Release in Journal of Migration History

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Claire Zalc, Anton Perdoncin & Gabrielle Escaich, “The Dynamics of Mobility and Immobility in the Face of Danger: Polish Jewish Migrations during the 1930s from Below“, Journal of Migration History, vol. 9, n°3, 2023, p. 323-355

This article draws on the exhaustive reconstruction of the transnational migration trajectories of Jewish and Catholic inhabitants from a small Polish town during the interwar period to explore the social and relational dimensions of migration. Implementing a mesoscopic analytical scale, the authors quantitatively and qualitatively analyse dense and varied historical material. They examine the relationship between relational configurations of mobility and immobility, as well as the increasing dangers faced by Polish Jews in the decade leading up to the war and the destruction of their communities. This change of scale gauges the specific impact of the temporal context – namely rising peril and anti-Semitic violence against Polish Jews in the 1930s – on the dynamics of mobility. It also leads to a better understanding of the importance and nature of obstacles to migration. By doing so, the authors advocate for a social history of migrations and connections that considers emigration as the product of relational configurations in societies of origin. Moreover, they show that ties, so often described as resources in analyses of migration, can also be burdens when it comes to escaping persecution.