By Seyyed Mostafa Mousavi Sabet

Exhibits to premiere photos of WWII Polish refugees in Isfahan

September 3, 2017

TEHRAN – Two exhibitions, which will be organized in Tehran and Isfahan during October and November, will premiere a collection of photos of the Polish people who took refuge in the central Iranian city of Isfahan from the atrocities of the Soviets’ labor camps during World War II.   

This unique collection, which has never been presented or published before, has been prepared from the negatives discovered in the studio of Abolqasem Jala in Isfahan half a century after WWII by Parisa Damandan, a photographer and art historian who will curate the exhibitions, the Adam Mickiewicz Institute that is one of the organizers of the showcases announced in a press release.

The exhibitions titled “Lahestaniha [Poles], the Children of Isfahan Back in Iran after 75 Years” have been organized to mark the 75th anniversary of the arrival of the Polish refugees in Iran. 

White Gallery at Tehran’s Sadabad Palace will host the exhibition from October 6 to 31. The exhibition will then open at the Isfahan Museum of Contemporary Art on October 10 and will run through November 23.

The collection comprises photos depicting the Polish refugees in groups and singles in their daily life. Part of the collection also includes the portraits of the Poles Jala had taken at his atelier.

Several hundred thousand Polish people fled to the Soviet Union during World War II, but they fell victim to labor camps in that country.

A total of 116,000 the Polish people, 3,000 of whom were orphans, escaped from the Soviet Union to Iran, starting a new life in Isfahan.

“Their stay in Isfahan meant a complete change in their circumstances,” the Adam Mickiewicz Institute wrote. 

“After years spent in the steppes of Kazakhstan, the deserts of Turkmenistan and the taigas of Siberia, these Polish orphans found themselves in a fairy-tale oasis; Isfahan was like a paradise to them.”

The Adam Mickiewicz Institute, an affiliate of Poland’s Ministry of Culture and National Heritage, will organize the exhibitions with support from PGNiG, a Polish state-controlled oil and gas company, and the Embassy of Poland in Tehran.

Photo: A woman and two boys from the Polish people, which fled to the central Iranian city of Isfahan during WWII, pose in a photo by Iranian photographer Abolqasem Jala.



  • 2017-09-04 07:04
    I like to see the entire of this interesting exhibit about the migration of polish people to Iran in 1940s. Can you get all of it on YouTube. I am in Dallas area and it is not possible to see them.
  • 2017-09-05 21:51
    The great Persia now the great Iran 'wow? God bless Iran always and forever.

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