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polish community

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polish community

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The post-war Polish communities in England were formed by Polish ex-servicemen and women and their families, who fought under British command during the Second World War. The majority had been deported from Poland for political reasons after Poland was invaded by the German and Russian armies in 1939. After the war, they could not return to Poland as it was still occupied by Soviet Russia and under communist rule so they remained in England as political refugees.

Polish communities were formed in, amongst other places, Glasgow, Manchester, Birmingham, Leeds, Bristol, Sheffield and Nottingham, with the largest concentration being in London. These were mainly Catholic communities and were geared towards maintaining the Polish culture and way of life and, in a way, creating a free Poland outside of Poland's borders. Each community had it's own church, social club and Saturday school, where children were taught Polish language, history and geography. Most children also belonged to a Polish folk song and dance group or sports club.

These communities would remain uniquely strong in the years to come because most of the ex-servicemen and women believed that they may, one day, be able to return to their homes in Poland but this was not to be as Poland did not return to democratic rule until 1989.

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