Polish Tatars are an ethnic minority living mainly in Białystok and Podlachia, but they can also be found in Warsaw, Pomerania and western Poland. They are descendants of Tatars from the Golden Horde, whose settlement in the former territories of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth began as early as the 14th century. The newly arrived citizens kept their religion (Islam) and tradition, but over time they lost their native Tatar language and started using the language of their neighbors: Polish, Belarusian or Lithuanian. Border changes after the end of World War II resulted in mass migrations, and the Tatars, like many other Poles, were looking for a home within the new Polish borders.
The exhibition will be based on the accounts of Podlachian Tatars collected in 2019 by the Karta Center Foundation and the Białystok Cultural Center as well as photos, documents and souvenirs provided by members of this community. The exhibition will be an attempt to capture the subtle specificity of this minority.
On the occasion of the exhibition, there will also be a meeting devoted to the past and present challenges of assimilation.