Chance for Polish descendants to trace roots
I am a member of a the Kresy-Siberia Foundation, a group which runs a forum connecting British members of the Polish community from the former Kresy region of eastern Poland, tens of thousands of whom were transported in cattle trucks for weeks on end before being imprisoned in labour camps or "gulags" across the far reaches of Siberia between 1940 and 1941.
When Russia became an ally of Great Britain in 1941 the prisoners were freed to form the Polish Second Corps, who fought alongside British troops in North Africa and the Italian campaign of 1943-44, many being decorated for gallantry at the battle of Monte Cassino.
When hostilities ceased and without a home to go back to, many came to Britain, initially staying in the Army before taking up work in civilian life and marrying English partners.
The Kresy Foundation connects both former prisoners as well as their children and grandchildren, helping them to learn more of the wartime experiences, which are a greatly overlooked or forgotten episode of those years. Many of these families settled in the West Country and adopted it as their home, and there were large communities in Bath, Trowbridge and Bristol.
Between February 24 and 26 the Kresy-Siberia Foundation will have a stand at the Who Do You Think You Are? event at Olympia, London, the world's biggest family history show made famous by the BBC TV programme of the same name. This will be a chance not just for people in the West with a Polish background but also for anyone interested in genealogy as a whole, finding out how to track down their family history in the region.
Chatley Furlong, Norton St Philip