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The migration of Poles to Belgium and their Return to Poland between 1918 and 1952 – the Migration Story of the Szotek Family

The aim of the paper is to serve as a reminder of Polish economic migrations to and from Belgium between 1918 and 1952, largely absent from the collective memory of Poles or frequently identified with migrations to and from France. Based on the account of the Szotek family, collected in accordance with oral history methodology, the authors present the family’s complex story of migration: first a journey from Ujków Stary to the Charleroi coal basin in Belgium and then a return to Poland, where they lived again in Ujków Stary, then in Zalesie and Bystrzyca Kłodzka, only to finally return to Ujków Stary. The family’s reasons behind the decision to go to Belgium and then re-migrate to their homeland helps to comprehend the historical context of economic migration to and from Belgium, as outlined by the authors. The issue of adaptation of emigrants in the country of settlement, and then their adjustment as re-emigrants to the new reality forged by the authorities of the “democratic” Polish People’s Republic occupies an important place in the paper.

The articleas was published in the Migration Studies – Review of Polish Diaspora.


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