In autumn of 1939, Poland was invaded by Nazi Germany and shortly thereafter, by the Soviet Union. In December 1939, the Soviet Union exiled Polish individuals deemed, "politically unreliable elements," to deportation centers in the Soviet Union. There, those individuals faced brutal conditions and violence. Some were murdered in the 1940 Katyn Massacre, while many others died of starvation in the gulags. In 1941 and 1942, Wladyslaw Anders, who headed the Polish Armed Forces of the East (known as "Anders' Army"), evacuated thousands of Polish refugees to Iran. These evacuees included soldiers that Anders had recruited from deportation centers as well as civilians. Between 1942 and 1945, many of these refugees traveled from Iran to India, where they resettled. The Polish consulate in Mumbai (modern-day Bombay), with support and leadership from Maharaja Jam Saheb Digvijaysinhji, also resettled hundreds of orphaned children refugees in Balachadi. This Google Arts and Culture page from the Polish History Museum is dedicated to the experiences of Polish refugees in India. Through photographs, maps, and documents, this powerful online exhibit illuminates an important and often overlooked chapter of history.
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