Last April, I received a letter from the Memorial Center in Moscow—an organization I contacted in hopes of tracking down additional information about my great-uncle Genek, who was deported from Poland in 1941, along with his wife Herta, to one of Stalin’s Siberian gulags.
A woman by the name of Olga Cheriepova, a member of the Memorial Center’s Polish Committee, sent two responses to my inquiry, one written in Russian, and one in Polish. She’d found a record of Genek’s name, she said, and prompted me to contact the Ministry of Internal Affairs for details. What struck me the most about her letter wasn’t the fact that Genek’s records did, in fact, exist; it was her closing statement. It read:
As citizens of the country that was responsible for harm toward Poland and the Polish people, please accept our words of regret for the suffering and injustice sustained by…
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