The British Library

Karolina’s Story

The story of my family is the story of immigration understood differently than today. For my grandmother it was not a search for new hope, but a loss of old dreams. Coming from an aristocratic family in Korczew, Poland, she was forced to abandon her childhood home and move to the UK because of the Second World War. When the war ended, Poland was under communist rule, which denied higher social classes the right to their properties. To her father, and my great grandfather, Korczew seemed lost forever - to the point that she never taught her children Polish, assuming they would remain in the UK. However, after 1989 it became possible to fight for the centuries-old property. I cannot imagine how heartbreaking it must have been for her to return there, only to find her childhood home devastated by German and Russian troops, and by the merciless time and weather as well. She devoted her life to restoring that place, and only now, in her early 90s, does she admit her task is reaching a closure in the honour of her deceased loved-ones.

-Karolina, Poland

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