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Silezia: Breslau, Wroclaw or something else?

MareGaea 29 | 2,752  
5 Sep 2009 /  #1
Don't know if this is the right thread to post this in, I will leave that to the good ppl of the administration :)

Anyway, I wanted to start a discussion about Silezia. In my opinion this area is comparable to the Alsace Lorraine in France: historically it neither belongs to France nor to Germany, yet both claim it and both have incorporated it within their own borders. And in fact, they speak both languages there and their own language and culture is a mixture of both. Straatsburg (German), Strassbourgh (French) or Strassburg (Lorrainian)?

I get the feeling with Silezia it's the same situation. It has been independend at one point in history, although very briefly, as I understand it they have their own language, the population was, at least until the end of WW2 mixed German and Polish and both Germany and Poland claim it. Also, it has been incorporated within both countries' borders. And, like Alsace Lorraine, their language and culture is a mixture of both German and Polish.

I would like to have some views on the statement that Silezia neither belongs to Germany nor to Poland. Breslau (German) Wrocław (Polish) or the Silezian name for the capital? Thanks.

M-G (still waiting for a definitive conclusion to the collaboration-discussion)
frd 7 | 1,401  
5 Sep 2009 /  #2
We forget one very important thing, that Silesia had been a Chech property for a pretty long time, if I remember correctly most of the time it existed.
OP MareGaea 29 | 2,752  
5 Sep 2009 /  #3
Chech property

Ok, granted. Is the language they speak there derived from Czech then? I'm asking this, because if it is, should it be incorporated within Czechia then? As we all know, cultural entities and units are primarily defined by language. Cultural borders normally run along with language-areas. And: was Czechia before it became incorporated into Austria-Hungary at some point called not "The Kingdom of Bohemia and Moravia", but "The Kingdom of Bohemia, Moravia and Silezia"?

M-G (interested)
Lukasz K - | 103  
5 Sep 2009 /  #4
frd said the truth but the influence of Czech culture in Silesia disappeared in late Middle Ages when most of the Czech noble become germanised, and still the main colonisation in Silesia was coming from Germany.

In my opinion Silesia was maybe similar to Alsace Lorraine till IIWW but is not today...
In Alsace we haven't got complete removal of the German Population after IIWW and in Silesia we had - probably nobody from pre-war Breslau stayed in post-war Wrocław - most of the todays citizens of this city were relocated by Stalin from Lwow...

The German minority can be found in eastern part of Silesia - near Opole and pre war Polish border - but we have to understand that these people had to recognise themselves as Polish in 1945 -they had to speak polish then etc. - otherwise they will have been deported to Germany - there wasn't something like free choice in 1945 - Germans had to live their homes... Those people recognised themselves as Germans again in 1989 mainly because they were receiving huge funding from Berlin...

And Silesians (some say that they are a nation) - they live in easternmost part of this region - Upper Silesia and I think that they fell (and felt in history - look Silesian Uprisings) much more connected with Poland and Polish than with Germany.


Bratwurst Boy 12 | 12,860  
5 Sep 2009 /  #5
I get the feeling with Silezia it's the same situation.

I don't think so....the expellations after WWII changed all that. Silesia got mainly repopulated by Poles from the East so it's polish now.

It would be like the Jews re-claiming the ME after they were gone for 2000 years (or made to go).

The other (better IMHO) viewpoint would be to see the future of Silesia developing again to what it once was, the thriving center between Germans, Poles and Czechs (Bohemians if you so want).

It was for decades more or less the dreary, more or less homogenous borderland...that all changes now back to the better again.
(Not to forget that most of the re-settled eastern Poles were also different to the polish Silesians from before the war)

But it will be (and has to be) a natural development, with nobody "claiming" anything...
OP MareGaea 29 | 2,752  
5 Sep 2009 /  #6
Thanks guys for your contributions so far. I do understand that the area got "Polonized" after WW2 and that the German population got deported. But, as Lukas says: there is a number of true Silesians left in the Easternmost region of Silesia. Surely it cannot be that this were the only Silesians available throughout history? What happened to the original Silesians that must have populated the entire area at one point? Did they get deported as well (either from the German side or from the Polish side)?

Could one say that this so-called "Polonization" of Silesia led to the feeling in Silesia that they are Polish? Surely it would be arteficial then. Ok, I grant that it is a way: remove all the original inhabitants and replace them with your fellow-countrymen, but I am sure that this wouldn't have such an impact on Silesian sub-consciousness to start thinking that they are not Silesian anymore, but Polish (or German or Czech, for that matter)?

It probably won't happen, but if there were to be a poll amongst Silesians wether Silesia should be independent from either Poland and Germany, what would be the result?

M-G (curious)
Bratwurst Boy 12 | 12,860  
5 Sep 2009 /  #7
The term Silesian can also be applied in a more general manner to describe an inhabitant of Silesia, regardless of ethnicity...

I think that's about it.
The "real" Silesian developed over the centuries being a mixture of polish, german, bohemian roots.
And since the borders changed so often as did the ruler they developed a consciousness that was neither pure polish nor pure german nor chzech...but Silesian!

Didn't matter if the gov/King sat currently in Warsaw or in Berlin! :)

The constant shifting of Silesia between (alphabetically) Austrian, Czech, German and Polish control over several centuries resulted in the Silesians developing a separate culture that borrowed heavily from (alphabetically) Czech, German and Polish (and vice versa)...

For a poll about chance!
To many "real" Poles in Silesia now...

(Now if we would count all the Silesians in Germany and Czechia together with those in Silesia right now there would be a number...but I doubt that the majority would be vote for an independent Silesia and actually pack their bags...)
Grzegorz_ 51 | 6,161  
5 Sep 2009 /  #8
Breslau (German) Wrocław (Polish) or the Silezian name for the capital?

In Wrocław you could use your fingers to count "Silesians", After WW2 the population exchange in the city and most of Lower Silesia was close to 100%. Serious number of "natives" (although still a small minority) are in the Upper Silesian aglomeration and rural areas of Opole voivodship and some of these people see themseves as Germans, some as Poles and some as Silesians.

I would like to have some views on the statement that Silezia neither belongs to Germany nor to Poland.

Most of It belongs to Poland, small parts to the Czech Republic, just look at the map, It's not really any secret knowledge.
frd 7 | 1,401  
5 Sep 2009 /  #9
It probably won't happen, but if there were to be a poll amongst Silesians wether Silesia should be independent from either Poland and Germany, what would be the result?

No chance for this to happen, but there was a "Newspaper" poll once asking about Silesian independence and the result was that there were many people who wanted at least partial independence (f.i. some sort of governing body in Katowice), unfortunately I can't remember any numbers...
Lukasz K - | 103  
5 Sep 2009 /  #10
What happened to the original Silesians

What do you mean by real Silesians?"
The region was named by a Slavic tribe hat lived here in Early Middle Ages before any Polish or Czech national identity appeared (all Western Slavs consisting of a dozen or so tribes spoke more or less the same language and were spread from North Sea till Danube and Bug).

But of course they weren't first in Silesia...
Lets forget the megalithic "Stonehenge builders" - "original inhabitants of Europe" but after them came Celtic tribes (that left animal-like statues on the top of the holly mountain Sleza (which become also the religious centre of Slavic Silesians a thousand years later). Name Bohemia also derives from the name of the Celitc tribe. Then came some Germanic tribes which all left towards Roman Empire in Vth century living he land east from Elbe nearly uninhabited till the Slavs came from the east.

Till this time tribes were so unnumerous that they could just "pack and leave" as Germanc tribes did so the land changed it's inhabitants quite fast.

Then the times of Early Slavic kingdoms came and Silesia was incorporated into Polish territory but still being influenced by Czech. Then after the death of Władysław Krzywousty in 1138 the country was partitioned between his sons, and their land also between their children etc. which created a mass of small fighting duchies. These in Silesia came more and more under influence of Czech which was a powerful country during this period. At he same time German cultural influence increased. To have more power rulers needed more money, to have more money the needed more taxes, to gain more taxes the needed more people. The country during this time was a vast forest with some villages. A plenty of land to inhabit. So the rulers started colonising their land using people from region witch overpopulation which wanted to live for a better future. An those were colonists from western Germany that were given the land, cutting he forests and establishing villages and towns. They appeared in XIIIth and XIVth century throughout Central Europe (see for example Transilvanian Germans) but in Silesia hey were most numerous they brought their culture language etc. and soon they overpopulated the Slavic Silesians in the southern and western Silesia. And trough ages Slavic Silesians mixed with German colonists taking their language and culture. (the same happened in Pomerania or otherwise in the more eastern Poland - where German colonists were a minority that took up Polish langage and culture living only the names like Tymbark, Szymbark Gorlice etc. - in Kraków St. Mary's Cathedral last masses in German were given in XVIIIth century).

I can say that throughout those centuries the Silesians from western Silesia become 100% Germans.
Only in the easternmost Silesia at the border with Poland still some kind of mixture culture Survived which is known today as Silesian - but have probably very little in common with medieval Silesians - it is rather a result of German influence on Polish people that settled there since XVII th century (since that time Polish become again more "vital" than Germans and started moving west and north - see Masurians). Also some of the eastern parts Of Silesia were were under polish influence till XVIIth century (nearly whole Upper Silesia - some duchies under Polish control (Racibórz, Pszczyna) or properties of Krakow's bishops.


frd 7 | 1,401  
5 Sep 2009 /  #11
I recommend reading "Narrenturm" trilogy by Andrzej Sapkowski, it's action takes place in medieval Silesia, and although those books are mainly fantasy - there's lots of actual information about these times - and wars that were being fought, especially between Husites/Taborites and Germans, a really good read :)
Bratwurst Boy 12 | 12,860  
5 Sep 2009 /  #12
Fascinating piece of land and history!

I remember my grandmother spoke still this german-silesian died out now with her generation.
(Maybe some traditionalists in some Schlesien club try to keep it alive)
OP MareGaea 29 | 2,752  
6 Sep 2009 /  #13
Thanks guys for your intelligent contributions. I have read the postings and the articles with great interest and I have to say things are more clear to me now as to where Silesia is concerned. Thanks again!

M-G (going to sleep in a few)
szczeciniak 4 | 92  
12 Sep 2009 /  #14
hej bratwurst boy

nice song for you

germans singing about poland
good song!
Bratwurst Boy 12 | 12,860  
12 Sep 2009 /  #15
germans singing aboute poland

Look like Turks to me...yuck!
szczeciniak 4 | 92  
12 Sep 2009 /  #16
there is one more but in polish

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