Catalogue ref: FO 371/24472
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This source is taken from an account of the experiences of two Polish girls who escaped from Poland and arrived in Britain. They then told their story to officials at the British Foreign Office.
The two girls were aged 16 and 18. They arrived in Britain via Berlin, Vienna, Milan and Paris.
The Nazis invaded Poland in September 1939. Soon afterwards the USSR invaded Poland from the East and the country collapsed. Conditions for Polish civilians were appalling.
As soon as they had conquered the country the Nazis set about putting their policies into action. There were two main policies. The first was to clear Poles out of lands and homes so that German settlers could take their place and gain new living space or Lebensraum. The second policy was the rounding up of Polish Jews and forcing them to live in areas called ghettos. Many Jews were killed during this process, but at this stage the policy of mass murder had not yet come into force.
The two girls were from a wealthy family. Her family managed to do a deal with a Nazi official to get papers and permission to travel across Europe.
The girls were actually Polish Jews but the Nazi official got them papers that said that they were Aryans. This arrangement very probably saved their lives.
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