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Exile Mission: The Polish Political Diaspora, 1939-1956

by Ohio University Press Item #: BK2440
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The Exile Mission: The Polish Political Diaspora and Polish Americans, 1939-1956
by Anna D. Jaroszynska-Kirchmann

The Exile Mission explores the interactions between two distinct Polish immigrant groups: those Polish Americans who were descendants of economic immigrants from the turn of the twentieth century, and Polish political refugees forced into exile after World War II and the communist takeover in Poland. The two groups differed in many important ways, which often caused tension within the Polish American community.

Most significantly, the new arrivals--many of them escaping the limbo of displaced persons camps after the war--did not consider themselves ordinary immigrants, but a special category: political refugees. They defined their identity within the framework of the exile mission, an unwritten set of beliefs, goals, and responsibilities, placing patriotic work for Poland at the center of Polish immigrant duties.

Bound by diaspora ties, postwar Polish exile communities all over the world worked out their own ways to implement the refugees' main goals. In the United States, both Polish Americans, those history also included a tradition of work and struggle for Poland, and Polish refugees confronted the challenge of fulfilling the mission. Between the outbreak of World War II and the European political crises of 1956, the exile mission remained at the core of the relationship between these two groups.

Based on extensive interviews, letters, journals, and other never-before-published materials, The Exile Mission compellingly analyzes the vigorous debate over ethnic identity and immigrant responsibility toward the homeland. It is the first study to examine the construction and impact of the exile mission on the interactions between political refugees and established ethnic communities.

Winner of the 2004 Oskar Halecki Prize

"In Jaroszynska-Kirchmann's fine study of Polish immigration between 1939 and 1956, perhaps the most striking accomplishment is the author's account of the Polish intelligentsia, a group largely ignored in studies of immigration and of the wartime and postwar migration of intellectuals generally."
ROGER DANIELS, author of Guarding the Golden Door: American Immigration Policy and Immigrants since 1882

ANNA D. JAROSZYNSKA-KIRCHMANN, an associate professor of history at Eastern Connecticut State University, is the author of a number of articles on the history of the postwar Polish political diaspora, two of which received the Polish American Historical Association's Swastek Award in 2002 and 2003. The Exile Mission manuscript won the organization's biannual Kulczycki dissertation prize.

Publishing House: Ohio University Press, Athens 2004
Softcover book measuring 6" x 9"
368 pages, map, photographs/illustrations, tables, index
English Language Version

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