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Polish nobility - what is the status of princes and aristocrats in modern Poland?

frankdom 5 | 8
24 Apr 2015 #1
Recently I saw an item in the British press about a Polish prince who was annoyed with some UKIP utterances; in fact he challenged a British politician to a duel - a somewhat oldfashioned strategy. I am not here writing about UK politics but I would like to know about the status of Polish princes, princes and aristocrats in modern Poland. Surely they did not survive (politically) the Marxist years? Or did they all migrate overseas to be princes without land? What is their position economically and politically in the modern Poland? What is the opinion of the man and woman in the street about them?
Polonius3 1,000 | 12,448
25 Apr 2015 #2
The 1921 constitution abolished the nobility and gentry lineage no longer provided any special privileges. But there is no law against displaying one's ancestral coat of arms or pursuing heraldry and genealogy or unofficially calling oneself a count.. Many people nowadays have no opinion about the gentry or are negatively disposed to them. You'll heart things like they frittered away their fortunes away in Monte Carlo and lived beyond their means when the country was enslaved (partitions). Individual landed aristocrats however are fondly remembered for their efforts to improve local agriculture, found churches, promote education for peasant children and patriotically serve in the insurrections.
jon357 63 | 15,255
25 Apr 2015 #3
unofficially calling oneself a count.. Many people nowadays have no opinion about the gentry or are negatively disposed to them.

Unofficially is the key here. In England, Scotland, Spain, Holland, Scandinavia etc the courts rule on succession to titles and arbitrate in disputes. In Poland it's all unofficial for the reason (the constitution) that you mentioned.

As for being negatively disposed, it's worth reminding that there's the tradition that all the gentry (szlachty) were considered equal in theory. One reason why Joseph Conrad declined a knighthood which he was offered coincidentally during the period of great optimism when Poland regained independence.

Another negative point, I once heard a lady say, who lives as it happens in the same building as myself and a Count (one of the better known Polish aristocratic surnames but who doesn't use his title) some amusing things about the poor taste of certain people who' we build modern houses in our neighbourhood with porticos and pillars to underline their noble origins.
Polsyr 6 | 769
25 Apr 2015 #4
Another negative point

Wouldn't happen to be in Konstancin by any chance? :)
jon357 63 | 15,255
25 Apr 2015 #5
Other direction, near the Pałac Bruhl'a.

Too late to edit. If I remember correctly there's an informal (and informal is the key word here) organisation set up post-1989 by aristocracy in Poland which compiles a list of them. Being Poland there are in fact at least 2 rival organisations.

One issue is where the titles derive from, given that all szlachta are supposed to be equal (though in practice they were never anything like equal). Some come from the Lithuanian part of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. These are the old and truly posh ones. The others were given by Russia, Austria or Germany during the partitions and some argue (very reasonably) that they aren't Polish at all and in fact conflict with Polish tradition.

There are also Poles who've received titles abroad. If Lech Wałęsa took British citizenship he'd be entitled to style himself 'Sir Lech', and Pope JPII (although as Head of State in the Vatican he automatically lost any citizenship he held elsewhere, including Poland) had a bevy of titles.
Yoursir Grenwod
25 Apr 2015 #6
Your a noble if you have a noble heart :)
Papers just a confirmation. Proof like when people were knighted after battle and so on
Crow 139 | 8,359
25 Apr 2015 #7
It would be so romantic and noble to have Kingdom of Poland in Europe. But, which nobleman could be able today to claim right on Polish throne is question for itself. What is interesting is that if we apply medieval Polish standards from the era of `Sarmatism`, person for the throne could be elected. Now, i`m not quite sure how was King elected during `Sarmatism`, by the voices of just nobility or by the voices of all people who had right to vote. And who had right to vote?
jon357 63 | 15,255
25 Apr 2015 #8
Only the gentry (szlachta in Polish) could vote. They held the elections on the Election Field in those days outside Warsaw (now in Wola, behind Powązki Cemetery).

Hard to imagine many people wanting that back.
Crow 139 | 8,359
25 Apr 2015 #9
Hard to imagine many people wanting that back.

but who knows. If we look realistically, all known `receipts` for democracy may failed in some circumstances, no matter the form of government. We today in our time are witnesses how democracy in republics worldwide is failing. True, there are also failed monarchies in our time. But, what i want to tell- there is no general rule which government leads to democracy. i would say that good standard of living (accompanied by the positive moral values) provides environment desirable by modern humans and, `good standard of living` implies responsible and competent leadership no matter form of the government.
jon357 63 | 15,255
25 Apr 2015 #10
As Sir Winston said "democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others". In Poland, remember, people struggled long and hard to get it.

A democracy, however, entirely compatible with aristocracy and monarchy; indeed the various European countries (plus Canada, Australia, New Zealand) that have a monarchy and in some cases an aristocracy are among the healthiest, most stable and most thriving democracies in the world.

For people in Poland, it's something that never worked well for them and something that only the lunatic fringe would want to re-establish. In Poland, people are largely happy with the constitutional republic that they dreamed of for so long.
Yoursir Grenwod
25 Apr 2015 #11
every Polish citizen is equal, no matter economical, political or social rank "szlachcic na zagrodzie równy wojewodzie"
Poles are the root of the Piasts and will defend the standard just like the national anthem says.

As long as we yet live, we won't perish.
I don't i need this forum anymore thank you to the admin for my stay I am happy now :)
jon357 63 | 15,255
25 Apr 2015 #12
every Polish citizen is equal

Since 1921 (with a break between 1939 and 1945), yes.

"szlachcic na zagrodzie równy wojewodzie"

None are now szlachta in any sense and most are not descended from szlachta. And most szlachta were not aristocracy.

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