The history of departures from the Polish territories have been taking place for hundreds of years. People were leaving to various parts of the world, both to earn a living as well as in the search of freedom and a different life. It has not changed after Poland regained independence. The journeys were made on foot, by train, on ships, and later by planes. After joining the European Union emigration has become a generational experience of millions of young Poles. Today, almost everyone knows someone who has decided to emigrate.
All over the world there are more than 20 million people of Polish origin. What do we know today about one of the most important events in the Polish history? Can we rescue from oblivion the memory of the millions of people who engrafted the memory of Poland in their children and grandchildren? Can we feel what Poles leaving their homes at the end of the 18th century experienced or understand what it means to emigrate at the beginning of the 21st century? What is emigration in the era of air travel?
In Gdynia there is formed the first Polish museum dedicated to the history of Polish emigration. Created on the initiative of the city authorities in the historical building of the Marine Station, where for decades departed Polish liners from, the institution will present the history of departures and of lots of the Poles in the world in close connection with the present. Since the history of emigration is written every day. Its various dimensions will be presented at a permanent exposition.
The mission of the Emigration Museum in Gdynia is to tell the stories of millions of both anonymous and famous people, whose names appear in the context of the great scientific, sports, business and artistic achievements. The ambition of the institution is to familiarize Poles in the country with these achievements, and at the same time to encourage compatriots living in Poland and abroad to get to know each other. Thanks to projects of an educational and cultural nature the museum hopes to become a place of meetings and discussions. In a very particular way we are obliged to this by the best of all possible addresses - Polska 1 Street.
Emigrant’s Archive is a project of
Emigration Museum in Gdynia, in which we gather and present the stories
of the Polish emigration. Among them there are stories of extraordinary
courage, but also about daily struggles with an unknown reality.
Together they form a wide and colorful panorama of the Polish presence
on all the continents of the world.
The Archive aims to provide space for all these stories of emigrants. We want not only to archive and preserve them from oblivion, but also to show them to a wide audience and share them.
In the Emigration Museum the history of Poland is understood as a history of all Poles - both those living in the home country and abroad. We want the voices of emigrants, returnees and immigrants to inspire discussion and public debate about the past and modern emigration.
The aim of people working in the Emigrant’s Archive is to collect stories - both in a written and spoken form. We try to reach out to people who have experienced emigration in different moments of the Polish history.
Emigrant narratives are systematically archived in the form of written accounts as well as audio and film notations. Over the years, they will form a multi-dimensional picture of the past and modern emigration.
We encourage emigrants from all over the world to write down their memories, to send photos and scans of their memorabilias, but also to meet with employees of the archive to record stories in audio or video versions. Oral history is a unique opportunity to reach personal experiences of witnesses of history. There are emotions that cannot be found even in the most important documents. Thanks to them we can talk about one of the most important phenomena in the Polish history through the voices of the participants themselves.
On the website you will find a form to submit your memories as well as the Emigrant’s Archive contact data. We will be happy to answer each question by e-mail or telephone.