Ship No 17 (Wave 1)
The Stalin (Сталин)
Overview Of The Stalin
The Stalin was a lenin class tanker and was owned by Kasptanker.
It was one of the official ships (unofficial flotillas of fishing boats were also involved) organised by Stalin in 1942 at Krasnovodsk (Russian: Красноводск) (Modern day Türkmenbaşy) to transport Polish exiles (also mistakenly called "deportees") who had been held captive in Siberia/Kazakhstan labour camps over the Caspian Sea to Pahlevi (Pahlavi) now called Banzar-e Anzali which is in modern day Northwest Iran.
From passenger testimonies & any other available data this is a "best educated guess" of the ships movements.
- Embark: 1942 | Time: ?
- Depart: 04/04/42 (Tadeusz Szlenkier Charles) | Time: Morning (Back calculation using Romanko account)
- Arrive: 05/04/42 (Ross report) | Time: "Early hours" (Ross report point 20) & "very early in the morning" (Romanko)
Extract From "The Ross Report"
According to the Ross Report, here is who was on this ship;
- General Boruta Spiechowicz was present on this ship (Ross report point 19) .
- Account of Aleksander Romanko ( Link ) - "We were ecstatic when after four days of travel we reached Krasnowodsk, where we boarded a ship, which took us to Pahlavi a port in Persia (Iran). The journey across the Caspian Sea lasted twenty-four hours. Only the excitement and hope of freedom made this voyage bearable. Soldiers, women, and children were packed very close together. There was no water. A few dry food items had to satisfy our hunger. Many people were ill. The rickety boat reached Persia very early in the morning. We saw the sunrise on Easter Sunday 1942, and felt that along with Christ we also rose from the grave." (Editors Note: 5th April 1942 was Easter Sunday).
- Tadeusz Szlenkier Charles: Evacuated from ZSSR April 4, 1942, on the ship "Stalin" to Pahlevi.
- Account of Krystyna Tokarska (via facebook KS) - “At Krasnovodsk they were loading the ship with army soldiers first .... then civilians wherever there was room ....we sailed in the evening but it wasn’t night yet..... then the storm hit....we were laying on the floor .... we travelled not quite two days .... the sun was already high but it was not noon yet when we reached Pahlevi. This was Easter Saturday".
- Janek By Alick Dowling - "On the same day, April 2, Maundy Thursday, the ship steamed away from the Caspian Sea towards Persia. For three days and nights we spent the time lying around on the deck with dry rations and water being issued daily. I could not help recalling how different this trip was to my journey on the Russian coal boat from Archangelsk to Nar'yan Mar. Now everything was peaceful with no storms or sea-sickness - all accentuating the anticipated pleasure of the moment when we would finally leave Russia. For we were still on a Russian boat, sailing on a Russian sea. We arrived at bandar-e-Pahlavi early on Easter Day. After disembarking we marched a mile or so along the sandy beach before being told to set up camp for a few days. (Editors note: Interesting how he refers to calm seas and an uncrowded boat deck as well as daily water, these 3 things radically different from experiences of prior boats. He refers to being on the boat "3 days and nights", This would suggest the Stalin was quite a slow boat as there were no storms to impede it. Others crossed in half the time).