In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, more than one million Poles immigrated to the United States. Now there are an estimated 10 million Polish Americans, representing about 3.2% of the population of the United States. “During the 19th century, Poles began to come to central New York. Poles began arriving in larger numbers again as refugees of World War II and veterans of the Polish Armed Forces in Exile unwilling to return to a Communist dominated Poland in the post-war period. The years of Communist domination also witnessed the movement of Poles to the area for both political and economic reasons, while the years following the triumph of Solidarity brought new skilled and professional people seeking an opportunity to expand their careers.”
“By 1990, Polish Americans comprised the third largest ethnic group in Oneida County. A vibrant community, Utica Polonia, is represented by many organizations. For example, the Kopernik Memorial Association promotes and preserves Polish culture and traditions. The White Eagle Association serves as a communication link for post-World War II immigrants, and the General Casimir Pulaski Memorial Association Inc., sponsors the annual Pulaski Day celebration” (www.utica.edu/academic/institutes/ethnic/polish.cfm).
Did you know:
- Poland boasts 17 Nobel prizewinners, including four Peace Prizes and five in Literature.
- Polish born astronomer Nicolaus Kopernik (Copernicus), whose statue stands at the corner of Genesee and Eagle Streets, was the first person to propose that the earth was not the center of the universe.
- Another Polish astronomer, Johannes Hevelius (1611-1687) published the earliest exact maps of the moon.
- Przystanek Woodstock is the biggest open-air festival in Europe–an annual free rock music festival in Poland, inspired by and named for the Woodstock Festival.