Herefordshire's Polish community embark on "saving from forgetting" project

Ledbury Reporter: Students from Hereford's Saturday Polish School in London earlier this month. The trip was made as part of the "saving from forgetting" project. (4875231) Students from Hereford's Saturday Polish School in London earlier this month. The trip was made as part of the "saving from forgetting" project. (4875231)

A PROJECT is seeking to remember the Polish community who have made an impact on the county.

Led and monitored by volunteers from Hereford's Saturday Polish School as well as Joe Cocker from the Leominster Community Group, the "saving from forgetting" project aims to explore the rich history and influences that Poles have brought to the county.

The project includes tidying up and restoring the graves of Polish soldiers and civilians that are buried in the Leominster and Credenhill cemetery.

One such individual – Brigadier – General Stanislaw Jozef Kozicki – was remembered last year when volunteers from Leominster joined helping hands from the county’s Polish community to get his grave back to its best.

Brig-Gen Kozicki was one of Poland’s top army commanders when his country was invaded by Nazi Germany in 1939. He died at the Polish resettlement camp in Baron’s Cross, Leominster, in 1948 to be buried at the town’s cemetery.

Emilia Kozial, one of the volunteers leading the project, said: “I hope this project might be a good way to fight a prejudice against the recent immigration by raising an awareness of both the Poles living in Hereford and the indigenous people about their common past.

"So far we haven't even applied for any grants and we're trying to do it with our own supplies."

A small book or booklet – in two languages – tracing Poles in Herefordshire after the Second World War in Baron’s Cross, Credenhill, Foxley Camp, Shobdon Airfield and Kington Camp is also hoped to be published.

Emilia said: “It will focus on the life stories of some chosen people, leading to the recent Polish immigration in the county, the impact it has made and the relations between the locals and Poles."

The project also includes organising meetings, lessons and trips to the Polish Institute and War Museum and Foxley Camp for children from the Polish Saturday School, as well as adults who are interested in finding out more.

A group of students, former students, parents and teachers made the trip to London earlier this month to visit the Natural History Museum and have a guided tour of the Polish Institute and Sikorski Museum.

There, they met with author David Walser and Polish illustrator Jan Pienkowski.

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