Polish Heritage Day Leicester

30,000 Poles in Leicestershire are joining the national celebration to share their culture and history during the Polish Heritage Day this weekend in the City.

When and Where:
Saturday, 5 May 2018, 2pm-5pm, New Houses Museum, the Newarke, Leicester LE2 7BY
Sunday, 6 May 2018, 2pm-5pm, New Walk Museum, Art Gallery, 53 New Walk, Leicester, LE1 7EA

Join the Polish Heritage Day bonanza in the City for this unique 2018 edition, as Poland marks the 100th anniversary of regaining its independence. The celebration is part of the Polish Heritage Day campaign by the Polish Embassy in London with over 80 events being planned across the United Kingdom, and being included in a virtual map: http://london.mfa.gov.pl/en/news/celebrate_polish_heritage_day_near_you

The project’s logo is based on the design of the white-and-red chequerboard – a symbol painted on the Polish airplanes during the Battle of Britain 1940, in which Polish pilots constituted the second largest Allied contingent after the British. During World War II and later in the time of communism, the United Kingdom was the refuge of the Polish Government-in-Exile and free Poles.

And while one wave of immigration began after 2004, to understand the Polish community’s history one has to look back further, to the second world war. The Leicestershire Polish community is a mixture of the descendants of those wartime and anti-communist exiles and those who decided to move to Britain after Poland joined the EU in 2004. We hope that as we celebrate Polish Heritage Day we can share with our diverse friends the richness of our culture and tradition, and create a better understanding between our communities in Leicestershire.

Leicester’s two days celebration will start on Saturday, 5 May at 2pm, showcasing a historical journey of Poland in its journey to gain independence, traditional arts and crafts activities and the best of Polish food.

Sunday’s event will see the launch of ‘Polish Diaspora in Leicestershire: 100 Stories in 100 Words’ project, showcasing Polish residents, past and present, and their distinctive stories and experiences, giving a unique insight into the Polish diaspora in Leicestershire. The audience will have an opportunity to listen to a musical performance by Katy Carr, an award winning a Polish/British recording artist, who has released 6 albums, and plays a key role as an Ambassador of Polish history in Great Britain. Her recent albums Paszport (2012), ‘Polonia’ (2015) are inspired by the Polish WWII experience. In 2016 Katy was awarded the Pro Patria medal for her humanitarian and musical work.

Barbara Czyznikowska FRSA, Project Polska Chair, said: “This is a great initiative, and we are delighted to host these two amazing events in Leicester. As the Polish diaspora continues to grow across the county, with a number reaching around 30,000 residents, it is hugely important, particularly in post Brexit times, to showcase the thriving relationship between our nations as well as the contribution of the Polish community into the history, culture and society of the United Kingdom. They have moved to Britain and made their second home here. In the intervening years many Poles have gained confidence in their value, built their social skills, and developed fluency in English, while becoming aware of all the opportunities out there. The myth of the Polish builder is fading away as a new, more complex profile emerges”.

Henryk Kubinski, WWII Veteran: “Much needed initiative, promoting a better understanding of Polish heritage across generations and communities. I am 93 years, served in three different armies: Polish, British and German. I believe that by sharing oral history with young people will inspire and engage them in their community, culture and traditions”.

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