Friday, 13 May 2016

The Polish refugees of Oudtshoorn

When World War 2 broke out, the Soviet Union attacked and invaded Poland.  1.2 million Poles were taken to Siberian labour camps.  In 1942 750 000 were freed and allowed to cross into what was then Persia. The allied forces took pity and sent them to various safe havens across the world. On the 10th of April 1943 a group 500 Polish orphans arrived in Oudtshoorn and were housed at the army barracks.  As they were Catholic, they local Catholic community undertook to assist the orphans and intergrate them into the community.
After the war Poland fell under communist rule and most of the orphans remained in South Africa. In 1993. fifty years after arriving from Poland the group donated a copy of Poland's most valued treasure to the Cathedral in Oudtshoorn, the Black Madonna.  The original is found in the monastry of Jasna Gora in the city Czetshowa. Visit for more interesting stories and offerings at Safari Ostrich Farm

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