Białorusini wśród uchodźców polskich na Środkowym Wschodzie i w Afryce Wschodniej w latach II wojny światowej
The Belarussians among Polish refugees in the Middle East and in East Africa during the World War II
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Between March and August 1942 about 2,000 Belarussian civilians (Polish citizens, members of the Orthodox Church) were evacuated to Iran together with the Army of Anders. At the time, the Soviet authorities attempted to keep people who were not ethnic Poles in the USSR. For this reason the Belarussians had to declare themselves Polish catholic or even change their surname. The Polish citizens of the Belarussian nationality were well-disposed towards Poland. The fact that the Polish government helped them to leave the “inhuman land” inspired their gratitude. Their loyalty to the state was expressed by declarations of the Belarussian Committee, led by a priest Michal Bozerianow, addressing the Polish Government and the president of the USA. The committee was founded in 1942 in Iran. The aforesaid declarations proclaimed the will of the Belarussian nation to affiliate with Poland, not with the USSR. According to Bozerianow, the Belarussian question could have been used as an argument in the Polish-Soviet dispute over the Polish eastern borderland. Therefore, the commitee asked to introduce its representative to the National Council. However the Polish Government left the proposition out of consideration. In 1943 most of the Belarussian refugees were transferred to East Africa. Although not all the Belarussians supported the Soviet authorities, and those who were refugees had very positive attitude towards Poland, the whole Belarussian community was believed to be biased towards the Communists and against the Poles. It led to an open religious conflict which lasted until the closure of the camps. The conflict changed the mood of loyalty and caused unwillingness to cooperate with the Polish people. In 1948, after the liquidation of the Polish camps in Africa, most of the Polish citizens of Belarussian nationality forced their way to Europe and America. Some of the Belarussians joined the Belarussian Association in the Great Britain.
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