Public lecture: Poles as ‘Enemies of the People’ – the Polish Operation of the NKVD in 1937–1938

We are pleased to invite you to the public lecture Poles as ‘Enemies of the People’ – the Polish Operation of the NKVD in 1937–1938, presented by Tetiana Kovalenko (V. N. Karazin Kharkiv National University, Ukraine & German Historical Institute in Warsaw, Poland), which will take place on Tuesday, 25 April 2023 at 4 p.m. at the Polish Institute in Prague (Malé Nám. 1, Prague 1). The lecture will be held in English. The event is organized by the Institute of Contemporary History CAS and the Institute of History SAS in cooperation with the Polish Institute in Prague.

The Polish Operation of the NKVD was a part of the Great Terror policy in the USSR in 1937–1938. It became the largest of the NKVD’s national operations. Terror has reached a qualitatively new level, i.e. the implementation of ethnic repression, when the basis for the arrest, and then often the execution of a person was only his/her national origin, the presence of relatives in Poland or just contacts with the Poles. Members of families of these “enemies of the people” were also convicted on groundless accusations of counter-revolutionary activity and thus became victims of terror. During the Polish operation of the NKVD about 140 thousand people were sentenced, 111 091 of them to death. The broken fates of entire families are behind these figures. Full declassification of the Ukrainian archival documents allowed studying the course and consequences of this purposeful campaign of extermination of the Polish population. This paper will analyse the features of the Polish operation of the NKVD in Kharkiv region.


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