Fears in Poland that history is repeating itself, whilst supporting 800,000 Ukrainian refugees

By Charlotte Stokes

A million Ukrainians are queueing outside of government buildings in Poland as they plea for their refugee status, according to one ex-patriate living in Sheffield.

Sara Wysocka, originally from Wloclawek, only two hours outside of Warsaw, expressed her fears for her family who could be sat in the middle of an upcoming storm.

The fears within the Polish community surrounds historical events, the older generation still remember, including that of the USSR 81 years ago.

The emotive reaction by Miss Wysocka is not uncommon as this war may be the first fully televised, fully social media conflict, giving us in the UK a clear picture of the horrors occurring. 

She said: “I stopped watching it, I don’t know what’s happening anymore. After they bombed the Freedom Square (in Kharkiv), that was a bit too much for me. Just seeing that whole cultural place just blow up. 

“There are still so many people in Poland alive that remember the USSR and WW2 and so it’s just too close to home and to my heart. It’s very scary in the East at the moment.”

As a response to the refugees, Sara and her partner, Matt Rock have set up a small donation centre in their living room on Bramall Lane. 

Over the last two days they have covered the floor of their house with boxes from strangers and neighbours which then get sent to bigger centres and transported to Poland weekly.

They also added: “We will be going door to door later, to see if people have old cans of beans in their cupboards. I expect a lot of people to have at least a pot noodle to give, especially in such a student-filled area”.

Sara and Matt want the message to spread far that these donation centres are all over Sheffield, but are using their house as a point for those with no cars making it easier for locals to get involved.

The couple are collecting “anything and everything”, including children’s toys, clothing, non-perishable foods and sanitary products. 

Matt Rock, 27, added: “The people who are leaving their homes have nothing. These are the essentials that are easily forgotten.” 

Fletcher Waste Company owns the convoy of trucks leaving for Poland on the 11th March, but they still need more supplies such as clothing, blankets and towels. 

To donate, contact Sara Wysocka over email at Sara.wysocka1@gmail.com.

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