Oral Histories of
Children of Post-World War II Polish Immigrants
On Friday, January 25, 2008
Magdalena Blackmore presented the highlights of her project, titled
“Oral Histories of Children of Post-War Polish Immigrants”,
at the “Ogniwo” Polish Museum, 1417 Main St. This work represents
part of her post graduate research studies in the Masters programme
of the Department of History at the University of Winnipeg. Her involvement
with local Polish Radio and CZAS – Polish Press Ltd stirred her
interest to explore the broad spectrum of the Polish immigrant experience
within the community at large. In this the first phase of the research
utilizing the qualitative study approach, eleven individuals were interviewed
with the objective to formulate answers to the following questions:
How have the children of post war immigrants defined themselves? What
does it mean to be Polish and Canadian? Do they see themselves as hyphenated?
If so, does one element take precedence over the other? How do children
of immigrant families integrate their ancestral heritage within the
This initial phase of research
attempted to understand and express the issue of identity for this generation
of Polish immigrants. Several Ogniwo museum members were an invaluable
support and resource for this project. The project itself had the backing
of the “Ogniwo” Polish Museum and grant funding from the
Department of Culture, Heritage and Tourism, Government of Canada.
Blackmore reports the findings of her research
After the formal slide presentation,
highlighted by archival photos from the families of the project interviewees,
there was a lively question and answer period with the audience. The
audience learned that this research author, Ms Blackmore, is planning
to continue the research project with follow up interviews with the
study subjects and perhaps continue their story by talking to their
children many of whom the author meets at the university.
Magdalena Blackmore is a
sessional instructor of Polish language in the Department of German
and Slavic Studies at the University of Manitoba. She is pursuing her
Masters degree in History at the University of Winnipeg.
Christine Tabbernor, President
of “Ogniwo” Polish Museum, introduced Ms Blackmore and thanked
her after the presentation. As an important footnote it should be noted
that Ms Tabbernor expressed the excitement and enthusiasm that has arisen
within the Museum organization as a result of some of the new initiatives
undertaken that give the Museum a new direction for the present and
future. She invited the attendees to consider getting personally involved
with the Museum's activities. Financial support is always welcome; the
Museum has a charitable income tax number for donations.
The evening concluded with
wine & cheese, which allowed all in attendance to meet and personally
discuss the topic with the author, as well as share family and personal
memories with their friends.
wine, cheese and great conversation