Polish Brazilians

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Polish Brazilians
Polonia brazylijska
Brazil Poland
Total population
3 million[1][2][3]
Regions with significant populations
Brazil: Mainly Southern and Southeastern Brazil
Portuguese · Polish · Yiddish
Roman Catholicism (ethnic Poles· Judaism (Polish Jews)
Related ethnic groups
White Brazilians, White Latin Americans

Polish Brazilians (Portuguese: polono-brasileiros) refers to Brazilians of full or partial Polish ancestry who are aware of such ancestry and remain connected, to some degree, to Polish culture, or Polish-born people permanently residing in Brazil. Also, a Polish Brazilian may have one Polish parent.

Polish immigrants began arriving in Brazil in the late 19th century and their total number was estimated at around 200,000.[4] Up until 1920, they were mostly classified as "Russians" and other nationalities due to the Partitions of Poland.[5][6]


Polish house in Paraná

The first Polish immigrants arrived in the port of Itajaí, Santa Catarina, in August 1869. [7] They were 78 Poles from the area of Southern Silesia. Commandant Redlisch, of the ship Victoria, brought people from Mitteleuropa to settle in Brusque.

Brusque, in the State of Santa Catarina, received many Polish immigrants.

They were in total 16 families, among them: Francisco Pollak, Nicolau Wós, Boaventura Pollak, Thomasz Szymanski, Simon Purkot, Felipe Purkot, Miguel Prudlo, Chaim Briffel, Simon Otto, Domin Stempke, Gaspar Gbur, Balcer Gbur, Walentin Weber, Antoni Kania, Franciszek Kania, André Pampuch and Stefan Kachel. The Poles were placed in the colonies Príncipe Dom Pedro and Itajaí, in the area of Brusque.[8]

Fewer Poles immigrated to Brazil than Portuguese or Italians, but many Poles have settled in Brazil. From 1872 to 1959, 110,243 "Russian" citizens entered Brazil. In fact, the vast majority of them were Poles, since east of Poland along Vistula river was under Russian rule, and ethnic Poles immigrated with Russian passports.[5] West of Poland was part of German Empire, therefore these Poles migrated as German citizens.

The State of Paraná received the majority of Polish immigrants, who settled mainly in the region of Curitiba, in the towns of Mallet, Cruz Machado, São Matheus do Sul, Irati, and União da Vitória.

Immigrants living in Curitiba and outskirts (1878)[9]
Origin Population
Poles 6,000
Italians 2,500
Curitiba population (1872) 12,651

Most Polish immigrants to Southern Brazil were Catholics who arrived between 1870–1920 and worked as small farmers in the State of Paraná. Others went to the neighboring states of Rio Grande do Sul and Santa Catarina and São Paulo, which is a state as well as a city. After the 1920s, many Polish Jews immigrated seeking refuge from Europe, settling mainly in the State of São Paulo. Today most Brazilian Jews are of Polish descent.[10]


In a 1991 poll with Polish immigrants residents in Southeastern Brazil, 48.5% reported to be Jewish, 36.4% Catholic, 10.7% adherents of other religions and 4.5% non-religious.[5]

Polish culture in Brazil[edit]

The State of Paraná still retains a strong influence from the Polish culture. Many small towns have a majority of Polish-descendants and the Polish language is spoken by some of them, although nowadays most Polish Brazilians only speak Portuguese. The city of Curitiba has the second largest Polish diaspora in the world (after Chicago)[6] and Polish music, dishes and culture are quite common in the region. Curitiba was largely influenced by a mayor Jaime Lerner.

Polish communities[edit]

A Polish old-style house in Paraná

Important Polish communities include:

Notable Polish Brazilians[edit]

The image of Polish Brazilians in Polish culture[edit]

Polish writer Maria Konopnicka published in 1910 a poem Mister Balcer in Brazil (Pan Balcer w Brazylii). Balcer fails to assimilate and returns to Poland. Mieczysław Lepecki had visited several South American countries, including Brazil, preparing mass emigration from Poland, and published several books about South America. Kazimierz Warchałowski returned to Poland and published there books about Brazil.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Polish Brazilians remember their culture: But many are forgetting their grandparents' language". The Economist. 25 November 2016. Retrieved 25 November 2016.
  2. ^ "Polonia w liczbach: Polska Diaspora na świecie (dane szacunkowe 2007)" [Polish numbers: Polish Diaspora in the world (estimated 2007)] (in Polish). Wspólnota Polska. Archived from the original on 26 March 2012. Retrieved 18 March 2013.
  3. ^ Dvorak, Anna (2013). A Hidden Immigration: The Geography of Polish-Brazilian Cultural Identity (Thesis). UCLA.
  4. ^ Bastos, Sênia; Salles, Maria do Rosário Rolfsen (January 2014). "Polish immigration to São Paulo after World War II in the context of the immigrations of displaced persons: 1947-1951". Revista Brasileira de Estudos de População. 31 (1): 151–167. doi:10.1590/S0102-30982014000100009. ISSN 0102-3098.
  5. ^ a b c Uma história oculta: a imigração dos países da Europa do Centro-Leste para o Brasil "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2009-02-25. Retrieved 2009-02-06.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  6. ^ a b Dvorak, Anna (2013). A Hidden Immigration: The Geography of Polish-Brazilian Cultural Identity (Thesis). UCLA.
  7. ^ "Prefeitura de Jaraguá do Sul". www.jaraguadosul.sc.gov.br. Retrieved 2020-11-24.
  8. ^ Brazil Archived 2009-07-13 at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ http://www.revistas.usp.br/ceru/article/viewFile/56989/59985
  10. ^ "7 things to know about the Jews of Brazil". Jewish Telegraphic Agency. 2016-08-02. Retrieved 2020-11-24.
  11. ^ Oliveira, Márcio de (June 2009). "Origins of Southern Brazil: the importance of Polish immigration in Paraná, 1871-1914". Estudos Históricos (Rio de Janeiro). 22 (43): 218–237. doi:10.1590/S0103-21862009000100012. ISSN 0103-2186.
  12. ^ "Kauan Von Novack". Speakers Academy® (in Dutch). Retrieved 2019-12-16.
  13. ^ Jurzysta, Kuba (2018-02-05). "Ariane Lipski: "Chciałabym zmierzyć się z Valentiną Shevchenko"". InTheCage.pl (in Polish). Retrieved 2021-03-20.