In a village outside Tashkent lie the graves of 46 Polish men and women, who amid the tumult of the Second World War, experienced grueling deaths in this corner of Central Asia.
At the behest of the Polish Embassy, residents of Almazar these days tend to the neat burial plots — reminders of the thousands of Poles who perished in Uzbekistan during the wartime years.
Most Uzbeks know little to nothing about what brought the Polish officers, soldiers and civilians to their land. Their story begins in 1939 with the Soviet-Nazi nonaggression pact and the accompanying partition of Poland. In the two years that followed, untold numbers of Poles were deported from the Soviet zone. There is no consensus on how many Poles were uprooted and sent eastward, but estimates vary from around 320,000 to as high as 1 million.
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