Polish American Immigrants In Chicago
I will be writing my final paper on Polish American Immigrants who settle in Chicago Illinois. I will be referring to Polish American Immigrants in this essay as (Poles) periodically. The majority of Polish immigrants emigrating to the United States of America was in the 1800’s. This period was considered the first out of three waves of Polish immigrants to settle in America. The first major wave was between 1800 and 1860, many of the emigrating Poles were fleeing for America because of political revolution in their homeland. Many Poles liked the idea of a self governing political system that The United States of America had to offer. The Polish people had to endure many hardships in their homeland of Poland. From civil wars, political uprisings, and occupations from enemy countries (Germany, Russia, Prussia) invading their homeland. Along with these invasions and occupations came persecution of the Polish people. “This group fled their country mainly because of political insurrections. The U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service have estimated that fewer than 2,000 Poles immigrated during this wave.” (Into America) They sought refuge and a new life in America. During this wave it is estimated that 0nly 2,000 Poles had immigrated to America.
The next two waves of Polish American immigrants to arrive in the United States were after World War II (WWII). The Polish people lost 12% of its population during WWII, although the Soviet Union was one of the saving forces during the war for the Polish Nation, soon after the war ended Poland was transformed into a communist government by the Soviet Union. “After World War II, Polish immigrants streamed into the United States once more. U.S. immigration regulations were amended; more than 190,000 Polish political exiles and displaced persons were admitted to the U.S. 1945 to 1969.” (Suite) During this time of economic and political upheaval Poles left Poland and sought a new dream in America. During this time of Polish Immigration, the newly arriving Poles were referred to as “za chlebem” or “for bread”. No matter which wave of Poles referred to, they were known for their hard work ethic and determination to assimilate to their new country. The third wave of Polish American immigrants to the United States was in the early 80’s, due to communism and Martial Law be instilled throughout Poland at that time, many Poles sought refuge in America. “Some won visa on the visa lottery. Some immigrants of the newest wave are very skilled professionals. Quite numerous group of faculty in American universities consist of good educated Polish immigrants of the newest wave.” (Three Waves) This wave of Polish immigrants were more educated and contributed more to America then the waves before. Many had no problem finding good jobs due to their educations and careers in Poland. After the arrival to America the majority of Poles settled in major metropolitan areas, Cities like Michigan, New York City, Chicago, and cities in Ohio, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. Chicago is noted for being the largest to receive Polish immigrants and still holding the largest population of Polish American Immigrants in the United States. Many Poles settled in Polish neighborhoods called “Polania”, Polania is the Polish language in Latin. Polania also refers to a Polish community within a city. Many Poles did not form communities upon entering the United States, but rather sought to assimilate as quickly as possible to their host country. However, this did not mean that they did not form communities or live in neighborhoods that were mostly Polish. This was a result of Poles from Poland throughout history having to migrate or escape some sort of persecution or unbearable living conditions in their own country. They became accustomed to assimilating to whatever host country they found themselves moving to, Countries such as Russia, Germany, Italia, and...
Bibliography: The Polish Community in Metro Chicago. A community profile of strengths and needs. 2000. Rob Paral. www.robparal. Retrieved from: http://www.robparal.com/downloads/Polish%20Community%20in%20Chicago.pdf
InfoPoland. Polish American Folklore. Deborah Anders Silverman. 2000. www.info-poland.buffalo.edu Retieved from: http://info-poland.buffalo.edu/DAS.html
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