Cover Osteuropa 1/2011

In Osteuropa 1/2011

“El dorado” and Reality
Emigration from Poland to the United States before 1914

Adam Walaszek

Deutsche Fassung


From 1860 to 1914, 10 million people left Poland. Circa 3.6 million emigrated permanently. Starting in 1880, America became one of the most attractive destinations. The emigrants dreamt of social advancement and a better life. The reality was something different. Lacking education, the Poles landed in industry and mining. They were forced to carry out the simplest and hardest jobs. At the workplace and in society, the emigrants experienced rejection and exclusion. They responded by establishing their own lifeworld of organisations and associations. And they constituted themselves as their own ethnic group: as the Polish diaspora (Polonia) in America.

(Osteuropa 1/2011, pp. 47–62)