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The lived experiences of deportation to the Soviet Union during World War II among Polish civilians

Szmygiel, U. (2020). The lived experiences of deportation to the Soviet Union during World War II among Polish civilians. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City, University of London)


This study explores the lived experiences of the deportation of Polish civilians to the Soviet Union during World War II. The focus of the study also relates to the potential of deportation-related trauma of Polish civilians. Ten survivors of deportation to the Soviet Union participated in the study and were interviewed using semi-structured interviews. Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) was utilised to analyse the participants’ accounts, which were transcribed. Three superordinate themes emerged from the data: Transition from one life to another; ‘I was trying my best to survive’; and ‘Who hasn’t been there, will be, and those who have been there won’t forget’- a long-lasting legacy of deportation. The study's findings are examined concerning the broader literature, and connections are made with the theoretical models related to trauma. Moreover, the findings inform existing research on the pathological aspects relating to deportation. The implications of the results for counselling psychologists’ practice and training are presented and discussed. In addition, implications for further research are also discussed.

Keywords: mass-trauma, Soviet Union deportation, Siberian labour camps, Holocaust survivors, post-traumatic stress disorder, post-traumatic growth, testimony, war trauma, genocide, IPA.

Publication Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Departments: Doctoral Theses
Doctoral Theses > School of Arts and Social Sciences Doctoral Theses
School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Psychology
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