July 2013: retracing the journey
In July 2013 Adrian Palka, Wolfram Spyra and Roksana Vykaluk travelled six days by train following the footsteps of the diary from Lwow to Bijsk in the Altai region of Siberia. They gathered impressions and audio-visual materials for their artistic and educational projects and made performance interventions on the way.
The gulf between the two journeys was insuperable. For Palka, simply to see the places and landscapes his father and grandfather went through was a powerful enough connection. Nevertheless, part of the mission for him, with Spyra and Vykaluk, was to process these impressions artistically. They therefore explored creative ways of making a connection with their experiences through live readings from the diaries and live projections as they traveled.
After eighteen days on the prison train in 1940, Zygmunt and Jan had arrived in Bijsk after a journey of over 5000 kilometres with little food or water, plagued by lice, 70 people to a truck. The journey to Bijsk in 2013 took six days in relative comfort. Following the route of the Trans-Siberian railway, however, it passed through many of the places and landscapes mentioned in the diary.
The 2013 journey simply followed the directions in the diary beyond Bijsk by road until it ended, in a small village, Novoloshino. There Palka and his companions made contact with the local people who, moved by their story, helped them on their mission. The final leg of the journey was simply to enter the wilderness and forest of the Russian Taiga and see it.