Skip to content

Polish refugees in Mexico

19 January 2015

I have written on Mexico’s important role as a refuge for persecuted people (especially in the 1930s and 40s) before, both in Gods, Gachupines and Gringos and in my short booklet, Bosques War, but until now, I had never heard of the Santa Rosa and the Polish refugees.

poles_in_mexicoIn 1943 a group of 1434 Polish refugees from the Soviet Russia, including a few hundred orphans, arrived in an abandoned ranch of Santa Rosa at the invitation of the Mexican President. Santa Rosa, near Leon, Mexico became their home for the few years to come. Earlier in December 1942, Prime Minister of Polish Government in Exile – General Władysław Sikorski arrived in Mexico to sign an agreement with President of Mexico Avila Camacho to set up such a camp. Mexico was the only country outside the British Commonwealth, which offered assistance in solving the humanitarian crisis of thousands of Polish civilians displaced in temporary camps in Iran.

The exile from deep Russia to Mexico led the first group of Polish refugees through Los Angeles, where their ship docked on June 25th, 1943. To their surprise, the Americans locked them up in an internment center for the Japanese immigrants, who were perceived as enemies of the state.

After the end of the war and the closing of Santa Rosa colony, only 87 refugees returned to Poland. Most of them emigrated to the United States. Those who settled in Chicago set up the Santa Rosa Club and once a year they gather to reminisce the good old daysto the sounds of music remembered from childhood. Currently, Santa Rosa houses an orphanage run by the Salesians of Don Bosco.



Polish Culture Comes To Mexico, Radio Poland

Santa Rosa:  Odyssey in the Rhythm of Mariachi



One Comment leave one →
  1. Rita.Mikolay Murphy permalink
    2 July 2019 8:49 am

    WOW My father Chester MIikolayczyk was selected by PNA in Chicago to go from Cambridge Springs PA to Santa Rosa to help the Santa Rosa refugee camp in the 40’s with my mother and brother. My mother a teacher from PA taught English for those who wished to go to US.
    I Went to Polish summer camp with Poncho and Tacho Stanislavski around1960-61

Leave a reply, but please stick to the topic

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: