BIALYSTOK - THE FIRST YEAR (AUGUST 1944-1945)
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The image of the first 'post-liberation' year in the life of the town depended to a great extent on the person describing its reality. On the one hand, there were the activists of the Polish Workers' Party and the Polish Committee for National Liberation (PKWN), involved in 'consolidating people's rule'; on the other hand, Home Army soldiers and representatives of the Polish authorities in London trying to fulfil their tasks were punished by deportation to the Soviet Union. During the first months of Soviet military occupation Bialystok was a town of two worlds, one of which, long awaited, was departing together with the hundreds of detained soldiers of the Polish Underground State, while the other, imposed at bayonet point, was spreading in the manner of a noxious weed, systematically depriving the population of all illusions. The yearning for freedom after years of Soviet and German occupation was the reason for attempts, made at all cost, at finding bearings in the new reality, and for succumbing to the new order in the hope of establishing some sort of a golden mean. It soon became apparent that each path proposed by the communists led to new subjugation. In addition, Bialystok experienced national problems; its liberation was perceived quite differently by three section of its population - the Belorussians, the Jewish survivors of the Holocaust, and those Poles who had remained in the town.
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