RECRUITMENT INTO DUTCH MINING INDUSTRY OF POLISH DISPLACED PERSONS AND SOLDIERS IN THE YEARS 1945-1948
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The Second World War has left the Dutch industry devastated. Its reconstruction, especially in the mining industry was dependant on the availability of labour. Bearing in mind that traditionally Limburg has been a popular destination area for Polish migrant workers since the end of the 19 century, the Dutch government and the mining companies started a recruitment campaign among Polish soldiers of the General Maczek tank Division and the 2nd Corps under the command of General Anders. This hasn't been very successful and the Dutch decided to expand their campaign among the displaced persons who lived in the American and British occupational zones in great numbers. First Polish workers came to the mines in September 1947. Because of their distinct uniform colour, the locals called their arrival 'a black invasion'. The influx of such a large group of foreign workers was received with mixed feelings by the Limburgians. Lack of accommodation and fear of job loss provoked a backlash from local population. Any integration was further hampered by the fact, that Poles were lodged in houses outside villages and towns. The harsh discipline in these lodgings and hard work in the mines required a considerable degree of physical and mental health. Free time was mainly filled by religious activities. After the end of contracts, some Polish workers migrated further on, mainly to America, others decided to stay in Holland. A small minority returned to Poland, which has been put under Soviet control.
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