A Memorial pillar to Polish Refugees unveiled in Kolhapur
A commemorative pillar in memory of Polish families and individuals who had made India their home during World War II was unveiled at Valivade village in western Kolhapur district of Maharashtra. Around 5,000 refugees from Poland lived in Kolhapur’s Valivade village between 1942 and 1948.
The Memorial pillar was unveiled by Deputy Foreign Minister of Polish Republic Marcin Przydacz, Polish Ambassador to India Adam Burakowski and Guardian Minister of Kolhapur Chandrakant Patil.
A delegation from Poland, including 12 of the surviving polish refugees, arrived in Kolhapur for commemoration of 80th anniversary of their stay in India.
A permanent museum dedicated to memory of 5,000 Polish people who lived in Valivade camp will be built in next one year. The museum would contain photographs, paintings & other important items and materials from #WWII era, to keep memories of past alive for next generations.
With the cooperation and affection of citizens of Kolhapur, Valivade could soon be transformed into a ‘mini Poland’, with its own church, schools and even a cinema.
During the Second World War, Poland was caught between Adolf Hitler’s Germany and Josef Stalin’s Russia. Poland was dismembered by 1939 Nazi-Soviet Union pact or ‘the Devil’s Alliance’, with cream of Poland’s officer corps, which included several members of country’s intelligentsia, massacred by NKVD (or the Soviet secret police) in Katyn Forest in 1940. This in turn led to a stream of refugees who initially endured the living hell of Soviet camps to make their way to Valivade village in Kolhapur district, 235 km from Pune.
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