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Polish Poetry from the Soviet Gulags: Recovering a Lost Literature

This work presents a translation of 25 poems that chronicle a largely unexamined period of Polish history. For fifty years the history of forced deportations of Poles to the Soviet work camps was a taboo subject in Poland. During the post-war communist era Poles were forbidden to discuss or publish any materials relating to the unlawful imprisonments, executions, and forced deportations to the Soviet gulags during WWII. Only after the collapse of the Soviet Union and Communist governments in Eastern Europe in 1991, did the victims of Stalin's terror and their families begin to reveal their experiences. While enduring the inhumane conditions of the labor camps, Polish nationals wrote poems that today serve as a testimony to their faith, strength and courage. By translating a selection of poems written by Polish survivors the translator brings to English-speaking readers a riveting picture of the horror of the Siberian gulags.

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