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A lot of people don’t realize that when Hitler invaded Poland in 1939, the Soviets invaded at the same time, carving the country in two. The Soviets sent Polish prisoners of war, soldiers as well as civilians to gulags in Siberia.

When German broke its non-aggression pact with the Soviet Union, and they joined the allies, the Soviets agreed to release many of its Polish prisoners. The military prisoners who were able to fight became the Polish Corps. When the Soviets suddenly changed their minds about allowing Polish troops to organize on Soviet soil, they withdrew to Persia (largely controlled by Britain at the time) and Great Britain. Polish civilians were also moved to Iran, with a refugee camp hastily assembled on the shores of the Caspian Sea.


The youngest orphans were relocated from the camp to convents and homes in a city called Isfahan. The article below tells their story. Ultimately the children were never able to go back to Poland, and were relocated. One thousand went to New Zealand but they were not forgotten. Years later, when the Shah of Iran visited New Zealand, he specifically asked for a meeting with the now grown Polish children of Isfahan.


I think it is important to tell this story now, when Poland is one of the European Union countries that is most resistant to helping Syrian refugees.

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