The creation of a Polish community in Great Britain resulted from wartime experiences which few people in the West could have imagined – occupations by both Nazis and Soviets, genocide, deportations, ethnic cleansing, slave labour, the exotic odysseys of homeless and stateless refugees. It was, above all, a moral triumph, a victory of faith and determination over adversities of an extreme kind. The role of the Catholic Church was crucial, not only in the close cultural link between Polishness and Catholicism, but also in the self-denying devotion of priests and chaplains, who accompanied their flock in all stages of their ordeal.
Dr Gula’s study, therefore, raises the discussion of migration and exile above the more familiar political, social and economic concerns. It explores the sources of a community’s identity and of its will to survive. In this, it renders a valuable service both to Polish history and to the history of migrants and refugees in general.
(Extracted from Foreword by Norman Davies)
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