Leaving and abandoning homesteads in Warmia and Masuria within the period of countryside collectivization (1948–1956)
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Uniwersytet Warmińsko-Mazurski w Olsztynie
Radosław Gross
Online publication date: 2018-10-09
Publication date: 2018-10-10
KMW 2018;301(3):509–523
One of the negative consequences of the Stalinist agricultural policy in Warmia and Masuria was the outflow of peasants from the countryside. Leaving and the arbitrary abandonment of homesteads were a response to administrative coercion used during collectivization and high benefits. Many peasants who refused to join production cooperatives were then convinced that they could not exist in the countryside. As a result, the offices of the local agricultural administration began to be flooded with applications for leaving homesteads. These decisions were also reinforced by the hampered process of enfranchisement that caused a sense of temporariness among agricultural settlers. The scale of resignation from running homesteads was so large in Warmia and Masuria that it caused the threat of a decline in agricultural production. The authorities took actions aiming at stopping this phenomenon. However, the difficulties applied towards peasants filing applications for leaving homesteads together with unrelenting fiscal oppression inclined some of them to make a decision of leaving agricultural workshops arbitrarily. After 1953, the scale of abandonments weakened partially as a result of an adjustment in the economic policy. The authorities did not manage to eliminate this phenomenon until the change in the agricultural policy caused by the October Plenum of the Central Committee of the PUWP in 1956.