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Internal Migrations in Poland

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Edited By Łukasz Skoczylas and Elżbieta Smolarkiewicz

The aim of this book is to highlight the issue of internal migrations and emphasise the need to conduct research on their course and consequences, including those stemming from historical processes. The complexity of this topic is illustrated by the fact that the chapters contained in the book have been written by representatives of different disciplines: sociology, psychology, geography and economics, which may suggest the need for interdisciplinary research to be conducted in the future.

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Post-war internal migrations in biographical experience1

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Abstract: Post-war internal migrations in Poland shaped many local communities. Conditions under which they occurred were a clear consequence of the experience of wartime terror, mass extermination and necessity to leave personal homelands behind. This chapter aims to present the aftermath of this experience in biographical narratives. Internal migrations were approached from two perspectives. First is the perspective of migration from central Polish regions to Polish Western and Northern Territories. The latter is the perspective of rural communities, which experienced population change due to post-war agricultural reform. The chapter was delivered using oral history sources. Collected evidence show the influence of migrations on identity discourses, as well as its impact on developing memory narrative. In recorded narratives a specific adaptation strategy is shown: the creation of non-memory related to a place or a group of inhabitants.

Keywords: post-war migrations, Polish Western and Northern Territories, identity, agricultural reform, biographical narratives

Introduction

The end of the Second World War and the inclusion of Poland in the Soviet sphere of influence, social changes and shifts of borders caused major changes in the social world. The key elements of those changes were migrations and radical transformations in the structure of post-war Polish society. Even though migrations differed, being either voluntary or involuntary, the purpose of this chapter is to characterise all internal migrations ←55 | 56→within the Polish borders after the end of the Second World War as a single phenomenon. The migration processes can be...

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