Britain’s Polish community began with political exiles - people displaced during World War 2 and unable to return home. Other Poles came during the Communist era, escaping from political and economic problems at home. Most Poles now living here came seeking better-paid work after Poland joined the European Union in 2004.
Stanislaw’s Journey: Fighting with the Allies
Stanislaw escaped from Poland after the German invasion in 1939 and trained the troops who took part in the liberation of Europe.
Lola’s Journey: Deported to Siberia
After being deported to a Siberian labour camp by the Russians, Lola and her family made a difficult journey to the Middle East and finally to England.
Edward’s Journey: Life under occupation
After surviving Nazi and Russian occupation, Edward and his family escaped from Communist Poland to start a new life in Britain.
Elzbieta’s Journey: Shortages and Solidarity
Elzbieta experienced the shortages and frustrations of growing up in Communist Poland and joined the struggle for change.
Maciek’s Journey: A new experience
Maciek is one of the new generation of Poles who have come to Britain seeking work and ‘a new experience’.
The lasting effects of World War 2
Stanislaw and Lola couldn’t go back to Poland after the war. Find out why, and what it felt like to start a new life in Britain.
When you live in Britain, are you British or Polish - or a bit of both? British Poles share their thoughts and experiences.