Poland marks 82 years since WWII Soviet invasion

A host of memorial events are scheduled to take place on Friday as Poland marks 82 years since the Soviet Union invaded the country in the opening phase of World War II.

Soviet troops invading Poland in September 1939. Photo: Unknown author [Public domain]

Soviet troops invading Poland in September 1939. Photo: Unknown author [Public domain]via Wikimedia Commons

Officials are expected to attend ceremonies at sites including Warsaw’s Monument to the Fallen and Murdered in the East.

President Andrzej Duda is scheduled to take part in a commemorative event in the eastern city of Białystok, where he will pay tribute to soldiers who fought to defend Poland against the invading Red Army in September 1939.

He will also open a new museum commemorating Poles deported to Russia’s remote Siberia region decades ago.

On the eve of the anniversary, officials said that September 17, 1939 was one of the most tragic dates in recent Polish history.

At dawn on September 17, 1939, Soviet troops invaded Poland following a secret agreement with the German Third Reich.

Poland was then caught between German Nazi forces advancing from the west and Soviet forces from the east.

Following the invasion, some 250,000 Polish soldiers were captured by the Soviets, who later executed thousands of prisoners of war, public broadcaster Polish Radio’s IAR news agency has reported.

Mass deportations of the civilian population followed, with up to 1.5 million Poles transported away into the Soviet interior, mainly to Siberia and Kazakhstan, according to some estimates.

Tens of thousands of ethnic Poles killed in the former USSR before the 1939 Soviet invasion were remembered at memorial ceremonies in Warsaw last month.

(gs)

Source: IAR, ipn.gov.pl

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