We support minorities. Workshop for young people using films about an unfair relationship between majority and minority. It analyses the causes and effects of stereotypes and prejudices, and helps to prepare the reaction.

Przemyśl Lab


Short films „Think about it” („Przemyśl to”) (, hasło: polskalab_2) and „Anonymous” (“Anonim”) (, hasło: polskalab_1) treat about relations between Poles and the Ukrainian minority. The films were created by young people from Przemysl – both people from the Ukrainian minority and a Pole – based on their experiences and reflections. Movies encourage discussion about stereotypes, prejudices and their consequences for the community. They are worth analysing in order to become attentive to other people living next to us, not to exclude them, but to get to know them, and act together for the common good.

Author: Jan Dąbkowski


Time: preparations – 1 hour, implementation – 1,5 hours

Persons: 1 animator, 20 participants (middle high or high school)

Equipment/materials: computer, projector, screen, loudspeaker, flipchart, markrs, printed question bars, A4 paper sheets, pens

Tags: #młodzież #stereotypy #mniejszości narodowe i etniczne #film




Stereotypes and prejudices

Stereotypes are simplifications and generalizations of phenomena and people, created on the basis of cultural transmissions and personal experiences, often unverified, incomplete or false. When stereotypes come with emotions and attitudes, they become prejudices. They are formed during upbringing and education, by lack of or little contact with a given group, or environmental pressure. In addition, they can enhance the social, political or media atmosphere, which can exacerbate antipathy, scorn or hostility towards individuals or groups.

In most cases, prejudice can be faced with knowledge based on facts, knowledge of people affected by superstitions, and communication skills. Disputes are needed but should be carried out with respect for the opponents and their values – these are democratic models.


National and ethnic minorities in Poland, migration

National minorities are communities that have their own country but have been living in Poland for at least 100 years. These are: Belarusian, Czech, Lithuanian, German, Armenian, Russian, Slovak, Ukrainian and Jewish. Ethnic minorities (currently do not have their own countries) are: Karaimska, Lemkos, Romanians and Tatars. People representing national and ethnic minorities constitute a few percent of Poland’s population. These individuals are covered by special protection against ethnic and racial discrimination.

Ukrainian minority

It is estimated that in Poland there is a Ukrainian minority of over 48 thousand people . It is said that these individuals maintain a distinct cultural or religious affiliation (mainly the Catholic Church of Byzantine-Ukrainian Rite and the Polish Autocephalous Orthodox Church) and communicate with each other in Ukrainian, but are well integrated with Polish society and identify more with Polish society than with Ukraine.

People migrating from Ukraina

Another group are Ukrainians who come to Poland to work or study. Ukrainians and the largest group of foreigners working in Poland – estimates range from several hundred thousand to one million. Approximately 45 thousand people work permanently, others seasonally, often illegaly. 70% of people work physically, usually on construction sites, in renovations, in agriculture and horticulture, and in cleaning and care for the elderly (much like the Poles in the West). Although almost 50 percent of Ukrainians working in Poland have higher education, only about 5 percent work in expert positions. Every 3rd person feels he or she performs tasks below their qualifications. Ukrainians workers are considered reliable, although they usually have to work more and earn less than the Poles on the same positions. More than 30 thousand people from Ukraine study at Polish universities, constituting over half of foreign students in Poland. Ukrainians are the largest group applying for Polish citizenship.

Hate speech towards Ukrainians

According to a study conducted by The Center for Research on Prejudice at the University of Warsaw in 2016, more than 70% Poles aged 16-18 witnessed Internet hate speech against Ukrainians. Almost 80 percent of it concerned the historical past (crimes attributed by the Poles), over 12% concerned their alleged propensity for crime.

Operation Vistula (Polish: Akcja „Wisła”)

It is worth knowing that the Ukrainian minority has historical experience of resettlement from 1947 under the codename Operation Vistula. Over 140,000 Ukrainians, Lemkos, Bojki, Dolinian and mixed families, mostly from the Bieszczady and Nizhni Beskids, were expelled to Warmia and Mazury, Pomerania, Lubuskie and Lower Silesia. The Ukrainian population was forced to leave their homes within 2-3 hours. As a result, coupe dozens towns ceased to exist, the cultural heritage of the people and regions were destroyed.
In 1990, the Senate of the Republic of Poland condemned this ethnic cleansing as contradictory to fundamental human rights.
In 1995, the Polish Prosecutor’s Office declared the Operation Vistula a crime against humanity.
In 1997, Presidents Aleksander Kwasniewski and Leonid Kuchma wrote: „We recognize that no purpose can justify crime, violence and the exercise of collective responsibility.”
In 1998, President Kwaśniewski said: „Modern societies cannot seek justification for hatred and retaliation, and new conflicts in the history. They should look for warnings and teachings for the future. Only a free, sovereign nation, a mature nation can face its history, see it without evasion and dubious excuses. Hate is a bad adviser. ”
In 2007, Presidents Lech Kaczyński and Wiktor Yushchenko wrote: „We bow our heads to all the victims. At the same time we reaffirm our will to continue the reconciliation process, to discover the historical truth about past events and to commemorate the victims of fratricidal conflicts. ”
To this day, many Polish Ukrainians are confronted with hostility, humiliation, and discrimination. They are attacked verbally, physically, politically and medially – they are sent home (although their home is Poland), religious ceremonies are attacked (in a country where religion and other Christian denominations occupy an important place), memory places are destroyed, which is not appropriately addressed of the state and church authorities.