Polish memorial opened at Norilsk Golgotha 25 years ago

Polish memorial opened at Norilsk Golgotha 25 years ago

July 28, 2021

A quarter of a century ago, a Polish memorial was opened at the Norilsk Golgotha complex designed by Stanislav Gerada for the personal savings of Pole Jerzy Biyak.

#ARCTIC. #SIBERIA. THIS IS TAIMYR. Jerzy Bijak and his wife Barbara Sokolowska (in the main photo above) came from Gdansk a week before the opening of the memorial. Every morning they drove to Schmidt mountain, where the Nickelstroy workers set up steel rails with crosses entangled in barbed wire on a concrete trihedron. The details of the monument had already been manufactured at the Mechanical plant by that time.

On July 28, 1996, all Norilsk residents with Polish roots who did not leave the city gathered near Schmidtikha

Before the opening, the spouses were joined by the head of the Gdansk branch of the Polish Society of Siberians, Professor Stefan Angelsky, and a priest from Krasnoyarsk, Anthony Baduro, who consecrated the monument.

Jerzy Bijak and Stefan Angelski (background)

Professor Angelsky knew about Siberia firsthand, unlike Jerzy Biyak, whose relatives did not suffer from the Stalinist repressions. The decision to perpetuate the memory of fellow compatriots who remained forever at the Schmidt mountain came to the citizen of Poland during his first visit to Norilsk in 1992. The tourists from Poland were shocked by the history of the Norillag era city and the stories of their repressed compatriots.

The Polish Memorial is one of the most expressive monuments of the Norilsk Golgotha

“In memory of all Poles who remained in this land. Let the fellow compatriots rest in peace. If I forget about them, then let God in heaven forget about me”, said Jerzy Biyak at the opening of the memorial.

For other issues of our photo project about the history of the city and the combine, go to the History spot section.

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Text: Valentina Vachaeva, Photo: Vladimir Brovkin, Leonid Volosyankin, Nikolay Drobot

July 28, 2021

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