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Can one become Polish?

nicolas67 1 | 3
6 Feb 2013  #1
Can you become Polish? This is the issue I would like to start discussing here.
Much has been said about Poles living abroad, integrating into other cultures and the ties that connect "Polonia" to its home country.

What about foreigners coming to Poland? I myself am German, some friends tell me over the years I "polonized". In fact, I know the language, but some things here I will never understand :-)

As a further inspiration for discussion you may listen to this interview. The interviewee is British!

broken link removed
Grzegorz_ 51 | 6,163
6 Feb 2013  #2
I think that generally (except some special cases) people can't switch nationalities, It's not a damn pair of shoes.
Paulina 9 | 1,448
6 Feb 2013  #3
What about foreigners coming to Poland?

Hmm, I guess it's possible: /wiki/Archduke_Karl_Albrecht_of_Austria

In 1918 and again in 1939 he volunteered to the Polish Army. He fought in Polish-Soviet War.[2] In 1920 he commanded the Grudziądz Fortress. During German occupation of Poland, he declared Polish identity and refused to sign the Volksliste. He was imprisoned[2] in November 1939, kept in Cieszyn and tortured by Gestapo.[2] His wife was interned in Wisła. He left prison blind in one eye and half-paralyzed. In October 1942, Albrecht and his family were sent to a labor camp in Strausberg.[2] After liberation, he moved to Kraków and then to Sweden. His estate was confiscated in 1939 by the Nazis, and again in 1945 by the communists.[2]

His daughter died not long ago in Poland:

Duchess Maria Christina of Austria died Tuesday morning in Zywiec at the age of 88 years - said the local government . Duchess of 11 years ago returned to Polish and lived in a small apartment in parts of the former palace of the Habsburgs.

- According to the last will of the Duchess of rest in the crypt of the Habsburg family in Żywiec konkatedrze . The funeral will be held next week - said local government spokesman Thomas Terteka Zywiec .

She was very respected and liked.
jon357 63 | 14,110
6 Feb 2013  #4
Can you become Polish? This is the issue I would like to start discussing here.

Thousands have. Many to their surprise in 1918.
Ironside 47 | 9,624
6 Feb 2013  #5
Depends what you have in mind, could you elaborate?
Grzegorz_ 51 | 6,163
6 Feb 2013  #6
Hmm, I guess it's possible:

True but I think his parents have already been seriously Polonized, he's more what children of nicolas67 can become If he's bringing them up in Poland.
OP nicolas67 1 | 3
6 Feb 2013  #7
Well, thanks for your comments.

What I meant is not the legal definition, not blood ties, but the feeling of belonging and being accpeted in Poland.
I heard people say, it is impossible to become Polish: "you will never understand the Polish soul, the sense of humour, traditions " ...

Happy to read more feedback :-)
PennBoy 76 | 2,437
6 Feb 2013  #8
Can you become Polish?

No, It's hard to even become a Polish citizen if you don't have Polish ancestry and you sure as hell can't become ethnically Polish, ur born into it, blood.
6 Feb 2013  #9
What I meant is not the legal definition, not blood ties, but the feeling of belonging and being accpeted in Poland.

Then that is entirely up to you. Let me tell you something I figured out as a teenager, and have spent a great deal of my life living by: No one without a gun can make you do anything. All these naysayers have no power over you. With that in mind, you can do whatever you wish.
Bieganski 17 | 901
7 Feb 2013  #10
First generation immigrants are never seen as being natives. I imagine there have been a handful of immigrants who have managed to master Polish right down to nuances and not having an accent but in times of distress these same people tend to spontaneously drop their highly managed facades.

Immigrants are aware of their status and at times are given warranted and unwarranted reminders of this by native members of the host population. Since Poland is predominately white chances are if you are from a different race people's first thought will be that you are a probably a foreigner. No different than a white person walking around China or a Latino walking around Rwanda.

Even whites tend to categorize each other into further groupings either by their general features or just the way they dress, carry themselves and definitely when they talk. Blacks do this with other blacks and Asians do this with other Asians. Some don't want to admit to this because they only think of sinister reasons for doing it. But it is true. That's just the way our brains are wired. It is a survival instinct and that is why we are visual and aural creatures.

If you are part of Poland's German minority why should this bother you? Poles living in Germany and other countries are categorized and treated as a minority group. Virtually every country on Earth has minority groups. Many countries now go through great pains to ensure people are acknowledged as being minorities so they can boast they are a liberal and diverse society. And some minorities like Québécois in Canada, Kashubians in Poland, and Jews no matter where they go, deliberately want to see themselves and regarded by others as distinct from the majority around them.

But even deep integration doesn't always erase someone's heritage. A Pole may have been raised as a child in Germany or even Japan but if their surname is still something like Kowalski then others in that society will see this person as either being Polish or of having Polish ancestry.

As far as recently arrived foreigners in Poland they could change their names to something regarded as Polish but that won't prevent other Poles picking up that they didn't spend most of their lives in Poland. Only their offspring if raised in Poland would have a increased likelihood of being regarded as Polish when interacting with other native Poles.

Also, other foreigners who have extensive exposure to Poland and Poles know when another foreigner is not Polish.

Of course living in another culture will rub off on you over time and in many different ways but it is never enough to make you completely indistinguishable from a native especially the older you are when you adopt a new country to live in.

That's just the way life is.
jkb - | 198
7 Feb 2013  #11
If you're asking about a Polish citizenship, then yes, most definitely, you can become Polish, provided that you meet certain requirements.
tygrys 2 | 294
7 Feb 2013  #12
Lot of paperwork and red tape. Easier to become US citizens nowadays, specially if you're here illegally, then you get free housing, food stamps and free education while the rest of us pays for the illegals.
jkb - | 198
7 Feb 2013  #13
If you're in the USA illegally, and unless that's an overstay, there's hardly any way to become a US citizen...
Nickidewbear 23 | 569
7 Feb 2013  #14
Can you become Polish? This is the issue I would like to start discussing here.

Citizen wise, yes. Ethnically wise (unless you are already Polish or of Polish descent), no.
jon357 63 | 14,110
7 Feb 2013  #15
Ethnically one can easily become something. Ancestry isn't the same as ethnicity.
bullfrog 6 | 603
7 Feb 2013  #16
Can you become Polish?

What about foreigners coming to Poland?

Of course you can! Take the example of this epitome of the Polish soul, Frederic Chopin; French name, born of a French father, lived most of his life in France, but more Polish than generations of Poles living in Poland will ever be...
jon357 63 | 14,110
7 Feb 2013  #17
A perfect example. We all come from somewhere, and today's Poles didn't evolve there.
Ziemowit 12 | 3,385
7 Feb 2013  #18
Take the example of this epitome of the Polish soul, Frederic Chopin; French name, born of a French father, lived most of his life in France,

If anything, Frédéric Chopin was a Polish emigré to France rather than a foreigner who became Polish. He was born in Poland, had lived in Poland from his birth in 1810 until 1830; thus he lived twenty years in Poland and nineteen years in France. His father Mikołaj (Nicolas) was a polonized Frenchman who migrated to Poland at the age of sixteen. I happened to read Frédéric's letters to parents from his summer holidays in Szafary, the "Kuriery Szafarskie" of 1824-25, which were supposed to be the parody of the Warsaw biggest daily newspaper "Kurier Warszawski", and which were written in very amusing and brilliant Polish!
Ironside 47 | 9,624
7 Feb 2013  #19
I don't think that an adult coming to foreign country would ever become one of his/her hosts. It doesn't mean hs/she couldn't integrate seamlessly but he/she wouldn't be one of them:)

It is different for someone born and raised in a country born to foreign parents. To some extend it is true for those who came to a foreign country as children.

On the other hand even being born in a country do not make one into native.

So to answer OP qestion as it has been formulated. It is not possible for an adult settling in Poland to become Polish.
MarcinD 4 | 135
8 Feb 2013  #20
It's becoming more possible as Polish society Westernizes.... which waters down Polish culture in some ways.
OP nicolas67 1 | 3
10 Feb 2013  #21
Well, thanks for all your comments, I found Bieganski's thoughts interesting (an he is in line with many of you). Makes me think a lot.

For some reasons, the interview I wanted to share got lost, so check again the Britishman on his way to become Polish :-) Does not happen too often:

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