In this paper I consider the Polish Diaspora community in Scotland that has its origins in the post-war exile of Polish soldiers who fought alongside Western Allies after the occupation of Poland in 1939. I employ an autoethnographic approach, combined with wartime records published by the Polish Ministry of Information in 1941, as well as contemporary theory on the development and maintenance of collective identity, to examine some of the factors influencing this community’s shared mythology – their collective memory – of Poland and, in particular, of Poland’s role in the Holocaust. Who are this community? Who do they think they are? How have they maintained their cultural identity in exile and how do they reconcile this identity with apparently conflicting and accusatory accounts of Polish anti-Semitism? I propose that, as with many Diaspora communities, this community’s collective memory has been “frozen” in Diaspora. I conclude with some reflections on the role of similar frozen Diaspora narratives in complicating commentary on, analysis of and resolution of continuing conflict situations around the globe.
|Keywords:||Polish Diaspora, Scotland, Second World War, Holocaust, Collective Memory, Imagined Community|
Research Associate & Instructor, Science Centre for Learning and Teaching (Skylight), Faculty of Science, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
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