Monday, June 4, 2012

The Indian Maharajah Who Helped Save Polish Orphans during World War II

the Good Maharajah
Politics makes strange bedfellows, indeed.  Prince Jam Sri Digvijaysinhji Ranjitsinhji Jadeja (no, I have no idea how to pronounce that) was the Maharaja of Nawanagar from 1933 to 1947.  This was when India was still controlled by Great Britain.  After World War II began, the Maharaja became a member of Winston Churchill's Imperial War Cabinet.

When Germany and the Soviet Union carved up Poland in 1939, Stalin had several hundred thousand Poles, including women and children, deported to the inner depths of the Soviet Union.  But when Hitler turned on Stalin, Stalin was forced to ally with Great Britain and the Polish government-in-exile.  Amnesty was declared for Polish prisoners in the Soviet Union.  The Maharaja offered to help Polish children who had been deported to Siberia, Kazakhstan, and other locations.

As many as 500 orphans were brought to the Maharaja's summer palace at Balachadi, on the coast of Nawanagar.  The children remained there throughout the war.  Delegates of the Polish government-in-exile even set up and ran a school.

And now, the Warsaw City Council passed a resolution on Friday, June 1, to name a square in the Ochota district of central Warsaw after the prince.  Apparently I am not the only one who has difficulty pronouncing his name -- the square will be called "the Square of the Good Maharaja."

3 comments:

  1. English - Text :

    Great is the Indian Maharaja and Great are the Polish people !!!

    Romani - Text :

    O baro si e Indiako Thagar, vi-te bare si e Poliska-ke manusha !!!

    ReplyDelete
  2. A journalist has turned a rejected story about the Maharaja and the children he saved into a Ph.D. dissertation and a book: http://cosmopolitanreview.com/second-homeland/.

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