Population changes in Wrocław in the years 1945–1950

Jędrzej Chumiński
Original title: Procesy ludnościowe we Wrocławiu w latach 1945–1950
Śląski Kwartalnik Historyczny Sobótka 2010

The article concerns the process of forming of the population of Wrocław after WWII. The main purpose for the author was tracing the roots of the change of, at first, amorphous and atomized mass into a society that, in a general feeling, was, as for conditions of real socialism, open and tolerant. The basic source were data about three social groups, essential for the city population structure – factory workers, industrial administrative and technical staff and students. As for the first group there are data about 5733 physical workers of two factories, who started working in Wrocław in the years 1945–1950. As for the second group there are files of 511 persons. Students are a specific group. Only 5208 of them were analyzed, they started studying in the years 1947–1950 at the private Higher School of Commerce – paying fees. Uniqueness of the student group comes from the fact that most of them were mature and usually already worked. In general there are data about 11 452 people, e. g. 3,7% of all inhabitants in December 1950. These data make research and correlations of many social and demographic features possible. The author proposed a hypothesis that the origins of the present day characteristics of people living in Wrocław derive from the personality traits of the first generation of the city inhabitants: active people, inclined to take risk, looking for better living conditions for themselves and their children; they were young and mobile, easily adapted to new conditions. It can be assumed that next generations of the inhabitants of Wrocław, the children and grandchildren of the first settlers, ‘inherited’ their qualities in a natural way. It is a matter of fact that Wrocław already at the end of 1950s became a centre of the Polish counterculture and avant-garde and its residents were regarded, certainly in a micro scale, taking into account the specific conditions of the communist state, as ‘an open society’.

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