Polish minority in France
|This article needs additional citations for verification. (December 2009)|
|1 million
2% of the French population
|Regions with significant populations|
|Île-de-France, Nord-Pas-de-Calais, Alsace, Lorraine...|
|Christian and Judaism|
|Related ethnic groups|
|Poles, French, Silesians|
Poles in France form one of the oldest Polish diaspora communities in Europe.
About one million people of Polish descent live in France, concentrated in the Nord-Pas de Calais region, in the metropolitan area of Lille and the coal-mining basin (Bassin Minier) around Lens and Valenciennes. Prominent members of the Polish community in France have included Frédéric Chopin, Adam Mickiewicz (temporarily), Aleksander Chodźko, Rene Goscinny, Marie Curie, Raymond Kopa, Ludovic Obraniak, Edward Gierek (who was raised there), Matt Pokora and famous singer Jean-Jacques Goldman, the son of a Polish Jew.
French Revolution and Napoleonic wars
Large numbers of Poles settled in France during the rule of Napoleon when 100,000 Poles fled Russian rule of Poland in the early 19th century. Many enlisted to fight in the French army, like Józef Antoni Poniatowski, Ludwik Mateusz Dembowski and many other Polish commanders of the Napoleonic Wars and Polish legionnaires.
Great Emigration (1831-1870)
Most of the Great Emigration of political elites from Poland between 1831–1870 settled in France.
Another wave of Polish migration took place between the two World Wars, when many were hired as contract workers to work temporarily in France. Polish refugees also fled Nazi or Soviet occupation (1940s).
Polish resistance during the Nazi occupation in France
During the Nazi occupation, a specific Polish Resistance group, Polska Organizacja Walki o Niepodleglosc – Organisation Polonaise de Lutte pour l’Indépendance (POWN), was created on September 6, 1941 by the Polish general consul in Paris, A. Kawalkowski (code name Justyn), and fought alongside the French Resistance. There were also other Polish Resistance movements in France, most notably former soldiers from the Jaroslaw Dabrowski Brigade who had fought in the International Brigades during the Spanish Civil War went on in their struggle against Fascism in the FTP-MOI. Since 1941 the PPS activists in Northern France had also founded two resistance movements, Organisation S and Orzel Bialy (White Eagle). In 1944 Polish Committees for National Liberation (PKWN) were set up to support the Communist Polish army. There were clashes between POWN resistants, under the authority of the London-based Polish government in exile, and the Communist FTP-MOI resistants.
French Poles after WWII
A number of prominent Frenchmen have Polish roots, visible in their surnames, most notably politician Michel Poniatowski, late trade unionist Henri Krasucki and the founder of the Traditionalist Catholic movement of Fraternité Notre-Dame and Bishop Jean Marie Kozik.
- Great Emigration
- Blue Army (Poland) (1917–1919)
- Polish Army in France (1939-1940)
- Nentwik, Stanislas. "La résistance polonaise en France". Gazeto Beskid (in French). Retrieved 2009-11-12.