The Palka Diaries Project

Adrian Palka

Research output: Practice-Based and Non-textual ResearchWeb publication/site


This was a family history project led by Adrian Palka, a senior lecturer at Coventry University. It is based around an inherited wartime diary, which tells the story of how Adrian’s grandfather and father were exiled in a Siberian labour camp during World War 2. The project aims to shed light on to this dark period in European history as well as honour the memory of deceased relatives by making their story available to the general public, using this website, educational talks and art exhibitions.

This has been done with the support of Coventry University and the Heritage Lottery Fund's All Our Stories programme.
Original languageEnglish
Media of outputOnline
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2016

Bibliographical note

In June 1940 Zymunt Palka and his son, Jan, were deported by the Russian political police from eastern Poland to a forced labour camp in Siberia. Zygmunt died there but Jan survived. Following an amnesty in 1941 Jan made his way to the middle-east where he joined Polish divisions in the British army and later settled in Britain, where he died in 2008.

Zygmunt kept a wartime diary, a section of which offers a detailed account of this terrible journey. Jan kept and maintained the diary throughout his further travels during the war. In 2008, Jan’s son and daughter, Adrian and Kalina Palka, inherited the diary.

In 2013 Adrian retraced the footsteps of the journey to Siberia to gather materials for educational and artistic use as well as for personal reflection. This website is the record of that project.
Part of series: Palka,A. (2015) in Whatley, S. Digital Echoes: Space for Intangible and Performance-based Cultural Heritage; “Bark and Butterflies: Redeeming the Past – digital interventions into family history and post memory.”
Bark and Butterflies: Audio Visual Installation - Coventry Peace Festival 2013
“Bark and Butterflies” multi-media installation and exhibition - Klangland Sonic Arts Festival – March 2014, Kunst im Spreeknie Festival Berlin- June 2014 and Polish Army Museum Warsaw -September 2014.
iBook Bark and Butterflies


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