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  • Faithful to my Homeland, the Republic of Poland

     

  • POLISH MINORITY

  • Origin, structure, social situation and numbers

     

    The Polish settlement on Romanian grounds begun in year 1792, it was the moment of repatriating by the Austrian administration several tens mining families from Wieliczka and Kausza to Kaczyka (Cacica) village where the salt mine was being build then. Highlanders from Czadecki region, who appear in Bukovina at the beginning of XIX century, constituted the next wave of settlement. This population settled down between 1834 and 1835, in region of Sołoniec Valley, creating Polish villages of Nowy Sołoniec and Plesza. Next year, in 1842 Polish-German colony - Pojana Mikuli - was established. In year 1855 the group of Polish settlers from Tarnów surroundings came to Rudna (nowadays Vicsani - border station), and the other group from Kolbuszowa surroundings settled down in Bułaj village (nowadays Moara - Suczawa's suburbs). The last organised group, also from Rzeszów district, came in 1870 to Mihoveni village. However, in comparison with settlement of highlanders from Czadecki region and the Polish colony from Kaczyka, those groups were sparse and far vulnerable of losing its national character.

     

    In the second part of XIX century begun significant social activation of Polish element in Bukovina. Polish environment of northern Bukovina (today Ukraine) especially from Czerniowce, which was the main centre of the intellectuals and the middle class, demonstrated a particular activity. In 1886, in Czerniowce was opened the Polish House, which was until the I World War the main centre of social and cultural life of Poles from Bukovina. In 1907 in Suczawa - after the example of Czerniowce - the Polish House was built. According for the year 1910, all together - number of Polish population in northern Bukowina was formed as ollows: Radowce county - 806, Suczawa county - 1636, Solka county - 1814 and Gura Humorului county - 1121.

     

    After regaining the independence by Poland in 1918, a part of Poles from Bukovina left the Romanian lands. Polish organisations from this territory didn't reach any more, in period between the world wars, such expansiveness like they presented at the turn of the century. After the II World War process of repatriation also included Poles from Bukovina. Taking into consideration general number of 5000 re-emigrants from Romania, two thirds were constituted of Bukovinian families settled on Western Lands, mainly in Zielonogórskie county - Żary and Żagań surroundings.

     

    At the turn of the XIX and XX century several hundred of Polish workers families from Stanisławów and Borysław region settled in coalfield of Valea Jiului. Lupeni settlement became their main agglomeration. Moreover, several dozen families (mainly specialized workers) settled in Medias (Transylvania) where they found job at glassworks. Substantial majority of those settlers was repatriated between 1946 and 1950.


    Besides the Polish minority that originate from old settlement in Romania, after II World War survived also a part of earning emigration of interwar, twenty years period. This rather not very numerous group - about 650 persons - was make up of entrepreneurs, specialists employed in weaver's industry, shareholders in other industrial plant, qualified workers of different profession. This social class, the most wealthy and educated left Romania after the war.

    Among 26000 of Polish refugees, who were in 1939 in Romania, considerable part, which means 11000, left this country until the end of 1939, and further 12000 in next year. In mentioned period, in Romania remained, according to published statistics about 3200 refugees; within the time their number reached the number of about 5000 people. In years 1948-50 because of repatriation process about 5000 re-emigrants left Romania and about 4000 refugees from 1939. At place, remained over 6000 former settlers and about 1000 refugees. Descendants of those last mentioned, live mainly in Bucharest, Krajowa, Ramnicu Valcea, Konstanca, Ploiesti and Pitesti.


    According to the Romanian statistics data, Polish minority in this country is estimated to be at least 8000 people. The main concentration of Poles in Romania is in Suczawa district (southern part of historical Bukovina) and is make up of such localities like: Nowy Sołoniec (Solonetu Nou), Plesza (Plesa), Pojana Mikuli (Poiana Micului) where Poles constitute an ethnical majority. However, this population lives from generations on Romanian territory they preserved full, linguistic, custom and national autonomy. Other big Polish centres are: Bucharest, Valea Jiului coalfield, Krajowa, Konstanca and Ploiesti.

     

    Organisational structure

     

    Organised in October 1946 in Bucharest, as the initiative of Polish consulate, convention of Polish organisation created new Polish minority organisation Polish House, which until the May 1947, in nineteen regional departments gathered over 5000 members. In years 1950-53, in Romania all organisations of national minorities were dissolved, including Polish House, a dwelling of Polish House in Suczawa was confiscated and nationalized.


    In 1990 organisation of Polish minority in Romania was reactivated, preserving historical name the Polish House, A. Rojewski - was elected its first president - he died in 1994. During the convention of 1994, Polish Union elected Jan Piotr Babiasz, MP on behalf of Polish minority, to be their president. In elections, in years 1998 and 2000 he was elected once again as the president of the Union, performing at the same time duties of MP in Romanian Parliament. After Jan Piotr Babiasz premature death, Gerwazy Longer - president of Polish Minority in Nowy Sołoniec - became MP on behalf of Polish minority and than, was elected for the post of the president of Polish Union. The most numerous and active regional union departments are in Suczawa and Bucharest. The other union regional departments (Jassy, Konstanca, Krajowa) are less numerous.

     

    Polish minority education

     

    About 700 children of Polish minority in schools in Bukovina and Bucharest are included in educational process of teaching Polish language in Romania. In most cases lessons took place within the Romanian school programme in classrooms. In this system, Polish minority pupils attending public, primary schools in Moara, Pojana Mikuli, Plesza, Paltinoasa, Ilisesti Gara, Kaczyka, Nowy Sołoniec, Seret and Suczawa and also secondary school students in Suczawa and Gura Humorului are taught Polish language. In Polish school at the Embassy of the Republic of Poland, traditionally children of local Polish families are taught. Supplementary courses of Polish language are taught in Polish Houses.


    About 60 persons of Polish origin from Romania are studying in Poland; the number of Polish youth studying in their place of residence is rising.


    Education of young Polish generation was considered as a priority by Polish Union in Romania and received versatile support of Polish state. Educational - helping programme „Children of the Bukovina", which is carried out from 2002 became an axe for undertaken activities in order to improve access and the level of education for Polish youth.
     

    Cultural life and mass media

     

    Material ground for social and cultural activity of Polish minority in Romania is Polish Houses. In previous years were built Polish Houses in Nowy Sołoniec (1995) and Paltinoasa (1998), the Polish House in Vicsani is still being built, and those in Kaczyka and Bucharest are being renovated. Because of centenary anniversary of existence of regained Polish House in Suczawa, it is being thoroughly reconstructed. The intention of Polish Houses is not only to integrate Polish centres but also to give rise to tourist base and to make Bukovina available for Polish tourists.


    It is also hard to overestimate the role of Polish language teachers; the cultural-educational activity conducted by them bear fruits when the youth participate in festivals, competitions and anniversary meetings. Currently in Bukowina act five Polish folkloric ensembles.


    Polish Union in Romania has its own press publication "Polonus".

     

    The role of clergy and religious life

     

    The catholic religion played an important role in preserving the national identity, linguistic and culture autonomy of Polish minority in Romania. Polish priests still exercise pastoral guardianship over Polish societies in Kaczyka, Nowy Sołoniec, Plesza, Paltinoasa (Bukowiec), Poiana Mikuli and Moara (Bułaj). In currant year the centenary anniversary of The Blessed Virgin Mary's church in Kaczyka (the church was built by Polish salt miners settled there) and of a church in Plesa - will be celebrated solemnly.

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