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Young Soldiers Cadet School (1942-1948)

Courtesy of Walter Remiarz

The Polish army under the command of General Wladyslaw Anders was formed in the Soviet Union after the signing of the Sikorski-Maisky Pact in July 1941 and was referred to as Anders’ Army.

In the fall of 1941, the gulag camps, a system of Soviet labor camps and accompanying detention, transit camps, and prisons, started releasing Polish citizens who tried to reach the Polish army. Among them were thousands of Polish children and teenagers who survived the Soviet Gulag. Officially, the underage youth could not join the Polish army, but they went to the recruitment centers in Vorkuta, Kolomyia, Karaganda, and Krasnoyarsk to seek protection from the Soviet regime. Some came with their relatives, and some came alone. Many children were orphans desperately searching for their relatives or friends in the army. For them, the Anders Army in the Soviet Union was a piece of Poland. They could not be abandoned. General Anders formed Junak [pl: cadet} schools to formalize the affiliation of underage youth with the army.

Photo from Walter Remiarz archive

Young Soldiers Cadet School

In August 1942, the Junak schools transformed into Young Soldiers Cadet School or JSK (Junacka Szkoła Kadetów). JSK operated between 1942 and 1948 and was part of the 3rd Carpathian Rifle Division. After the Polish army moved to central Asia, these schools moved to Uzbekistan, and later the fighting units moved to Iran, Iraq, and Palestine. The headquarters