China

Liquidation of the Polish colony in Manchuria (north-eastern China)

Ms. Łucja Drabczak - A Polish woman born in Harbin, she spent her childhood in China. She returned to Poland at the age of 10. She is the author of the book 'China... Memories from my childhood'. She contacted us to convey special family memories related to leaving Manchuria in 1949.

Instytut Boyma 01.07.2019

Stara pocztówka przedstawiająca ulice Harbinu w latach trzydziestych

The publication has been automatically translated. If you want to read texts translated professionally, please make a donation and help us develop the institute.

*

Return of Poles from Manchuria to Poland, 1949.

The number of Polish citizens in this period was approximately 1,600 people. In mid-1949, the Communists from Poland sent to Harbin the plenipotentiary of the government – commander Jerzy Kłosowski and Kazimierz Krąkowski for help. Their task is to liquidate the Polish colony in Manchuria. They are to persuade the Poles to return to their homeland. Repatriation to Poland was free, at the expense of the Polish government. Repatriation to other countries was at the expense of citizens. However, it was apparently not true. The Polish Red Cross did not refuse to cover the costs of repatriation to other countries.

Rallies and meetings were organized to present the situation of post-war Poland. In order to rebuild the country, it was necessary to have people of various professions. Poles were encouraged to return by priest Paweł Chodniewicz. He was a frequent visitor in our home. In the book by Marek Cabanowski “Secrets of Manchuria. Poles in Harbin ” there is a picture of a priest along with a group of Poles willing to leave. There is also my mother Helena Graczyk and Lena Gnatowa. They signed up as one of the first to leave.

From that moment on, people were coming to our house, bringing small gifts; they were crying and saying goodbyes. At the cemetery, priest Paweł Chodniewicz celebrated a special farewell mass. All monuments on a graves of our family were new and the priest sacralized them. My parents hoped that the monuments would be long standing. This was our last meeting with the priest. He died suddenly after the stroke.

Polish authorities began to liquidate the Polish school. They also burned Polish books from the library. A large pile was made at school and set on fire. The Chinese looked at it with amazement in their eyes. The “Polish Farm” was also abolished. In the month of June, the first date of departure was set. It was quickly canceled because it turned out that some people do not have orderly documents. This was especially true for mixed marriages. At the beginning of July a truck drove up to the house (loaned from the sugar factory in Aszyche – we lived there). Our trunks and suitcases were packed, yard was full of Chinese kids. They were shouting and waving behind the car. It was warm and the road was dusty. We’re at the station, and there are a lot of people here. Everyone is crying. They put us into luxury wagons. And we stand. The Chinese were surprised again, they also came to say goodbye to us, but the train has not moved for a long time.

On the platform, a Chinese man runs small steps with a large basket suspended on his stomach. It’s full of sweets and fruits. In the end, my father approached him and asked (he spoke perfectly in Chinese) who he was looking for. It turned out that it was my grandfather Jasinski Jan who asked a Chinese friend to deliver fresh fruit for me. News spread that the train does not move, you can hear terrible crying again and you can see swollen faces. Apparently we are waiting for some people’s missing documents. Finally, we’re moving. We say goodbye to this wonderful city of Harbin inhabited by various nations. We leave the world of people who have not been bothered by our Catholic religion, other feasts and customs. Poles were allowed to have their Polish high school school, two Catholic churches and a cemetery on this foreign land. We had our Polish club, press, our little homeland. We say goodbye to China with their tolerance for other nations, with friendly people. We will never forget the Chinese people with whom our parents spent over forty years of their lives.

We are already at the Sino-Soviet border. Here we have to leave the Chinese wagons, which were very comfortable, covered with leather. They seat everyone in freight wagons. They place us on the upper shelf on bare wood. Above us there is the Stachurski family with three small children. In this way, they deployed everyone: several families to each wagon. My parents had bedding, so somehow we may have been less smothered. At the beginning of the trip, everything hurt. Before leaving, the Soviets organized a refreshment in the restaurant. Tables were pledged, but people approached this with some reserve. I saw the pledged tables only through the window, because it turned out that you had to pay for consumption.

During the trip we received one hot (in theory it was supposed to be) meal. Mostly it was a red borscht, but it was not always warm. Fortunately, my father bought a packed lunch. We had a search on the border. The soldiers who carried out searched for gold. In particular, they destroyed photographs that were torn up and trampled on their feet, and they took Chinese paper money (no value). He carried this money as a souvenir. The soldiers destroyed books, albums and maps. They also broke porcelain and lacquerware items. They were angry that there was no gold.

My father and two colleagues asked the train manager to slow down the driver near Lake Baikal. We could look at the section of the giant lake for a moment. The weather was nice, so the view of the lake was beautiful. The train was worst during the rain. The roof was not tight. The bedding was damp and cold. It was not possible to dry it. We were guarded by soldiers with rifles. At some point a train full of young, shaved bald boys convicted for political crimes rode up. They took them to labor camps in the depths of Siberia. For some time both trains stopped. My father and his friends quickly organized several packs of cigarettes and chocolate bars. It was necessary to distract the watchers. My father’s friends went to give the convicts cigarettes. The convicts managed to shift what they had. We only communicated with gestures. We finally traveled further and passed wonderful views, lush plants. The window in the wagon was small, but I counted 41 passing tunnels during the day.

According to the list of repatriates of the first turn, there were 299 adults, 74 children under 16 years. Together, 373 people returned to Poland initially, including 14 nuns. Apparently, they came to the monastery in Krakow. On July 29, we crossed the Polish border in Biała Podlaska.

 

Łucja Drabczak

czytaj więcej

Indian Roundtable – Poland’s Challenges and Opportunities in the Subcontinent

In recent years, India has been the fastest growing among the major countries' economies in the world. (...) In the coming decades, the Subcontinent's largest country may remain one of the pillars of global economic growth. This is one of the reasons why the country is already the most popular destination for Polish foreign investment in the Asian-Pacific region.

Global Security Initiative and Global Development Initiative: Two Wings for Building a Community with a Shared Future for Mankind

Peace and development as the call of our day again face severe challenges on a global scale, with more prominent instability, uncertainty and complexity

Opportunities and challenges of India’s G20 Presidency

Ada Dyndo conducts an interview with Shairee Malhotra on India’s role in G20. Shairee Malhotra serves as a Coordinator of the T20 India Taskforce on Reformed Multilateralism for India’s G20 presidency.

Women’s change in Uzbekistan

Uzbekistan, under the leadership of President Shavkat Mirziyoyev, has embarked on a path of reform. Almost daily, the media there report on new initiatives and projects. It is no coincidence that in December 2019 The Economist awarded Uzbekistan the country of the year title.

Saudi ‘Vision 2030’. How the Kingdom is using oil to end its economic overdependence on oil.

With the advent of clean energy technologies the Saudis realize they need to end their economic dependency on oil. ‘Vision 2030’ is a vast and complex plan that seeks to preserve Saudi Arabia’s regional power, economic prosperity, and - not the least - authoritarian rule in the post-oil future.

An “Asian NATO”: Chances and perspectives

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has reinvigorated NATO. Can the Chinese pressure on its neighbours, especially Taiwan, create an Asian equivalent of NATO?

The Dasgupta Review on Women and the Environmental Crisis

Commissioned in 2019 by the British government and published in February 2021, The Dasgupta Review has been likened to the 2006 Stern Review. Where the latter brought to widespread attention the many failings of the world economy in the face of global warming, the former makes similar points as regards biodiversity – and identifies the unique challenges faced by women.

Join us for the Adam Institute’s Latest Online Course

Conflict resolution models have been primarily crafted and codified by men. The Adam Institute for Democracy and Peace invites you to be part of that much-needed change through an experiential and innovative Online Course "Conflict Resolution in the Context of Gender".

India, China and the Shades of Grey

"We are at an inflection point in this century. Many of our traditional arrangements are failing. To achieve stability in this century we need to discover new solutions" - Interview with Samir Saran - Senior Fellow and Vice President at the Observer Research Foundation

Transcultural Winter School 2021 (8th of November — 12th of November)

This year’s research project TSRG 2021 as a collaborative initiative between Leadership Excellence Institute Zeppelin and the Boym Institute continued with a Transcultural Winter School in Zeppelin University, in Friedrichshafen.

Coronavirus outbreak in Poland – General information and recommendations for entrepreneurs

Kochański & Partners and the Boym Institute engaged in delivering information about latest after-effects of COVID-19 pandemia, which has begun to spread in Poland during the past days.

Coronavirus and climate policies: long-term consequences of short-term initiatives

As large parts of the world are gradually becoming habituated to living in the shadow of the coronavirus pandemic, global attention has turned to restarting the economy. One of the most consequential impacts of these efforts will be that on our climate policies and environmental conditions.

Patrycja Pendrakowska and Paweł Behrendt on navigating Sino-Polish relations

We are proud to annouce, that Patrycja Pendrakowska and Paweł Behrendt made a contribution to the latest project of the Baltic Security Foundation, The Jamestown Foundation and the Baltic-American Freedom Foundation.

“May you be the mother of a thousand sons” – the status of women in Indian society

The 1950 Indian Constitution introduced the principle of equal opportunities for gender equality, which grants women and men the same rights in family life, political, social and economic life. So why is it that nearly forty per cent of girls aged 15-17 do not attend school, the custom of dowry giving is still cultivated and prenatal sex selection is still a huge social problem? 

China’s Social Credit System – How will it affect Polish enterprises in China?

The Social Credit System currently being rolled out in China may pose significant organisational and legal challenges for both foreign and Polish entities operating in China. We invite you to read our report, prepared in cooperation between the Boym Institute and Kochanski & Partners.

Indonesia – between religion and democracy

Indonesia is the largest Muslim democracy in the world. Approximately 88% of the population in Indonesia declares Islamic religion, but in spite of this significant dominance, Indonesia is not a religious state.

San Zhong Zhanfa or Three Warfares. Chinese Hybrid Warfare

Cognitive operations are becoming an increasingly significant and common element of non-kinetic military operations. States and other political players deliberately manipulate the way their actions, those of their allies and those of their adversaries are perceived by the governments and societies of other international players.

A Story of Victory? The 30th Anniversary of Kazakh Statehood and Challenges for the Future.

On 25 May 2021, the Boym Institute, in cooperation with the Embassy of the Republic of Kazakhstan, organised an international debate with former Polish President Aleksander Kwaśniewski (1995-2005).

The strategic imperatives driving ASEAN-EU free trade talks: colliding values as an obstacle

Recently revived talks aimed at the conclusion of an inter-regional free trade agreement between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the European Union (EU) are driven by strategic imperatives of both regions.

Paweł Behrendt for 9DASHLINE: The South China Sea – from colonialism to the Cold War

We would like to inform, that 9DASHLINE has published article of Paweł Behrendt - the Boym Institute Analyst, in which he wrote about history of the South China Sea dispute over the 20th century.

Are “Climate Refugees” (Just) About Climate?

As the awareness of the scale and pervasiveness of climate impacts on human societies keeps rising, so does the frequency with which the terms “climate refugees” and “climate migrants” are being used in the public discourse “to describe those who are being displaced due to adverse consequences related to climate change” (Atapattu, 2020).

Taiwanese Perceptions of Russia’s Ukraine war

Since the invasion of Ukraine, the Taiwanese government remained committed to its position of condemnation for Russia, humanitarian support for Ukraine, and deep appreciation and admiration for the Ukrainian people’s will to defy power, resist aggression, and defend their nation.

#WomeninBoym Initiative

At the Boym Institute we are coming out with new initiative: #WomeninBoym, which aims to show the activity of this – often less visible – half of society. We will write about what women think, say and do. We will also publicise what women are researching and writing.

Kyrgyzstan on the Path to Political Stabilisation

On 10 January, early presidential elections were held in Kyrgyzstan, following the resignation of the incumbent, President Zheenbekov. The atmosphere in which the vote was conducted remained tense. This had been the case since the results of the October elections were announced, in which the opposition grouping failed to win a single parliamentary seat.