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Episode notes

Get to know Piotr Szkopiak, a London-based film and TV director who’s spent a good portion of his life pondering the nature of his identity.

Piotr Szkopiak was born in the United Kingdom but into a Polish family. As he grew up, he learned that his parents and neighbours were all World War II prisoners of war who had escaped the USSR but couldn't go back to Poland after the war ended. His mother told him how she had travelled from the depths of the Soviet Union through Persia and southern Europe to the UK, and how after the war this is the place that she had to learn to call home.

But first and foremost, his parents talked to him in Polish, signed him up for a Polish weekend school, and raised him as a person with a double identity: Polish and British. This in-betweenness has been something that strongly influenced his life and he reflects on it all in an interview he gave to Karolina Jackowiak, who on behalf of the Poles in South London organisation, was working on the Local Heroes Archive oral history project. We, at SFTEW, liked the story so much that we decided to turn it into one of our episodes.

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Further listening
  • ORPHANS // the SFTEW episode we mention in the podcast: how 700 Polish children made an unlikely journey from the depths of Siberia to the New Zealand countryside.
  • BEAR // an even more unlikely tale from us at SFTEW: the bear who fought in World War II alongside Anders’ Army.
Further reading Thanks

Piotr Szkopiak // for letting us turn his story into a podcast episode.

Poles in South London // especially Marta Sordyl and Łukasz Wołągiewicz from the organisation, for reaching out and offering this incredible story to us.


Written & produced by Wojciech Oleksiak Edited by Nitzan Reisner & Adam Zulawski Hosted by Nitzan Reisner & Adam Zulawski Scoring & sound design by Wojciech Oleksiak