Polish Immigration

What Was It Like?

The Push and Pull Factors

The Poles moved from Poland to America mostly during world war ll in the 1940’s because of war and religious persecution.The Nazi’s had invaded poland to use the land as "extra living space" and defences but ended up exterminating a large amount of Polish Jews.Not being able to put up with the war and religious persecution many poles left poland to find a free life in other places like america where there was no religious persecution.Many also found better opportunities in America.America had been moving and expanding with the growing population and that intrigued many people to get better jobs in America so many also left poland upon their own free will.

The polish immigrated to America mainly because of religious mistreatment.Poland was invaded in 1939 during world war ll by Nazi leader Adolf Hitler who claimed it was for defense purposes.The Nazi SS troops started imprisoning polish jews in Nazi death camps.Nearly 3 million people were killed and the Nazi’s took about 110,000 jews from 300 villiages.This is the Biggest thing that pushed poles out of poland and into america because there was major religious persecution during the invasion that lasted almost 2-3 years and killed close to a quarter of a million people.The nazi’s further advanced in their invasion on poland taking more jews to the camps and causing more deaths.

The journey to America

When the polish left Poland for America their journey wasn’t the most desirable.Most of them had been refugees from nazi’s death camps who were injured and sick and were put on steamships going to America.On these Steamships there were Hundreds and even thousands of other men,women, and children aboard.On the steamship besides the horrid smells that lingered in the air,Many people were carrying diseases and/or sicknesses which quickly had the ability to travel to thousands of other people aboard.Upon the arrival in america many of the poles on the ship were contaminated with disease and had to be inspected by a special doctor before being let into the country.If people were incurable or very sick they were deported back to poland.

The polish jews were somewhat accepted and respected in America when they arrived.At first many of the polish were stereotyped as “rowdy” “drunk” and “filthy” but that slowly changed when they began working and ranking up in society.They were allowed jobs and homes.Many of them worked in a sweatshop earning about 7$ a day.This may not seem like a lot but, back in poland many of the people were unemployed and were living off the bare minimum so they did not decline an offer to a job and money to support their family with.Not only did the Polish assimilate with the american’s but they were also very successful.The polish jews religion was accepted and practiced within the country.

What Influence does the Polish Culture have on the American Culture?

There are many ways that the polish culture diffused into the american culture.For example one of the biggest influences the polish made on the american culture was in the music industry.The polish culture brought in a lot of musical prodigy’s such as Arthur Rubinstein who is one of the greatest pianist to this day and Czeslaw Milosz who was a very successful poet and even won a nobel prize for his writing's.Another man by the name of Krzysztof Eugeniusz Penderecki was a famous composer and conductor and was seen as an influence because of his great work, like pieces such as “Threnody to the Victims of Hiroshima” and “Polish Requiem”.Witold Lutoslawski was also another famous polish composer and orchestral conductor and was one of the best in the 20th century and during his last three decades he was very distinguished in the music industry.

Music is one of the biggest influences that the polish culture had on the american culture because it is still remembered today.For example Polish Fest in milwaukee is held every year for people to share their culture with others and for others to learn the culture of the polish.


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