"Poland Is Not Lost while We Still Live": The making of Polish Iran, 1941-45

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During World War II, millions of refugees fled their homes and were displaced across Europe, central Asia, and the Middle East. In September 1939, Nazi and Soviet armies invaded Poland, resulting in countless individuals being deported or "resettled"- forcibly exiled to labor camps in Siberia and Soviet central Asia. This article examines the story of a large wave of Polish refugees granted amnesty by Iran after the Soviets allied with Great Britain in June 1941. Between 1941 and 1943, hundreds of thousands of Poles were allowed into Iran, where social and political conditions helped them rebuild their lives, establish thriving Polish institutions, and leave a lasting impact on Iranian urban culture. Polish exiles in Iran established newspapers, art galleries, cafés, orchestras, theaters, and salons that catered first and foremost to the Polish community but later became central to the myriad of Allied army soldiers stationed in Iran, as well as to the emerging Iranian urban middle class.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)101-127
Number of pages27
JournalJewish Social Studies
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cultural Studies
  • History
  • Anthropology
  • Religious studies


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