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Forthcoming Events 2019 

A comprehensive map of all the Polish Heritage Days events across the United Kingdom throughout the month of May.

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Directed by BAFTA  Award Nominee Piotr Szkopiak, The Last Witness is a political thriller based on the harrowing true events of the Katyn Massacre in Spring 1940, starring Alex Pettyfer (Magic Mike, I am Number Four), Michael Gambon (Harry Potter franchise, King of Thieves) and Talulah Riley (Westworld).  

In post-war England, ambitious journalist Stephen Underwood (Alex Pettyfer) comes across a disturbing spate of suicides by Polish soldiers. Sensing a story, his first port of call is Colonel Janusz Pietrowski, a Liaison Officer for the resettlement of Polish troops under British command but the meeting with Pietrowski leaves Stephen unsettled, and from here his investigation escalates as he finds himself embroiled in a dangerous, multi-layered conspiracy concerning the execution of 22,000 Polish military and civilians by Stalin’s secret police.

The Last Witness is a story that is also very personal to director Piotr Szkopiak, whose mother Emilia was deported to Siberia by the Soviets in 1940. Emilia left the Soviet Union in 1942 and settled in England in 1947, where still she resides today. Her father and Szkopiak’s grandfather, Wojciech Stanisław Wójcik, was executed in the Katyn Massacre.

Saturday 1 June 5:00 pm with Q & A. by Director and Producer

For tickets and information click here

Listen to Polish radio interview with Piotr Szkopiak - click here 

DVD available online from Amazon,, HMV Online or Best in the Americas.



Listen to past radio broadcasts


Syrena Songs - BBC World Service available on Iplayer
Broadcast on 5 August - Monica Whitlock tells Syrena Record's story and travels to Warsaw to hear from a new generation of musicians recreating Syrena's sound. Syrena Records was created in 1904. It sold millions of discs to new audiences hungry for shellac delights - opera singers, cantors, political humour and Yiddish theatre. Success allowed founder Juliusz Feigenbaum to invest in state of the art recording technology. By the time independent Poland was reborn in 1918 Syrena was well placed to shape the sound of a new nation. 
Hot tango and jazz were performed by superb musicians and singers, mostly Jewish, mostly of a generation breaking away from the old world and facing the new. Adam Aston, Hanka Ordonka, Henryk Wars, Micheslaw Fogg and others cut disc after disc before playing in the elite nightclubs of Warsaw. Some 14,000 records by artists at the top of their game. Outpourings of Yiddish tango, slinky foxtrots, romantic ballads. Records in Hebrew, Yiddish, and Polish. Songs such as The Last Sunday and Donna Clara went international.
In 1939, invasion and war ended Syrena and the Polish nation. Its factory and archives destroyed, its artists murdered or scattered in exile. But there was one last tune to play. Henryk Wars, former musical director at Syrena, formed an orchestra that became the soundtrack of Poles in exile and in military uniform. From Tehran to Palestine to the fortress of Monte Cassino, those musicians and singers that had once been the heart of Syrena now played songs of a lost nation, creating the anthemic Red Poppies of Monte Cassino.  

Available on repeat on BBC Iplayer radio - now expired.


A Helping of History  - Broadcast on North Manchester FM but available online

Broadcast on Tuesday 7 August - Ann Siburuth is interviewed about the Resettlement Camps in North Manchester and tells of the story of the people of wartime Kresy.  Expiry date TBA.


Still Here: A Polish Odyssey - BBC Radio 4 available on Iplayer

Broadcast on 6 and 8 August - Jane Rogoyska meets Polish people who were exiled to Siberia as children by Stalin and their descendants.  The changing winds of war took them from Siberia and Kazakhstan to Uzbekistan, Persia (now Iran) and onto India or Africa - then to Britain. They thought that Britain was another stopping point on their odyssey home to Eastern Poland but they and their descendants are still here.  With the participation of Kresy Family members.

Available on repeat from BBC Iplayer radio -  Expiry date TBA.



The Odyssey of General Anders' Army

Listen to the radio program by Monica Whitlock by clicking here

By the summer of 1940, a quarter of a million Polish prisoners of war had already been sent to Soviet prison camps. More than a million civilians deemed undesirable by Stalin were packed aboard cattle trucks to the far east of the Soviet Union. Many died on the journey, many more would die in the harshest conditions, toiling, starving and freezing on collective farms or labour camps in Siberia, the Urals or Kazakhstan. But then unlikely salvation came with the opportunity to join Anders Army.
Formed in the aftermath of the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941, in a deal brokered between Churchill, Stalin and the Polish Government in exile, this was, on paper, to be an army formed of Poles now held on Soviet soil to help fight the Nazis. Stalin reluctantly released 390,000 Polish prisoners of war and their dependents. Less than half would finally make their way to freedom.
General Wladyslaw Anders, who had languished for two years in Moscow’s Lubyanka prison, fortunate not be shot along with 33,000 Polish officers at Katyn, took command. He remained insistent that as many women and children who could would join this new fighting force. Anders knew this was the last and best chance of escape for everyone.
What followed was a 9000-mile journey to freedom. Thousands died en route before crossing the Caspian Sea to safety in Iran. Orphans found new homes in Isfahan. Large numbers of Jewish Poles - including Menachem Begin, who became Israel's sixth prime minister - left to become part of the fledgeling Zionist army in Palestine. Thousands more fought on as the Polish 2nd Corps in the crucial final battle of Monte Cassino in Italy in May 1944.
By the war’s end, General Anders had gathered 41,000 combatants and 74,000 civilians, and brought them to freedom. But for the majority, there could be no return home to a Soviet-dominated Poland. The majority settled in Britain, others lived new lives as far apart as New Zealand, Kerala and Kenya.
Although this astonishing odyssey has changed the lives of two generations of Poles - and Poland itself - the story is not well known: suppressed in Communist Poland and barely told in the West.

The survivors of Anders Army, Danuta Czerkaska, Elizabeth Piekarski, Michal Giedroyc, Jadzia Osostowicz, Majer Bogdanski and Danuta Gradosielska, tell their story.
Image: General Wladyslaw Anders (left) and Michal Giedroyc, Credit: Gieroyc family


BBC News Magazine - A Polish girl's journey across three continents by Monica Whitlock BBC World Service
Click here to view the article or here to listen to the broadcast.



Helen Bitner's book 'A Song For Kresy'  


is available now from Troubador - for details click here 


Kresy Family Polish WWII History Group  

acknowledges and thanks 

the Embassy of the Republic of Poland in Londonthe Polonia Aid Foundation Trust,

Forever Manchester and Kresy Family members

for their financial support of our projects

Home Page 

Nowa ekspozycja w muzeum we Wrexham
Wydarzenia o skali międzynarodowej oraz lokalna historia spotykają się na ekspozycji Szpital w Penley: Historia polskiej społeczności w Walii, która jest najnowszą wystawą przygotowaną przez Wrexham County Borough Museum & Archives.
Osiemdziesiąt lat temu Wehrmacht i Armia Czerwona przekroczyły granice Polski, uruchamiając ciąg zdarzeń, który doprowadził do powstania trzech polskich szpitali w Walii w okolicach Wrexham: w wiosce Penley oraz na terenach dwóch wiejskich dworków – Iscoyd Park i Llannerch Panna.
Były to wyjątkowe szpitale prowadzone przez polskich lekarzy i pielęgniarki, a ich zadaniem było zapewnienie opieki medycznej tysiącom polskich żołnierzy i żołnierek wysiedlonych z ich domów, znużonych i wycieńczonych walką, którzy teraz mieszkali w powojennej Wielkiej Brytanii. Szpitale stały się centralnym punktem polskiej społeczności, której historię opowiada ta nowa wystawa.
Ekspozycja, która została przygotowana przy pomocy byłych rezydentów obozu przy Szpitalu w Penley oraz wolontariuszy, obejmuje:
Artefakty z dawnego szpitala i jego kaplicy, takie jak retabulum (trzyczęściowe dzieło sztuki skupione wokół Madonny i Dzieciątka)
Film przygotowany w oparciu o archiwalne zapisy życia w szpitalu w latach 60. ubiegłego stulecia
Ustne historie byłych pacjentów i personelu szpitala
Pokaz slajdów ze zdjęciami społeczności
Możliwość założenia przez dzieci strojów narodowych w polskim stylu po dobrze znanej tradycji w Penley.
Radny Hugh Jones, wiceprzewodniczący rady Wrexham County Borough Council, powiedział: „Chciałbym podziękować wszystkim, którzy pomogli personelowi muzeum przygotować tę ekspozycję. Nie można przecenić Państwa pomocy i zaangażowania w opowiedzenie niezwykłej historii polskiej społeczności, która nie była w stanie wrócić do domu ze względu na panujący tam komunistyczny reżim oraz sowiecką okupację ich ojczyzny. Ich historia nadal odbija się echem”.
Radny John McCusker, członek Overton Ward, powiedział….
Wystawa zostanie otwarta w muzeum Wrexham Museum w dniu 18 marca i będzie dostępna do 22 czerwca 2019. Spotkanie byłego personelu oraz rodzin związanych ze szpitalem w Penley zaplanowano na maj.

Muzeum Wrexham jest otwarte od poniedziałku do piątku w godzinach od 10:00 do 17:00, a w soboty od 11:00 do 16:00. Wstęp wolny.

Kawiarnia Courtyard Café jest otwarta w godzinach od 10:00 do 16:30.
Więcej informacji można uzyskać w muzeum pod numerem 01978 297 460
Poranek medialny: 18 marca 2019, godz. 9:00

Hollywood Art and Movie Awards 2019

Canada Independent Film Festival 

Los Angeles Film Festival -
- Best Picture, 
- Best Director, 
- Best Actor (Alex Pettyfer), 
- Best Cinematography
- Best Editing​


London Independent Film Awards 2018 (November)

Miami Independent Film Festival 2018 (November)

Accolade Global Film Competition 2018

Berlin Motion Picture Festival 2018

​The Grand Budapest Film Festival 2019

Penley Hospital: The Story of a Polish Community in Wales
On a summer’s day, August 1946, three Polish military hospitals, part of the Polish Second Corps (the ‘Anders Army’) disembarked at the port of Liverpool. After a short stay in a transit camp in Lancashire, the medics and nurses were allocated three disused US army hospitals in the countryside between Wrexham and Whitchurch on the Wales-England border.
The village of Penley and the grounds of Iscoyd Park became the ‘national health service’ for the veterans of the Polish armed forces and their families. Over the next decade, the three hospitals would concentrate on one site at Penley, and around that hospital a unique community flourished – a pre-war Poland embedded in a post-war Wales.
The original hospital closed in 2002 and some items were presented to Wrexham Museum for safekeeping. March 18th will see the opening at Wrexham Museum of an exhibition dedicated to telling the story of the Penley Poles and the Polish Hospital.
Staff at the museum are working alongside former residents and volunteers to create the exhibition, which will use film, oral histories, pictures and artefacts to introduce visitors to the amazing stories of the men and women who arrived in 1946 and made their home in north-east Wales.

Wrexham Museum is on Regent Street in the centre of Wrexham. The museum is open Monday – Friday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Saturday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is free. 
For more information: telephone 01978 297 460 or follow the museum on facebook and twitter.

Background information
Wrexham County Borough Museum and Archives first opened in 1996 and in 2010-11 benefited from a HLF supported makeover creating a new permanent gallery and two temporary exhibition spaces. The exhibition appears in the larger of these two spaces. 
Twice short-listed for the national Kids in Museums Family Friendly Museum Award, the museum has a long-standing partnership with the National Library of Wales and Amgueddfa Cymru | National Museum Wales. The museum offers a programme of temporary exhibitions and schools workshops, as well as running a successful volunteer programme. The museum is also home to the popular Courtyard Café in the award-winning glazed extension.