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  • 18 July 2013

    Over 1400 Polish WWII refugees found shelter in the Mexican colony of Santa Rosa. On Saturday a documentary film, co-financed by the Polish MFA, that tells their extraordinary story will premiere in Chicago.

    Sanata RosaMexico was the only country apart from the British Commonwealth states that offered humanitarian assistance to thousands of Poles escaping the Soviet Union with General Anders’ army in the spring of 1942.

     

    Poles who fled from the Siberian hell of labour camps and prisons accompanied the Polish army that left the Soviet Union and reached Palestine, passing through Iraq and Iran. As many as 1434 of them accepted an invitation extended by Mexico and its President Ávila Camacho, who offered Poles shelter in a hacienda in Santa Rosa, located near León in the state of Guanajuato.  The refugees arrived in the Santa Rosa colony by travelling through India, New Zealand and the United States on 4 July, 1943.

     

    The documentary film that tells their history – “Santa Rosa: Odyssey in the Rhythm of Mariachi” – was  produced on the 70th anniversary of the arrival of Polish refugees in Mexico. The movie is based on never before published archival documents and interviews with the surviving inhabitants of the Santa Rosa hacienda. The documentary was directed by Sławomir Grünberg, who also co-wrote the screenplay with Piotr Piwowarczyk. The filmmakers first heard about the story in 2011 from Anna Niewiadomska, the Polish Ambassador to Mexico, and decided to make it into a documentary film.

     

    Today’s eighty-year-olds “recall Santa Rosa as a ‘paradise lost’ and the welcome they received from the  Mexicans and the relations between the refugees and the locals as a ‘miracle’,” write the filmmakers on the movie’s official website, www.santarosa.com.pl.  

     

    The documentary was co-financed by the Ministry  of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland under the 2012 Cooperation Plan with the Polish Diaspora and Poles Abroad.

     

    The film was first screened in Poland and Mexico at the end of June. On Saturday, 20 July, the film will have its US premiere in Chicago, home to a large group of Poles who survived WWII in Mexico. A press conference will be organised the day before the premiere by the Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in Chicago.

     

    See the trailer:

     

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