No, the offer of citizenship to Poles after the second world war did not go “almost unnoticed” (Afua Hirsch, Journal, 3 January). There were many shouts of “Poles go home” fostered by trade unions whose members had the audacity to call them “fascists” for not going back to a country where many would be murdered by Stalin’s puppet regime.
This to a people who made the first moves in deciphering the Enigma machine, invented the first effective mine detector, arguably saved Britain by contributing pilots in the Battle of Britain, contributed more troops to the allied effort than any but the major allied powers, smuggled out V1 and V2 rocket parts to assist the defence against these, played major parts in Italy, the Middle East and Arnhem, and were refused participation in the victory march at the end of the war for fear of offending the Soviets.
Britain entered the war to fulfil a promise to the Poles, one that was broken at the end of it – and, to its shame, continued to prevaricate on issues such as the Katyn massacres until after the fall of communism.
• Your obituary of the distinguished psychologist and psychotherapist Josephine Klein (9 January) describes how she and her family, having fled Amsterdam shortly after the Nazi occupation, left for the UK in an open boat and were picked up by a Royal Navy destroyer, whose captain and crew treated them with warmth. Those were the days.
• If 276 migrants reaching the UK via the English Channel last year was a crisis, how do our leaders define the need for more than 3m social homes by 2040 (Report, 8 January)?
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