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< Holocaust Denial and Antisemitism in Iran

Oral Histories from World War II Refugees in Iran


Stanley Kiersnowski

Stanley Kiersnowski was born into a Polish aristocratic family on August 17, 1926, in Wilno, Poland (now Vilnius, Lithuania). His family was deported to Siberia by the Soviets in June 1941. Stanley, his mother, and sister were separated from his father. He later learned that his father died in a gulag. Stanley moved to a collective farm and was freed by the Soviet police. He followed the Polish army south, eventually to Tehran, Iran. He also traveled through Pakistan and Palestine. He eventually reunited with his mother and sister, who also spent time in Iran. His sister moved to the United States in 1946, and Stanley and his mother followed in 1948.

Witold Pawlikoski

Witold Pawlikowski was born on May 5, 1931, in Lódz, Poland. He was an only child. In 1939 Witold and his parents moved to Dolina, Poland. Witold's father was part of the Polish military, and when the Soviets occupied the country, he was arrested. He died in captivity. In 1941, Witold and his mother were transported by cattle car to Kazakhstan, where they spent time on a collective farm. After the agreement between Poland and the Soviet Union was signed, Witold and his mother were free to leave, and they followed the newly formed Polish army south. They spent time in Tehran, Iran, Lebanon, and Great Britain before immigrating to the United States in 1951.

Adam Szymel

Adam Szymel was born on January 21, 1928. in Berezowiec, Poland (now Belarus). He was one of four children. His family was Catholic. His father was arrested after the Soviet invasion of Poland. He was never heard from again. A few weeks after his father's arrest, the rest of Adam's family was arrested and transported by freight car to Siberia. After the Polish-Soviet agreement, the Poles were freed from camps, and Adam and his mother, grandmother, and siblings left Siberia, eventually making it to the port of Krasnovodsk in Turkmenistan. They made it to Iran and from there traveled to Iraq. Adam and his brother went to Palestine to attend a Polish military school, and the rest of the family was sent to a refugee camp in India. Adam, his mother, and siblings all immigrated to England, and in 1954, his family immigrated to the United States. Adam's grandmother went back to Poland from India after the war.