It is hard to leave an apartment where you are leaving behind at that very moment your life-time achievements, still a young life, however, there are some trophies, from a won poetry contest, or photographs, souvenirs, books, but you had to leave these behind and save them in your memory.
The history of departures from the Polish territories have been taking place for hundreds of years. People were leaving to various parts of the world, both to earn a living as well as in the search of freedom and a different life. It has not changed after Poland regained independence. The journeys we were made on foot, by train, on ships, and later by planes. After joining the European Union emigration has become a generational experience of millions of young Poles. Today, almost everyone knows someone who has decided to emigrate.
All over the world there are more than 20 million people of Polish origin. What do we know today about one of the most important events in the Polish history? Can we rescue from oblivion the memory of the millions of people who engrafted the memory of Poland in their children and grandchildren? Can we feel what Poles leaving their homes at the end of the 18th century experienced or understand what it means to emigrate at the beginning of the 21st century? What is emigration in the era of air travel?
The mission of the Emigration Museum in Gdynia is to showcase the stories of millions of both anonymous and famous people, whose names appear in the context of the great scientific, sports, business and artistic achievements. The ambition of the institution is to familiarize Poles in the country with these achievements, and at the same time to encourage compatriots living in Poland and abroad to get to know each other. Thanks to its educational and cultural projects the museum hopes to become a place of meetings and discussions. We are obliged to this by the best of all possible addresses - 1 Polska Street.
The Archive aims to provide space for all these emigrants' stories. We want not only to archive and save them from oblivion but also to show them to a wide audience and share them.
In the Emigration Museum the history of Poland is understood as a history of all Poles - both those living in the home country and abroad. We want the voices of emigrants, re-emigrants and immigrants to inspire discussion and public debate about the past and modern emigration.
The aim of people working in the Emigrant’s Archive is to collect stories - both in a written and spoken form. We try to reach out to people who have experienced emigration in different moments of the Polish history.
Emigrant narratives are systematically archived in the form of written accounts as well as sound and film notations. Over the years, they will form a multi-dimensional picture of the past and modern emigration.
We encourage emigrants from all over the world to write down their memories, to send photos, scans of remembrances, but also to meet with employees of the archive to record stories in audio or video versions. Oral history is a unique opportunity to reach personal experiences of witnesses of history. There are emotions that cannot be found even in the most important documents. Thanks to them we can talk about one of the most important phenomena in the Polish history through the voices of the participants themselves.
On the website you will find a form to submit your memories as well as the Emigrant’s Archive contact data. We will be happy to answer each question by e-mail or telephone.