Ryszard was one of the many refugees that moved to England after World War II.
He was born in Poland but moved around the world. In 1953 his father Stanislaw and mother Stanilawa moved to Derby and he has been here ever since.
He said his parents had come from a hard life and didn’t know what to expect when they came to the UK but the local people of Derby were warm and welcoming.
He said the Polish community had been in Derby for decades now and it was important during this Remembrance month to raise awareness of the contribution they made during those war years and to the UK thereafter.
He said: “I was aged 2 years and 3 months when I left Poland. My journey from Poland to Derby took eight years and one month.”
“It started when my family was deported to Siberia. The conditions were cold and hard and they were felling trees.
“After the peace treaty between Stalin and General Sikorski the amnesty was announced. This gave people the chance to join the Polish army – that is, if they could obtain permission from the camp commander.
“While my father was waiting for permission to join the army, my family was sent to a collective farm in Uzbekistan.”
Ryszard said his father did successfully join the army and with other volunteers moved through the Middle East, India and Africa – he and his mother continued living in Uzbekistan until his father came for them in 1953.
He said: “Although I was young I never forgot my early life. Coming to Derby gave my parents, and many others like them, a fresh start and new chance to redefine their lives and make a better world for future generations.”
He said the exhibition was his legacy for his five children and four grandchildren. It was also a way to remember his loved ones and all they have contributed to the UK.
The exhibition takes place today (Thursday 17th November) and tomorrow from 9.30am to 4.30pm, at The Council House, Corporation Street, Derby, DE1 2FS.