Free learning resources from arts, cultural and heritage organisations.

Why have Polish people come to Britain?

Nazi soldiers leading women and children into a forest to be shot
Nazi Soldiers Leading Women and Children into a Forest to be Shot


Britain’s Polish community began with political exiles - people displaced during World War 2 and unable to return home. Other Poles came during the Communist era, escaping from political and economic problems at home. Most Poles now living here came seeking better-paid work after Poland joined the European Union in 2004.


Young Polish woman outside the Imperial War Museum, Manchester
Young Polish Woman Magdalena

Stanislaw’s Journey: Fighting with the Allies

Stanislaw escaped from Poland after the German invasion in 1939 and trained the troops who took part in the liberation of Europe.


Lola’s Journey: Deported to Siberia

After being deported to a Siberian labour camp by the Russians, Lola and her family made a difficult journey to the Middle East and finally to England.


Edward’s Journey: Life under occupation

After surviving Nazi and Russian occupation, Edward and his family escaped from Communist Poland to start a new life in Britain.


Elzbieta’s Journey: Shortages and Solidarity

Elzbieta experienced the shortages and frustrations of growing up in Communist Poland and joined the struggle for change.


Maciek’s Journey: A new experience

Maciek is one of the new generation of Poles who have come to Britain seeking work and ‘a new experience’.


The lasting effects of World War 2

Stanislaw and Lola couldn’t go back to Poland after the war. Find out why, and what it felt like to start a new life in Britain.


Polish and British

When you live in Britain, are you British or Polish - or a bit of both? British Poles share their thoughts and experiences.