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Eastern European Immigration. Why They came to America. General History. Immigration during the early 1900s occurred due to the industrial revolution that had swept across Europe during the previous century.

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Eastern european immigration

Eastern European Immigration

Why They came to America


General history
General History

  • Immigration during the early 1900s occurred due to the industrial revolution that had swept across Europe during the previous century.

  • People also came to America for political and economic reasons, but less so during the very early 1900s.


Countries in eastern europe
Countries in Eastern Europe

  • The borders of the Eastern European countries changed a lot during the first half of the 20th century.

  • The main countries considered part of Eastern Europe:

  • Poland

  • Russia


Poland s first wave of immigration
Poland’s First Wave of Immigration

  • The first wave of immigrants came to America from the 1800s up to WWI mainly for economic reasons, but also political and religious.

  • They immigrated from Krakow, Rzeszow, and the Carpathian and Tatra mountains.


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Poland s second wave of immigration
Poland’s Second Wave of Immigration

  • The second wave came to America following WWII.

  • The war wrecked the country economically, politically and population wise.

  • 6 million of Poland’s 35 million population were killed during the war.

  • Poland was liberated by Soviet’s and as a result became Communist.


Second wave continued
Second Wave Continued

  • Immigrants were mainly political prisoners and refugees who were intellectual and skilled workers.

  • In America, these refugees who were educated, separated themselves from Polish communities and assimilated themselves into middle class American professional groups.


Poland s third wave of immigration
Poland’s Third Wave of Immigration

  • This wave started in December of 1981 after martial law was imposed on the country.

  • Some of these immigrants did so through a visa lottery

  • Some of these immigrants were well educated and highly skilled.

  • Many of the educated ones became professors at universities.

  • The poorer ones who immigrated, still live for the most part in low income settlements in Polish quarters.


Where they settled
Where they Settled

  • In all three of the waves of immigrations, Poles stuck together in urban cities, mainly New York, Chicago and Detroit.

  • Illegal Poles relied on Polish contacts for jobs.


Immigration by the numbers
Immigration by the Numbers

  • Illegal Polish immigrants are currently in the 70,000s and ranks 10th in the US making obtaining a visa difficult


Contributions to america
Contributions to America

Mikail Baryshnikov

  • Lived in Latvia

  • In 1967, joined Kirov Ballet

  • Left Soviet Union in 1974 to gain personal and artistic freedom


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Elie wiesel
Elie Wiesel

  • Born in Romania in 1928

  • During WWII, he was deported to a German concentration camp

  • Freed by allies in 1945


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  • Became a citizen of the US in 1963

  • He was a professor of humanities at Boston University in 1976

  • He wrote Night- describes a father and son being deported to Auschewitz and what the terrible conditions they endured.


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Madeline albright
Madeline Albright Commission of Holocaust

  • Born in Prague in 1937

  • Went to the United States in 1948 when she was 11

  • Went with family to seek political asylum


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Hyman g rickover
Hyman G. Rickover Commission of Holocaust

  • Born in Poland in 1900

  • Graduated from Naval Academy in 1922

  • Submarine training in 1930


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Samuel goldwyn
Samuel Goldwyn the Bureau of Ships for the US.

  • Born in Warsaw Poland in 1879

  • Lived a life of poverty

  • Went to New York where he worked in a glove company


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Polish culture
Polish Culture Photoplay Company

  • Poles found what it meant to be Polish in the U.S.

  • In their own country there is no real sense of nationalism because the country was always split between other countries.

  • Only recently Poles gained a country of their own.


Polish holidays
Polish Holidays Photoplay Company

  • Pulaski Day is a holiday that celebrates two noblemen named Tadeusz Kosciuszko (1746-1817) and Casimir Pulaski (1747-1779). They both fought for the rebels in the Revolutionary War. Pulaski was killed in the battle of Savannah, is still honored by Polish Americans and each year they celebrate by annual marches on October 11. President Harry Truman decreed it an official remembrance day in 1946.


Religious culture
Religious Culture Photoplay Company

  • The main religion of Poland is Roman Catholic. The Catholic Church of Poland was seen as a way to hold their cultural values together. Catholic Church was seen as a rock for peasants to depend upon. The priests were seen as leaders for the peasants.

  • The church in American communities is seen as a central institution for communities in American cities. Polish Americans took church politics seriously.

  • They built many institutions and they provided religious, educational, recreational, and cultural- without recourse to host the host society.

  • Most Polish immigrants built these communities that were like their own world.


National dress
National Dress Photoplay Company

  • The national dress for men consists of a headdress like felt or straw hats or caps.

  • Trousers are often white with red stripes, tucked into boots or worn with mountaineering moccasins typical to the Carpathians.

  • Vests or jackets caver the white shirts, and the favorite colors of red and white replicate the flag.

  • The women wear a combination of a blouse and petticoat covered by a full, brightly colored or embroidered skirt, an apron, and a jacket or bodice, also gaily decorated. Their headdress ranges from a simple kerchief to more elaborate affairs made of feathers, flowers, beads, and ribbons decorating stiffened linen.


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  • Polish is a west Slavic language, part of the Lekhite subgroup, and is similar to Czech and Slovak.

  • Modern Polish, written in the Roman Alphabet, stems from the sixteenth century.

  • Its vocabulary is in part borrowed from Latin, German, Czech, Ukrainian, Belarusan, and English.

  • Dialects include Great Polish, Pomeranian, Silesian and Mazovian. Spelling is phonetic with every letter pronounced. Consonants in particular have different pronunciation than in English.


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Art subgroup, and is similar to Czech and Slovak.

  • Poland has a long history of art, especially in the 1940s’ when communism was taking root in Poland.

  • Art became a release for many people, but had to be kept secret because artistic freedom was not approved by the government. But Krakow was like an island in Poland where artists and literature thrived.

  • There were artists, however like Zbigniew Herbert (1924-1998), a legendary Polish poet, essayist and moralist who fought for Polish rights and equality. Stanislaw Lem is another famous Polish science fiction writer known for his satire, humor, and frequently irreverent reflections of society.

  • There were also great music composers like Stanislaw Moniuszko (1819-1872) was, apart from Chopin, the most outstanding composer of 19th century Polish music.


Reasons for immigrating
Reasons for Immigrating subgroup, and is similar to Czech and Slovak.

  • Ownership of land is what drove Poles to the U.S.

  • To Polish people land was considered a form of wealth.

  • Most of the polish population were peasants and didn’t have land. They have a strong belief in good vs. evil and that resulted in the belief in the devil, witches, the evil eye, bees building a hive in ones house, the house will catch fire, and goats were seen as lucky. Wolves, crows, and pigeons were seen as unlucky


Traditions in the us
Traditions in the US subgroup, and is similar to Czech and Slovak.

  • Most Polish people were working in industrial jobs and only 10% saw the dream of owning land.

  • Poles were moving up the economic status ladder slowly by slowly, but most are blue collar workers.

  • They believe that education is the way of the future, but in the past they were against education till the 1960’s.

  • They have the traditions holding strong because of their communities revolving around the Polish Christian Orthodox Church. The only hope to keep the culture vibrant in the U.S. is for new Polish immigrants to arrive and keep their culture vibrant and alive in America.


Polish jobs
Polish Jobs subgroup, and is similar to Czech and Slovak.

  • Since most immigrants from Poland were peasants and had a few skills most worked in the industrial society, but they were strong and knew how to work hard. They offered labor in steel mills, stockyards, mines, tanneries, or other heavy industries where machines had reduced technology to do most simple tasks requiring brute strength. They worked at factories because they planned to head back to Poland to buy land.


Facts by the numbers
Facts by the Numbers subgroup, and is similar to Czech and Slovak.

  • In 1969 sixteen percent attended college, 45% of males had white collar jobs. About 25% were skilled workers and 30% were semi skilled or unskilled workers In 1980 the total changed to 23.9% for polish people who had four years of college. At the same time 16.2-17.1% of the total population of whites made it to college for four years. At this time 23.5 percent of Poles in U.S. were in the managerial or professional categories. About 31.8% are in technical and administrative positions. Only 18% were operators, labricators, or laborers.


Assimilation into america
Assimilation into America subgroup, and is similar to Czech and Slovak.

  • The first generation Polish Americans were likely to send their sons to work in the mills at a very young age in order to pay the bills.

  • The second generation had leaned toward more ambitious attitudes toward work and education.

  • Also the vast culture of the U.S. was mainly Protestant and the Polish immigrants were use to the Polish Roman Catholic ways. Their Church was different because of mysticism involved in it.


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  • The Polish immigrants’ believe in the Polish Roman Catholic Church. They made their community revolve around the church in order not to lose their cultural ties to their homeland. They still celebrate their holidays the way they would in their old country. They also held on to their roots of Polish folklore and national roots of their former homeland.