Lithuania publishes files of Polish army soldiers deported by USSR
A Lithuanian investigative website has published for the first time the files of 50 Polish Army soldiers who were captured by the Soviets after returning to their homeland in 1951 and deported to remote regions of the Soviet Union.
The kgbveikla.lt (KGB operations) website published the soldiers' personal files on Tuesday.
According to the Genocide and Resistance Research Centre of Lithuania (LGGRTC), the documents testify to Soviet brutality and lies. The 50 deportees, of whom 25 were Polish, 17 Lithuanian, five Russian, two Tatar and one Belarusian, served in the so-called Anders Army, or the Polish Armed Forces in the East during World War II.
The Anders Army, named after Polish General Władysław Anders, was created in the Soviet Union but under an agreement with Western allies, was evacuated to Palestine through Iran where it came under British command. The army made up the bulk of the Polish II Corps which fought in the Italian Campaign.
The soldiers were captured after returning to their home region around Vilnius, which after World War II became Soviet territory.
In February 1951, the Soviet government passed a resolution ordering the deportation of all former Polish Army soldiers and their families and the deportations started on the night of March 31. Some 13,000 to 14,000 people were deported in total from the areas of today's Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania.
The 50 soldiers whose identities were revealed on Tuesday were deported with their families too, and made up a group of 187 people in total.
The kgbveikla.lt website says the soldiers were deported for comparing life in the democratic West with that in the Soviet Union.
The Soviets started releasing some of the deportees in 1958, but they were banned from returning to Lithuania.