Soviet Deportations in Children’s and Young Adult Literature

Mateusz Swietlicki , University of Wroclaw (Institute of English Studies)
Sylwia Kaminska-Maciag, University of Wroclaw

Although their history dates back to the sixteenth century and the policies of Tsarist Russia, in the cultural memory of Central and Eastern Europe, Siberian exiles are usually associated with the Gulag and the policies of Lenin and Stalin during the Revolution, collectivization, the Great Terror, and the Second World War. As a result of the mass repressions, millions of adults and children of various nationalities, including Poles, Ukrainians, Lithuanians, and Russians, were deported to remote areas of the Soviet Union, such as Siberia, the Ural Mountains, and Kazakhstan. The article examines children’s and young adult books about these deportations which not only showcase the totalitarian character of Stalinism but also contrast human brutality with the goodness and innocence of nature surrounding the child protagonists transported deep into the USSR. Thus, the novels’ chronotope seems to convey the testimony of traumatic events in the history of post-Soviet nations and provide young readers with a sense of hope epitomized by the vastness of the snows of Siberia.

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 Presented in Session 193. Children on the Move