Zbigniew Rau launched the display at the Academy of Arts in the Iranian capital Tehran, Polish state news agency PAP reported.
Poland’s top diplomat said the photographs on show “offer glimpses of the life of the Polish people who found shelter in Iran, and who were often exhausted after enduring inhumane conditions in Soviet captivity.”
Rau added that the exhibition, entitled Trails of Hope: An Odyssey of Freedom, “also paints a wider historical context.”
Rau thanks Iran for welcoming 120,000 Poles in 1942
He expressed gratitude to the Iranian people for the "generous assistance" provided to Polish evacuees eight decades ago, and for looking after Polish monuments and cemeteries ever since.
Under a 1942 Polish-British-Soviet agreement, some 120,000 Polish people, including soldiers under Gen. Władysław Anders and refugees, were released from Soviet imprisonment and evacuated to Iran, historians estimate.
Representing a cross-section of Polish society, from parentless children to university professors, the Polish refugees were able to create “a little substitute for their home country” in Iran, Rau said.
He added that “lessons from the past remain valid” in the face of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine.
Three-day visit to Iran
Later on Monday, Rau was due to open another exhibition, in the central city of Isfahan, where some 2,500 Polish children, mainly orphans, found refuge during World War II.
Earlier in the day, Poland’s top diplomat met with Iranian Vice-President Masoud Mir Kazemi.
Monday was the last day of Rau’s three-day visit to the West Asian country, which focused on bilateral issues and the Russian invasion of Ukraine, officials told reporters.
On Sunday, the Polish foreign minister held talks with Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi and Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, and also paid a visit to a Polish cemetery in Tehran, according to news outlets.
Rau and Amir-Abdollahian signed an agreement "on cooperation in the fields of culture, education, science, sport, youth, and mass media," reporters were told.
Monday was day 75 of Russia’s war on Ukraine.
Source: IAR, PAP, live.rmf.fm, president.ir