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The Windrush Poles were a group of 66 Polish refugees

who came to England after WW2 on the now famous ship, Empire Windrush. Unlike the Caribbean passengers who were also on board, the arrival of the Poles passed largely unnoticed.


Their disembarkation marked the end of a 24,000-mile odyssey, which had begun in Poland eight years earlier, in 1940. They had been wrenched from their homes at 4am by Russian soldiers, put on cattle trucks, and sent to Siberian labour camps. After two years they had escaped and travelled around the globe, finally ending up in Britain.

In 2017 I discovered that my husband’s family had been among the 66 and I began to record his mother’s testimony as a memoir for my children. I could not have dreamed of the epic wartime story that I would uncover. 

The memoir has become a book, which will be published in 2023.

For more information go to

Jane Raca

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