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7th Rangers: Poland steps up to help Indian students fleeing Ukraine: Here is how decades ago, an Indian Maharaja had sheltered Polish children during WWII

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Poland steps up to help Indian students fleeing Ukraine: Here is how decades ago, an Indian Maharaja had sheltered Polish children during WWII
Tuesday, March 01, 2022

Digvijaysinghji Ranjitsinghji Jadeja with Polish refugees in Jamnagar

Poland to this day is grateful to the Maharaja for his gesture. In Warsaw's Ochota, a park goes with an unusual name, “Skwer Dobrego Maharadzy” which means Square of the Good Maharaja.

In 1941, When World War II broke out, a large number of Polish people were packed and drawn as labour in Soviet Russia after the Red Army invaded Poland. When Germany attacked USSR and the British recognised Poland as a nation, some Polish refugees in Soviet Russia successfully fled to many parts of the world freeing from the Russian operation. During a long journey of thousands of kilometres in the warmer areas of the global south, many Polish children were left undernourished and dehydrated, while many of them lost their lives.

After being refused by many landlocked countries over the shelter, a flock of over a thousand children arrived in India through the passage of Iran and Afghanistan. This time too they were denied permission in Bombay by the then British Governor. Realising the brevity of the situation, The Polish Consulate in Bombay launched a public awareness campaign in India about the plight of Jewish refugees in Europe and started to work behind the scenes to arrange for these Polish orphans from Siberia to travel to India. A ray of rope came from the princely state of Nawnagar from where the Maharaja had heard the plight of Polish refugees. His conviction to help the refugees from Poland was such that he fought with the British Government and pressured them to allow him to grant refuge to the Polich children.

It was Maharaja Digvijaysinghji Ranjitsinghji Jadeja, a newly knighted ruler from the small state of Nawanagar in Gujarat who opened his doors and his heart to the unsettled Polish people. Soon arrangments were made for the refugees to board a ship that was landed in the Rosi port in his province. The flock of around a thousand Polish orphans between 2 to 17 years of age entered Navnagar and a camp for them was established at Balachadi. To many of the children who lost their parents in the World War, this Maharaja from Gujarat became their ‘Bapu’.

Read it all here..........

posted by Major D Swami (Retired) @ 8:14 PM  
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