Putting the mi­grant ‘cri­sis’ in per­spec­tive

The Guardian - Journal - - Letters -

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.

Jan Wiczkowski

Manch­ester

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.

David Head

Peter­bor­ough

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)?

El­iz­a­beth Dun­nett

Malvern, Worces­ter­shire

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