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Re: [Slovak-World] Re: Slovaks in Western Europe

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  • LongJohn Wayne
    So grateful that Martin is a relatively young man.  If I can retain only a portion of what he knows about SK, I w/ one day be a very wise man. Have a great
    Message 1 of 3 , May 11, 2012
      So grateful that Martin is a relatively young man.  If I can retain only a portion of what he knows about SK, I w/ one day be a very wise man.

      Have a great weekend, All!  And safe travels to those on the road!



      ________________________________
      From: votrubam <votrubam@...>
      To: Slovak-World@yahoogroups.com
      Sent: Monday, April 30, 2012 11:05 PM
      Subject: [Slovak-World] Re: Slovaks in Western Europe


       
      > large concentrations of Slovaks in Western Europe
      > as we have in the U.S.?

      Not any more, Helen, and what there was never quite matched the situation in the U.S. The last Slovak intra-European migration that has left Slovak communities still alive today took place in the 18th century. The localities are (mainly) in Serbia, traces in Romania, and largely suppressed in Hungary. They created contiguous settlements on large swaths of empty lands after the Turks "erased" the locals, and have survived due to the territorial and cultural inertia of agricultural societies.

      First, the numbers going to France, Belgium (the main targets of Slovak "industrial" migration in Western Europe) were lower than in the U.S. European industry had its local sources of migration (nearby agricultural communities), while -- to simplify -- the U.S. had no local surplus labor, there was no new workforce here unless it arrived from far away.

      Second, being in Europe meant being nearer to home with cheaper transportation (+/- a day by train), so it was common that only the men would migrate seasonally with less effort to bring their families, come back home when laid off (they typically stayed looking for new jobs in the U.S.), go-earn-return-farm. Quite a bit of that was going on even between Slovakia and the distant U.S., it was so much more the mode of operation within Europe.

      Third, the creation of ethnically-based parishes played an important role in ethnic maintenance in the U.S. Europe was a honeycomb of established parishes, there was little room to ram in new ones among them. Slovak priests would travel/stay and preach here and there with varying regularity through arrangements with local parishes, but it was not quite the same.

      And a lot of the pre-WW I migrants returned when Czecho-Slovakia was created, then the economic depression of the 1930s drove many back to Slovakia, which was not as affected.

      Martin




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