Between 1939 and 1941, the Soviet authorities deported hundreds of thousands of Polish citizens from Poland’s eastern province occupied by the Soviet Union at the beginning of the World War II. A large part of the deportees did not survive the “Siberian odyssey.” These tragic facts became an important element of the Polish collective memory and the national historical narrative. Yet historians disagree on how many people were deported and how many died in “the inhuman land.” Was this a class war derived from the Marxist ideology of the Soviet leaders or an ethnic cleansing related to their imperialistic strategies? The following article presents and analyzes historical and contemporary estimates, which vary between about 400,000 and over 1.5 million deportees and prisoners. The article also describes the deportations in the context of the prewar Soviet policies toward the Polish minority in the USSR and claims that

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