Polish Club in Kirkcaldy
The existence of the Polish Club in Kirkcaldy is testimony to the strength of the Polish community resident in the town and surrounding area. Political circumstances in Poland at the end of the Second World War in 1945 made return to their homeland impossible for many members of the exiled armed forces in the United Kingdom, a substantial proportion of whom were based in Fife. Polish forces first arrived in the United Kingdom following their evacuation from France at the beginning of the war. Their ranks were subsequently expanded by the arrival of Polish exiles from elsewhere.
The club – originally The Association of Polish Veterans Club (or SPK) – was founded in 1953. Today, it has several hundred members and serves as a social centre for the Polish community and their friends. In recent years the association has welcomed a new generation of arrivals following the accession of Poland to the European Union in 2004. The club provides traditional Polish catering on Sundays, hosts a music club and runs a “Saturday School” for Polish children in the area.
The Polish community in Kirkcaldy created a memorial to one of the major tragic events suffered by the Polish nation in the 20th century. During the course of the Second World War, over 20 thousand prominent Poles from the military and civil society were executed and buried in mass graves mainly in forest ground near Katyń, in Russia. The significance of the date is demonstrated by its prominence on the memorial – as responsibility for the killings hinged on the timing. In 1941, when the Soviet Union claimed the events took place, the region was occupied by Nazi Germany. In 1940 however – the actual date – the Soviet Union controlled the area and, in 1990, eventually accepted responsibility.
The Polish Club is located in Bennochy House, on Forth Park Drive, Kirkcaldy. The Katyń memorial is situated within the grounds of the club.
Bennochy House image © Polish Club Kirkcaldy Katyń memorial image © Pkozanecki, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons