Friday, February 24, 2012

Depends on what you mean by 'flee'


As I mention below, I am writing a book that deals with the agony of Poland during the Second World War. Hundreds of thousands of Poles were deported to Siberia during the Russian occupation of 1939-1941; then, when Germany attacked the Soviet Union, these onetime "counter-revolutionaries" suddenly became valued allies. Many of them were allowed to travel to what is now Iran, where the men were formed into the 2nd Polish Brigade of the British Army. I was enchanted by this wartime newsreel which, in a complete inversion of the truth, presents the Poles as fleeing from the "Nazis" rather than the Bolsheviks, and by foot rather than in the filthy, overcrowded cattle cars in which the NKVD sent them to Siberia, Kazakhstan, and Arctic Russia. Blue skies! -- Dan Ford

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