Although Russian propaganda would have us believe that only criminals were sent to Siberia, this simply isn't true
Although Russian propaganda would have us believe that only criminals were sent to Siberia, this simply isn't true. Russia has been sending Poles to Siberia for over two hundred years - and as recently as 1940 in the early part of World War II. Although they where exiled for many reasons, it was basically anyone that was deemed a threat to the Russians. Along with them came their families, so women and children were also imprisoned in the frozen wasteland.
Polish films that touch upon the issue of sybiracy (Polish exiles sent to Siberia) are extremely rare. Anything that would put Russia in a bad light was sure to be discouraged (or outright forbidden) during the Soviet occupation of Poland, so until recently it was impossible to touch this topic. But interestingly enough, there is a film made before the war about the Siberian experience. To Siberia (Na Sybir), directed by Henryk Szaro in 1930, is remarkable and worth watching because of the subject it addresses.
The film begins with a man giving us some historical context, but from there just about the rest is a silent movie, which may take some patience for today's audiences. However, Na Sybir stands out compared to other Polish films from the 1930s as one of the most exciting and suspenseful I have watched. There are a couple action scenes, such as a shootout and a chase scene, which make the film very suspenseful. So while we may have to read a screen of text to see what they are saying, this film is worth the effort.
The story takes place in 1905 and shows us a glimpse of an earlier Russian occupied Poland. After the assignation of the Governor-General, the Russian authorities in Warsaw are bent on finding the conspirators. Ryszard (Adam Brodzisz) is a Polish patriot that is considered a terrorist to the Russians and a hero to the Poles. He manages to find time to fall in love with a woman named Rena before being caught. The Russians know he was part of the plot, but do not know exactly how much he was involved, so he is sentenced to exile in Siberia. But his sweetheart Rena doesn't stand still while he is sent away, so she follows him to Siberia.
There is something dreadful in the whole idea of sending people to some icy prison. I have sympathy for the men, women and children that were doomed to starvation, disease, and the harsh conditions of Siberia. Many of them were true Polish patriots and this loss should not be forgotten. Those who made it back to Poland and didn't perish equally amaze me.
0 of 1 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?