1939 Refugee Routes from Poland #poland


Trying to find the details of the transportation of 200 Polish refugees from Piraeus, Greece to Marseilles, France in September 1939. The Polish freighter, MS LEWANT, was in port at Piraeus from 4-26 September 1939 before sailing for Marseilles where they arrived on 29 September. Antwerp may have been their intended destination but the journey terminated at Marseilles given situations in the Low Countries and at sea at that time. What happened when they arrived at Marseilles remains to be found when French archives reopen, unless of course, someone happens to know about the Lewant or procedures upon arrival at Marseilles. 

But, the question here is the likely route refugees traveled from Poland to Greece, arriving at lands end in Piraeus. Were there organized routes of escape to the south and east? Would traditional ties to Galicia have made a route through Ukraine natural? Then there was  the problem of the Soviet invasion of 17 September but given their presence in Piraeus by 26 September would mean they cleared Ukraine before the Soviets entered.

Many thanks for any information readers can pass along.

Dennis Whitehead

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