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Thread: 'Movement for the Autonomy of Silesia' (Schlesien)

  1. #21
    Senior Member Jute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Siebenbürgerin View Post
    I couldn't find any numbers, but here what Silesian demographics say:

    Modern Silesia is inhabited by Poles, Germans, Czechs and slavic Silesians. The last Polish census of 2002 showed that the Silesians are the largest national minority in Poland, Germans being the second; both groups are located mostly in Upper Silesia.

    The source:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silesia#Demographics
    Also according to their census, 0.2% of all of Poland today are evangelisch-lutherisch. This is a good way to judge the number of true ethnicGermans who are still there, and who did not Slavicize.

    0.2% of Poland's 38.5 million population : 77,000.

    Seit dem Zweiten Weltkrieg und der Westverschiebung Polens ist das Land fast einheitlich katholisch. Fast 90 % sind römisch-katholisch, davon etwa 70 % praktizierend. 1,3 % Polen sind polnisch-orthodox, 0,3 % Zeugen Jehovas, 0,2 % griechisch-katholisch, 0,2 % evangelisch-lutherisch.
    http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polen#Religion

  2. #22
    Senior Member Kreis AnnA's Avatar
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    There was a heavy German Catholic movement in Silesia. My grandmother was Catholic. This has to be placed in the context of the Polish Church. Some here think that this is ancient history or something, but it's not. And the loss of identity doesn't make it any easier. Please respect all our Volk. As an American, by modern identity, I do not take sides concerning the American Civil War because of certain historical facts. It still rips the heart of so many Anglo-Americans and the pain is the memory of these folk, afterall.

    There was a Prussian Silesia (lower) and an Austrian one (upper) inhabited by many Germans who were both Protestant and Catholic.

    http://http%3A%2F%2Ffindarticles.com...9252213% 2Fpg_9

    Although Hakatist membership only grew slowly - despite prominent members such as Bismarck - and although the organization had little success in encouraging Germans to colonize the Prussian East, the Eastern Marches Association and other similar groups succeeded in making national identification an issue for both Germans and Poles in Upper Silesia.53 That this was true in Upper Silesia can be illustrated by the involvement of Silesian German Catholics in Germanization efforts. It was not empty nationalist rhetoric that led Robert Höniger of the H-K-T Society to assert that "the Catholic church has done much for the Germanization of the east."54 Despite sharp criticism from the Center that the Eastern Marches Association was part of a conspiracy to extend Protestantism - arguing that H-K-T actually stood for Haut die Katholiken Tot! (Strike the Catholics Dead!) - in Upper Silesia the Hakatist membership was at least 50 per cent Catholic, including by one estimate 60-70 per cent of the region's German-Catholic population.55 Although the Pan-German League another nationalist organization widely associated with Protestantization as well as Germanization - had only three active chapters east of Berlin, one of them was in Ratibor, an Upper Silesian constituency with a majority German-Catholic population and the most secure Center seat in the region throughout the imperial era.56 Not coincidentally, neither of these openly anti-Polish organizations had any significant membership among Catholics in the Kaiserreich except in Upper Silesia.

    http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/13790b.htm

    Austrian Silesia is that part of Silesia which remained an Austrian possession after 1763. It is a crownland with an area of 1987 square miles and a population of 727,000 persons. Of its population 84.73 per cent are Catholics; 14 per cent are Protestants; 44.69 per cent are Germans; 33.31 per cent Poles; 22.05 per cent Czechs. As in Prussian Silesia, agriculture, mining, and manufactures are in a very flourishing condition. The districts of Teschen and Neisse belong to the Prince Bishopric of Breslau, those of Troppau and Jagerndorf to the Archdiocese of Olmutz.

  3. #23
    Senior Member Jute's Avatar
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    To continue this discussion, here is a map of religious character of the old German borders.

    [A loosely-related comment : WWII and the defeat in the east leading to the 1945 borderchanges, badly hurt Lutheranism in Europe. Half the German-Protestant heartland either had its Germans expelled or fell into a communist state which suppressed religion.]


    Quote Originally Posted by Kreis AnnA View Post
    Please respect all our Volk.
    I apologize if any comment was disrespecting to German-Catholics. I did not mean it to be.

    I believe the "77,000 Evangelisch" to be the best way to estimate true ethnicGermans left in Poland, however. We can add some tens of thousands more German-Catholics. So it is maybe ~90-95,000 total, including German-Catholics. (Unless a much larger percentage of German-Catholics than Protestants remained in Poland after 1945, which seems unlikely.)

  4. #24
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    According to censuses there are around 150-170 thousands of ethnic Germans in Poland, predominantly in Opole/Oppeln Voievodeship (100k). Most are catholic. Main problem with judging how many Germans are actually in Poland are Schlesians. Their culture is rather distinct from polish, but many regional cultures are, especially in areas influenced by different cultures. They speak polish, with heavy accent, but their language is closer to Hochpolnisch, than (for instance) bavarian is to Hochdeutsch. And, what is important for the issue, they consider themselves "polish" (for the most time) or "german", depending on political circumstances, current level of autonomy in Silesia, and business opportunities.

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    Senior Member Dunkeld's Avatar
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    A little progress has been made:

    The Polish authorities now allow bilingual Polish/German "Ortstafeln" in parts of Silesia now.

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    I found a demographic map for the German minority in Upper Silesia.

    Map showing geographical spreading of the German minority in Upper Silesia (Poland) according to the National Census in Poland of 2002


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    I don't consider the Silesians a different ethnic group, they're really Germans. But as several said already, it's better to separate from Poland. Poland never respected ethnic German "minorities" (really just Germans who rightfully belong on what was formerly German land).

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    Poles apart: Silesians realize themselves as a nation

    Silesia, a province in the south of Poland made up of a diverse cultural mix, has announced that it wants to be free of the state amidst the worsening economic crisis gripping the country.

    Silesia, a province in the south of Poland made up of a diverse cultural mix, has announced that it wants to be free of the state amidst the worsening economic crisis gripping the country.

    Over the past 20 years, the European continent has seen many regions seeking autonomy, which Silesia is following suit.

    Life in the largely industrial region in southern Poland is hard going. Since the global financial crisis hit Europe, many manufacturers have shut up shop, leaving entire neighborhoods in and around the regional capital Katowice in limbo.

    Once Poland’s proud industrial hub under Communism, Silesia has fallen into disarray since the nineties. Its coalmines and steel houses have long been neglected and many there agree the recent quest for autonomy is a result of a built-up frustration over the region's economic woes.

    “There were times when we had our house in one state, Poland, but our toilet was across the border, in Germany. We used toilet paper as passports. But I feel neither German nor Polish, I am Silesian,” says Frida Goodheart, resident of Gliwice, who has been living in the village of Gliwice for 80 years.

    Over the course of history, Silesia has been ruled by Austria, Prussia, Bohemia and Germany, which has brought a diverse cultural blend Silesians are so proud of. However, much like in communist times, the leader of the autonomous movement of Silesia says there is no place for minorities in modern Poland.



    Prussian Silesia, 1871, outlined in yellow; (Austrian) Silesia before the annexion by Prussia in 1740, outlined in cyan. Map showing post-1994 state borders (Picture from site wikipedia.org)

    “Every aspect of Upper Silesian tradition was brutally erased by the school, by the authorities. Our natural resources were exploited by the state. We have a possibility, after so many years, to express our identity that is different from the Polish one and to fight for our economic rights,” insists Jerzy Gorzelik, president of Silesian Autonomy Movement.

    In a region-wide census a few years ago almost 200,000 people stated their nationality as Silesian, but in a region of four million people some say that figure is too small to be a mandate for self government.

    “The movement for autonomy is marginal. The concept of Silesian identity is anachronistic. The majority of people here are Poles, and just because we are living through tough times financially does not mean we should leave Poland,” argues conservative politician Piotr Spyra.

    The European court of human rights too has so far stopped short of recognizing Silesia as a nation, but it is yet to give its final decision. If in future Strasburg sides with Silesia, autonomy may not be far out of reach. This autonomy some believe will get Silesia back on its feet.
    http://rt.com/Top_News/2009-05-27/Po..._a_nation.html

  9. #29
    Senior Member Curator's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jute View Post
    I believe the "77,000 Evangelisch" to be the best way to estimate true ethnicGermans left in Poland, however. We can add some tens of thousands more German-Catholics. So it is maybe ~90-95,000 total, including German-Catholics. (Unless a much larger percentage of German-Catholics than Protestants remained in Poland after 1945, which seems unlikely.)
    It is likely for the fact that the Poles made a deliberate point of not expelling Catholic Germans in many places across the occupied zone, particularly in Silesia. Millions of Catholic Germans were still expelled, but the Catholics were favored over their Lutheran and Reformed brethren, who were much more thoroughly purged.

    That being said, your estimate is low, even when compared against official statistics. And those official statistics are themselves misleading. Most Germans living in Poland outside of Silesia do not self-identify as Germans to government officials or information gatherers of any kind. This is deeply entrenched in the culture...if you lived in communist Poland as a German, you would understand why. There is a significant German population in every major city in Poland, particularly in Pomerania and Silesia. It's been estimated that Poland's actual German minority population easily exceeds a million people. Of course, the vast majority of these are "integrated" Germans, they belong to ethnically mixed families, they speak Polish as their primary language, etc. Still, the subject is not so cut-and-dry as one might assume.

  10. #30
    Senior Member Schattenjäger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Curator View Post
    That being said, your estimate is low, even when compared against official statistics. And those official statistics are themselves misleading. Most Germans living in Poland outside of Silesia do not self-identify as Germans to government officials or information gatherers of any kind. This is deeply entrenched in the culture...if you lived in communist Poland as a German, you would understand why. There is a significant German population in every major city in Poland, particularly in Pomerania and Silesia. It's been estimated that Poland's actual German minority population easily exceeds a million people. Of course, the vast majority of these are "integrated" Germans, they belong to ethnically mixed families, they speak Polish as their primary language, etc. Still, the subject is not so cut-and-dry as one might assume.
    That can easily be said of my situation as well! Being from cross-cultural family I nevertheless grow up in environment that favored Germany and treated Polack as invaders. That refers to my school friends, students and professors on my university, and often local TV presenters and journalists. Almost everyone here had a grandpa in Wehrmacht, almost every family suffered in some way from recent polish administration. In private most of these people describe themselves as Germans, and feel nostalgic of Kaiser Wilhelm's time. Outside home, they prefer to act as Polacks to avoid problems (most of german catholics who stayed after 1945, had their surnames changed to polish by the polish authorities, so that's not problem). Also the first language of such persons is usually polish, since german was forbidden up to 1989. And opening of german schools goes very slow so far.

    Do I have to add that BRD does very little to awaken this neglected group of people to express their real culture openly?
    Last edited by Sigurd; Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010 at 11:40 PM. Reason: Removed insults

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