Greeks in Poland
|Regions with significant populations|
|Wrocław, Police i Zgorzelec, Świdnica, Ustrzyki Dolne and Bielawa.|
|Related ethnic groups|
Greeks in Poland form one of the country's smaller minority groups.
Greeks, particularly merchants and traders have been present in the Polish lands since the Middle Ages, funding a number of Orthodox churches throughout the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. However most of these immigrants eventually assimilated into the diverse groups that trace their heritage from this polity such as Poles, Lithuanians, Belarusians, and Ukrainians.
Most self-identified Greeks in Poland today trace their heritage to the large number of Greek citizens who fled as refugees from the Greek Civil War and were admitted into Poland.  They consisted largely of former partisan units from the Macedonia region of Greece.
Most refugees arrived by sea through the port at Gdynia. The Polish government chose to settle them in the territories west of the Oder River near the border with East Germany, especially near Zgorzelec. About 200 were also sent to Krościenko in the southeast, near the Bieszczady Mountains in a formerly ethnic Ukrainian area. Initially, the refugees were celebrated as anti-capitalist heroes and given significant government assistance in building new lives and integrating in Poland. Initially, they found employment on farms, for which they were well suited because of their rural background; however, they later gravitated towards urban areas.
Some refugees chose to return to Greece early on. By 1957, still roughly 10,000 remained in Poland. However, suspicions later fell on them of being Titoist agents. A large number were deported to Bulgaria in 1961. After a 1985 agreement between the governments of Poland and Greece that enabled Greek refugees to receive retirement pensions at home, the number of Greeks in Poland has deteriorated further.
The refugees belonged to different ethnicities, including half reportedly of Macedonian ethnicity and speaking the Macedonian language. Two Polish experts in Minority Studies, Alfred F. Majewicz and Tomasz Wicherkiewicz, claim that the Polish government cooperated with Greek refugees in forcing Macedonian refugees to adopt Hellenic names, and prevented them from opening their own schools and organisations.
In 1950 the refugees from Greece were organized in the Community of Political Refugees from Greece (Polish: Gmina Demokratycznych Uchodźców Politycznych z Grecji), based in Zgorzelec. Two years later it moved to Wroclaw and was renamed in 1953 Nikos Beloyannis Union of Political Refugees from Greece (Polish: Związek Uchodźców Politycznych z Grecji im. Nikosa Belojanisa). After the fall of the dictatorship in Greece it changed its name into Association of Greeks in Poland (Polish: Towarzystwo Greków w Polsce), but in 1989, an internal schism led to the creation of the Association of Macedonians in Poland (Polish: Stowarzyszenie Macedończyków w Polsce).
In his essay, published by the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights, professor Slawomir Lodzinski states:
At present, the full legal protection is limited to this national minorities which are groups of Polish citizens, are “old”, “native” and on non-immigrant origin. This perspective has caused that the groups of Greeks and Macedonians who have been recognized as national minorities from the 1950s, from the beginning of the 1990s are not treated as national minorities by the state.
Answering a question by Brunon Synak, President of the Kashubian-Pomeranian Association, at a meeting organized by the Council of Europe in 2002, Mr. Dobiesław Rzemieniewski, Head of the National Minorities Division in the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Administration, explained that Greeks and Macedonians are "not classified as national minorities since they do not meet the requirement of being traditionally domiciled on the territory of the Republic of Poland".
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