Polish family's horror at east Belfast racist attack: Woman and son are targeted as home and car damaged by thugs
A Polish man whose home and car were smashed in a vicious racist attack described it as a "nightmare come true".
Adam (27) has lived with his mother Bozena (47) in their home in Templemore Avenue in east Belfast for the past two years.
But yesterday the young man, who would usually be at work, was instead surveying the damage to his home in disbelief as he came to terms with the fact his front window and car had damaged by bigoted thugs.
Four men are believed to have been involved in the incident, which happened shortly after 11.30pm on Monday.
Hours after the attack his mum was back at work but Adam, who did not wish to give their surname, was forced to take the day off, having had less than an hour's sleep and no car to travel to his job in Lisburn.
Speaking of his ordeal, Adam said he was in his bedroom when he heard the smash.
He told the Belfast Telegraph: "I pulled the blinds and saw two guys throwing stones into my car.
"They ran away and I ran downstairs to see what happened.
"I was afraid to stay here all night.
"I slept for no longer than an hour, so I am pretty tired today."
As Adam heard the smash outside his first thought was "not my car".
"I was afraid when I moved into this area about my car and my nightmare came true yesterday," he said.
Despite being wary of future attacks, the family own the house, so moving is not an option at this stage.
"We have no choice but to sleep here tonight," Adam added.
"Police promised they would keep an eye on my house and the street, they will do it for a couple of days. I don't know what happens in the future."
While he remains baffled as to why they were targeted, Adam said the attackers knew what they were doing.
"It happened because I'm not local, maybe racial discrimination. They smashed the Polish car and Polish house.
"I'm a quiet person who hasn't caused any problems. I don't know if it was personal or random."
Residents were disgusted at the attack. A 32-year-old woman said: "They are a family who both go to work, they own the house and this is how they are repaid?"
A 40-year-old neighbour helped the family by phoning the police.
A Polish neighbour (38) said she didn't feel safe in her own home.
"We have done nothing wrong to the local people. I can't understand why something like this happened because we are from a different country," she said.
The attack follows a spate of hate crimes in the east of the city and comes days after graffiti saying 'locals only' was daubed on three properties on Roslyn Street.
Jim Nicholson MEP called the attacks an "absolute disgrace" and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness blamed the UVF.
10 ways this immigrant community has enriched our lives
1. Polish Cultural Week has been held at the Waterfront Hall for the past eight years.
Kasia Garbal, of the Polish Educational and Cultural Association, said the festival aimed to break down barriers and fight prejudice through arts and culture.
2. Many new food shops are open in Belfast, such as the Karolina (right), specialising in Polish foods and delicacies.
They serve not only the Polish community. Many local people go in as well to buy bread and produce they can't buy elsewhere.
It also creates jobs and boosts the economy through taxes and rates.
3. During the Second World War, Polish soldiers fought bravely against the Nazis and 145 made the ultimate sacrifice in the Battle of Britain to defend the UK from German invasion.
A number of Polish air crew died in Northern Ireland and are buried here.
One Spitfire with a local link, the City of Derry, was flown by 315 Squadron, a Free Polish squadron in the RAF.
4. The contribution of Polish workers in many local industries – such as factories and food-processing businesses – has helped keep companies in Northern Ireland secure.
They have filled labour shortages – something particularly evident in Moy Park. Polish workers also fill important skill gaps in areas such as IT, and as doctors and nurses.
5. The Polish community is also integrating into Northern Ireland's political life. Anna Ochal-Molanda, who is originally from Poland, become the first member of her Eastern European community to stand for election.
6. Belfast's first Polish restaurant, Cracow City, opened on the Cregagh Road in 2008.
The restaurant was revamped in 2010 under new ownership and is now called The Belvedere.
7. Polish Saturday School in Belfast educates children about the Polish language, culture and traditions. There are 10 schools across Northern Ireland at present.
8. Polish priests and ministers help plug the gap in churches and some preach in parishes throughout Northern Ireland.
9. With more than 30,000 Polish people living in Northern Ireland, the beleaguered housing market has undoubtedly benefited from their presence.
10. The cultural diversity of schools and universities here has increased thanks to the large numbers of Polish children here. One Polish pupil came first in Irish in Northern Ireland in both verbal and written GCSE examinations.