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If Poland didn't exist, how did citizens become Polish?


sunbreak 14 | 20
15 Feb 2011  #1
Ok, since Poland didn't exist as a country for many years, how did the people who lived there become Polish citizens when Poland existed again? Were the people who were living within the boundaries of the new Poland automatically given citizenship? Or did they have to apply to be citizens or somehow prove that they were born within the territory that was now Poland?
Mr Grunwald 19 | 1,543
15 Feb 2011  #2
Yeah I wonder about that, my grandfather's father were born in Moscow yet he gained Polish papers after the independance. I guess one had to speak Polish or "volounteer" for it. Or anyone living in the territories of Poland. Even Ukrainians living in Poland got Polish citizenship right?
delphiandomine 85 | 17,823
15 Feb 2011  #3
Even Ukrainians living in Poland got Polish citizenship right?

Right.

All the details are contained within this act - polish-citizenship/law/5-polish-citizenship-act-of-1920

Essentially, anyone living on Polish territory on January 20th 1920 gained Polish citizenship automatically.

Language, nationality, etc didn't matter.
grubas 12 | 1,392
15 Feb 2011  #5
They were free to move to the III Reich ,which was to last 1000 years :)
Ziemowit 12 | 3,394
15 Feb 2011  #6
The Third Reich did not exist on January 20th 1920 or for several years afterwards.

Igor Sravinsky was denied a Polish citizenship for which he applied in the 1920s. Schade, wirklich shade, we could have had another Polish composer. Until 1910 he lived in the town of Uściług which again became Polish in 1921, 128 years after it had become Russian in 1793.
delphiandomine 85 | 17,823
15 Feb 2011  #7
....if they wanted or not... :(

That's a point - do you know if the Germans that stayed in the new country of Poland were stripped of German citizenship at that time?
Polcymrounig - | 4
15 Feb 2011  #8
Did that include persons irrespective of religious beliefs.
Ziemowit 12 | 3,394
15 Feb 2011  #9
No, the Jews were asked to apply for the citizenship of Israel.
delphiandomine 85 | 17,823
15 Feb 2011  #10
Did that include persons irrespective of religious beliefs.

Yup. It had to - there were a vast amount of Jews and Orthodox Christians within the territory at that time, as well as a Protestant minority.
Harry
15 Feb 2011  #11
do you know if the Germans that stayed in the new country of Poland were stripped of German citizenship at that time?

My understanding is that those who were automatically granted Polish citizenship by operation of law retained both their German citizenship and their rights with regard to German citizenship. However, any German who voluntarily applied for Polish citizenship lost their citizenship and the majority of their rights with regard to German citizenship. From memory there are sections of the treaty of Versailles which deal with this exact issue.

Edit: you'll want to check the Nationality Law of the German Empire and States (RuStAG) of 22 July 1913, Part II, section 17 in conjunction with section 25. I'm not sure that I'll be able to find it online though.
Des Essientes 7 | 1,292
15 Feb 2011  #12
Igor Sravinsky was denied a Polish citizenship for which he applied in the 1920s. Schade, wirklich shade, we could have had another Polish composer.

Wow that's really shocking considering the fact that Igor's father was a renown Polish singer. His surname was spelled Strawincy according to a biography of Igor I perused once. Phoenix-like Poland had arisen from the ashes and yet some Polish bureaucrat denied the composer of the Firebird citizenship!
jonni 16 | 2,486
15 Feb 2011  #13
No, the Jews were asked to apply for the citizenship of Israel.

In 1920? 28 years before Israel was founded?

I remember reading that some of the Jewish people were less than impressed at finding themselves citizens of a newly formed state that many of them didn't feel the same affinity as their neigbours, and also that a significant number of Poles, particularly peasants in villages, weren't especially enthusiastic either.
Ziemowit 12 | 3,394
15 Feb 2011  #14
In 1920? 28 years before Israel was founded?

You didn't catch up with my [British or Polish?] sarcasm here which pointed both to the previous poster's remark about the Germans moving to the 3rd Reich in 1920 as well as to the assumed widespread anti-semitism in Poland.
jonni 16 | 2,486
15 Feb 2011  #15
True enough. Mind you, I remember a poster here once saying that 17th century Poles should have emigrated to the US, so I suppose anything can happen. Maybe the same guy who posted the other day, about the 'English economy'.
Harry
15 Feb 2011  #16
books.google.com/books?id=0VWXmxCcnz0C&printsec=frontcover&dq=A+Collection+of+nationality+laws+of+various+countries
Marek11111 9 | 817
15 Feb 2011  #17
BB:
....if they wanted or not... :(

they said YES we are Polish citizens it's more then we gave them after partitions we are equal as we have voting rights.
Bratwurst Boy 5 | 10,015
15 Feb 2011  #18
That's a point - do you know if the Germans that stayed in the new country of Poland were stripped of German citizenship at that time?

They either did take the new citizenship or they had to leave the new Poland.

they said YES we are Polish citizens it's more then we gave them after partitions we are equal as we have voting rights.

Contrary to the polish big scale ethnical cleansing the number of Poles in Prussia actually grew during the partitions. They prospered and many Poles from the other parts immigrated into Prussia...

How many Germans are left in Poland again???
Softsong 5 | 495
15 Feb 2011  #19
My ethnically German grandfather, Eduard Schmidt, lived just across the border from West Prussia, in what was sometimes called Russian-Poland. He had Russian citizenship prior to Poland existing again.

It is strange though because by the time Poland came into being again, he was living in the United States but he received Polish citizenship, and his sister received Polish citizenship. I have no idea if he asked for it, or Poland just gave it to him. I looked at the passenger records on ancestry.com and found that my grandfather's sister, retained her Polish citizenship even in 1937 as she went on a vacation cruise to Italy. She was listed as Polish.

My grandfather became a naturalized American in 1928. I have his papers and it says he was a citizen of Poland. But when he came to America, before Poland existed, he was listed as a Russian on the ship manifest.
ShortHairThug - | 1,103
15 Feb 2011  #20
They either did take the new citizenship or they had to leave the new Poland.

Absolute nonsense. Is that what they teach you in Germany? German minority constituted 2,3% of the population, a right to be thought in their native language, they had 700+ primary schools and 30+ high schools, they published their own newspapers etc. all subsidized by the German government at that time not to mention that they formed their own political organizations reflective of the trend in fatherland ie. Jungdeutsche Partei (Partia Młodoniemiecka w Polsce), Auslandsorganisation der NSDAP, Volksdeutsche Mittelstelle, all subsidized by the German government who were responsible for organizing anti-Polish demonstration and allowed to do so, free travel back and forth to the fatherland so their duty of serving the fatherland in the German army was not neglected. All signs of Polish government intention of kicking them out and likewise German government of wanting them back so they won’t serve as a pretext for future aggression against Poland and to remain faithful to Germany with all the privileges granted their own citizens living in their own country, and then some.
ZIMMY 6 | 1,601
15 Feb 2011  #21
my grandfather's sister, retained her Polish citizenship

Just an observation: I've noticed that when someone was part Polish and part something else they usually picked Polish as their nationality. I found this to be true in the states and (I) suspect that it's fairly universal with Poles.
Softsong 5 | 495
15 Feb 2011  #22
Zimmy, that could have something to do with it. Her surname was Schmidt, but her given name was Ludwika. My maternal grandfather's sister's background was mainly German though, other than their grandmother had the surname Wilk, which I believe is wolf in Polish.

I do have family that are probably mixed. My German grandmother on my father's side also was from Russian-Poland. Her father was a Witzke, and her mother a Laskowska. But I believe Laskowska was a Polonized version of an earlier German name.

And the German grandfather who became American in 1928, married an ethnic Polish lady in America. Both sides of her family were Polish, (Poznan), but they had German nationality. My mother grew up speaking Polish. Her father spoke Polish, Russian and Low German. My father grew up speaking German.

With the existence of the partitions and my Poles being from Prussia, and my Germans from Russian-Poland, answering the common American question of what are you has always been somewhat of a challenge for me! :-D
ShortHairThug - | 1,103
15 Feb 2011  #23
Laskowska. But I believe Laskowska was a Polonized version of an earlier German name.

Laskowski is a surnames based on place names from Laskowa or Laski. Trust me it’s as Polish as can be.
Torq 26 | 2,362
15 Feb 2011  #24
polish big scale ethnical cleansing

What exactly Polish ethnical cleansing are you talking about, BB?
Surely, you're not impudent enough to call the resettlement of Germans
from Poland after WW2, that was agreed and ordered by the victorious
superpowers, "Polish etnical cleansing"???

the number of Poles in Prussia actually grew during the partitions. They prospered

Oh, yes - Drzymała...

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drzyma%C5%82a%27s_wagon

...is the best symbol of just how Poles prospered under Prussian occupation.

How many Germans are left in Poland again???

Incredibly many I'd say - considering the fact that Germans slaughtered 6 million Poles,
razed the country to the ground, commited unspeakable atrocities against Polish
civilians, and considered Poles to be underhumans, it is amazing that Germans today
are a thriving community in Poland, that has the right to their language as an official one,
street names and road signs in German and their respresentatives in Polish parliament (all
of which is denied to a much larger Polish minority in Germany.)

It is the best proof of Polish magnanimity of spirit that Germans who stayed in Poland after
WW2 weren't slaughtered (like Poles were), gassed in concentration camps (like Poles were),
and their newborn babies' heads weren't smashed on the walls by Polish soldiers (like Polish
babies were murdered by German soldiers) and that today they are a 150,000 strong minority
enjoying all the rights and protection of the Polish state.

Seriously - there is such a huge contrast between the German genocide on Polish nation,
their constant contempt towards Poles and Polishness, and Polish treatement of Germans
and attitude towards Germany today, that the best that Germans can do is to bow down
their heads in shame and shut the f*ck up.
guesswho 4 | 1,293
15 Feb 2011  #25
(all
of which is denied to a much larger Polish minority in Germany.)

I hope you don't count the Germans who became (whether they liked it or not) Poles after the WWII and then within time finally made it back to Germany?
Torq 26 | 2,362
15 Feb 2011  #26
No, I don't count any Germans, half-Germans, quarter-Germans or all those mongrels,
whose only connection to Germany is that their neighbour's uncle once had a German
Shepherd, as Poles. I never did. I mean ethnic Poles (with Polish nationality) who live
in Germany permanently, both having and not having German nationality (just like the
overwhelming majority of German minority members in Poland have Polish nationality)
who consider themselves Polish and are deprived of any minority rights.
ZIMMY 6 | 1,601
15 Feb 2011  #27
What exactly Polish ethnical cleansing are you talking about, BB?

Sometimes BB wears his helmet upside-down.....therefore he gets things backwards.

it is amazing that Germans today
are a thriving community in Poland,

....but they're such 'good Germans'.:)

the best that Germans can do is to bow down
their heads in shame and shut the f*ck up.

The only good German is a Polish German. (just kidding BB)
Havok 10 | 912
15 Feb 2011  #28
If Poland didn't exist, how did citizens become Polish?

They didn't until Poland was reestablished again as a country.
guesswho 4 | 1,293
15 Feb 2011  #29
It is the best proof of Polish magnanimity of spirit that Germans who stayed in Poland after WW2 weren't slaughtered (like Poles were).

well, no one is denying it but there was enough abuse on both sides

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Expulsion_of_Germans_after_World_War_II#Poland.2C_including_former_German_territories

now, the WWII is over and it's time for forgiveness
Softsong 5 | 495
15 Feb 2011  #30
Although my immediate family were all in the United States before WWII, and did not have to deal with the expulsions of ethnic Germans, my Witzke-Laskowska grandmother had two brothers, and two sisters who were still in Poland.

Her two brothers and one sister fled to Germany. My grandmother's other sister and her family wanted to stay in Poland, and continue being Polish citizens. The family consisted of my grandmother's sister, her husband, four sons, and one daughter who was married with a three year old, and pregnant.

Two of my grandmother's sister's sons were killed by Russians. Her husband and her sixteen year old son were murdered by Poles. Her daughter went into premature labor after the news of her father and younger brother, and she bled to death, and the unborn baby died. The three year old was brought up by his father who lost a leg in the war. My grandmother's sister was put into a Polish work camp. Years later, she and her one remaining son joined her brothers and sisters in Germany. I only have found out about this recently as I have been searching for information about what happened to my grandmother's family.

When I was in Poland this past summer, I found distant relatives of the family who had stayed in Poland and live there now. One man was very nice to me. He now runs the farm where my grandmother grew up. Many of these people are fixing up the old German cemeteries and acknowledging that while they are Polish, they have German heritage, too. My understanding was that the only ethnic Germans who could stay in Poland after WWII were those who had married into a Polish family. I do understand that Poland never expelled them, but it was part of the Potsdam Treaty. On my mother's side in Poznan, I probably have a lot of relatives, but I have not done much genealogy on that part of my family yet. I really love Poland and have been there three times. I go to Germany for the first time this April and will meet my father's cousins. One is 90 years old and was so surprised and happy that I found her. They are all well and happy now, but missed Poland dreadfully for many years.


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