Grenzgänger und Entsandte: Polnische Mitarbeiter und Delegierte bei der International Labour Organization, 1919–1950




Border Crossers and Deputees: Polish Employees and Delegates to the International Labour Organization, 1919–1950: As recent research has shown, the newly founded Polish state cooperated closely with the International Labour Organization (ILO), which was simultaneously established in Geneva (as part of the Versailles order). Against this backdrop, the present article focusses on the personnel involved in this cooperation, and therefore on two individual groups. The first smaller group consists of the permanent staff in Geneva and in Warsaw. Their fates are examined under the circumstances of several system changes: during the democratic regime, during the authoritarian regime after the Piłsudski coup of 1926, and during World War II towards the seizure of power by the Communists. As representatives of a highly educated elite of cosmopolitan internationals, those employees were increasingly marginalized, especially since the fundamental idea of the ILO, the preservation of peace through compliance with social standards, was sustainably questioned by the system changes. The second larger group in focus consists of those delegated by the Polish government to the annual conferences of the ILO, the International Labour Conferences (ILC). In accordance with the principle of tripartism, representatives of employers, employees and the government, each accompanied by experts, were sent to the conferences. From 1926, a largely identical group was sent to Geneva, and this led to an almost complete amalgamation of the functional and political elite. This finding applies to all three categories of representatives. Overall, the system change of 1926 did not have a direct effect on the employees. With regard to the delegates, however, the new regime used a stategy of apporpriation. The work of both groups was interrupted during World War II; afterwards, the surviving participants could hardly continue with the old structures only on a very limited scale.

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