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Forschungsprojekt ::
In Search for the Missing Narrative - Children of Polish Deportees in Great Britain and New Zealand

Projektbeschreibung

Methoden: Quellenanalyse, Dokumentenanalyse, leitfadengestützte Interviews

Laufzeit: 2018-2020

Erkenntnisinteresse und Forschungsfrage: In my research I explore the role of the family narrative in a case of forced migration. Migration challenges the traditional notion of social memory as a supportive structure of national identity. Migrants are faced with the difficulty of defining memories to keep alive their remembrance of their country of origin and at the same time fitting in to the new receiving society.

My research is at the nexus of Historical Migration Studies and Memory Studies as it investigates how second generation Poles, children of Polish forced migration victims, experienced the transmission of "Polishness" in family narratives and how they reconstruct their parents' past in an atmosphere that would more often than not exclude traumatic experiences. I focus on the Poles in Great Britain and New Zealand.

Projektdesign: In 1940/41, more than a 320.000 Polish citizens were deported by the NKVD to the interior or the Soviet Union. In 1941, they were released. More than 110.000 Poles were evacuated via the Caspian Sea to Persia. Men fit for the military joined the war services at the side of the Allies. 34.000 civilians were sent to refugee camps in Africa and India. After the war these camps most of the Poles emigrated to USA, Canada, Great Britain, and Australia.

My research is at the nexus of Historical Migration Studies and Memory Studies as it investigates how second generation Poles, children of Polish forced migration victims, experienced the transmission of "Polishness" in family narratives and how they reconstruct their parents' past in an atmosphere that would more often than not exclude traumatic experiences. I focus on the Poles in Great Britain and New Zealand.

For my research I analyzed archival documents from the Polish Institute and Sikorski Museum London and the National Archives Kew, Richmond. I draw on autobiographical and biographical records and material objects. I interview survivors with primary experience of the deportation and conduct semi-structured interviews with the 2nd generation. My questions aim at their reflexion of their parents' experiences, their definition of "Polishness" and the narrative string that connects the generations.

Two quite distinctive groups will be compared:

Poles in New Zealand: In 1944 the prime minister of New Zealand offered to take in a group of Polish orphans - children and teenagers - from an orphanage in Isfahan and 102 accompanying adult staff. It was originally intended that these Poles would return to Poland once the war would be over, but the post-war Soviet domination of Poland kept these people from wanting to return there. New Zealand permitted them to remain.

Poles in Great Britain: The British Government allowed many of the exiled Poles to settle in Great Britain after the war, especially those who had been in the army and fought alongside the Allies in WWII.

The groups are thus quite different: In New Zealand there are still some Poles with primary experiences of their country of origin, of the deportation, the odyssee from Siberia to Iran and on to New Zealand. They are 1.5 generation immigrants, whereas the British Poles are 2nd and 3rd generation immigrants.

A first, very moving find was the desperate attempt of the second generation to reconstruct their parents' past. Often fathers and mothers would not talk about their experiences to "leave the past behind", thus creating a void in the family narrative that needed to be filled. It proves the importance of the narrative as a means of identity and self construction especially in the process of forced migration.

Angaben zum Forschungsprojekt

Beginn des Projekts:2018
Ende des Projekts:2020
Projektstatus:laufend
Projektleitung:Devlin, Dr. Julia
Lehrstuhl/Institution:
Finanzierung des Projekts:Nicht begutachtete Drittmittel
Schlagwörter:displaced persons, Eichstätt, polish displaced persons, DP Camps, narratives, deportees
Projekttyp:Angewandte Forschung
Webseite:https://www.ku.de/zfm/forschung/projekte-zfm/forsc...
Projekt-ID:2627
Eingestellt am: 13. Mai 2019 11:45
Letzte Änderung: 13. Mai 2019 11:45
URL zu dieser Anzeige: http://fordoc.ku-eichstaett.de/2627/