Discrimination of Poles in Imperial Germany

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Discrimination of Poles in Imperial Germany

Post by szopen » 14 Sep 2004 09:00

This is a reply to Micheal Mills claim that Poles were fairly treated in pre-War Germany, from thread here:


I specifically refer to words:

I would like to point out that I was making a very measured response to the false claim of German Government discrimination against German citizens of Polish ethnicity in the period 1871-1918. It is up to my interlocutors to provide hard evidence of that claimed discrimination (and indeed persecution as claimed in some subsequent posts).

Micheal Mills also claimed, that wanting to teach only in German in schools, beating for using the POlish etc are not the examples of discrimination. I am different on that issue.

First, let me justify myself just a bit. This text won't be as good
as i want and as good as i (hopefully) could make it if i had a little
bit more free time. Unfortunately i have to do a lot of visits, i had a
lot to do in work and therefore the following is rather a notes from
different books, than _real_ text about German policy of germanisation
in German provinces.

I feel that i have to stress here (before someone will try to push me a babe
into my belly) that period of Prussian rule had also quite a few positive
sides. The strict keeping to the law (in contrast to Russian zone), the
relatative (especially initially) economical freedom was good; before
kulturkampf it is estimated that one in four (IIRC, so don't take it too seriousl
marriages in Posen area were mixed. The unexpected result was of course
the pushing the Poles from Posen to became in some sense "more German than German
the slogans as: "If you are good Pole, you should work harder than Germans, produ
higher quality goods" etc, slogans "buy in Polish shops" etc, the calling for
national solidarity and discipline could not be happened - actually, could
happen, but could not be succesful -
elsewhere besides Posen area. Before Prussian partitions Poznaniacy were known as
trouble makers; while during WWII there was joke (by friendly Warszawiaks, which
BTW untrue) which went like this: "Why there was no resistance in Posen? Because
Germans made it illegal".

I would say that this is not picture of "no discrimination policy" and undermines
Micheal Mills statement that Poles were treated as equal citizens by German state.
It _could_ be applied to earlier period, especially before 1830, and period before 1870
was also quite good (relatively) for Poles, but after 1870 Poles were not
treated well by German government.

The first is the large excerpts from the article which can be easily
find via google (at least that's how i found it not that much time ago).
Available from :http://www.avh.de/de/programme/stip_aus/doc/buka/berichte_00/mccook.pdf

If moderator wishes, I could remove it and replace with just summary and link
to original.

To summarise: Polish language was banned in political meetings; POlish symbols,
some songs and even clothing was forbidden; The German Church forbade using
of Polish in communions, baptisms, funerals. Poles and Polish organisations
were under continous surveillance of German police.

Brian McCook "Becoming German: Lessons from the Past for the Present"

Project: Conflict and Concord. Ethnicity and Class in the Coal Mining
Communities of the Ruhr and Northeastern Pennsylvania, 1880-1924)
(By 1914, 400.000 Poles lived in Ruhr basin, while 200.000 lived in
northern Pennsylvania.)


"In the two decades before World War I, laws and ordinances were passed
that severely restricted the use of the Polish language, even in
religious matters, mandated exclusively German education for Polish
children and practically forbade pastoral care at the hands of
ethnically Polish priests. Further, Poles and their organisations were
closely observed by German police, surveillance than lasted well into
Weimar period."

"The primary originator of the harsher line taken towards Poles in Ruhr
was oberprasident of Westphalia, Heinrich Konrad von Studt. Von Studt had
served in various positions in the Prussian east and was an advocate of
Germanizing the Poles as quickly as possible. In 1896, in a letter to the
Prussian Interior Minister, von Studt called for the >>strict surveillance
of Polish agitation and associational activity, the removal of nationally
minded Polish priests, the limiting of the use of the Polish language in
public assemblies as well as only German language instruction in school<<"


"A good example of the restrictive regulations on language is Reichsvereing=
gesetz of 1908, which mandated the use of the German language in all public
Polish meetings. One exception wass made for political meetings related to
Reichs and Landtag elections. Other laws and police orders prohibited the open di
of Polish national symbols, pictures and clothing and banned certain Polish songs
and newspapers. Police surveillance grew increasingly sophisticated over the perr
of Polish migration to the Ruhr. Whereas prior to 1909, local police was primaril
responsible surveillance, after 1909 a centralized office under the Police
President in Bochum was created to coordinate surveillance across the Ruhr. The reporting
activities of this office lasted until the late 1920s"


"During the 1880s and generally until the turn of the century, the Polish-dialect
speaking evangelical Masurians who came from East Prussia, were treated by the state
as Poles, due to their language. In official statistics the Masurians were
counted as Poles and if they were specifically referred in reports, official most
often called them "evangelical Poles". By the rutn of the century, howver,
official Prussian treatment of the Masurian population changed. Poles from Posen,
West Prussia and Upper Silesia continued to be defined by their mother tongue as Poles.
Masurians, on the other hand, were for statistical and reporting purposes now
geographically defined as "the native population of the same-name region" of
East Prussia. Through this new conception, authorities essentially Germanized
the Masurians per fiat".
"In order to win the Masurians to the German cause, the government also
undertook more concrete steps. Special treatment and economic support was
accorded to institutions that fostered the development of a purely Masurian
identity. During the 1890s, the state provided financial support to Polish
speaking evangelical pastors who cared for the Masurians and their number in
this decade was higher than the number of Polish speaking Catholic priests in
the Ruhr. Through these pastors, Masurians received a church service in
Polish every 14 days. By comparison, Poles were generally only granted a Polish
mass on an ad hoc basis, usually around Easter. After the turn of the century,
support for Masurian parishes was permanently incorporated into the budget of
the Ministry for Spiritual, Educational and Medical Affairs. "

"The government also supported the development of a distinct Masurian press and
local libraries. The development of such newspapers is particularly
interesting. Whereas in the 1890s the first Masurian paper was called the
Polski Przyjaciel, or Polish friend, after the turn of the century Masurian
papers bore titles such as Altpreußische (Old Prussian) Zeitung and
Heimatgrüße. Increasingly these papers, which were printed partly in German
and partly in Polish, proved useful to spreading historically questionable
propaganda that attempted to prove the Germanic origins of the Masurian
community. As the first issue of Heimatgrüsse declared in 1911, >>Our old and
distant homeland was and remains German like other areas of our great and
beautiful Fatherland; our forefathers were German, we are German and our
children shall remain German!<<

"Further support was given to the development of East Prussian friendly
societies, organizations designed to provide limited financial and social
support to loyal Masurian workers while offering protection from the dangers
of Social Democratic or Polish agitation. These organizations also underwent an
evolution over time. Whereas when they were first founded, these organizations
were named polnische-evangelischer Arbeiterverein and evangelisch-polnischer
Unterstützungverein, their names were later changed and the word polnisch
was replaced by ostpreußisch. The attempt to establish a good Masurian / bad
Pole dichotomy also found support among various segments of German society. In
1899, immediately after a strike in Herne by primarily young Polish mine
workers, a National Liberal newspaper demanded that >> these noble Polish
gentlemen, who along with all sorts of smells and crude lifestyles, serve to
lower our wages and lower the spiritual and moral standards to an alarming
level, these men and women, who
often cannot read or write must know that they are only tolerated guests here
in Germany<<. Against this characterization of Poles, the same article noted
that the Masurians were striving to lift themselves up to German standards
everywhere . Other nationalistic groups such as the Society for the
Protection of the Eastern Marches, which had numerous members in the Ruhr,
proposed more radical solutions vis-a-vis Poles. At the same time, such groups
supporting education outreach initiatives for the Masurians in order to inform
them of their German heritage and the dangers of the Polish national movement.
Perhaps most surprising, the Catholic Church also grew to support the
anti-Polish policies of the government. Whereas in the initial stages of the
Polish migration to the Ruhr, the relationship between Church officials and
Poles was cordial, by 1900 this picture changed dramatically. Increasingly the
Church, under pressure from the government, supported increased restrictions on
various expressions of Polishness. In 1904, for example, the Church in the Ruhr
went so far as to ban the use of Polish at baptisms, funerals, weddings and in
the preparation for the first communion. To this, the Church also severely cut
back on the number of Polish language masses and ethnically Polish priests.

"Altogether, the policies implemented towards the Poles and the Masurians led to
two different integration paths. The attempts to turn the Poles into good
Germans through laws and police supervision made their adaptation to Ruhr
society more difficult, though not impossible. For most Poles, especially those
from the lower classes who previously possessed much more of a regional, rather
than national identity, the discrimination of the state and society encouraged
them to assume a stronger Polish identity. This increase in national
consciousness is best witnessed by the rapid growth of Polish ethnic
associations. Whereas in 1895 there were approximately 100 such organizations
in the Ruhr region, by 1912 there were 1,038. Ironically, the mounting
pressure placed on Poles and the subsequent ethnic mobilization also eventually
brought about a greater participation of Poles in the larger social life of the
Ruhr. In the workplace, Poles founded their own trade union in order to defend
their interests. This same union, however, also later worked closely with the
Christian and particularly the Socialist trade unions in order to defend the
general worker interest. Politically, Poles proved successful in mobilizing
themselves as an ethnic bloc, particularly in local Church elections. Whereas
in 1904, Poles had no representatives on Church councils in Dortmund, by 1912
they controlled approximately 15% of the seats, a figure that represented their
actual percentage in the local Catholic population. Many of such seats,
however, were increasingly won not through outright competition, but as a
result of local compromises between German and Polish Catholics, a trend that
indicates that Poles were increasingly accorded equal respect by their German

overlooked by scholars of nationalism is the role émigré communities played in
forging national identity during the 19th century, particularly among Eastern
Europeans. In many respects, it can be persuasively argued that modern Polish
national identity was forged as much in the pits of the Ruhr as in the palaces
of the Polish nobility or in the conspiratorial circles of the Polish
intelligentsia. The Polish trade union, the third largest miner s union in
Germany, was founded in 1902 and by 1912 had organized over 30,000 workers. The
best examples of cooperation among the unions representing Ruhr miners occurred
during the strikes of 1905 and 1912. Eventually, the close cooperation between
the Polish trade union and the socialist Alter Verband led to discussions by
1916 of a possible merger of the two organizations. This ultimately never
occurred, and after the war the importance of the Polish trade union declined.
For further information see John Kulczycki, The Polish Coal Miners Union and
the German Labor Movement in the Ruhr, 1902-1934 (Providence: Berg, 1997).

"Ultimately, this
experience before World War I can be viewed as an example of negative
integration. In defending their ethnic identity, Poles necessarily left behind
a homogenous ethnic subculture that previously only had limited contact with
Ruhr society. Through the utilization of the ethnic resources at their
disposal, Poles were eventually able to achieve a level of equality and
integrate within certain areas of Ruhr society, such as at work and in the
local parish. The Polish example in this period is also interesting for
highlighting how ethnic solidarity does not, in the long run, necessarily lead
to increased separatism.

"As a whole, the attempt by the state to actively influence the process of
social integration of eastern minorities is extremely interesting for the
varied results it brought forth. The negative position taken against the Poles
never led to their hoped for Germanization, but instead led to a much stronger
Polanization. Because the government viewed almost every expression of Polish
identity as being nationalistic and anti-German, it was difficult for a
moderate Polish patriotism to develop that could promote integration and combat
an increasingly popular chauvinistic Polish nationalism. Nevertheless, the need
to confront the pressures of the state did eventually lead to greater Polish
participation in local Ruhr society and Poles eventually were able to obtain
equal treatment within certain areas comprising their lifeworld, such as at
work or in the local Church parish. Those Poles who ultimately chose to remain
and eventually assimilate into German society were generally those who were
active in areas where Poles could, through their own efforts, attain a level of
equality. The Masurians show us a different example. The state allowed the
Masurians a high level of autonomy in which they could further develop their
identity because the state believed that with time the Masurians would
themselves see the benefits of assimilation. Eventually, the state was correct,
however, the process of Masurian assimilation took vastly longer than was
foreseen. With no particular incentive to integrate, most Masurians remained
generally isolated from local society until after World War I. "

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Post by szopen » 14 Sep 2004 09:11

These are notes i've made while searching for info in another book of mine. I was too tired to clean them up, i hope you will forgive me... Don't be too harsh on my poor English either - it's enough that my wife became mad at me because i sepnt the night on typing and reading instead of going to bed..

Czeslaw Luczak "Od Bismarcka do Hitlera: Polsko-Niemieckie stosunki gospodarcze"
Poznan 1988 ISBN 83-210-0767-8

Polish provinces (East, West Prussia, Pommern, Posen: in exception of Silesia) were
considered the granary of the Reich: it was the role
destined for them by German governments. It were about 30% of Germany.
They were 34-35% of German (and 51-52% of
Prussian) rural areas (remember that in Silesia there was more industrial areas).
In 1901 they gave 43,4% of four fundamental kind of grains,
52% of potatoes in Prussia (which gave 28,7% and 35,8% for whole Germany). They
produced half of German spiritus, 34% of German sugar, 30% of German farm animals.
(p 14)

Because of Ostflucht there was a lot of negative effects. German government was
backing the emigration of Poles and discouraging emigration of Germans, which
in effect caused, that in some areas the relation between Poles and Germans changed
significantly. in 1871-1910 about 3,5 million of inhabitants of these lands
moved constantly from those 5 provinces, 80% of them to western parts of Germany. Because
of it, the percentage of males between 16 to 30 was only 21,7 in Posen, while 24,8%
in whole Germany and 26,3 in Westphalia. Most of emmigrants outside Germany were Polish, and large part
of others were Poles.(p10-14)

There were ultra-nationalist, tolerated or even backed by government organisations, such as
Allgemainer Deutscher Verband, later renamed to Alldeutsched Verband, which in 1914 had 18.000
members. In Posen there was founded in 1894 Verein zur Forderung des Deutschtums in den Ostmarken,
later renamed into Deutscher Ostmarkverein, which in 1909 had 50.500, and in 1912 54.100
members, recruiting in vast majority from government clerks, teachers, officers etc - this
organisation was called by Poles HaKaTa from names of the founders, Hansemann, Kennemann and
Tiedemann. In 1911 it called eastern provinces of Germany "the battlefield" and was later
called by H.U Wehler the precursor of the Nazi party (Wehler, Krisenherde des Kaiserreichs 1817-1918,
Ottingen 1979, p-193-194) because of its pathological hatred of all things Polish (p 20-21)
Governmetn founded in 1886 Konigliche Ausiedlungskommission which was funding the German
settlement in eastern provinces, buying the land from Polish owners etc, there were also
two other organisations, in 1904 in Posen Deutsche mittlestandkasse and 1906 in Danzig/Gdansk
Bauernbank fur Westpreussen. This institutions were helped by different local
organisation such as Landgesselschaften and local settlement commission Kleinsiedlungsgenossenschaften.
In addition there was founded Deutscher Fursorgverein, Ruckwanderstelle and many, manyother
organisation with one goal: buy as many land from Poles as possible and settle as
many Germans as possible.

They were encouraging Germans from foreign lands, from Galicia, Vohlyn, Hungary, Romania etc etc.
The Commision for Settlement in 1886-1918 settled in Posen and West Prussia 21.886 German families,
counting in total 153.800 people, from which 21.683 took over their farms before the end of 1914. 25% of
them came from abroad. Many families were also helped by other organisations, which helped them buy land etc
etc. At first they were settled in countryside, hpoing that Germanisation of villages will cause
the Germanisation of cities, later also German craftsmen were settled in cities, mainly by HKT which
settled in Posen province about 30 doctors, craftsmen etc yearly. In addition to help fight "the Polish
danger in eastern provinces" the workers in factories were also settled. In period 1903-1905 325 families
came to Posen and West Prussia(1379) from abroad, including 209 fro Hungary, 89 from Galicia
and 27 from Russia, and to 1912 in Posen area there were 961 workers settlements. (p20-25)

People working in eastern Prussian provinces received an addition to their salary, so called "Ostmarkenzulage".
Some representants of local administration proposed counting the years of service by doubling, just like in the
case of the war, for the clerks working in eastern provinces.

Interesting case: in 1850 many German catholic settlers from times of XVIII, while in 1914 they considered
themselves Poles - there was from 50.000 to 75.000 such settlers. This was primary reason why vast
majority of new settlers were protestants (21.014 families from settlers recruited by Commission of Settlement,
that is 96,9%. Similarly 90% of German clerks and teachers were protestants (p26).

In total, the estimated number of Germans settled in 1871-1914 in Posen and West Prussia was higher than

On other hand, the Polish teachers and clerks were assigned functions in western part of Germany. Such
action was taken for few thousands of Poles, amongst whom was teacher 64 years old and clerks with 40 years
of job. In addition German gvt paied for special agitation in press for encouraging emigration of Poles
for abroad. The exceptional ways were removal of Poles by force, first "Poles who were suspected of anti-German
activity" (3 February 1872 in Posen), and later of removal of all Poles without Prussian citizenship, with
exception of few who received special allowance for stay. THe mass removals started with expelling 500 Jews
from Berlin. Suprisingly, some "presidents" of provinces (of Silesia and West Prussia) say that this action has
no sense, since many of those Poles have already found new families and they are living there for sometimes
decades. On the other hand, "presidents" of Posen and Opole (region in middle Silesia) proposed the enlarged
the scope of the action. In 1884 the law was passed for removal of all Poles, who had citizenship of other states,
with exception of those, who were "by mistake" drafted to Prussian army or arrived before 1843 (in practice however
those exceptions were not honoured). In total 43.943 Poles were destined for removal, but finally, because
deficit of workforce the number was limited to about 32.000. Among the removed there were 9 to 10.000 Jews,
who admitted (with few exceptions) the belonging to Polish nation.

That actions was protested by Polish envoys to German and PRussian parliaments, which were backed by many
German (Espectially Alsatians) and Danish envoys. Many
politicians, like Karol Liebknecht, Ludwig Windthorst, Rudolf Virchov etc described this actions as either
inhuman or illegal. Finally PRussiann government
stopped the action. Amongst the removed there was 2-years old orphan adopted by Polish family in Pleszow;
98-years old woman who arrived to her grandson to Gniezno. The families were partitioned by deporting those members
who had no citizenship. The Poles "suspected for anti-German policy" were for example Pole from Wroclaw (Breslau)
who celebrated victory of Sobieski at Vienna or few Polish students from university. OTOH Bismarck received also
the letters with approval from Germans (Even from Bohemia!), and was backed by majority of German press.

Also majority of Jews, despite that deportations included many of them, were in majority neutral, with
exception of few of the societies (from Posen, Berlin, etc) which protested the action and organised the help
for their coreligionists. (p37)

Unfortunately, few Poles postulated "the revenge" for the deportations, but fortunately it was very limited.
Only in few cities in Russian partition the very few Germans lost their job, and in two cities German organisations
were forbidden to act. Later, the other deportations were more limited and at most few hundreds Poles yearly was deported
from Prussia (not Germany! it was considered, suprisingly for me, the internal matter of Prussia).

Poles were almost always serving outside eastern provinces; it was believed, in words of Bismarck, that in such
way they will "know the blessing of German civilisation" (p42). German ggovernment thought, that Polish
recruits will be addicted to that civilisation and will stay in western parts of Germany and in consequence
they will Germanise. But only 0,01% Polish men have not returned to theur families after the service.

German clergy was colportating amongst the kids the religious books in German, hpoing that they will Germanise
whole families via their kids. Their actions were supported by German government, which few times gave special
funds for many of them.

Some of the German actions were ridiculous: The German clerks demanded that Polish parents will gave their newborn
kids German names, and they were sometimes even changing them without consciense of parents; so Jan was written
as Johann etc. German goverment also was warning the staying Polish teachers that "cultivating Polish language" in
PRIVATE homes could result in deportation. Ostmarkenverein was postulating, but fortunately without success, the
planned Germanisation of Polish orphans and kids from broken families. (p45)

The German view on Poles were quite simple: Poles were on lower level of civilisation. E.g. A.Dix, German writer, in
1898 said that "Slavs are typical representants of proletariat, citizens of fifth class", and "Germans in east
should be everywhere the masters". T.Schon, president of West PRussia, wrote, that main task of his administration
is to "turn ex-slaves Slavs into people and Germans". Even Wilhelm II said on occasion that "Slavs are born
to serve other nations". (p 45)

The policy of German government brought the desired results. In the years 1870-1910 the Prussian official statistics
noted 70% of raise of Germans in West Prussia and 58% in Posen, 12,2% in East Prussia and 56,3% in Opole. For comaprison,
in Posen number of Poles raised by 27,8%, in Opole in 32,4%, and was lowered in Eastern Prussia by 12% and in Western
Prussia by 5,8%. All the censuses are generally in low esteem by Polish historians, because they forced Poles to declare
themselves as bilingual or using only German, for example all Polish soldiers were counted as Germans. In Namyslow
count in SIlesia in 1910 it was reported that only those Poles who admitted that they know no German were listed
as Poles, and the rest as Germans.
Interesting case in the Kaszubs. They were in vast majority ALWAYS voting for Polish list in all parliament elections;
but Germans introduced here similar "divide and conquer" policy which brought so large fruits in Masuria. As result
the bilingual (Polish-German) number rose from 103.112 to 200.913, Kaszubian language from 54.433 to 108927 and
Masurian from 102.941 to 203.760.

For example, German census for West Prussia listed 605.000 Poles (including poeple listed as Masurians and Prussians)
which is considered by Polish historians (Krzywicki, Nadobnik) too low, who said that the number
probably was higher by 100.000 and in whole West Prussia Poles probably were above the 50% (Once again, i remind
that only part of West Prussia ended in reborn Polish state). Similar results were achieved by Deutsche Stiftung workers,
in 1930s. (p49).

The separate case is so called "battle for land". It was started by Flotwell, who however was able to bought
only 30 large Polish estates. The legal basis for later actions was 1886 June law of "strengthening the Germanness
in provinces West Prussia and Posen", in short "Ansiedlungsgesetz", the Settlement law. Those act, plus
later novelisations (including 1912 "the law of strengthening Germanness in some parts of the country" etc)
included for example that Poles in countryside can build new buildings only after receving speciall allowance
from German administration, which effectively caused that Poles could not build new buildings (famous Drzymala wagon
case), made legal basis for confiscating Polish land and allotted large sums for buying out olish land, e.g
100.000 mk in 1886. The funds of Settlement Comission achieved 955 millions mk, plus another funds from economical
activity, in total about 1423 millions mk. However, because Poles - as results of well-known "longest war of
modern Europe" were boycotting the action en masse, the commission finally was mainly buying the land from.. Germans
(the total of 71.2% in 1910 and 1913 71.3%). Frustrated Germans: the organisations, profesors such as Otto Hotzsch, local admi
nistration etc postulated that
the law should be passed which would allow to buy the land without the agreement from Polish owner. Such law
was passed in 1908, march 20. Protests from around the world (the actions initiated by Polish writer Henryk Sienkiewicz,
who convinced many intellectuals to sign letters of protests, the protests by some Germans etc) caused that first
actions based on such law were in 1912, when 4 Polish estates were bought despite the protests of the owners.
The First World War stopped such actions. (p52-58)

The new settlers received credits for new buildings and starting new life, etc etc. Sometimes the Commission was
using low-moral Poles, who were buying the land from other Poles who otherwise were refusing to sell it to Germans;
The official end of the Comission was 1 June 1924.

In addition there were other, non-government (though with government's blessing and backing) institutions which
were giving credits on favourable terms, buing land and encouraging German settlement, and so called "land organisations"
(Landgesellchaft) which were creating new large farms, with sepcific official goal of separating Poles and dissoluting
Polish "element". (p28-66)

As mentioned earlier, Poles needed special allowance for making new building in countryside. In 1905-1913 in
region of Bydgoszcz 78% of all petitions were refused (1904, 10 VIII, ansiedlungsnovelle). In some regions
Poles had to provide the documents testifying, that they won't sell the building to other Pole, or that
their investment is not violating the "settlement law modification" (mentioned ansiedlungsnovelle).

The name "battle for land" came becasue Poles started to defend, the organisations for helping were created by Poles,
and both Germans and Poles tried to buy as much land as possible. The successes of Polish private
organisation resulted in protulates by German newspapers for passing the law (Berliner Borsen-Zeitung 22 May 1907)
which would made illegall the assistance to buying the land by private institutions. Suprisingly, the most
sold land came from rich Poles, while the ones who were most active in propaganda and less eager to sell the land
were sometimes the poorest ones...

As the result, in Posen majority of rural area (almost 60%) was in the hands of Germans (p74)

The German and public banks were refusing providing the credit for Poles, either directly or by making
conditions which were highly discouraging, especially when compared to conditions offered to Germans. Sometimes
they were gicing the credit, only suddenly demand everything back. Simultanously
goverment was backing favourable credits for "strenghtening the German economy" in eastern provinces.
The government was subsidising the self-help organisation, but since 1908 only on conditions, that such
organisation will remove all Polish members. (p81)

There were also non-returnable subsidies paid by government (Niederlassungsbeihilfe), organisations such as
HKT etc - all of which should result in limiting Polish economy and domination of Germans in economy of
eastern provinces.

German soldiers were OFFICIALLY forbidden from goinf to Polish friseurs, German public institutions from delegating
works and repairments to Polish companies etc. German organisations were printing works such as "Guide for German
shops in Posen".

OTOH, Polish organisation had their meetings monitored and sometimes disbanded because of using of Polish lanugage;
they could were refused from hiring the rooms etc etc. The economical boycott was from both sides. Both for the Poles
and Germans it was patriotic duty to buy only from their nationalities. It was started by Poles, true, and later
the German slogans were usually simply translations of earlier Polish ones, but the Poles, contrary to Germans,
had not the backing of government. (p90)

Despite all of this, as result of national solidarity, and "organic work" Poles were rapidly becoming more wealth.
It is well-known truth that government backing, as we saw recently in former east Germany, is death kiss.
Poles by percentage rised in first class tax payers from 23 to 28% etc etc.

In next part i will continue with both this and another sources i have. Anyway, i think you've already got the picture:
Poles were not equally treated. They were oppressed and were citizens of third class. The German state was their enemy.

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Post by Obserwator » 14 Sep 2004 09:38

The German state was their enemy.

More correct form would be-"To German state Polish people and Polish culture were the enemy"

Gwynn Compton
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Post by Gwynn Compton » 15 Sep 2004 11:49

I've moved this thread here into Holocaust and Warcrimes since it seems intended for another debate that is going on in this section.


michael mills
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Post by michael mills » 17 Sep 2004 01:50

Szopen wrote:

In addition there was founded Deutscher Fursorgverein, Ruckwanderstelle and many, manyother
organisation with one goal: buy as many land from Poles as possible and settle as
many Germans as possible.

What is wrong with that goal, provided that the Polish landowners received the market price for their land?

Why should not Germans buy land from Poles?

What would Szopen think if someone refused to sell him land because of his ethnicity?

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Post by szopen » 17 Sep 2004 07:48

michael mills wrote:Szopen wrote:
What is wrong with that goal, provided that the Polish landowners received the market price for their land?

There are two problems here:

1) When Poles were not selling enough land, Germans amde a law which made it possible to "buy" a land without agreement from Polish owner

2) It were not individual Germans, but state comissions which goal was to - effectively - to wage war against its own citizens. They were buying the land to change to ethnicity relations in the area.

What would Szopen think if someone refused to sell him land because of his ethnicity?

What would Micheal Mills thought if someone would refuse him credit because of his ethnicity?
Or if he couldn't sing songs in his language in church?
Or if he couldn't build new building because of his ethnicity?
Or if the government would treat him as his enemy, wanting him to emigrate?
Or if government would break it's own promises - first he guaranteed that your children would have right to learn in your language, and then force them to speak - not just learn - to speak in foreign language and beat them if they are speaking yours?

Micheal, do you still think that German (or, more precisely: Prussian) government treat Poles equally? The process of making notes from books is quite tedious. Do you want me to continue, or is that enough?

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Post by Obserwator » 19 Sep 2004 21:27

In 1904 severe restrictions were made aimed at Poles, among them a edict that took all land ownership from Poles :
1904 zapoczątkowano ustawy wyjątkowe podcinające pozycję gosp. ludności pol. (1908 ustawa o wywłaszczeniu pol. własności ziemskiej).

In 1904 edicts were initiatied that were aimed at undermining economic position of Poles(1908-edict about taking ownership of land)

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Post by Marcus » 19 Sep 2004 21:55

Obserwator wrote:In 1904 severe restrictions were made aimed at Poles, among them a edict that took all land ownership from Poles

It should be noted that a decision by the Prussian Administrative High Court put a stop to that law soon after it was created.

Source: Volker R. Berghahn - "Imperial Germany 1871-1914: Economy, Society, Culture and Politics", page 116


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Post by michael mills » 19 Sep 2004 23:53

Obserwator wrote:

In 1904 severe restrictions were made aimed at Poles, among them a edict that took all land ownership from Poles :


Could you be more precise in your expansic\ve claims.

Are you claiming that ethnic Poles who were citizens of the German Reich were prohibited by law from owning land anywhere in the Reich?

If so, how were "Poles" defined for the purposes of the law? Did the law perhaps apply only to persons who were not citizens of the Reich?

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Post by szopen » 22 Sep 2004 09:01

Marcus Wendel wrote:
Obserwator wrote:In 1904 severe restrictions were made aimed at Poles, among them a edict that took all land ownership from Poles

It should be noted that a decision by the Prussian Administrative High Court put a stop to that law soon after it was created.

Source: Volker R. Berghahn - "Imperial Germany 1871-1914: Economy, Society, Culture and Politics", page 116


It should be nevertheless noted, that it didn't stop the Prussia, basing on 1908 novel, to deprive at least four POles of their property.

BTW i know that during war Poles were making petitions to abandon anti-Polish novels from 1904 and that they were refused. What was exactly stopped by Prussian court?

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Post by michael mills » 23 Sep 2004 01:34


Were the Poles you say were deprived of their property citizens of the German Reich?

Where was the property of which they were deprived?

What was the exact legal reason for the seizure of their property by the German Government?

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Post by michael mills » 23 Sep 2004 01:43


A request to you.

In your posts, you continually refer to "Poles". However, before 1918 there was no Polish citizenship; ethnic Poles were citizens of the Russian Empire, the German Reich, or the Austrian Empire.

So, when you refer to such things as "Poles" being deported, it is very confusing.

For example, if ethnic Poles with Russian citizenship were deported from Germany, that is simply a case of a state deporting an alien from its territory. Modern states do it all the time; for example, every year the United States must deport thousands of aliens who do not or no longer have legal residency.

Any state has the right to revoke the right of an alien to reside on its territory and deport him.

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Post by szopen » 23 Sep 2004 10:01

michael mills wrote:For example, if ethnic Poles with Russian citizenship were deported from Germany, that is simply a case of a state deporting an alien from its territory. Modern states do it all the time; for example, every year the United States must deport thousands of aliens who do not or no longer have legal residency.

You are right in this particular point: majority of deported where not Prussian citizens. However amongst deported were people who were living in Prussia for years and have families; they were departed from their wifesm children and deported. Amongst them were also Prussian citizens who were just deported because of anti-Prussian activity, amongst whom was man who was celebrating Vienna Sobieski's victory and so was called dangerous Polish nationalist.

And it was all in times when Prussia actually needed Polish labour force: because of protests of German buisseness ew thousands of Poles were still allowed to stay.

As for how Prussians defined "Poles" in their repressive laws against Polish ownership, etc etc i have no idea. However i am happy that you no longer claims that Poles in Prussia were treated equally. I have few other books on similar topic but i got tired of writing those things again and again.

To make it easier to you to eventually refute the claims, i will repeat it

trhe examples of either discrimination, or of treating Poles as element unstable and "state enemies"

1) The building of houses and buildings in countryside needed special allowance. Poles were also demanded by local authorities special documents which were not required by law. In effect vast majority of Polish request before WWI was refused.

2) German pastors most active in Germanisation were receiving special funds from German government. Poles were refused religious service in Polish except few masses, for example

3) Polish soldiers were drafted to serve far away from Poland. Polish teachers and clerks were moved to regions far away from Posen region.

4) Polish children were required to use only German in school, with exception of religion (until they knew German enough to use it). Children which refused were beaten. It was in majority Polish classes. Several tens thousands children went on strike. I know you claim this was not discrimination, but today German children in Poland had right to learn in their language and are not beaten for using German in school. And anyway it vioalted earlier Prussian delcaration and status of Great Duchy of Posen, in which Poles were earlier promised rights to develop national language, using it etc.

5) In 1908 new law was passed which allowed to get land from Polish owners without their allowance. Because of legal controversies and protests law was implemented only in 1912 and only 4 land areas were confiscated with reparation, but still.

6) German government subsidised special commissions and organisation which settled vast numbers of German settlers, while in the same time encouraging Poles to emmigrate.

7) Self-help German organisations were gretting help from Government on the condition they won't have Polish members. Polish self-help organisations were quickly depried of such help.

8) German banks (partially sponsored by government or private) were refusing giving credites to Poles, or were giving them and immedietely demanding them back, causing bankrupcies

9) Government institutions were boycontting Polish-owned companies, e.g demanding that no Polish-woned firm can participate in repairs of state buildings.

10) Poles had to use German language in all meetings (with exceptions of reichstage election and so) in all areas were pOles were not 60% majority.

11) Polish organisations were under constant Police surveillance. Some Polish organisations were refused buildings, Polish clerks and teachers were warned that they will lost work if they will join Polish organisations or will "care for Polish language"

12) Certain Polish national anc church songs (unfortunately, the authors do not precise which one :-( ) were forbidden, as certain national clothes.

13) During war when German war invalids were receving lands from German government and Polish organisations asked for similar right for Poles, German government allowed it only to give them land outside eastern Germany and in much lesser proportion than to German veterans.

etc etc etc I hope i have put it everything. Maybe "brutal oppression" is exxageration when compared to Hitlerite occupation, ubt still i doubt that you could call it "equal treatment". Poles were make feel that they are enemies of the state. They were treated us strangers in their own lands.

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Post by Obserwator » 23 Sep 2004 17:03

In your posts, you continually refer to "Poles". However, before 1918 there was no Polish citizenship; ethnic Poles were citizens of the Russian Empire, the German Reich, or the Austrian Empire.

A nation without a country is still a nation.

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