Kresy Siberia Reference Centre

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Strona polska w przygotowaniu

Prezentacja projektu (pdf)



The year 2009 will mark the 70th anniversary of the beginning of World War 2.  Yet one aspect of Poland’s wartime history is hardly known to most people – the deportation, imprisonment, and other repression of the inhabitants of the Kresy, or Eastern Borderlands, on Josef Stalin’s orders, to Soviet slave labor camps and Gulags in Siberia, Kazakhstan and eastern Asia. Almost two million Polish citizens suffered this “Gehenna”. Many died in the camps from hypothermia, lack of nutrition, or diseases like typhoid or malaria. Others survived to join the Polish Forces under Allied command battling Nazi Germany in Africa and Europe, or to see out the war in refugee camps in the Middle East, Africa, India, New Zealand and Mexico. Most never returned to their fatherland because it was annexed by the  Soviet regime after the war.

The Kresy-Siberia Group is "dedicated to researching, remembering and recognizing the Polish citizens deported, enslaved and killed by the Soviet Union during World War Two". It was established by a number of survivors and their descendants to tell the stories of the "Polish Gehenna" to the world. We have an active discussion group, a website, memorial wall and online gallery containing thousands of photographs and documents posted by our members. 

However, our collection is getting very large and increasingly difficult to access – the information could be far better presented to the world. In addition, other historical sources of images and information, such as the Karta Centre in Warsaw, the Hoover Institution in California and the Sikorski Institute in London, also remain stored in archives and not as accessible as they could be for study and display. In the meantime, the last of the survivors are aging and dying out – and with them the memories and testimonies about their historic and heroic experiences. In the absence of a physical museum commemorating this history, our solution is to work with key partners to create a virtual museum on the internet and make it accessible to the world.


Although our virtual museum is still in the planning stage, there are certain elements we are sure must be included to shape the visitor’s experience in learning about an almost unknown part of World War 2 history. Since we think it is high time the world learns about the "Polish Gehenna", we have given this a lot of thought. Ideally, we feel there should be established a physical museum, similar to the Holocaust Museum in Washington, or the Warsaw Uprising Museum in Warsaw, to display our families’ documents and possessions. However, a virtual museum is a more practical undertaking and will actually be more effective in reaching people throughout the world.

The museum will have separate "wings" for various topics related to our families’ sagas. For example, one wing may include documentation about the deportations to forced labor camps in Siberia or Kazakhstan. Once in the wing, there will be a search option, as well an index of camp names and/or other criteria. Another wing may contain documentation about Anders Army. The number of wings is not pre-determined, as we hope it will be an ongoing project with unlimited growth as we add more and more documents from various sources. Our desire is to join forces with organizations that possess documents related to the "Polish Gehenna" and the Polish Armies in Exile of World War 2. We also plan to create educational modules, conduct seminars, and feature music as well as ffilm clips of survivors telling their stories.


We will require a range of technical and archival skills to create and maintain the Virtual Museum, which will be sought from key partners in Poland and elsewhere. A Foundation has been established  to fund the work and ongoing operation of the Virtual Museum. This will be a huge undertaking, but a greatly important historical one, requiring the financial assistance, time and energy of many groups. Organizations that share common goals with the Kresy-Siberia Group will join us in reaching these goals. We also plan to attract generous benefactors to contribute to making the Kresy-Siberia Virtual Museum a reality.


A working group has been formed from the Kresy-Siberia Group to work with foundation partner organizations and to prepare a development plan for this project. The group includes Stefan Wisniowski (Sydney), Aleksander Domaradzki (Warsaw), Aneta Hoffmann (Warsaw), Lynda Kraar (New Jersey), Witold Lukaszewski (Texas), Aneta Naszynska (London), Jerzy Neisser (Manchester), Elzunia Olsson (Stockholm), Barbara Soja Revoet (Connecticut), Henry Sokolowski (Toronto), George Slawek (San Francisco) and Martin Stepek (Glasgow).  For further information, please contact :


  • The Kresy-Siberia Foundation, with the headquarters in Warsaw, has been formed and submitted for registration in  Poland
  • Former President of the Polish Government-in-Exile, Ryszard Kaczorowski has agreed to be our Honourary President
  • The Head of the Senate Committee for Liaison with Polonia, Senator Andrzej Person, will recommend that the Speaker of the Senate agree to be Patron of the Museum
  • Mr. Person and former Sejm Speaker, Maciej Płażyński, will support our application to the Senat RP for up to €60,000 (US$100,000) in initial funding
  • Executive member of Stowarzyszenie "Wspólnota Polska", Jarosław Chołodecki, has invited us to set up offices in the historical mansion that is their headquarters in Warsaw, and Aleks Domaradzki of DGL Polska, has offered the use of his company offices in Warsaw as our front for phone and mail contact
  • Tom Ravensdale of Trinity Corporate Services has agreed to provide pro bono corporate services such as banking, book-keeping and secretarial
  • A number of McKinsey and Company consultants are providing pro bono project management support
  • Zbigniew Gluza, President of Ośrodek Karta in Warsaw, has agreed to incorporate the Museum's launch into September's 70th Anniversary Ceremonies in Piłsudski Square in Warsaw
  • We now have the support of European Parliament member Prof. Wojciech Roszkowski, who is looking into funding opportunities
  • Friar Łucjan Królikowski has agreed to be our Chaplain and Chief Rabbi of Poland, Michael Schudrich, has agreed to be the Museum's Jewish Chaplain
  • Sir Martin Gilbert, author of Sir Winston Churchill's biography, will be our official cartographer
  • Shana Penn, Executive Director of the Taube Foundation has offered to provide pro bono public relations expertise and support with funding applications
Zbigniew Stańczyk, Library Specialist, Eastern European Collection at the Hoover Institution in California, has this to say about the Kresy-Siberia Virtual Museum: "This project is worth everybody's support. Times are changing fast and this project is the best way to spread the news about Poland's history around the world".

A Finance Committee has been formed between Henry Sokolowski, Aleks Domaradzki, and Tom Ravensdale. 


Overview presentation (1 MB)
Organising commitee members
Virtual Museum Proposal (English version)  


To make a gift to support the group's work on the Virtual Museum project please visit this page.


 updated 9 March 2009 

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