2012 | 16 | 137 - 178
Article title

Opieka socjalna nad polskimi dziećmi w miejscach zesłania

Title variants
Social welfare provided to Polish children in places of exile
Languages of publication
Tatiana Mielnik has tackled the subject of social welfare provided to Polish children placed in care institutions in the Arkhangelsk Oblast during World War I. There are few surviving documents concerning the fate of children of Polish origin in exile, especially a detailed list of names, but they author has managed to discover in the archives of the Department of Education of the Arkhangelsk Oblast a file entitled “Children of Polish nationals”, on the basis of which she has been able to describe their situation in the region in some detail. The material discovered by her makes it possible to distinguish categories of places in which children without parents or family members to care of them were placed. These were Polish orphanages (there were two such institutions in the Arkhangelsk Oblast – both lasted fairly briefly) as well as Russian district orphanages. In addition, Polish children were entrusted to the care of Russian families, a situation often leading to adoption. The reasons why they were placed in such institutions or with foster families can be divided into two main categories. Some children indeed were orphans and had no relatives to take care of them, but some did have parents, but they were unable to bring them up for a variety of reasons: imprisonment, disease, disability, lack of funds to support their children or the fact that they remained abroad. The file “Children of Polish nationals” includes correspondence of Zinaida Bykova, the then head of the District Department of People’s Education, an institution responsible for childcare centres. Bykova did a lot to improve the fate of Polish children and through her actions demonstrated that the state administration was not indifferent to the fate of the children, regardless of their Polish origin, and did everything it could in those difficult times to improve their living conditions as much as possible. These conditions were sometimes dramatic; childcare centres had to cope with huge problems, both when it comes to their buildings – often unsuited to education or accommodation – and finances. There were shortages of everything: from food through clothing to basic equipment such as cutlery or plates. An important element of the study comes in the form of reminiscences of direct participants in these events – then children, today elderly people who survived the nightmare of the war in a foreign country and managed to come back to Poland or remained in Russia, brought up in foster families. Translated by Anna Kijak
137 - 178
Physical description
  • Archangielsk (Rosja)
Document Type
Publication order reference
YADDA identifier
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