Armenians in Poland - Polish-Armenians in The 20th Century

Polish-Armenians in The 20th Century

At the beginning of the 20th century, there were about 6,000 Armenians in Poland living mostly in Eastern Galicia (today Western Ukraine), with centers in Lwów (Lviv), Stanisławów (Ivano-Frankivsk), Brzeżany (Berezhany), Kuty, Łysiec (Lysets), Horodenka, Tłumacz (Tlumach) and Śniatyn (Sniatyn). Polish-Armenians were an integral part of the movement to restore Poland's independence during World War I.

After suffering heavy losses along with the rest of Poland's population in World War II, the Polish Armenian community suffered a second loss. The regions of Poland where Armenians were concentrated such as Eastern Galicia were annexed into the Soviet Union as part of the agreements reached at the Yalta conference. As a result the Polish Armenian community became dispersed all over Poland. Many of them were resettled in cities in northern and western Poland such as Kraków, Gliwice, Opole, Wrocław, Poznań, Gdańsk, and Warsaw.

To combat this dispersion they began to form Armenian Cultural Associations. Additionally the Catholic Church opened two Armenian Rite parishes with one in Gdańsk and the other in Gliwice, while Roman Catholic churches in other cities such as St. Giles in Kraków would from time to time also hold Armenian Rite services for the local Armenian community.

A number of cultural and artifacts of Armenian culture can still be found with Poland's present day borders, particularly in the vicinity of Zamość and Rzeszów. Additionally a number of Khachkars have been erected in front of several churches in Wrocław, Kraków, and Elbląg as memorials to commemorate victims of the Armenian Genocide. It is unknown whether the Polish-Armenians were specific targets of Nazi Germany during World War II, though the Armenians were not scapegoated by the Nazis unlike Jews, Roma people and other minorities during the Nazi occupation of Poland.

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