Polish Orphans of Tengeru is the story of 123 Polish Catholic Displaced Person (DP) orphans who were brought to Canada from East Africa in 1949 as part of the settlement of the postwar DP crisis. They arrived in East Africa in a mass exodus of Poles out of the gulags of Siberia in 1942 and 1943.
As they were being moved from Tanganyika in 1949, through Italy and Germany to Canada, the situation became an international incident. Warsaw protested that Canada and the International Refugee Organisation, with the active collaboration of the American and British governments, were kidnapping the children to use as slave labour on Canadian farms and in Canadian factories, tearing them from their families in Poland. The incident even reached the floor of the General Assembly of the United Nations, and dragged the Italian, British, and American governments before all was said and done.
Dr. Lynne Taylor has been an associate professor in the Department of History of the University of Waterloo since 1992. Her research focuses on the social history of the Second World War and its immediate aftermath. Taylor lives in Waterloo.