Jan Stepek's Siberian Cross

Press Release: Sikorski Polish Club, Glasgow October 2010

In 1940 the Soviet Union began the deportation of around 1.7 million Poles from their homes in Poland to sites of exile in the far reaches of the Soviet Union. Entire towns and communities were brutally deported to Siberia and Kazakhstan to Soviet forced labour camps. At least half were to perish from disease, starvation, and the harsh conditions.

The Sikorski Polish Club held an event to mark the 70th anniversary of these tragic times. Our main speaker was Martin Stepek who told the story of his own family's deportation experiences.
Consul General Tomasz Trafas presented the Siberian Cross award to five surviving members of our community who all suffered as a result of these deportations.

96 people attended our event on the 16th October 2010 which is the largest historical event our society has ever hosted.

Martin Stepek commented later "It was a pleasure and an honour to speak at the event. It meant so much to so many people who attended, to see their family member's struggle, loss and resilience recognised in this way.The atmosphere was superb - a sense of togetherness, sharing, empathy"

Award recipients: Danuta Bienkowski, Teresa Collins, Teresa McAllister, Julian Rybarczyk, Jan Stepek