A child’s journey from the Arctic to the Equator – Part 1 (Episode 46)


This story is featured in Episode 46

A lot of Poland’s history is virtually unknown to others. Still too few people know about the fate of over a million Poles deported in cattle trains to Soviet gulag where they were forced to do slave work in inhumane conditions and thousands of them perished. We talked about it in some of our POLcast interviews:

Living in a family haunted by trauma (Episode 23)

The untold story – Siberian experience (Episode 24)

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But what do Poles have to do with Iran, India and Africa – when and how did they find themselves there?

POLcast talks about this with a person who went through this experience – Irene Tomaszewski from Ottawa, whom POLcast listeners know from our previous conversation about Cosmopolitan Review (CR) online magazine in Episode 6. Irene Tomaszewski is a writer and editor of CR. She is the co-author, with Tecia Werbowski, of “Codename Żegota: The Most Dangerous Conspiracy in Occupied Europe,” published by Praeger in 2010, and translator /editor of “Inside a Gestapo Prison: The Letters of Krystyna Wituska” published by Wayne State University Press in 2005. 

Here is a photos sent by Irene Tomaszewski – the caption is also hers:

Tehran tent hospital 1942. First ever photo of ugly little me, age 2. Not walking, not talking. My sister Halina. Wanda is in the hospital with tuberculosis.

Cosmopolitan Review featured a number of Irene Tomaszewski’s articles about this chapter in Poland’s history:

• Trail of Hope: The Anders Army, an Odyssey Across Three Continents

• Isfahan, the City of Polish Children

• The Indomitable Spirit of Halina Babinska: A Very Special Coming of Age Story

• The Noble and Compassionate Heart of the Maharaja Jam Saheb Digvijay Sinhi

• The Cabaret Star and the Orphans: From Warsaw to India

• Second Homeland: Polish Refugees in India

• Wanda Dynowska / Umadevi: A Polish Guide to Indian Culture

Maharaja Jam Saheb Sri Digvijaysinhji Ranjitsinhji

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In our next episode 47, we will continue this fascinating story to learn about Irene Tomaszewski’s childhood and the lives of thousands of other Polish children in Africa.


February 1940: Exile, Odyssey, Redemption – this roundup of CR pieces tells the deportation saga: from the endless journeys and the camps and then, for some, escape – and the most extraordinary odyssey of WWII.


O Autorze:

POLcast is an English language podcast, a colourful audio magazine delivered directly to your smartphone, computer or tablet. POLcast is created for everybody interested in Poland. If you have a Polish customer, colleague, girlfriend or grandmother - you will hear something helping you to enrich these relations. Each episode brings you interesting interviews, historical facts, trivia and more.

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