Polish refugees in Iran / WWII

As the tide of World War II swept across Europe, a lesser-known chapter unfolded in the Middle East. Thousands of Polish refugees, fleeing the horrors of Soviet persecution, found a temporary haven in Iran.

A Story of Humanity /polish refugees in Iran

The story of the Polish refugees in Iran is a testament to the power of human compassion. In the midst of global conflict, Iran offered a helping hand to those in dire need. The resilience of the Polish people and the generosity of the Iranian people stand as a beacon of hope, reminding us of our shared humanity during even the darkest of times.

Marks on the Landscape: The Polish graves in Iran

Today, two cemeteries stand as a poignant reminder of this historical chapter. The Polish War Cemetery in Bandar-e Anzali holds the remains of over 600 soldiers and civilians who perished during the evacuation. The Polish Cemetery in Tehran’s Doulab Christian Cemetery is the final resting place for over 22,000 Polish refugees who succumbed to illness or died during their stay in Iran.

From Soviet Captivity to Iranian Shores

In 1939, Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union invaded Poland, dividing the country and unleashing a wave of terror. Many Polish citizens were captured by the Soviets and deported to forced labor camps in harsh conditions. Following the Nazi invasion of the USSR in 1941, an agreement between the Polish government-in-exile and the Soviets allowed for the release of these Polish prisoners.

A Weakened Exodus

Weakened by starvation, disease, and the trauma of their ordeal, over 110,000 Polish civilians and soldiers crossed the Caspian Sea to Iran in 1942. The port city of Bandar-e Anzali became a disembarkation point, with many tragically succumbing to illness shortly after arrival. The Iranian government, while officially neutral in the war, provided assistance to the refugees.

Isfahan: City of Polish Children

Among the polish refugees in Iran were a significant number of children, many orphaned or separated from their parents. The city of Isfahan, known for its pleasant climate and historical significance, became a temporary home for over 2,000 of these children. Schools staffed by Polish teachers were established to continue their education and maintain their cultural identity. Local residents generously opened their homes, convents, and monasteries to house the young refugees. This period left a lasting impression on these children, who refer to themselves as the “Children of Isfahan” to this day.

A Legacy of Resilience

The Polish refugees’ stay in Iran was temporary. Over a period of several years, they were relocated to other countries like Lebanon, India, and Africa. While their time in Iran was a brief chapter in their lives, it was a vital one. Iran provided them with a safe haven to recover from the physical and emotional hardships they had endured, allowing them to rebuild their lives and communities elsewhere.

Related tour package:

10-Day Itinerary in Iran with Polish History and Cultural Gems

Related link:


Skip to content