The 1st Independent Polish Parachute Brigade
(1 Samodzielna Brygada Spadochronowa)
Ship No 12 (Wave 2)
Overview Of The Kaganowicz
The Kaganowicz was a XXXXX and was owned by XXXX
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: 1942 | Time:
- Arrive: 22/08/42 | Time:
Extract From "The Ross Report"
According to the Ross Report, here is who was on this ship;
- When God Looked The Other Way" - Wesley Adamczyk, Chaper 17 - "Representantives of both the NKVD and the Polish army stood by the gangplanks checking lists of names....by noon we were ready for departure. The Kaganovich carried almost forty-five hundred Polish soldiers and civilians, dangerously exceeding it's tonnage capacity." (Editors Note: In wave 2 there were several sailings of the Kaganovich, based on the quoted amount of passengers in this account we have guessed it as being Ship 12. Of interest is that the author mentions the NKVD as well as the Polish having lists of passengers. If only we could locate these!)
- "https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/Kresy-Siberia/conversations/messages/59493 - JOAN E-T" - "My husband, Aleksander Topolski, crossed thee Caspian Sea on the crowded deck of the oil tanker Kaganovich. I gather it sailed August 31, 1942 and was the last Soviet ship to carry Polish soldiers and refugees to freedom in Pahlevi. Aleks describes his voyage in the last pages of "Without Vodka" (2001)."
- Account Of L/Ac Roman Vladimir Skulski - "On 4th August 1942 he was assigned to a tank battalion and nine days later the Poles left Guzar and returned to Krasnovodsk where, on 19th August 1942 they boarded the Russian vessel Kaganovych bound for Pahlevi in Persia (now Enzeli in Iran). Whilst there he became the victim of a series of nasty illnesses; firstly it was malaria and then a bout of dysentery followed by yellow jaundice and then a serious eye infection which virtually blinded him – this was caused by a sea water parasite picked up whilst bathing. Soon after leaving hospital he volunteered to go to England to join the Polish Air Force in Exile. After several aptitude tests and spending some time in Iraq, he left for England on 4th February 1943 and boarded the ship Islami at Basra bound for Bombay (now Mumbai) in India. A week after arriving there he boarded the ship Mariposa which travelled to England via Cape Town, South Africa. He finally arrived at the Polish Depot at Blackpool on 30th March 1943 and was transferred to the Elementary Flying Training School at RAF Hucknall where he also began to learn English. He then moved to Brighton, Sussex for further training and in May 1943 he began training as a pilot."
- When God Looked The Other Way (Wesley Adamczyk) Page 131-137) - "The sun shone brightly on the morning of our departure. The Soviet freighter Kaganovich stood at the dock to receive us. Representatives of the NKVD and the Polish Army stood by the gangplanks checking lists of names. Mother made sure we were on the Polish list to board the Kaganovich, just in case we were not on the NKVD list..By noon we were ready for departure. The Kaganovich carried almost forty-five hundred Polish soldiers and civilians, dangerously exceeding its tonnage capacity...The voyage lasted almost two days and when we arrived the Kaganovich was not allowed to enter the port. Because the deck along both sides of the ship was covered with human waste, the Persians feared that it would spread disease. So we anchored offshore and boarded British naval barges for the last part of our journey...Still we stepped down from the British barge on that hot, sunny day in late August 1942.