Ewa Godlewska-Jeneralska’s home within the small southern Polish city of Czchow is able to welcome refugees fleeing the bloodshed in Ukraine. The beds are made, the rooms rigorously ready for friends.
“It is pure to do that. The warfare is raging in our yard,” Godlewska-Jeneralska tells DW in a cellphone name. She hasn’t acquired any Ukrainians as but leaving their war-torn nation, however she expects it to occur quickly.
The city has already seen the arrival of some ladies with kids from Ukraine. They want plenty of issues as a result of they usually arrive with only a unexpectedly packed bag, Godlewska-Jeneralska says.
“The toughest factor for me is to see them thank us. Typically you have not accomplished something but, simply talked to them, and they’re so extremely grateful. All of us cry with them.”
A neatly made bed room for Ukrainian refugees in Ewa Godlewska-Jeneralska’s dwelling
Wave of solidarity
The warfare in neighboring Ukraine has jolted Poland, prompting an enormous outpouring of support and solidarity. There are assortment factors for donations in variety and ads by folks keen to soak up refugees.
Polish women and men have been touring to the border in personal vehicles to supply lifts to refugees, holding up indicators with the names of cities like Warsaw, Krakow, Lodz and Wroclaw — almost each nook of the nation is represented.
Simply three days after Russian troops invaded Ukraine, Wojciech Bakun, mayor of Przemysl in far southeastern Poland, wrote on social media that individuals ought to cease bringing support to town for now. “In the intervening time we’ve got completely the whole lot in massive portions!”
A camp arrange for refugees within the Polish city of Przemysl
Large distinction to migrant disaster on Belarus border
But it was not that way back that Poland produced some very totally different photos to those taking part in out now — migrants from Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and different international locations stranded within the forests on the Polish-Belarusian border. Referring to the migrants, Polish Protection Minister Mariusz Blaszczak claimed “The open-door coverage led to terrorist assaults in Western Europe.”
There have been studies of Polish border forces finishing up unlawful pushbacks. For the reason that starting of the 12 months, Poland has been constructing a fence on the border to Belarus to maintain unlawful migrants out.
On the time of the migrant disaster, support teams, medical charities and particular person Poles together with residents of the japanese border areas helped migrants as finest they might. However there was no mass mobilization and willingness to assist the refugees.
“From an ethical perspective, the present scenario is obvious: We aren’t coping with a manipulative autocrat who drops individuals who wish to go to the West on the Polish border, however with the assault of 1 state on one other,” Andrzej Rychard, a sociologist on the College of Warsaw, believes.
Andrzej Rychard is a sociologist on the College of Warsaw
His colleague Przemyslaw Sadura is researching how the migration disaster on the Belarusian border affected residents and Polish border guards. Now, he is researching the identical problem in Przemysl on the Ukrainian border.
“These two crises mirror one another,” Przemysl says. “What stands out, nevertheless, are variations in how they’re perceived. Everyone seems to be presently concerned and serving to the refugees. It is like a competition of solidarity, a reflex,” he says. “However will this final after we understand that’s about hundreds of thousands of people that now not have houses to return to and who’re staying in Poland?”
Poland united on welcoming Ukrainians
For now, a minimum of, Poland is offering fast and efficient assist for Ukrainian residents fleeing the warfare. They’re entitled to the identical medical care in Poland as locals, with bills borne by the state medical health insurance.
“All refugees who come to the Polish-Ukrainian border can be accepted in Poland,” mentioned Overseas Minister Zbigniew Rau at a gathering of the Weimar Triangle on March 1, 2022.
Andrzej Rychard mentioned political concerns aren’t driving the present welcome rolled out by Poland. “That is a kind of uncommon moments when pondering when it comes to values is extra vital than political techniques,” he mentioned.
The warfare in Ukraine has led to unprecedented political unity in Poland. All events from throughout the political spectrum are calling for assist for Ukrainian refugees.
Final 12 months, migrants confronted barbed wire and armed guards as they tried to cross into Poland from Belarus
“In distinction, in 2021 it was controversial to even assist migrants on the Belarusian border. Maybe we had been subconsciously ashamed of the development of the fence on the border with Belarus and at the moment are extra at peace with our conscience,” Przemyslaw Sadura says.
‘You possibly can nonetheless management some issues now’
Earlier than the Russian invasion, there have been about a million Ukrainians residing in Poland. Virtually each Polish household is aware of Ukrainians who work in Poland. The international locations aren’t far aside geographically and even culturally.
In a survey performed final 12 months by the Heart for Prejudice Analysis on the College of Warsaw, greater than 90% of respondents mentioned they settle for folks from Ukraine as colleagues and neighbors.
However, for Ewa Godlewska-Jeneralska from Czchow, the nagging query of the contrasting remedy meted out to Syrian and Ukrainian refugees stays unanswered.
Refugees from Ukraine have been met with an outpouring of kindness and solidarity in Poland
“How can or not it’s that Ukrainian kids are higher than Syrian ones?,” she asks.
There may be little doubt that the scenario within the late summer season of 2021 was extra confused as a result of nobody knew who precisely the migrants had been and why they had been making an attempt to get to Poland.
On the time, the Polish border service printed photographs of individuals posing in entrance of landmarks in Minsk, and Inside Minister Mariusz Kaminski portrayed the refugees as vacationers or potential terrorists. However, the actual fact is that on the similar time, households with kids had been freezing within the chilly — with out triggering a wave of solidarity.
Godlewska-Jeneralska says she had spoken with a psychologist who introduced up one other facet: “Again then, when the refugees arrived on the Belarusian border, it was not a direct menace to us,” Godlewska-Jeneralska says.
“Now it is totally different: while you really feel threatened your self and helpless on the similar time, it is nearly insufferable. However while you begin doing one thing concrete to assist, you’re feeling you’ll be able to nonetheless management some issues.”
This text was initially written in German