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When Tanzania received refugees from Poland


During WW2 (1942-50) British colonies in South-Eastern Africa received about 20,000 refugees from Poland (via Iran). Some resettled back in Europe, others remained in Africa when it became clear that the USSR would dominate Poland.


Polish refugees were initially settled in camps among local communities. Jochen Lingelbach has questioned how the Polish refugees' experience with oppression, deportation and war in Europe positioned them towards the colonial state in Africa and a European identity - would it for instance make them more solidaric towards the colonised Africans?


No, generally Polish refugees sided socially with the European colonial power. In spite, they were partly excluded by these, Poles still perceived themselves as part of the West - opposed to Asians and Africans regarded as more Eastern, less civilised.


Sources: Sunday walk at Kinondoni Cemetery and "On the edges of whiteness" by Jochen Lingelbach (to be published 2020) - one chapter available online here.

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