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Polish Contract labor in Hawaii 1896 to 1899


swstout 1 | 7  
11 Jun 2009 /  #1
Aloha: (Hello) I am doing research here in Hawaii.

I live on what is called the "Big Island".

At one time we had the sugar cane fields, and Polish people represented one of the largest groups of European immigrants on the islands. Here on this island there are many derelict, and abandoned sugar cane plantation buildings.

Polish contract laborers took a firm stand against their severe treatment on Hawaiian sugar cane plantations. I am having a hard time finding anyone of family decendants who lived here and worked. It appears that when plantations closed, there is no record of them leavng islands, only coming here.

In my research, I would like to interview anyone who has any information for my up-coming book, that can help in this regard.

I am interested also if anyone knows family or otherwise that either left pre-WWII 1930's or later, who came to Hawaii. This would be very helpfull.

Mahalo (Thank YOU!) for your kind consideration. Stephen
Peter 3 | 247  
11 Jun 2009 /  #2
I have no info about the topic but I have to say, it sounds very interesting! I was not aware of there being a Polish presence of any size in Hawaii.
plk123 8 | 4,149  
11 Jun 2009 /  #3
same here.. interesting.
OP swstout 1 | 7  
11 Jun 2009 /  #4
Yes, They also played a role in which their illegal strike played in the abolition of the very ruthless contract labor law here and in the rest of the United States.

There was a Polish explorer by the name of Count Pawel Strzelecki who made a brief visit here in the early days of the Hawaiian Kingdom, in 1838.

He made a book with some of his observations with the title of "Physical Descripiton of New South Wales and Van Dieman's Land".

I haven't been able to get a copy of the book but that would shed a little light on the happenings of the time.
OP swstout 1 | 7  
13 Jun 2009 /  #6
Good job. Thanks plk123!
Peter 3 | 247  
13 Jun 2009 /  #7
There was a Polish explorer by the name of Count Pawel Strzelecki who made a brief visit here in the early days of the Hawaiian Kingdom, in 1838.

Boy, I'm really learning some new stuff in this thread!
OP swstout 1 | 7  
9 Jul 2009 /  #8
This is more things I have found out.

"The second period, 1900-1914, was a stepping up of earlier Ukrainian immigration. Most of these Ukrainians were Catholic peasants from Ruthenia, largely poor, dispossessed, and illiterate, who were brought in to work as scabs in the Pennsylvania mines around Shenandoah and Pittsburgh. As strikebreakers, they were severely resented and sometimes attacked by American workers. They were also victims of wholesale fraud that landed them in near servitude in the well-guarded bituminous mines of West Virginia and, in one case, the sugar plantations of Hawaii.

I found an author of "Polish American Studies, Vol. 39, No.1 consisting of 14 pages, entitled "Polish contract labor in Hawaii, 1896-1899. His name is Tadeusz Z. Gasinski

If anyone knows how to get in contact with him, please let me know!
felixm  
11 Jul 2009 /  #9
The complete Strzelecki book can be downloaded as a PDF file from the internet.

Get to the google books site. Type in the name of the book and then download the PDF

I did, and at the top of the PDF is the following message. The file has 569 pages

It is part of
This is a digital copy of a book that was preserved for generations on library shelves before it was carefully scanned by Google as part of a project

to make the world’s books discoverable online.
It has survived long enough for the copyright to expire and the book to enter the public domain. A public domain book is one that was never subject

to copyright or whose legal copyright term has expired. Whether a book is in the public domain may vary country to country. Public domain books

are our gateways to the past, representing a wealth of history, culture and knowledge that’s often difficult to discover.
Marks, notations and other marginalia present in the original volume will appear in this file - a reminder of this book’s long journey from the

publisher to a library and finally to you.

I would be appreciative if you let me know of any information you come up with about Strzelecki in Hawaii.

Regards

Felix Molski
Sydney Australia
graceingdansk - | 24  
11 Jul 2009 /  #10
I read Count Pawel Strzelecki's "Physical Descripiton of New South Wales and Van Dieman's Land".
This book has nothing to do with Hawaii. It's a compilation of mainly British, Dutch and French explorers mapping the geology, fossil fauna, etc. of New South Wales ( Australia )

and Van Diemen's Land ( Tasmania ).
I would say that just about all of the written 462 pages deal with mapping and colonization of Tasmania. The remainder are drawings and charts.
I have a love of anthropology, so I was interested in reading this book: The only pages that acrually deal with natives are pp.333-355, which are interesting reading.

swstout, what on earth made you think that this book was on Hawaii with a title of "Physical Descripiton of New South Wales and Van Dieman's Land". ?

I googled Polish contract labor in Hawaii 1896-1899 and got quite a bit of information.
Perhaps you should try google also?
OP swstout 1 | 7  
15 Jul 2009 /  #11
I made a rather length post, but doesnt seem to appear.

I'll keep this quick, that throughout the book, I found numerous passages of his findings exploring the Sandwich Islands, now known as Hawaii.

Starting in the preface giving praise to the captain and name of boat he came here on.

Everything from climbing Mount Kiluea and his records surrounding Hilo bay, wind, temperature, sea currents, language, and religious customs.

Suffice it to say, that he established friendly relations between Poland and Hawaii.
pamgasinski  
11 Aug 2009 /  #12
Tadeusz Gasinski is my uncle he live somewere in Dakota ,I haven,t see him around ten years But I,ll contact him and let him know.

my e-mail is pamgasinski@yahoo ,send me an empty messeage to keep in contact as I will not be able to look for this web-page again .
OP swstout 1 | 7  
24 Sep 2009 /  #13
Something else I found was more protest of conditions in 1938 and I wonder how many Polish people may have been involved.

The Hilo Massacre was an incident that occurred on 1 August, 1938, in Hilo, Hawaii, when over 70 police officers attempted to disband 200 unarmed protesters during a strike, injuring 50 of the demonstrators. In their attempts to disband the crowd, officers tear gassed, hosed and finally fired their riot guns, leading to 50 injuries, but no deaths.

These protesters were multi-ethnic, including Chinese, Japanese, Native Hawaiian, Luso and Filipino Americans. In addition, the strikers were not from one single union; members of many different unions, including the International Longshoremen's and Warehousemen's Union (ILWU) participated. The different groups, long at odds, put aside their differences to challenge the Inter-Island Steamship Company. The unions, led by longshoreman Harry Kamoku, demanded equal wages with workers on the West Coast of the United States and closed shop or union shop.

Strikes began on 4 February, 1938, and culminated on 1 August when 200 workers gathered to protest the arrival of the SS Waialeale, a steamship owned by the Inter-Island Steamship Company. The protesters were ordered to disband, but refused to comply. Force was used, resulting in hospitalizations.

The protesters remained peaceful the vast majority of the time, sitting down and refusing to leave when confronted by any police officers.

At 10:20 AM, Lieutenant Charles Warren stabbed one of the protesters in the back with a bayonet. The police then opened fire on the crowd with both buckshot and birdshot. At least 16 rounds of ammunition were fired, and at least 50 people shot, including two women and two children.

Anyway, I wonder if anyone you know may have been involved?

Many thanks in advance.
Lodz_The_Boat 32 | 1,535  
24 Sep 2009 /  #14
These protesters were multi-ethnic, including Chinese, Japanese, Native Hawaiian, Luso and Filipino Americans

Were Polish there too?

The different groups, long at odds, put aside their differences to challenge the Inter-Island Steamship Company.

Wow...!

At 10:20 AM, Lieutenant Charles Warren stabbed one of the protesters in the back with a bayonet. The police then opened fire on the crowd with both buckshot and birdshot. At least 16 rounds of ammunition were fired, and at least 50 people shot, including two women and two children.

But the seed of unity had already been sown!
OP swstout 1 | 7  
29 Sep 2009 /  #15
That really is the hard part.
In speaking with local embasy, there is record of "polish" arriving, but no record of any leaving.

Compounding the problem, is that Hawaii's archivist and historians have thus far failed to acknowledge the proper nationality of hundreds of early Polish immigrant who DID arrive in Hawaii via Germany or Austria-Hungary.

The oversight is explained by the fact that the Polish nation, partitioned at the end of the eithteenth century by Russia, Prussia, and Austria, did not officially exist at that time.

Consequetly, the Poles did not qualify as a separate entry.

In one book I read, states the "German immigrants were selected by a private firm, H. Hackfeld and Co., with more regard to their adaptability to semitropical climate and plantation work." It goes on to say that "almost 1,400 arrived from northwest Germany between 1881 and 1897 and under the paternalistic care of Kuai sugar plantation they formed a successful community, which continued their homeland customs."

The author does not find it important to inform the readers that several hundred of those "German" immigrants were infact Poles.

Passenger lists clearyly indicate that of the 83 passergers who arrived on the H.F.Glade in Honolulu on April 4th 1896, two were Germans and one was an Austrian. The remaining eighty immigrants were natives of Galicia, the Austrian portion of the partitioned Poland ( incidently, the name of that province was unfortunately confused by Hawaiian archivist with the spanish province of the same name and, accordingly, Galician Poles were later classified as "Spaniards".

I could go on, but my feeling so far is that YES some were still here, during the incidents, and really did a good thing at standing up to the "powers that be" of the time, and banded with the other ethnicities, to form a solid wall to labor oppression.

Anyone with any insight to those here during these times, please let me know.

As was later said, and chanted, "We are all one blood, under the skin!"

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