[Ger-Poland-Volhynia] Reasons for Germans leaving Poland for Volhynia

William Remus remus at hawaii.edu
Mon Jun 29 20:21:18 PDT 2009

"Martin took his family to Volhynia in 1867, part of a large migration. The reasons usually given include the freeing of the serfs and the Polish Uprising of 1863. What is not clear to me is why so many Germans decided to move further into the Russian empire. PArticularly as Russia was doing its best to Russify Volhynia, and was moving against the Polish landlords there. "

It is true that the uprising of the Poles led many Germans to flee Russian Poland. Its uprising was brutal and the Russian repression much worse. Volhynia was much safer. Also the Russification program in Volhynia would not start for another two decades.

It is true the serfs in Volhynia were freed and that left the manorial farms. The Germans did not want to work on the farms but were glad to buy land. Soon the nobles sold land and the Germans were enthusiastic since in Russian Poland and many other areas land was not available to buy. 

This second wave included those from Pommern and West Prussia as well as Russian Poland. I might note that Pommern and West Prussia were overpopulated and the mechanizing of farming was reducing the need for small scale farmers. So at the same time my great grandfather was heading for Volhynia other family members were heading for the US and Canada.

The Russification program was a key driving force in the 1890's migrations out of  Volhynia of Germans, Jews, Poles, and even Ukranians.

regards bill

William Remus 
Emeritus Professor of Information Technology Management
2404 Maile Way, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA 96822
Telephone: 808-956-7608   Fax: 808-956-9889
For Information about Bill Remus, go to his website http://remus.shidler.hawaii.edu/

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