260 repatriates settled in Poland in 2017, officials say
PR dla Zagranicy
A total of 260 ethnic Poles, descendants of those deported by the former Soviet Union, have returned to Poland in 2017, according to repatriation officials.
Image: "March to Siberia" by Polish painter and graphic artist Artur Grottger (1837-1867), [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
In 1936, the Soviet authorities decided to deport 70,000 Poles from their western territories to Kazakhstan, with a further wave deported following the Soviet annexation of eastern Poland in 1939.
Legislation to help these Poles and their descendants relocate to Poland was first passed in 2000, with an updated law passed earlier this year.
In addition to the 260 repatriates, there was also a group of 156 people from Kazakhstan, who arrived at the end of 2016 following an invitation from then Prime Minister Beata Szydło, officials said.
Anna Miller, one of the ethnic Poles from Kazakhstan, said: “I am very happy that I can experience Christmas in Poland.”
New legislation passed in December is expected to help increase the number of ethnic Poles moving to the country from which their family hails. The law increased financial support for eligible ethnic Poles to PLN 25,000 (EUR 5,950) per family, among other measures.
The law helps those deported by Soviet authorities, or their descendants, who are living in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan or the Asian parts of Russia.
The head of Poland’s repatriation authority, Aleksandra Ślusarek, said that following the legislation Poland could expect around a thousand repatriates a year.