Kresy Jews moving to central and western Poland for better economic opportunities?

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Kresy Jews moving to central and western Poland for better economic opportunities?

Post by Futurist » 17 Jun 2021 20:42

Do we know just how many Kresy Jews moved to central and western Poland for better economic opportunities in the interwar era?

I'm asking because I know that Moscow's and St. Petersburg's Jewish populations massively increased between 1917 and 1939 in real life as Jews were able to begin flocking there for economic opportunities. So, I'm wondering if something similar could have happened with Polish Jews in regards to moving to central and western Poland.

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Re: Kresy Jews moving to central and western Poland for better economic opportunities?

Post by wm » 18 Jun 2021 23:37

Good luck with that in a country with no IDs and where the Jews frequently didn't register births of their children (so the only method to track population movements).

I don't believe central and western Poland were any promised land for the Jews, it was maybe for some Poles, e.g. Polish peasants/workers - but we know as a fact how scarce Jewish peasants/workers were.

For middle-class Jewish professionals, doctors, lawyers why not, but for Jewish merchants/peddlers not possible - they would encounter the extreme hostility of established Jewish/Polish businesses.

For the Poles Germany/America was the promised land, for the Jews only the US.

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Re: Kresy Jews moving to central and western Poland for better economic opportunities?

Post by Futurist » 20 Jul 2021 00:11

wm wrote:
18 Jun 2021 23:37
For the Poles Germany/America was the promised land, for the Jews only the US.
France?

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Re: Kresy Jews moving to central and western Poland for better economic opportunities?

Post by RG » 21 Jul 2021 07:26

Futurist wrote:
20 Jul 2021 00:11
wm wrote:
18 Jun 2021 23:37
For the Poles Germany/America was the promised land, for the Jews only the US.
France?
France was strongly antisemitic, for example family of Roman Polański moved from France to Poland because of antisemitism in France.

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Re: Kresy Jews moving to central and western Poland for better economic opportunities?

Post by Futurist » 25 Jul 2021 17:10

RG wrote:
21 Jul 2021 07:26
Futurist wrote:
20 Jul 2021 00:11
wm wrote:
18 Jun 2021 23:37
For the Poles Germany/America was the promised land, for the Jews only the US.
France?
France was strongly antisemitic, for example family of Roman Polański moved from France to Poland because of antisemitism in France.
I was asking more about Poles moving to France here.

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Re: Kresy Jews moving to central and western Poland for better economic opportunities?

Post by wm » 05 Aug 2021 18:46

Poles moved to France (and Belgium) to work there, mostly in coal mines and it was long-term employment with the possibility of naturalization (unlike the seasonal work in Germany). The communist leader of Poland - Gierek was one of them.
But I don't think the French with their high unemployment especially needed or accepted emigrants in large numbers - except in the mines.

I've read in the contemporary press in the thirties about a deportation of about 1000 Jewish peddlers (as burdensome aliens) from Belgium to Poland but clearly, they were illegal aliens (assuming the story was true.)

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Re: Kresy Jews moving to central and western Poland for better economic opportunities?

Post by Futurist » 07 Nov 2021 19:55

wm wrote:
05 Aug 2021 18:46
Poles moved to France (and Belgium) to work there, mostly in coal mines and it was long-term employment with the possibility of naturalization (unlike the seasonal work in Germany). The communist leader of Poland - Gierek was one of them.
But I don't think the French with their high unemployment especially needed or accepted emigrants in large numbers - except in the mines.

I've read in the contemporary press in the thirties about a deportation of about 1000 Jewish peddlers (as burdensome aliens) from Belgium to Poland but clearly, they were illegal aliens (assuming the story was true.)
Did most immigrants to France in general work in the mines, or only Polish immigrants to France? I would presume that France also got sizable immigration from places such as Italy and Iberia during this time. Was their occupational profile similar to that of Polish immigrants? Or was it different?

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Re: Kresy Jews moving to central and western Poland for better economic opportunities?

Post by wm » 07 Nov 2021 22:02

France and Poland were allies, Italy a political rival - so no free benefits for Italy.
And the benefits weren't that free either, France demanded extensive economic concessions as a payment for the military alliance with Poland and got them.
But they were so nice that signed an agreement accepting Polish emigrants in France too. That France suffered from serious labor shortages (thanks to the Germans) certainly helped.

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Re: Kresy Jews moving to central and western Poland for better economic opportunities?

Post by Futurist » 07 Nov 2021 22:05

wm wrote:
07 Nov 2021 22:02
France and Poland were allies, Italy a political rival - so no free benefits for Italy.
And the benefits weren't that free either, France demanded extensive economic concessions as a payment for the military alliance with Poland and got them.
But they were so nice that signed an agreement accepting Polish emigrants in France too. That France suffered from serious labor shortages (thanks to the Germans) certainly helped.
The serious labor shortages might have also been due to the French not breeding enough. France had low fertility rates in the early 20th century, especially in comparison to some other European countries. Meanwhile, the Poles remained highly fecund until at least the post-World War II era.

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Re: Kresy Jews moving to central and western Poland for better economic opportunities?

Post by wm » 08 Nov 2021 00:02

You can't outbreed 1,4 million dead French young men. France had to import hundreds of thousand Poles to replace them.
Ironically Germany had to do that too, although on a seasonal basis. Every summer hundreds of thousands of Polish farmhands were needed to complete harvest in Germany.

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Re: Kresy Jews moving to central and western Poland for better economic opportunities?

Post by Futurist » 08 Nov 2021 04:48

wm wrote:
08 Nov 2021 00:02
You can't outbreed 1,4 million dead French young men. France had to import hundreds of thousand Poles to replace them.
Ironically Germany had to do that too, although on a seasonal basis. Every summer hundreds of thousands of Polish farmhands were needed to complete harvest in Germany.
How ironic--to complain about the Polish Corridor while at the same time wanting a lot of Polish seasonal labor! :D

I presume that the Poles also took heavy losses in WWI but were able to replenish their losses more quickly, correct?

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Re: Kresy Jews moving to central and western Poland for better economic opportunities?

Post by gebhk » 08 Nov 2021 12:51

Every summer hundreds of thousands of Polish farmhands were needed to complete harvest in Germany.
Though the WW1 losses were not the main factor here. The German population did not nosedive until 1918-1919, hitting bottom in 1920. The 'Spanish flu pandemic was, of course a significant factor, as well as the economic malaise. However, in agriculture it was the twin problems of low birth rate and the movement of people from the agricultural East of Germany to the industrial West, that left agriculture undermanned.

Futurist - you are quite right, Poland was making up the losses much more quickly and then some. Very roughly (bearing in mind the Polish state did not exist as a state or even single province before WW1), Poland had regained its 1914 population numbers by 1924 (and by 1926 regained its pre-WW1 peak). In contrast, it took Germany until about 1936 to do the same. High birth rates are often associated with poverty and agriculture. If you can't get a tractor and other farming machinery, farming is labour-intensive and you need a large family to keep production costs down to a competitive level.

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Re: Kresy Jews moving to central and western Poland for better economic opportunities?

Post by wm » 08 Nov 2021 20:47

Futurist wrote:
08 Nov 2021 04:48
I presume that the Poles also took heavy losses in WWI but were able to replenish their losses more quickly, correct?
Unemployment in Poland (up to 30 percent) was much higher than in France. The losses couldn't change that.

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Re: Kresy Jews moving to central and western Poland for better economic opportunities?

Post by Futurist » 08 Nov 2021 21:50

wm wrote:
08 Nov 2021 20:47
Futurist wrote:
08 Nov 2021 04:48
I presume that the Poles also took heavy losses in WWI but were able to replenish their losses more quickly, correct?
Unemployment in Poland (up to 30 percent) was much higher than in France. The losses couldn't change that.
Polish unemployment being higher than French unemployment due to Poland's more rural character and Polish farms already having a surplus of labor?

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Re: Kresy Jews moving to central and western Poland for better economic opportunities?

Post by gebhk » 09 Nov 2021 09:29

Polish unemployment being higher than French unemployment due to Poland's more rural character and Polish farms already having a surplus of labor?
The picture is further complicated by mass movements of the large Polish diaspora. For example a significant chunk of the Polish (particuilarly mining) immigration into Belgium in the early 1920s was not from Poland but from Westphalia and the Rhineland.

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