Russian Women in Emigration in Poland during the 1920s – 1940s

Keywords: Poland, emigrants, adaptation, women


The article examines the situation of Russian women-emigrants who found themselves on the territory of Poland in the 1920s – 1930s. Almost all categories of the population of the former Russian Empire were represented among the refugees in Poland. Among the ranks of the exiles there were also women who had to adapt to the difficult social conditions of their stay in the country. During the 1920s – 1930s, of the total number of emigrants (50-60 thousand people who stayed in the country) about 30 % were women and children. In 1919–1920, Poland was one of the centers of the anti-Bolshevik struggle. Therefore, the Russian emigrants gave their support to the Poles. For instance, Z. Gippius took part in the publication of the newspaper and the formation of Russian military units. After the end of the Soviet-Polish War, the soldiers and officers of these units were interned in camps. Among them were nurses, as well as women and children. The families of the internees were housed in common barracks, often women and children had to sleep on the floor. The Russian Red Cross Society, headed by L. I. Lyubimova, tried to provide the internees with food, clothing, medical care, and find work. By the mid-1920s, it became clear that the stay of exiles abroad could lasted for many years. Therefore, the main attention of the emigrant organizations were paid to cultural and educational activities. It was carried out through the Russian houses that appeared in Warsaw, Vilna and other cities. There women took an active part in the work of various circles, libraries, theater studios. In families, wives and mothers tried to maintain not only the home comfort, but also to educate children in the spirit of national traditions. So far as women in exile often had to support unemployed husbands or disabled people, they tried to find a job. But most of them could only hope for odd jobs in sewing workshops or trade.


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How to Cite
Yolkin, A. (2022). Russian Women in Emigration in Poland during the 1920s – 1940s. The Journal of V. N. Karazin Kharkiv National University. Series: History, (61), 202-218.