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Article

"Польские перебежчики" из Западной Беларуси в "польской операции" 1937-1938 годов в Перми

Using the example of the so called “Polish refugees” (pol’perebezhchiki), the paper discusses a research problem of the “blind spots” of historical memory. By the technical term pol’perebezhchiki the NKVD investigators denoted a special social group of the former citizens of the interwar Poland – mainly ethnic Belarusians, Ukrainians, and Jews, – who escaped to the Soviet Union in the 1920s – 1930s, and, according to the order № 00485 from 11.08.1937 issued by Nicholas Ezhov, were almost totally exterminated during the 1937–38 ‘NKVD Polish operation’. “Polish refugees” do not exist, as the objects of commemoration, neither in traditions of national remembrance (Polish, Jewish, Belarusian, Ukrainian or Russian ones), because they cannot be introduced into the heroic or lacrimous national narratives; nor in the memory of their families: as young men, they were not married and did not have children. They are ignored by scholars as well. Based on the materials of the NKVD archives in Perm, the author tries to reconstruct the main features of the standard procedure of the treatment of “Polish refugees” elaborated by the NKVD up to 1931: (1) several months of imprisonment near the Polish-Soviet border, (2) transferring to the “Sarov concentration camp” organized especially for such refugees, (3) several years of labour in one of the GULAG camp, (4) and finally, liberation from the camp and accepting of Soviet citizenship. The object of special interest are the series of biographies of the group of “Polish refugees” who were, at the moment of their arrest, the students of Perm educational institutes.