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Foreigners in Poland - 1980-1983

delphiandomine 86 | 17823  
8 Jul 2015 /  #1
I'm doing some research at the minute into foreigners in Poland during the time of the PRL, and one thing that aroused my interest was the fate of foreigners that lived in the PRL during this time. While movement around Poland wasn't restricted in a similar way to the USSR, it seems that many foreigners were "invited" to leave after the declaration of martial law.

Does anyone know of any accounts of foreigners living here at that time?

I'm particularly interested in anyone from non-Warsaw Pact countries that may have been allowed to stay despite the clampdown.
stevecheshire - | 7  
8 Jul 2015 /  #2
I was there 1975 through to 1983 working in Wloclawek. Construction too far advanced to mothball the plant. Wife was in Gdansk - but no travel restrictions internally. At the time Wloclawek was home to several hundred ex-pats, majority from UK, but some Japanese.
OP delphiandomine 86 | 17823  
8 Jul 2015 /  #3
Thank you Steve!

Were you subject to any additional restrictions over and above what applied to the population?
stevecheshire - | 7  
8 Jul 2015 /  #4
None. We were monitored on occasion by security forces, but they generally didn't intervene (unless we misbehaved). We had it much easier than the general population with our own food supplies and generous currency exchange rates for sterling / dollars.
Dougpol1 29 | 2498  
8 Jul 2015 /  #5
Does anyone know of any accounts of foreigners living here at that time?

Delph -= have you read "Return to Poland" by Denis Hills? He was the sometime diplomat who was famously under threat of execution from his former boss Idi Amin..........

He gives a very good picture of Poland at around that time (ed: 1985 actually) but he did indeed get the tag of Persona Non Grata and was given a week to leave.

I can send you my copy on loan if it is of any value.
Polonius3 980 | 12277  
8 Jul 2015 /  #6
from non-Warsaw Pact countries

Of the foreign press corps in Warsaw at that time I know of only one foreign journalist ordered to leave. That was Ruth Gruber of UPI. She was the mistress of one of the Gdańsk Solidarność activists and received a notice to collect something at the post office. It was a packet of illegal (according to the Jaruzel gang) underground leaflets and the momnetn she collected it several plaincothesmen whisked her away. It was an obivious set-up. I don't think her reports from martial-law Poland were any different from the others, but the regime needed a scapegoat so the remaining correspodnents would watch their step. Why she was chosen I have no idea.After she was thrown out of Poland I later heard she was working for the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

I can't speak for the news photographers, TV crews and technicians working for Western news organisations, but I know of no other foreign correspodnent from AP, UPI, Reuters, EFE, ANSA, DPA or AFP that was ordered out. Naturally TASS, Novosti, ČSA and other Soviet-bloc reps had no such problems.
Polsyr 6 | 758  
9 Jul 2015 /  #7
I know someone from Lebanon that came to Poland in 1979 as a student of medicine. He stayed in Poland after he graduated where he worked as a doctor in Zielona Góra. He married a Polish woman (also a doctor) in 1990 and eventually the whole family moved away in 1998. According to him nobody bothered him whatsoever.
Lyzko 42 | 9478  
9 Jul 2015 /  #8
Being a doctor, I;m really not surprised. Medical professionals are needed everywhere! However, were he a run-of-the-mill tradesman, aka carpenter, electricians etc., i.e. a job/career any Pole could have, things might have been different:-)
jon357 73 | 22638  
9 Jul 2015 /  #9
I met an Englishman who's lived in Poland since the mid-1960 without a break. Even sounds Polish now.

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