Polish government yesterday held a ceremony in Warsaw, where it honoured the royal families of Jamnagar and Kolhapur and others for providing shelter to Polish refugees who had fled the country during World War II. The Indian government had sent a delegation of former royals and other representatives from Kolhapur and Jamnagar to attend the event. Indian Council for Cultural Relations President Vinay Sahasrabuddhe, led the delegation, which included Yuvraj Sambhaji Raje and Sanyogeetaraje Chhatrapati from Kolhapur and some representatives from Jamnagar. Poland’s Deputy Prime Minister Piotr Glinski was present here.
Sahasrabuddhe took to Twitter to announce his departure to Warsaw to attend the event. Later on, he also shared some interesting pictures of Polish refugees who had taken shelter in India.
In 1939, as Soviet Union attacked Poland from the East, thousands of people from the country put everything at stake to escape the invasion and sought help from whoever was willing. This is when many people found their way to India, where the rajas and maharajas of the time took it upon themselves to house them. While 5000 refugees found shelter under the royals of Kohlapur, more than 1000 people, the majority of them orphaned children, were taken in by the Maharaja of Jamnagar.
At the event, some refugees who were just young kids at the time shared their memories of staying in India. some relatives of the refugees also talked about the stories they had heard.