The Situation of the Polish Ethnic Minority in Contemporary Klaipėda: Problems of National Identity Preservation, Acculturation, and Assimilation


Rimantas Sliužinskas (Klaipėda University)

The stereotypes about just two main ethnic groups, such as bilingual (Lithuanian-German) local lietuvininkai people, and žemaičiai, the Lithuanian new-comers after the 2nd World War) in the Klaipėda region are well-known. On the other hand, live representatives of a great number of other nationalities and ethnic groups still live there.  Invited by Soviet administration, they  worked at Klaipėda harbor and other city industries in 1950-70’s, up to the end of the Soviet period, and in the times of the last 20 years of open state borders in Independent Lithuania. The Russian, Belarusian, German, Jewish, Ukrainian, Polish, Latvian, even Armenian, Tartar etc.  national minorities remain here from the Lithuanian State Independent times up to now as well.  Several questions arise: What about their national, language and cultural identity preservation policy vs. acculturation and assimilation with each other or the Lithuanian majority? What about their current possibilities to continue and to propagate their own ethnic roots and traditions? What about the inner- and inter- contacts and attitude of particular national groups in the context of generally changing times during last 60 years? What about national identity orientation of their children, including next generations, faced with the modern global cosmopolitism ideas? What about the most active Non-Government Organizations of national minorities in Klaipėda city and surroundings at present?

All those questions may be named as the main objectives of my scientific research work at Klaipėda University at present. In my paper, I will present the results of my investigations on the base of the Polish case regarding such actualities in the Soviet period and today.

Keyword: Sliuzinskas

Comments are closed.