After the end of the Second World War, a very large number of Poles reached this country as refugees. Most of them had lived through great physical and emotional ordeals during the terrible years when the Second World War devastated Poland, with many undergoing Soviet labour camps in Siberia or Nazi concentration and labour camps. Many fought side by side with the Allies in the Polish Armed Forces under British command. In order to alleviate their tragic circumstances, the Polish Citizens’ Committee for Refugees was established in 1945, one of whose many tasks was the care of those Polish refugees who were already old and infirm on arrival in this country and unable to fend for themselves.
In 1951, in order to provide residential care for elderly Polish people, both male and female, the Antokol Home was established, first at Beckenham, Kent and subsequently transferred to Chislehurst, Kent.
The demand for residential care for elderly Polish people in this country has been increasing with the years. Most of them have no relatives and unlike the younger generation of Poles in this country have found it difficult to integrate with British society and therefore pose special problems. Very often their command of English is inadequate and they find it most difficult to communicate and to fit in with residents and staff in British old peoples’ homes. Hence the need for a Polish home which maintains the Polish language and those Polish traditions to which the residents were accustomed in their younger, more active, days thus giving them a sense of dignity, security and peace in old age.
In order to facilitate the running of the Antokol Home the Polish Citizens’ Committee for Refugees formed a Housing Association in 1972, called the Polish Citizens’ Committee Housing Association Ltd. That association is an exempt charity registered under the Industrial and Provident Societies Act 1965.