Political Activity of Kwiek ‘Dynasty’ in the Second Polish Republic in the Years 1935–1939

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Political Activity of Kwiek ‘Dynasty’ in the Second Polish Republic in the Years 1935–1939


  • Alicja Gontarek Faculty of Political Science, Maria Curie-Sklodovska University, Poland


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Abstract:  The coronation of King Janusz Kwiek, which took place in 1937, was meant to integrate the Romani elite in the interwar sociopolitical life of Poland. Unfortunately, the creation of a homogeneous and centralized Romani representation through the royal institution ended in a fiasco. Firstly, the centralized model of power was in conflict with the Romani nomadic system in Poland, which was based on a multitude of leaders, including women whose power resulted from hierarchical dependence. Secondly, it quickly became clear that from the mid-1920s onward, when the presence of Polish Romani in mainstream social life crystallized, there has been no bottom–up social initiatives promoting King Janusz Kwiek’s attempts towards sociopolitical reform. Therefore, the Romani population was not prepared for changes and no effective state coercive measures were created to enforce the introduction of the postulated changes. Thus, although the activities of both actors—the Kwieks and the Polish authorities—often had a facade character, consisting in more or less weak ‘governance’ of the Romani minority, their joint activity favored the political maturation of the Romani elite and its comprehensive development. This was despite of the many shortcomings of the close relationship between the Romani people and the Polish administration, as a result from the dictatorial rule in Poland at the time.

Keywords:  Gypsies; integration; minorities; Poland; Roma

Published:   4 June 2020


DOI: https://doi.org/10.17645/si.v8i2.2775


© Alicja Gontarek. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.