Home LATEST NEWS The Many Faces of Polish Wartime Friendship | War in Ukraine

The Many Faces of Polish Wartime Friendship | War in Ukraine

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It’s a very normal door in an ordinary street that the young Polish woman pushes. Hey, hey!she says, entering the room slowly.

The visitor is quickly welcomed by three women, a few children and two small dogs. Laughter fills the room. The smiles mark the faces. A Ukrainian flag flies overhead.

Zuzanna Krzatala is at the origin of this refuge.

The model Zuzanna Krzatala behind the counter of the small bar which she transformed, with a lot of help, into a shelter for the displaced.

Photo: TurnedNews.com / Yanik Dumont Baron

Before the war and COVID-19, this place was a bar. It is now a small shelter for Ukrainian families. A semblance of home for displaced people looking for the best place to put their rare suitcases.

It’s much better than those huge shelters set up elsewhere in Warsaw, launches Zuzanna Krzatala. In these large spaces that accommodate hundreds of people, there is no privacy or real comfort.

This little refuge is the idea of ​​this Polish model. The unused space was lent by the owner of the building. What this little bar has become is a reflection of the generosity of this man’s fellow citizens.

The comfort of a bar that has become a refuge

Zuzanna Krzatala hesitated before opening the door to her little refuge. No need to bring a camera. She wants to preserve the privacy of her guests.

In the main room, piles of new clothes stacked on a table. In one corner, a play area with foam mats, puzzles and plastic blocks. A few books lie on a shelf.

A new coffee machine sits on the bar next to bagged compotes and biscuits. In the beer fridges, fruit and milk. There are also diapers and small shoes where the alcohol reserves should have been.

A young Polish woman.

Zuzanna Krzatala had the idea of ​​converting a bar into a refuge.

Photo: TurnedNews.com / Yanik Dumont Baron

Impossible to cook, so restaurateurs deliver free meals adapted to the dietary needs of families.

What used to be a men’s washroom in this bar has been turned into a shower. There is only one for the dozen women and children who can lodge here.

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One of the bedrooms is right next to it: four double beds in a not very big room. On shelves, clean sheets, new clothes and cosmetics.

On the walls, some children’s drawings. On the ceiling, a dozen disco balls. At the end of the afternoon, the sunlight bursts into a thousand rays. Magical vision for uprooted children.

Representation of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Tribute to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in the window of a Warsaw cafe

Photo: TurnedNews.com / Yanik Dumont Baron

Everything in this improvised house was donated by Poles. They are friends of Zuzanna Krzatala, acquaintances, contacts solicited by an intermediary.

There is in particular this owner of a large Polish clothing brand. Within 24 hours, he had boxes of new clothes delivered to the small shelter.

Some items still had their anti-theft device. Contacted on a Friday evening, the man promised to fix the problem over the weekend. Like nothing ever happened. Because you have to lend a hand.

We feel that the displaced just want to take off their shoes and feel at home… even if they are in a place of transit.

In this small bar, everyone seems to get along well, even if no one knew each other three days ago. They do not come from the same region, exchange in a mixture of English, Russian, Ukrainian and Polish…

Zuzanna Krzatala doesn’t want to get too attached to these women and children. She knows very well that they are just passing through. It’s a simple stopover before joining relatives elsewhere in Europe.

Inevitably, the conversation turns to this desire to go home. It is not with relatives in Spain that one of the ladies wants to go but in Ukraine. The others nod their heads in agreement.

Suddenly, the memories of the house left behind resurface. The young mother sobs as she recalls the bombs, the children holed up in the basements.

A cafeteria in Warsaw for displaced Ukrainians.

A large cafeteria for displaced Ukrainians has been set up under this tent at Warsaw’s central station.

Photo: TurnedNews.com / Yanik Dumont Baron

She then shows us a colorful blanket taken away in her flight.Night. Cool.“,”text”:”Night. Cool.”}}’>Night. Cool. It was to warm her four-year-old son aboard the buses and trains of exile.

An essential item. A survival item. A rare memory of all that life hastily left behind.

The woman dries her tears and asks what more she could have taken, alone, her barely four-year-old son in her arms.

There is no right answer to such a question. Zuzanna Krzatala can only promise to wash the blanket carefully and return it to her before she leaves in a few days.

Because we will have to leave. Back on the road without really knowing when it will be possible to return home.

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