We want to put ‘Polish-Scottish Mini Festival’ on the map of Aberdeen Festivals and we want to be one of the Scotland’s leading festivals promoting Polish-Scottish cultural and historical connections and aiding cultural exchange.
Stage annual performing art and heritage festival with a program of quality events, exhibitions, concerts, workshops, and community activities that showcase Polish and Scottish artists, historians, performers and simultaneously introducing our audiences to the distinctness of our cultures as well as celebrating our shared cultural and historical links. We want to strengthen the positive image of the Polish community in Aberdeen and Scotland, aid their integration and to influence their cultural and social life. We want to aid cross-national cultural exchange by bringing Aberdeen city and shire communities together and long-term also from outwith geographical region for the cultural, social, and economic benefit of city of Aberdeen and the wider community. Also, we want to engage with the public and create volunteering opportunities.
Roots polish association Aberdeen date back to the times immediately after World War II. Thousands of Polish soldiers, members of the Polish Armed Forces fighting on the Western Front, subordinated to the Polish Government during the War in London, were stationed in The United Kingdom. After the war, Poland found itself in the zone of Soviet domination and many soldiers decided to remain in exile, fearing Stalin’s repression. This was not unfounded. As the fate of those few who returned to the country, in their communist-occupied homeland, were treated as a highly suspicious element, they were waiting for trials for “serving up Western powers”, often ending with unjustified imprisonment and forced labour camps, and often also exiled to Siberia to the Stalinist gulags. Many paid their return to their homeland with their lives. Not surprisingly, Polish soldiers did not want to return to the country. Polish troops in the UK were also stationed in Scotland. After demobilization, the Poles were not lightly. It took many years for them to find a place in their new country. These were generally hard post-war times. The British themselves had a problem with how to find employment in a demilitarized economy for their ex-soldiers. Many industries were dominated by trade unions, which openly opposed the hiring of Poles. In several areas of the economy, Poles had permission to work without any problems: in mining, construction, and quarries, agriculture and fisheries.
The life of Polish veterans in Scotland began to take place in a relatively normal mode. They went around Scotland looking for jobs and housing. Many of them ended up in Aberdeen and the surrounding area. Since they were mostly young men, most of them started families, embarrassing themselves with Scots. Probably these mixed Polish-Scottish marriages are one of the most important integration factors that occurred at that time.