Five reasons why Britain - and the world - should thank the Polish


After reports of worrying hate crimes against Britain's Polish community, we look at why the UK and the world should be thankful for the people of Poland:

Read more: Sadiq Khan asks police to be on alert for rise in post-referendum hate crimes

1) Marie Curie

A Polish migrant living in France, Marie Curie's research into radiation was crucial to the development of X-rays in surgery, and made a huge contribution to the fight against cancer.

During the First World War, she developed mobile X-ray units to use near the battlefront. As Director of the Red Cross Radiological Service, she toured Paris, asking for money, supplies and vehicles which could be converted.

She was the first woman to win a Nobel prize, and is the only woman to win it twice.

2) Peacefully ending the Cold War

Perhaps a bold claim, but the Polish Solidarity movement's brave and peaceful opposition to Soviet oppression set off a chain reaction which brought down the USSR.

In turn, this saw the fall of the Berlin Wall, an end of totalitarian control in countries across Eastern Europe, and a peaceful conclusion to the Cold War.

3) The Battle of Britain and Polish forces in World War Two

Famously remembered are the Polish pilots who helped see victory over the Nazis in the Battle of Britain.

But Poles provided crucial help to the Allies throughout the war in all areas of the armed forces, fighting alongside British and other Allied forces, including the Red Army, in some of the most pivotal and famous battles and operations of World War Two.

4) Helping Jews during the holocaust

Poland was the only country under Nazi occupation where any kind of help for Jews was punishable by death for the helper and his whole family.

In face of this, an organisation known as Żegota ("Council for Aid to Jews") organised shelter, food, medicine, money and false documents to save thousands of Jews from the Nazis.

5) Caring for our elderly when we could not

Faced with a shortage of care workers, and with British workers seemingly unwilling to apply for posts, firms and charities turned to Poland to plug the health care gap.

Charity Friends for the Elderly reported in 2004 that it turned to Poland when it was unable to fill vacancies from the UK labour market, and recieved applications from many qualified and over-qualified candidates.

Polish dentists were also recruited to meet a shortfall in the number of dentists in the UK.

... and don't forget the dumplings, vodka and beautiful cities

Polish dumplings,vodka and beautiful tourist destinations are just amazing. Make sure you can eat them, drink them and visit them with pride.