Temporary Exhibition: The Promised Land of the Sybiraks

The exhibition is a presentation of issues related to deportations and their consequences that affected Poles during World War II, putting particular emphasis on their presence in Africa after the army of Genral Władysław Anders had left the USSR in 1941 with a group of Polish civilians.


The topic of Africa has been illustrated with photographs taken by Hieronim Szumowski during his stay in Uganda, Kenya and Tanganyika. For the Sibirak-African, staying in an unknown continent was the happiest time of his life. Africa became those people's Promised Land. Polish civilians were supposed to stay in Africa until the end of the war. Their repatriation at the time of Poland's liberation was planned. The problem was, however, that they had nowhere to return, because the overwhelming majority of Sibirak-Africans came from the Borderlands of the Second Republic of Poland, which were taken from Poland under the Yalta agreements.

The material presented at the exhibition is a part of the collection of The National Museum in Szczecin – The Dialogue Centre Upheavals and of private collection of Tadeusz Szumowski, son of Hieronim Szumowski – the author of photographs that recorded the lives of Polish refugees in Afrca. During World War I (1914-1918) he was a soldier of Józef Piłsudski's Polish Legions. He also fought in Polish-Soviet War of 1920. After the war he worked as a teacher in Vilnius. In 1939 he was arrested by Soviets and sent to forced labour camp in Varkuta. After the amnesty of 1941 he was released and together with Genral Władysław Anders' Army evacuated from the USSR territory. He found himself in Polish refugee camps in Africa (Rongai, Ifunda, Tengeru) where he worked between 1943 and 1955. He taught geography, mathematics, English, German and French.



The National Museum in Szczecin – The Dialogue Centre Upheavals
pl. Solidarności 1

January 25th – March 31st 2020
Vernissage: January 24th 2020, 5.30 P.M. (4th anniversary of NMS-DCU opening) 

Curator: Aneta Popławska-Suś

Organizers: The National Museum in Szczecin, Centrum Historii Zajezdnia in Wrocław, The Western and Northern Territories Network

The exhibition commemorates the 80th anniversary of Poles' deportations to the USSR.