Na Jambo Wewe Rafiki Bert (with apologies to everyone who is not conversant in Swahili - as a translation I have just said "and hello to you my friend Bert" - realising of course that Swahili to the world at large is as comprehensible as Polish to the non-Polish speaking world which regrettably includes yours truly - but I digress.) Back to any camp lists regarding those born, baptised and died there. Indeed Bert I contacted the Polish Embassy in Nairobi to ascertain whether any further information on the Masindi Camp could be available. I did this on the basis of noting in the Visitor's Book to the remains of the Polish Camp in Masindi (ie Church and Graveyard) that the Polish Ambassador to Kenya had been there about a month before I did. (My visit there occurred in late October this year.) My e-mail was curtly answered by a secretary to the Ambassador (whoever she or he was) suggesting
that I try "Friends of Polish - African Heritage" in Mississanga, Ontario, Canada Mr. Mieczyslaw Greczylo m.grecz@...
I duly sent an e-mail off to that address but never received a reply. That's why I joined this Group. Also I agree with you Bert - that it is possible that the former British colonial administration would have had records (and also as you say South Africa could be different because in the '40s when these Camps were established in Africa, South Africa was not administered by Britain ). My understanding is that even though many of these Camps were located in British African territories, they were considered as Polish entities albeit administered by the British authorities (in many of them most probably the colonial authorities.) In my case my birth was certainly recorded by
the Uganda colonial administration and I must admit it became a bit of a shock to me when applying for Australian citizenship to have it recorded by the authorities that I was Polish (with apologies to all Poles) even though I could neither speak nor understand the language (as stated above). Indeed prior to that I had always considered myself to be a British colonial white African (which in many respects I still do). My birth certificate is ambiguous in stating that I was born in the District of Masindi, Uganda Protectorate but mentioning that the Place of Birth as being the Polish Settlement Bunyoro. It was signed by the Acting District Commissioner for Masindi. As a matter of interest the late author Elspeth Huxley (who wrote a considerable number of books on East Africa) in her book "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" describing a journey through East Africa in 1947 stated that there were 3,000
homeless Poles in the Masindi Camp with the only Englishman being the Camp Commandant. So back to the colonial records where would they be located today? - in the UK? - or with the now independent African Nations (and would the latter be interested in maintaining them?) Another possible source could be the Catholic Church - the particular diocese that would have included the Camp in question. I pose these questions for the Group as a whole in case someone out there may know some of the answers.
Bert Bakker <bert_bakker41@...> wrote:
--- In Kresy-Siberia@yahoogroups.com, "Halina" <hszulakowska@l...
> Dave, I would be interested in the same thing, as an aunt of mine
> was born in an African camp but I'm not sure if it was Rusape or
> Original Message-----
> From: Dave Lichtenstein
> I wonder whether there are any further lists of offspring actually born in the Camps?
> (The lists could extend beyond births to include baptisms,
> marriages, deaths etc)
Jambo Rafiki Dave. Habari gani? Hello to Halina as well,
I am 100% sure that all marriages, births, deaths etc. in the Polish
Refugee Camps in Africa were duly recorded.
However, I am not sure whether they were collated, similar to the
List of Refugees.
Does anybody have an idea what happened to the
archives of the camps
Were they transferred to London?
In addition to Polish camp administrations keeping records, the
respective British authorities in the various colonies must have
also kept track of births, marriages etc. in the Polish camps under
These records rest with the authorities in the countries of
South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
At one time, the files were easily accessible.
It may well (much) be more difficult now, with the exception of
If you are really interested in a particular event, I suggest that
you ask your embassy in the country concerned whether it can do a
search for you.
Alternatively, whether it can bring you into contact with a bureau
that specialises in these matters.
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