Sunday, July 24, 2011



    Bandar-e-Anzali is a port town on the Caspian Sea. When I was a child my father would tell me stories about the kind and caring people of Pahlevi. For years I could not find on the map the town my father loved so much. Pahlevi became to me some kind of a fairy tale I understood as little as One Thousand and One Nights that my father would read to me as a bedtime story. The story book was beautifully illustrated with full-page Persian miniatures. I loved the miniatures. I loved their colours. I loved their richness. I was never bored with them. Each time I opened the book I would find something new in the picture I had already seen hundreds of times. When I was examining them carefully my father would say, ‘Persians are very kind people. They were very good to me. They were very gentle. They were very polite. They opened their heart to me at the time when I was starved to death. They fed me.’

    Bandar-e-Anzali gave shelter to Polish refugees, survivors of Soviet forced labour camps, victims of modern slavery. 118,000 Polish soldiers and 44,000 Polish civilians, women and orphans, landed on the beach of Bandar-e-Anzali in the summer of 1942. 639 Polish refugees who died of starvation will stay there forever in the local Polish graveyard. They died free under the Persian sun.