Wise Shares Rich History of Buffalo Polish Immigrants

By | December 11, 2020

Andrew Wise at the front of a classroomDr. Andrew Kier Wise, professor of history and director of the Center for Polish Studies at Daemen College, has been sharing unique insights into the history of Buffalo.

Wise recently presented on immigrant Polish workers in Buffalo and those who worked to take collective economic and political action.

Through his presentations, he provides a look back in time to Buffalo at the end of the 19th century, when the city was an industrial center and Polish immigrants accounted for much of the expanding population. During the 1890s, economic hardships especially affected immigrants as they experienced low wages and tough working conditions.

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On Dec. 14, Wise will present at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Buffalo on the significance of activist Boris Isaevich Reinstein who eventually became a prominent figure in Buffalo. Reinstein was born in the Belarusian city of Mogilev, and spent most of his youth in Russia. He and his family eventually joined thousands of other Russian Jews who emigrated to America. Boris became a leading activist in the Socialist Labor Party during his years living in Buffalo.

Wise’s presentations are based on original research from actual newspaper accounts, memoirs, and revelations from archives in Poland and the U.S.

Besides teaching world and European history at Daemen, Wise has also taught courses in Central and Eastern European history at the Institute of History at Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland, as well as environmental history at the American Studies Center at University of Warsaw. He also currently serves as President of the Western New York chapter of the Kosciuszko Foundation.