The reception centre for Polish officers

Welcome to the chemin des Polonais, a path named after an assigned residence camp set up here to house (and monitor) demobilised Polish officers during World War II. This audio commentary provides a brief reminder of the history.

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    Vierge de Częstochowa stèle commémorative chemin des polonais

Voix : Sarah Lafaye

In September 1939, Germany and the Soviet army invaded Poland, whose troops left to join its French and British allies. Following the Armistice of June 1940 between France and Germany, the Polish officers remaining in the French Free Zone were placed under house arrest to prevent them from joining the Resistance.

The Polish Red Cross therefore set up reception centres to house them. One of them, planned for 80 officers, was established in the Grand Hotel de la Fontaine in Évaux in May 1941. Although it was under strict surveillance from the Vichy government’s police, these men integrated into local life, frequenting cafés and providing help when the church was on fire. They also led resistance actions in secret. In September 1942, the Évaux centre was dissolved and its residents were sent to Mont Dore. After the war, they erected an oratory crowned with the Madonna of Częstochowa as a memorial to their time in Évaux.

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