala between 1942-1944. Refugees were later dispersed to more prepared camps in Isfahan (Isfahan in particular being dubbed as the ‘City of Polish Children‘), Tehran and Ahvaz. 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Weakened by two years of starvation, hard labour and disease, they were suffering from a variety of conditions including exhaustion, dysentery, malaria, typhus, skin infections, chicken blindness and itching scabs. In desperate need of allies Stalin agreed to send Polish citizens to Iran to set up an Army under British sponsorship. Photo Credit, Polish children playing among the dormitories of a Red Cross camp on the outskirts of Tehran. Amnesty for the Polish citizens in the Soviet Union was declared after the signing of the Sikorski–Mayski Agreement. The Eastern section of Poland was occupied by the Soviet Union, and soon afterward Moscow started a schedule of mass deportations. Many Polish Jews among the 116,000 Polish refugees permitted in 1942 to leave the Soviet interior to which they had fled in 1941 or been deported in 1939–1940 passed safely through Iran on the way to Palestine or Great Britain, where many of the Polish refugees, including the Jews among them, joined British military units. The spread of typhus in particular was deadly to such an extent that 40% were hospitalised and a large proportion later died. Post was not sent - check your email addresses! There were several series of deportations, during which entire families were separated from one another and sent to terrible refugee camps in various regions of the Soviet Union. Brewminate uses Infolinks and is an Amazon Associate with links to items available there. Read another story from us: The man who inspired Spielberg’s “The Terminal”- lived as a refugee in a departure lounge. Department of Romance Languages October 08, 2020. Overcrowded ship crossing the Caspian Sea to Pahlavi / Wikimedia Commons. The initial warm welcome from Iran’s Jewish population in … These scouts were ordered to Camp Bashit where the boys and girls were divided into several groups and started their education. Photo by Nick Parrino, 1943 / Wikimedia Commons The soldiers who enlisted in Anders’ Army (named after its commander Władysław Anders) regrouped in Bandar Pahlavi, Mashhad and eventually Ahvaz, before being transferred to British command in Mandatory Palestine. The soldiers who enlisted in Anders’ Army (named after its commander Władysław Anders) regrouped in Bandar Pahlavi, Mashhad and eventually Ahvaz, before being transferred to British command in Mandatory Palestine. Photo Credit, Polish women making their own clothing at a camp in Tehran Photo Credit, Polish woman kissing her grandaughter Photo Credit. ¨+ø¨ò_ŠXÜ¥B "(/y%. Young Polish refugee at a camp operated by the Red Cross in Tehran, Iran. A tent city housing Polish evacuees on the outskirts of TehranPhoto Credit, A woman decorating the front yard of her tent with a Polish eagle Photo Credit, A young Polish refugee saluting outside his tent. The Soviet Union interned over 320,000 Polish citizens and deported them to Siberia for work in the infamous Gulags. The letters to the embassy, or to the cemetery itself, come from Britain, New Zealand, the United States, wherever the Polish refugees who passed through Iran, have settled.

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