Doll dressed in Polish costume
1945 Audio tour
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In the years after Adolf Hitler came to power in Germany in 1933, Jewish people experienced increasing persecution. Millions of Jews, as well as minorities such as gay people, Roma people and those with mental or physical illnesses, were forced into concentration camps. Following the Nazi-Soviet invasion of Poland in September 1939, Polish civilians were also persecuted. By the end of the German occupation of Poland, millions of Jewish and non-Jewish Polish people had been murdered by the Nazis.
The Second World War resulted in the displacement of millions of people, and large numbers of people in countries occupied by the Nazis came to the United Kingdom to seek refuge here. During and after the Second World War, the British Red Cross played an important role in the reunion of families separated as a result of the conflict.
My grandfather was such a refugee, who fled Poland when the Nazis invaded and eventually arrived in the UK, where he settled in Blackpool and where he served as part of the Polish Air Force which had a base there during the war. When I look at this doll I feel so grateful that he was lucky enough to escape Poland alive, and I am also hugely proud of how the British Red Cross has been helping people at their time of greatest need for the past 150 years.
Audio recording by Zoe Abrams (Executive Director of Communications and Advocacy, British Red Cross)
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