Mr. Speaker, 74 years ago today, following the invasion of Poland in September 1939, the Soviet regime started mass deportations of Polish citizens from invaded territories, deep into Russia.
The first victims of deportations were the Polish military, prisoners of war resulting from resistance to the September invasion.
Soon, the arrests, deportations, and murders were extended to government officials, politicians, civil servants, members of the intelligentsia, scientists, and any others deemed threats to the Soviet state.
Then, deportations were extended to families. About 1.8 million Polish men, women, and children were forcibly removed and placed in labour camps, deep in Siberia, where they faced hard physical labour and miserable living conditions. Over 700,000 died of cold, starvation, physical fatigue, and disease.
The accounts of daily life and loss in the harsh gulag are the personal histories that, to date, have largely been missing, lost, and underreported. It is my wish that this crime of Soviet communism is brought to light and remembered.