Tehran was the heart of Polish evacuation activity and the center of
all the movements of assure appropriate conditions of stay and
evacuation of thousands of refugees under the management of the
Representation Office of the Ministry of Labor and Social Care of
the Republic of Poland.
Dulab Polish Cemetery in the eastern suburbs of Tehran covers three
fourths of the area of catholic cemetery in this city. The remaining
part is a catholic “international” cemetery, embracing the
graves of English, Czechs, French, Germans, Armenians and Italians.
As a property of the Government of France, it is managed by the
embassies of France and Italy and by the Archbishopric of
Roman-Catholic Church in Iran. The Polish part itself is managed by
the Embassy of the Republic of Poland in Tehran on the basis of a
notary act of property issued by Iranian Ministry of Justice to the
Polish authorities of those days in 1943.
Polish cemetery in Tehran is the main and the largest place of
burial of Polish refugees in Iran, in the period of World War II.
There are tombs of 1937 poles, including 409 soldiers and 528
civilians. Apart from 45 persons buried past 1945, the deceased are
refugees from the territory of Soviet Union in the period from 1942
to 1944. They passed away in hospitals and evacuation camps in
Tehran. The reasons of most of the demises were epidemic disease and
general exhaustion, caused by distressing experience in Soviet
lagers. Major parts of the departed were newborn children.
Polish part of the cemetery is remarkable for two stone stands, one
of them being engraved with the images representing the Jagellionian
eagle and the Virtuti Military War. A lane lined with pine trees
leads to this part of cemetery; it extends farther inside arriving
to a monumental statue topped with an iron cross. On front of the
statue, a commemorative stone plate with engraved emblem of the
Republic of Poland bears on inscription reading: ”In
remembrance of Polish expatriates having stayed here in God forever
on their way to Fatherland. 1942-1944.” There are plates with
identical inscriptions in French and Persian on the backside of the
Around the statue, being the central element of the cemetery, burial
grounds spread over with rows of graves. Every row includes a dozen
of graves in pale cement plate, engraved with durable marking with a
symbol of cross, name and first name, date of birth and death, and
additionally with military grade in the case of soldiers. The
cemetery is well maintained and it has subject to major repair
Furthermore, the cemetery is a place of burial of General Antoni
Radziwill de Borowski (deceased January 21, 1898) and architect
Professor Leszek Horodecki (deceased 3, 1930).
Polish Tombs in British Military Cemetery, Gholhak, Tehran
The mortal remains of Polish soldiers, dead in 1942 in Hamadan, and
buried in local cemeteries were transported to the Cemetery of
British Commonwealth Gholhak in Tehran in 1962.
Ten graves of Polish soldiers spread in row B and C and in Ground
No. 6, among the graves of British and Commonwealth soldiers, dead
in Iran during World War I and II. They are standard tombstones
similarly as in other British cemeteries, and are engraved with a
symbol of national emblem of the Republic of Poland.
The cemetery is located at the rear of summer residence of the
Ambassador of Great Britain in Iran. It is maintained very well,
being in regular custody of British diplomatic agency and
specialized institutions responsible for war shrines. The cemetery
has a central monument and a chapel.
Polish Plot in Jewish Cemetery, Tehran
There was a considerable group of Jews among the refugees coming to
Iran from Soviet Union. Essentially they stopped in Tehran, from
where they were evacuated progressively to other centers of
refugees. A part of them, both soldiers and civilians, terminated
their homeless itinerary on Iranian land. They were buried in
1942-1944, not only in Polish cemetery, but also in a separate
cemetery plot of Jewish community in Tehran. This cemetery still
belongs to the Jewish Community. As a result of unwritten agreement
between the Polish authorities of those days and the management of
the cemetery, the territory separated as a burial ground enjoys the
statues of a kind of “perpetual usufruct”.
Polish tombs are located on the border of Jewish Cemetery. The two
rows of graves are marked with bricks; each of 56 graves, being
decorated with a standard plate with David Star and inscription in
Polish language, indicating the name, first name, military grade and
date of birth and dead. Some of the graves are topped with plates
engraved with inscriptions in Polish and Hebrew; they were founded
by friends and relatives. No central plate or statue has been placed
on the cemetery so far. In 2002, the Council of Protection of War
and Martyrdom Remembrance plans to fix a monument in remembrance of
Polish Jews buried there, upon agreement with the management of the
Polish Plot in Armenian Cemetery, Anzali (former Pahlavi)
While making their way to freedom from various parts of Soviet
Union, Polish refugees crossed Krasnovodsk and Caspian Sea to reach
Anzali Port. In 1942, that port became a gate of liberty for
thousands of Poles. Furthermore, it was the first city on the
wandering route, where Poles themselves and British took care of
starving exiles. As a result of agreement with Soviet authorities,
Anzali became the most wanted place for thousands of Polish refugees
in that period. Upon a short quarantine, the refugees were
transported from Anzali to camps of evacuation in Tehran, Ahwaz and
other Iranian cities.
Thanks to the personal intervention of Colonel Alexander Ross, the
representative of MERRA (Middle East Relief and Refugee
Administration), Polish and British bases of evacuation were
established in Anzali, capable of receiving some 2500 refugees a day
from Soviet Union. Thanks to the cooperation with Polish and
American Red Cross organizations, the bases could receive two large
evacuation lots including the soldiers and civilians in March, April
and August 1942. The Command of Camp of Evacuation No. 1 in Anzali
and the Personnel performing superhuman work made it possible to
save many human beings, above all children, who were coming in utter
exhaustion on ships full of refugees.
In spite of this aid and care of Polish and British people, many
refugees, however, remained forever in Anzali. They were buried in
Polish plot of the Local cemetery of Armenian Community in Anzali.
The staff and Colonel Stanislaw, Chief Commander of Liquidation
Committee of Camp of Evacuation No. 1 took personal care of the
arrangement of the cemetery. In November 1942, Mr. Karol Bader, the
contemporary legate of the Republic of Poland acknowledged those
efforts in writing: ”Your attitude full of reverence towards the
last resting place of those of our compatriots, who did not live to
see the return to their Fatherland will be a visible evidence of the
efforts Polish Government keeps making unremittingly in order to
protect all Polish citizens, whom the war expatriated from their
domiciles and threw in very hard conditions.”
Polish authorities acquired the territory to arrange Polish Plot
from the management of Armenian Community in Anzali, by concluding
appropriate agreement with Armenian Community in 1942. The plot was
a larger part of Armenian cemetery. In 1942, 639 Poles were buried
there (163 soldiers and 476 civilians). They died upon arrival to
Anzali. The cemetery was surrounded by a high wall, with an iron
gate, with brick portal engraved with an inscription reading: “Polish
Cemetery”. Moreover, a stone cross was placed on the portal
flanked by two stone Jagellonian Eagles.
The graved with wooden crosses are placed on four grounds of burial
of identical area. Long ago, there was a modest plate in the center
with an inscription reading:
Exiled from their Homeland by shear force
returning homesick to their nests
gnawed by penury and disease
had to sleep here in foreign soil.
According to other sources, the inscription was different:
”Pray God for souls of Polish soldiers, women, men and children
removed from their Fatherland, making their way home consequent to
exile, prisons and camps, deceased on foreign land and buried here”.
In 1955, the diplomatic agency of the Polish People’s Republic
reconstructed the cemetery and modified simultaneously the
decoration of the graves. Tombstones in pink cement, with names of
the buried, were made then similarly as in the cemetery in Tehran.
Furthermore, rows and alleys between the graves were traced out and
the territory was planted with hedges.
In 1964, on the initiative of Polish diplomatic agency, the
deteriorated memorial plate was replaced and on that occasion, the
inscription was changed. It reads now: “In remembrance of
Polish soldiers, women, men and children coming back home, dead on
foreign land and buried here in 1942”.
The cemetery in Anzali is the second largest Polish cemetery in
Iran. Today, on the initiative of the Council of Protection of War
and Martyrdom Remembrance and the Embassy of the Republic of Poland
in Tehran, the cemetery has been subject to throughout repair works.
Polish Plot in Catholic-Chaldean Cemetery, Ahwaz
Ahwaz, one of the oldest Persian cities was a temporary halting
place for Polish refugees in their war-time peregrination. In
1942-1945, a transition camp was operated there to receive thousands
of Polish soldiers, civil population and children, since that place
opened to the routes to Polish military troops in Iraq and Palestine
and mostly to civil refugee camps operated in Lebanon, India and
Africa and other overseas.
The camp in Ahwaz was organized in early 1942, by British
authorities, planning to admit the refugees from the Soviet Union
and the transports of troops. Implicitly, it was a military camp
(called Polish Camp) at the beginning, divided into Camps No. 1, 2
The liquidation of the Military Camp of Evacuation followed the
transport of Polish soldiers to the Middle East. Ahwaz became a new
refugee center managed by the Officer of Hardstand and by the Agency
of Representation Office of the Legate of Labor and Social Care of
the Republic of Poland. Polish infant school, primary school and
general education grammar school were established there, not to
mention other organizations such as the Association of Polish
Teachers, Scouting Organizations, the Branch of Culture and
Education, English-Polish Organization, and Polish Library.
Furthermore, the distribution of Polish press was organized. Polish
camps closed in 1945. Not until January 30th, 1946,
however, got the last Polish school in Ahwaz liquidated, thus
closing the chapter of Polish exile in that city.
The toms of Poles, deceased during their stay in Ahwaz, started to
appear in 1942 on the plot within the boundaries of the Catholic-Chaldean
Cemetery. 102 Poles are buried there (80 civilians and 22 soldiers).
The graves were marked with standard tombstones similarly as those
in Tehran cemetery. In front of the burial grounds, there are two
graves with crosses and without inscriptions.
A plate with an epitaph reading ”In remembrance of the Poles
dead far from their Fatherland in 1942-1945” was places only
in 1965. The cemetery is poorly maintained and unattended-to.
Polish Plot in Armenian Cemetery, Isfahan
The city lies at the life-giving Zayandeh-roud river, at the foot of
rocky Zagros mountain range, with local summit Sofeh mountain,
surrounded by enormous hilly and wild desert. It lies more than 1500
meters over the sea level and enjoys continental climate. Quiet and
somnolent wartime, Isfahan had already its high days over.
In 1942 however, it came back to life as an asylum for Polish
refugees, arriving from the “ruthless land”. The preparation
works to admit first groups of refugees were started just in March
1942, with the assistance of the British Council. On April 10th,
the first group of 250 orphans and half-orphans of different ages
came to Isfahan. The group included a number of teachers and tutors,
two Ursuline sisters and Reverend Franciszek Tomasik. As time went
by, this small center grew up to include 2600 children. In
1942-1945, some 2000 children passed through Isfahan, called then
“the city of Polish children”. Some of the children lived there
from the beginning until the moment of closure, other stayed there
shortly until the time of departure to Africa or to New Zealand.
The fact that such a big group of children was installed in Isfahan
was due to intention of locating as many as possible orphans in
better climate and living conditions. They had to recover their
health and forces as soon as possible, having gone through strenuous
experience in Soviet Union.
The children lived in orphanages, called “institutions”, to
avoid painful connotations with recent loss of their parents. The
Institution No. 1, called commonly “Number One”, was established
in a mansion, leased from Persian Prince Soremidoule, and it was
located at the western border of the city. The Institution No. 2
(Number Two) was located in the convent of French Sisters of
Charity. The Institution No. 3 (Number Three) was in the house of
Swiss St. Lazar Fathers. These first three boarding schools were the
origins of “Polish Isfahan”, which grew up progressively to
include 21 institutions.
In catholic institutions, the children were maintained by the
Apostolic See; in other centers, the sponsor was the Government of
the Republic of Poland, on whose behalf the representatives of the
Ministry of Labor and Social care were working there.
Still growing a number of children coming to Isfahan was the reason
why the houses on the other bank of Julfa River, in Armenian
district, were leased thanks to the kindness of Armenian Bishop
The city was vibrant with Polish life. Upon arrival of Polish
children, the nursery schools, primary and grammar schools, as well
as classical colleges started to operate; for the purposes of
education, necessary manuals were copied and scouting was organized.
The Association of Polish Teachers was active, presided by John
Krzewinski. Apart from schools in Isfahan, a convalescent house was
opened, and more important, Polish Health Service was organized.
Furthermore, Polish bakery and workshops such as carpenter,
shoemaker and metalworker was opened, and even Polish baths on Julfa
zone. The Security Service, employing six men, was responsible for
law and order. Everyday press communications were edited and Polish
press such as “Orzel Bialy” (White Eagle), “Parada”
(Parades) and “Polak w Iranie” (Pole in Iran) was distributed.
Officially the center was called “Isfahan Civil Camp No. 4”.
From October 1942, all the institutions were managed by Polish
Agency of the Ministry of Labor and Social Care of the Republic of
Poland, responsible also for the care of Polish population. The
agency was headed in succession by Tadeusz Dymowski, Eugeniusz
Mancewisz from October 1942, and Stanislaw Winiarczyk, Ph. Dr. from
1945 was the last year in the history of “Polish Isfahan”. Its
liquidation began with closure of some institutions and progressive
evacuation of inhabitants although people lived a normal life there,
until June 1645. In July, the college graduates (girls) left to
study in Lebanon (through Tehran and Ahwaz). Further transports
followed in September and October 12th, 1945, thus
closing the history of “Polish Isfahan” evacuated to Lebanon,
nearly all together as solicited by the Polish authorities.
The tombs of Poles, who did not succeed in coming back to their
Homeland, were left in Isfahan. Armenian Cemetery, where Polish
tombs are spread, among foreign ones is located between Julfa River
and the foot of Mount Sofe. Polish graves lies on a separated plot
at the eastern border of the cemetery, at main alley dividing the
cemetery. The plot is surrounded by a rather low wall. At its right
border, there are two rows of individual graves. The plot includes
18 graves (1 military an 17 civilians) altogether.
The principal element of the Polish plot is a central granite
monument with Piast Eagle, engraved on it. The eagle is crowned and
it has an image of Czestochowa Holy Mother on its chest. Below an
”Compatriots in Remembrance of Polish Exiles”.
In front of the monument, a concrete base supports a tombstone of
Tadeusz Mironowicz, the legate of the King of Poland, dead on Dec.
26, 1686. The inscription engraved on the stone, reads:
”Sinner THEODOR MIRANOWICZ lies here, legate of His Majesty
King of Poland, December 26th, 1986”.
The inscription in Polish language is preceded by a blurred
inscription in old Arabiab language, reading:
”By the intention of God Feodor Miranowicz, Legate of His
Majesty King of Poland”.
Polish Plot in Catholic-Chaldean Cemetery, Qazvin
The city lies in a hilly region on the route from Anzali to Tehran.
The region was once a limit of Soviet infiltration into Iran. On
March 24, 1943, Soviet authorities agreed to establish British and
Polish bases of evacuation in Qazvin, among other locations.
Hundreds of Polish civilian refugees arrived there, including
Polish plot with tombs of 40 Polish refugees (29 civilians and 11
soldiers) was organized in 1942 in Catholic-Chaldean Cemetery, being
the property of religious community in Qazvin. Polish graves are
located close to each other in the first segment at the entrance of
When Polish citizens left Qazvin, the Polish Plot remained
completely unattended-to. According to the cataloguing of 1993, it
was an empty ground with barely visible online of the grave shapes,
having no durable tombstones. The reason of this condition was the
fact that the graves were never refurbished and in 1955, the
employees of the legation of Polis People’s Republic refused to
share the costs of fencing and repair works with the owners of the
cemetery. Close to the Polish Plot were the British Plot and a
monument in remembrance of death of some Soviet soldiers.
Polish Plot in Catholic-Chaldean Cemetery, Khoram-shahr
Khoram-shahr is a port in southern-western part of Iran, opening at
the Persian Gulf, 90 Km away from Ahwaz and less from Basra. The
neighboring Iraq frontier was the reason why Khoram-shahr became a
point of transit for Polish soldiers, going to Basra and further in
the territory of Iraq to the quarters of Polish troops. It was also
a part from where the refugees were evacuated to India, East Africa
and other overseas.
Polish graves are located on a small plot of Catholic-Chaldean
Cemetery belonging to local religious community. Five Polish
soldiers and officers were buried there. Their names were found in
the book of the Defunct. Yet since the time of establishment of the
cemetery, these data were not checked against the number of graves.
The cemetery has not been visited so far and its present conditions
In many official documents and publications on this topic, the name
of locality has been misspelled as Khoram-abad, located in central
Polish Plot in Armenian Cemetery, Meshed
Meshed is a locality at the foot of mountains in northeast Iran. It
is famous for pilgrimage of pious Islam confessors. In 1942-1943, it
became a peaceful haven and safe harbor for Polish homeless
children. In 1942, Meshed became a point on another less known route
of Poles from Soviet Union. It was a land road leading from Ashhabad
through Kopet Dag Mountains to Meshed and further to Tehran or to
1704 children altogether arrived there overland, weak from
starvation and diseases, exhausted by extreme trials. 675 of them
were sent farther through Zahedan to India. At a later date, the
remaining children were sent to three camps, organized near Tehran.
In Meshed, the children were placed in the rooms of Persian
orphanage, becoming Polish center for that time. It was administered
by Mrs. W. Jasiewiczowa, a perfect manager, and Reverend Zygmunt
Sep-Jagielnicki was nominated chaplain. Apart from school
activities, Mrs. Janina Ptakowa took care of scouting. She was a
teacher. Having lost her own child in Soviet Union, she bestowed all
her maternal affection upon the orphans arriving to Meshed.
In 1943, the orphanage was evacuated progressively. On March 6th,
a large transport of children started on a journey from Meshed to
India, and in September, the last group of children left Meshed,
going mostly to Tehran to the Institution No. 7 and 7A among other
centers. The children, who didn’t find their parents or were
unable to join their brothers and sisters, were sent back to Isfahan.
The works on arrangement of Polish cemetery, being a plot in the
cemetery of Armenian community in Meshed, were started still in
1942. Mr. Tadeusz Liciecki, Vice-Council of the Republic of Poland
in Bombay, who was on a temporary stay in Meshed (he organized there
the transports of Polish children to India), acquired free of charge
the place for Polish graves from the management of Armenian Church
in August 1942. The first graves were those of Polish children. The
costs of arrangement of the cemetery and construction of graves for
children were covered from the means of the Consulate of the
Republic of Poland in Bombay, while the Military Base of Evacuation
in Tehran took care of the costs of Polish soldiers’ tombs.
All the works were executed in compliance with the plans under
personal supervision of Mr. T. Lisiecki. The graves were localized
at the border of Armenian cemetery on a separated fence plot. The
masonry of individual graves were set on a cement mortar and next
lined with stone. Every grave had its own cross, first wooden and
next stone, with personal data on the defunct. In the center of
Polish plot, a group grave was constructed for these young girl
scouts, who died in a road accident near Quchan on September 13th,
1942. Ignacy Korman and second lieutenant Tadeusz Izycki from the
transport of delegates from Russia lost their lives in the same
accident. Mr. Izycki was fatally wounded and died the following day
On the group grave of the girls, a plate was placed with inscription
reading: “Polish scout girls dead tragically in a road accident
near Quchan on September 13th, 1942” and showing
the names of the girls: Dunata Stidnicka 1927-1942, Aldona Trypuc
1922-1942, Waclawa Kaczmarska 1926-1942. According to local
Armenian people however, seven girls were buried there instead of
In 22 Polish individual graves and one group grave 29 persons were
buried altogether: homeless children, civilians and soldiers.
In 1943 in Meshed, a conference was held, attended by the
representative of the legation of the Republic of Poland in Tehran
and the Agency of the Representative Office of the Ministry of Labor
and Social Care, Mr. Franciszek Bala, Reverend Z. Sep-Jagielnicki
and Colonel M. Sc. Eng. Edward Perkowicz, Commander of the Garrison
and Base of Evacuation and Maintenance in Meshed. During the
conference, a corporate discussion took place on the “issue how to
set the Polish cemetery in Meshed in order as soon as possible”.
In March 1943, the issues relating to the cemetery as well as other
issues pertinent to the Polish refugees in Meshed were taken over by
After the war, the graves were not repaired for a long time. Not
until 1958 did the management of the Armenian Cemetery take care of
maintenance. In the spring of 1963, the cemetery was rebuilt
thoroughly under the supervision of Polish engineers, employed in
the sugar plant in Shirvan.