Iran - Poland 540 Years of Diplomatic Relations

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Iran, Poland Honor 540th Anniversary Of Relations

The conference of commemorating 540th anniversary of Iran-Poland relations was held in Warsaw .

The event was organized by Iran’s embassy and with the cooperation of Poland National Archive and was attended by Ramin Mehman Parast, Iran’s Ambassador to Poland, Stamp Niak, the Head of Poland National Archive, Sheratiks, the Public Diplomacy General Manager of Poland Foreign Ministry, and some cultural figures and officials.

Mehman Parast, noting the longstanding relations of Tehran and Warsaw, said both countries are trying to enjoy this history to reinforce and expand the ties.

Emphasizing the importance of private section cooperation, he added: “Iran and Poland can cooperate to create new markets in Europe and Asia.”

He also pointed the different plans of expanding the ties and expressed hope to see the establishment of direct flight between Tehran and Warsaw in near future.

Polish Official, for his part, stressed the long history of Iran-Poland relations and the presence of 120 thousands Polish emigrants in Iran, calling it “the greatest European emigration.”

“Our bilateral relation has always been based on mutual respect and we look for continuation and multidimensional expansion of ties with Iran,” he added.

The exhibition of 540 years of political relations and related documents and showing a documentary film about Polish emigrants in Iran were among the programs of the gathering. The event was wrapped up by signing the MoU of archival cooperation between Iran and Poland.

History of Polish-Iranian Relations

Witold Śmidowski

Political and cultural relations between Poland and Persia begun centuries ago. In 1474 Amborgio Contarini, the envoy of Venetia, delivered to the Polish king Casimir Jagiellonian  a letter Shah Uzun Hassan. The first documented visit of a Polish envoy, namely Sefer Muratowicz, took place in 1602. Among other duties he was tasked to buy carpet for the Polish court.

The diplomatic political agenda included coordination of actions in opposition to the Ottoman Empire as well as the protection of Christians in Persia by Persian shahs and Polish kings. A Polish priest Tadeusz J. Krusiński, was requested by Persian authorities to assist in the creation of the first Iranian diplomatic archives.

In our joint history we can find several unique moments that show our mutual respect and friendship. Persia and Turkey were the only two countries that never recognized the partition of Poland in 1795.

There were couples of individuals that after the accomplishment of their duties for the Foreign Service stayed on to live and work in Persia. To mention but a few, there was Aleksander Chodźko, romantic poet and Russian consul to Rasht; Ignacy Pietraszewski – the renowned interpreter of Avesta and Karol Bohdanowicz, who pioneered the geological survey of the Khorasan Mountains.

A Poland reborn, having its independence restored, was determined to renew its contacts with Iran. In 1927 a Treaty of Friendship was concluded and the legations of Persia in Warsaw and Poland in tehran were established.

The period between the First World War and the Second World War was a time of revival of bilateral relations. Polish businessman and companies showed a deep interest in cooperating with their Iranian counterparts, especially in the oil, glassware, leather, food processing and furniture industries.

This natural process of mutual interaction was dramatically enhanced with the appearance of some 116,000 refugees from the Soviet Union in 1942, who found safe-haven on Iranian soil during the Second World War.

Without the exaggeration this was the largest European migration trough Iran. Eighty-five thousand Polish soldiers quickly left Iran for Iraq and Palestine, eventually going on to Italy.

But Polish civilians stayed longer in Iran, some for a whole lifetime. Polish people were welcomed and treated with friendliness by Iranians. We are grateful for this assistance, extended by Iranians and we remain mindful of this moment in our memory.

Based on: Witold Śmidowski, foreword to a publication  “Poland Persia”

Polish cemeteries in Iran

In the period of March - September 1942 Polish Armed Forces were evacuated from the Soviet Union into Iran, and than to Iraq and Palestine. Among about 114 thousand people, there were 25 thousand civilians including more than 13 thousand children.

For those civilians Iran became for more than two years the second home, especially for children of whom considerable part were orphans. In Isfahan there were almost twenty boarding schools established for them.

State of health of majority of repatries was very bad. Weakness and epidemic diseases have caused many deaths. There are two Polish cemeteries, six Polish sections and several single Polish graves at different cemeteries in Iran - all together 2806 graves, including 650 military graves (none of the Polish officers and soldiers buried in Iran was killed in action - they died of weakness and epidemic diseases):

-Tehran, Dulab-Polish Cemetery - 1892 graves (408 military graves);
-Bandar-Anzali-Polish Cemetery, situated by Armenian Cemetery - 639 graves (163 military graves)
-Tehran-Polish section at the Jewish Cemetery - 56 graves (13 military graves);
-Ahwaz-Polish section at catholic cemetery - 102 graves (22 military graves);
-Mashad-Polish section at Armenian Cemetery - 29 graves (16 military graves);
-Isfahan-Polish section at Armenian Cemetery - 18 graves (1 military grave);
-Tehran, Golhak-British War Cemetery - 10 military graves;
-Khoramshahr-Polish section at catholic cemetery - 5 military graves;

There are also two Polish graves-relics of the past:

-The grave of Teodor MIRANOWICZ, Envoy of H.M. the King of Poland, died and buried in Isfahan, December 26th 1686;
-The grave of general Antoni RADZIWILL de BOROWSKI, died in Tehran, January 21st 1898, buried at French Catholic Cemetery, Dulab, Tehran.

In the written memories of repatries Iran appears as a wonderful country of sun and very friendly and hospitable people. Some of Poles impressed by such a beautiful country have settled here, married citizens. Now the third and forth generations of those people are cultivating traditions of their Iranian and Polish parents.

Source: Embassy of the Republic of Poland in Iran