Notiz 8, Laden, Frau B. · Krzysztof Visconti, Berlin 2010 [139]

Frau B.

Polish Migration to Berlin

In the beginning of the 90’s, with the restructuralization of the Polish economy and government, unemployment rose steeply. In some regions, it reached 40%. Faced with such grim circumstances, many young people chose to emmigrate. From 1991 until Poland’s entry into the EU, the Polish people were allowed to stay three months as a tourist in any European country (with the exception of England). In Germany it was easier to get a seasonal work visa, but in any case a long-term situation usually meant working under the table. Young men have been able to find work in construction, which pays enough to live comfortably. For young women, the situation is different. They usually end up working as underpaid private housemaids or nannies, frequently on a live-in basis, in isolation from peers and community. In the 90’s, Berliner initiatives to legalize private household help identified large numbers of Polish women in the field. It was also known that Polish women worked as cleaning ladies and as apartment renovators. These jobs offered a small hourly wage and few and unreliable working hours. Workers had little means to recuperate unpaid wages, no social security and no job security. Especially working with children, women were more likely to learn the language than their male counterparts and could thus hope for better integration into society through training or studies. Another group of Polish migrants has not been discussed here. Since the Second World War, there was a constant migration of families from Pommerania and Silesia resettling in Germany. There was a strong surge in this sort of migration in the late 80’s and early 90’s. Their situation has been different than the one described in this text.