Die „Ruhrpolen“ - Hörspiel von "COSMO Radio po polsku" auf Deutsch
The Ruhr Poles
The beginnings of migration
It can be shown that the first groups of Polish workers came to the Ruhr area at the beginning of the 1870s, specifically to the town of Bottrop. These skilled miners from Upper Silesia, with an average age of just under 30, were intended to help compensate for the shortage of experienced workers in the newly commissioned mines in the Ruhr area. A few years later the demand for qualified miners could be primarily covered by graduates from Westphalian mining schools. That said, the general demand for labour could still not be satisfied by workers immigrating from the border regions of Westphalia or from more distant German-speaking regions, such as the Hunsrück. The upshot was, that tens of thousands of young men - some of them still minors - from the rural regions of East Prussia flocked into the industrial area of Rhineland Westphalia to work in the local mines and industrial enterprises. The more courageous ones who set off from villages in eastern Prussia were their role models and "big heroes" for the following generations, who paved their way to the West: "If you had 20 marks [for a railway ticket] on you, you travelled to Westphalia. The younger ones waited until they were 16 years old to set off for Westphalia to make "big money"'. Whereas the first miners were recruited to work in the Ruhr almost exclusively by professionals, it only took a few years for new workers to be recruited by word of mouth from the villages inhabited by the pioneer migrants. A lively exchange of letters took place between the places of destination and origin, and also between family members, neighbours and acquaintances of the first immigrants. This migration pattern, which goes far beyond the sociological concept of chain migration, can best be described as pioneer migration.
From the middle of the 19th century onwards, the increasingly dense railway network in Central and Eastern Europe made mass migrations possible. With the introduction of a 4th class, tickets became affordable and the railways promoted the mobility of the masses in an unprecedented manner. The cost of a ticket for a two-day journey from a station in the eastern provinces to Westphalia was roughly equivalent to the weekly wage of a normal miner and was often paid for in advance by family members, acquaintances or the collieries which hired them. The Rhineland-Westphalian industrial area became a place of yearning for thousands and thousands of young men (and in time also women), who not only sought to secure a livelihood, but also a better life: "Many a young person wanting to emigrate to richer countries [...] did not hesitate for long, but set out for the land of his yearning. Hymns of praise for that unknown land shot out of their mouths. When they heard such songs of praise, every Pole in a deplorable position in Poznan and Silesia felt a great joy and longing for such a blessed land."
 cf. Budraß, Lutz: Von Biertultau (Biertułtowy) nach Batenbrock. Oberschlesier in Bottrop, in: Budraß, Lutz/Kalinowska-Wójcik, Barbara/Michalczyk, Andrzej (Hg.): Fallstudien zur Geschichte des oberschlesischen Industriereviers im 19. und 20. Jahrhundert, pp. 124–127.
 Hurski, Ludwik: Z pamiętnika Westfaloka, edited with an ontroduciton by Henryk Olszar (Źródła do dziejów Kościoła Katolickiego na Śląsku, Nr. 5, Red. Jerzy Myszor), Katowice 2014, p. 39 [Translation: David Skrabania].
 Kurek, Jacek: Kolej i tożsamość . Kilka sugestii ze Śląskiem i Galicją w tle, in: Keller, Dawid (Hg.): Znaczenie kolei dla dziejów Polski. Studia z historii kolejnictwa, Rybnik 2012, p. 16; Hurski: Z pamiętnika, pp. 45–48.
 Geschichte einer polnischen Kolonie in der Fremde. Jubiläumsschrift des St. Barbara-Vereins in Bottrop, Oberhausen 1911 (Kirche und Religion im Revier. Beiträge und Quellen zur Geschichte religiöser und kirchlicher Verhältnisse im Werden und Wandel des Ruhrgebiets, 1968; Translation made in 1954, pp. 1–2.