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Resettlement after ww2 (old German houses and buildings still in Poland)


kie 13 | 25
28 Sep 2011  #1
Hello.

One thing that always interests me when in Dolny Slaskie is the old German houses/buildings.

What I always wonder is, when the war finished and the Borders moved, what was the process for awarding housing (i.e. who was awarded the massive houses and what was the process for deciding who got what) if everyone was to be assumed equal in a communist state.

Also, for those that lost land/housing in the east, how were they recompensated?

Overall, were those who had to move from the east, just in terms of property and land, end up with a good deal or not?

Kieron.
pawian 161 | 9,838
28 Sep 2011  #2
In the early period of resettlement, when ex-German houses were abundant, Polish settlers just chose a house they liked and then registered the ownership with local authorities. Simple.

When communist rule strengthened, the red tape increased and real estate was officially distributed to settlers.
OP kie 13 | 25
28 Sep 2011  #3
Wow, so you turn up, start living in a vacant house, then register that it's yours?

Sorry if I'm sounding dense.
Sokrates 8 | 3,346
28 Sep 2011  #4
More or less. Bear in mind many of these buildings were destroyed.
pawian 161 | 9,838
28 Sep 2011  #5
Nicely presented in one of the funniest Polish comedies. Sami Swoi.
Pawlak family settlers discover that their former neighbours` from the East, Kargul family, have settled in the area. To feel like at home, they choose a house which stands next to their old/new neighbours`.

Bear in mind many of these buildings were destroyed.

Come on, they could be a bit damaged but not destroyed.

Wow, so you turn up, start living in a vacant house, then register that it's yours?

Yes. Remember that post-war Poland was a Wasteland- elites and educated people had been decimated during the war. Besides, those who survived lived in Poland proper. In result, newly acquired territories lacked skilled clerks, so beaurocracy was minimal.
OP kie 13 | 25
28 Sep 2011  #6
Thanks.
What about land or farmland then? How did that work?
Marek11111 9 | 816
28 Sep 2011  #7
Yes just showed up and occupy the house it was yours, just remember Germans did not needed them as they did not need as much breading room anymore.
Wroclaw 44 | 5,388
29 Sep 2011  #8
Wow, so you turn up, start living in a vacant house, then register that it's yours?

not quite.

based on what i've heard: here in wroclaw germans were given minutes to leave their homes. in the case of a family home... one family from the east got downstairs, another got upstairs. these homes were still furnished... furniture back in those days was heavier and more difficult or impossible to move. some folks, if not all, were told where to live.

later, in recent years, we find examples whereby one family tried to buy out the other. as these home were entered by one entrance there are/were examples of some folk, especially on the ground floor, making it difficult for those on the floor above.

i know this to be true of some homes in the biskupin area of wroclaw.

after a couple of generations there are now some folk living in rather big houses, which to my knowledge were never paid for.
gumishu 11 | 5,012
29 Sep 2011  #9
Overall, were those who had to move from the east, just in terms of property and land, end up with a good deal or not?

it can be viewed from different perspectives - on one hand they often received better households and bigger farms that they had in the east (though the soils have often been much worse in those new locations)

on the other hand - these people didn't feel at home in this new lands - there was constant fear (it was constantly rekindled by the Polish communist authorities) that the Western powers will start a WW3 and the Germans will return to take their land back (it was still alive well into the 70's and only became less significant with the new generations born in this new homeland overtaking) - it resulted in poeple not feeling completely at home where they lived and not tending to their households and farms as much as previous owners would
boletus 30 | 1,366
29 Sep 2011  #10
There was also another factor - neglect, related to fear of Germans returning, lack of material culture, lack of respect to common property, perpetual drunkenness. I could give you quite few good stories from two regions of Poland. Toruń/Bydgoszcz area had quite a mixed German/Polish population before the WWII and all the households of former German Colonists - as they were called - were given to "Zabugaje", the people from beyond the Bug river. This included Wilniuks, Polesiuks, Poles, Belarusians and Ukrainians pretending to be Poles and all that mix with the names, such as Homziuk, Drobysz, £ojkuć, Kapsa, itp.

There was a clash of culture powered by scythe and horse with that using machinery: steam powered, cable driven ploughs; threshers; mowers, cultivators and even tractors. Many conveniences, such as water pumps in kitchens, potato steamers, etc. Spotless barns and cowsheds. It took only few years for burlaps and rags to start appearing in place of broken windows, caving cowshed roofs, dung mountains at the middle of the yards. In 1960s, former owners would come and visit the places clandestinely - taking photos, crying their eyes out and cajoling the new owners to do some repairs with provided dollars and German marks. It took one-two generations for everything to return to normal. Yes, the movie "Sami swoi" shows a funny side of that reality, but there were many sad aspects of that resettlement process.

I know a village in Kłodzko Cirque that has become a tourist attraction. Long time ago my buddy bought one of three surviving houses there, and with the help of his friends rebuilt it from the ground zero - laying the foundations, digging the cellar (original 19c. house did not have them), replacing two-feet thick stone walls by brick walls, installing sewage and waterworks, etc. There were plenty of reusable material around, buried underground - that former German village used to have 60 houses, an aqueduct, an electric power station (plenty of white water there), a school and a post office. My first impression was that the devastation was due to war since the "graves" of former houses reminded me those in former villages in Bieszczady Mountains. No, not at all. This was a "handiwork" of the settlers. Broken window? No problem, get one from the neighboring house. The same way one would "borrow" everything, including roofing material. And the house without a roof collapses in no time. And then the settlers, still unsure of their future, moved somewhere else.
Palivec - | 380
29 Sep 2011  #11
Replaced stone walls with brick walls? Sounds more like he destroyed it?! (which wouldn't make any difference though, the villages of the Sudete mountains are mostly lost anyway. It's a sad sight today.)
boletus 30 | 1,366
29 Sep 2011  #12
Replaced stone walls with brick walls? Sounds more like he destroyed it?!

No man, this particular house had no foundation and no cellar. It was set on a slope and was exposed to elements, mostly to spring water from the melting snow. Years of such exposure made both the stone and the brick (part of the walls was made of brick) so soft you could poke your finger through or made "brick balls" out of it. The stone was, what we call, the "field stone" - containing some lime. So no, he did not destroy it - he rebuilt it and more. It is a nice house.

(which wouldn't make any difference though, the villages of the Sudete mountains are mostly lost anyway. It's a sad sight today.)It's a sad sight today

You sound like a man with an agenda. This particular village is much prettier than it has ever been.
Palivec - | 380
29 Sep 2011  #13
A village where only 3 of 60 houses survived? I highly doubt it.
No, I just often traveled there job-related (monument protection), and the lack of preserved rural architecture is absolutely shocking.
gumishu 11 | 5,012
29 Sep 2011  #14
Replaced stone walls with brick walls? Sounds more like he destroyed it?! (which wouldn't make any difference though, the villages of the Sudete mountains are mostly lost anyway. It's a sad sight today.)

living in a stone-masonry house in Poland isn't the thing you would wish for in winter Palivec

boletus - Do you mean Lasówka by some strange accident?
Palivec - | 380
29 Sep 2011  #15
living in a stone-masonry house in Poland isn't the thing you would wish for in winter Palivec

Did the climate change when Silesia passed to Poland? On the Czech side of the mountains and further west in Germany people have no problems with it... such houses are actually listed buildings there and cannot be rebuild that easily. But well, the monument protection service in Poland is a joke anyway when it comes to cases like this.
gumishu 11 | 5,012
29 Sep 2011  #16
looks like: 1) coal was cheap these days or plenty of cheap wood 2) they didn't mind wearing a couple of layers of cloth all through the day inside the house 3) they didn't mind to sleep clothed

a stone masonry wall needs to be more then 2 times thicker then a brick wall to supply equall thermic insulation I guess

btw further west into Germany the climate is different wouldn't you agree - why do you think Poles never bothered themselves with building stone houses (the technology of brick burning was not the cheapest one and very simple) - wooden houses offer much better heat insulation
boletus 30 | 1,366
29 Sep 2011  #17
A village where only 3 of 60 houses survived? I highly doubt it.
No, I just often traveled there job-related (monument protection), and the lack of preserved rural architecture is absolutely shocking.

Please just pay attention for a while and stop talking nonsense. I described the state of one of those houses. It was worth nothing, you could not preserve it as such, it was just a mud wall - one had to rebuild it. I know, I was there helping. But yet, the new owner preserved the overall look. Some beams are still there. Yes, the new village has different look, because it has become part of the "second Zakopane", so to speak, due to its excellent skiing conditions and long winter season. You might cry your eyes out as much as you want for the missing rural architecture but such is the reality. And as I said - the village is pretty in its new ways, objectively prettier than any of the three original houses - as I remember them.

My buddy's house is one of the smallest in the village and it retained some of its original look. I am attaching the picture for you to judge. Small windows on the first and the second floor are exactly as they were size-wise. The roof was raised and a small apartment at the top was added. There is also a new addition and the house serves as a small guest house with two guest apartments.

Now, pay attention to the slope shown on the right and to all that snow that have accumulated. Now imagine all that white stuff melting in Springtime. That was what I was talking about before - that wall was completely soaked through.

I was frank with everyone here describing how the village was destroyed by neglect of the first settlers from the East. So there is no need to express your shock here about lack of preserved rural architecture. The story is such as it is. C'est la vie.

Below are some tourist opinions about my buddy's place (edited to remove direct clues), just so you will have some feelings about the village.

I just came back from S. Guest house of "W" - hmm, just brilliant! Excellent conditions, freedom, accommodating hosts, also some attractions (football, hockey), comfortably. A grub is a poetry! Delicious and in such quantities that one can not eat it all. There were ten of us and everyone was delighted. I hope to go back there sometime. The XXX Mountain is a revelation. Super route, quiet, calm. Your dream vacation! Mr. W., Stargard sends you the greetings!

Four of us were there in July. The hosts were very nice and polite. Mrs. A. was likable and obliging, W. - a type of a scientist. The food was delicious. Beautiful surroundings at the foothill of XXX Mountain, not far from former Soviet uranium mine (worthy to see - the guide speaks with great passion, has a lot of knowledge). The Bear Cave - lovely, and the Museum of Earth with the only Polish dinosaur's nest with eggs. Nearby - a museum with interesting minerals.



gumishu 11 | 5,012
29 Sep 2011  #18
actually Palivec is shocked the Poles destroyed all those Hindenburg, Bismarck, Wilhelm II and Fritz der Grosse monuments on the lands they have overtaken
Palivec - | 380
29 Sep 2011  #19
And castles and palaces, parks, cemeteries, churches, entire town centers, libraries...
No, I'm shocked by the general state of the cultural heritage in the former German regions of Poland, which I know pretty well since I work in a agency which develops transboundary projects in several EU countries to promote a closer cooperation between institutions and people. It's simply my job.
gumishu 11 | 5,012
29 Sep 2011  #20
And castles

destroyed castles, palaces? which castles and palaces - or did you mean neglected? - well you know communists didn't need palaces

destroyed libraries hmm and burned the books??

churches? how many churches have you seen destroyed and in what circumstances - as far as I know most if not all churches in Wrocław for example have been rebuilt after the war time destruction (and some where even less than burnt out empty shells
Palivec - | 380
29 Sep 2011  #21
why do you think Poles never bothered themselves with building stone houses (the technology of brick burning was not the cheapest one and very simple) - wooden houses offer much better heat insulation

The answer here, in case the house is listed, is interior thermal insulation.

destroyed castles, palaces? which castles and palaces - or did you mean neglected? - well you know communists didn't need palaces

How many destroyed churches I have seen? I would guess quite a lot, since Silesian villages usually had two and not just one.
Destroyed library? Schaffgotsch library for instance. Removed from Jelenia Gora, some parts in Wroclaw, some in Warsaw.
Castles and palaces not destroyed but neglected.... where is the difference when the castle is a ruin and no one cares? Gone is gone. In Western Silesia 40%.
gumishu 11 | 5,012
29 Sep 2011  #22
are you sure it's exactly Polish culture to blame and not the communism?? - ever heard of the fate of palaces in central Poland?

two churches per village - nah - not in the areas i'm familiar with (in towns yes - and yes some protestant churches have fallen into disuse and neglect (and actual ruin) - I know one example)
PWEI 3 | 612
29 Sep 2011  #23
It's also rather depressing to see the synagogues which made it through the holocaust intact but are now falling to bits because nobody gives a fcuk.
Palivec - | 380
29 Sep 2011  #24
are you sure it's exactly Polish culture to blame and not the communism?? - ever heard of the fate of palaces in central Poland?

No, but as i said I work on transboundary projects, and one project is to develop contacts in the border triangle GER/PL/CZ. In one study the state of the castles and manors in Upper Lusatia, the eastern part is now part of Poland, was examined. Result: 40% in Poland are in such a bad condition that they cannot be saved, 70% of all are in a bad state, but can be saved. Result in Germany: 10/20. No results for Northern Bohemia though (not part of *this* study), but my feeling is something like 10/30.

two churches per village - nah - not in the areas i'm familiar with (in towns yes - and yes some protestant churches have fallen into disuse and neglect (and actual ruin) - I know one example)

Maybe you are too young? This is a nice page to find out:
wroclaw.hydral.com.pl/

you don't list half ruins of simple country houses - is it difficult to grasp?

Another study compared the state of the rural architecture in this border triangle. They have some very distinctive houses there, a mix of German half-timbered houses and Slavic blockhouses. These houses can be found in all three countries there. In Germany are 6.472 houses, 95% of them are listed. In Czechia are ~12.000, the majority is listed, but the monument protection service didn't know the exact number. In Poland are ~1.000 houses, most of them aren't listed. The monument protection service had no clue about these houses.... to put it mild.

What I want to say: the monument protection service can only be as strong as the will of the society to save the cultural heritage is. And this will differs considerably between people who always lived there and people without roots in the region. The majority of the old rural houses in Silesia aren't listed (don't know the Situation in Inner Poland), and even when they are listed the monument protection service has no power to influence the owners.
PWEI 3 | 612
29 Sep 2011  #25
Here's an example of what I meant:

Synagogue

I was there last month (passing through the town), the roof at the front has gone down a bit since this photo and at the back the roof is pretty much completely gone.
gumishu 11 | 5,012
29 Sep 2011  #26
It's also rather depressing to see the synagogues which made it through the holocaust intact but are now falling to bits because nobody gives a fcuk.

well, yes - i don't give a ... whatever about synagougues - I do about schools and hospitals
peterweg 36 | 2,316
29 Sep 2011  #27
It's also rather depressing to see the synagogues which made it through the holocaust intact but are now falling to bits because nobody gives a fcuk.

The ones around Krakow are owned by the Jewish community in Krakow. Its up to them to sell/upkeep the buildings

Here's an example in Slomniki, Poland:

Slomniki Synagogue in Poland

I can't see what use the building would be to anyone. The communists used it as for something and now its basically abandoned.

Słomniki
Małopolskie - (Malopolskie Poland)
Address: Krakowska 23
Latitude: 50 ° 14'15 .91 "N - Longitude: 20 ° 4'52 .41" E
History:
The earliest Jewish presence dates back to 1790 Słomniki but they represented at that time two homes that housed eight people. In the second half of the nineteenth century the community grew when laws restricting their installation were abolished. In the early twentieth century, they accounted for 25% of the population. They held jobs in commerce and the sale of goods for farmers. In 1921 there were just under 1,500 Jews. During the interwar period they suffered from the rise of anti-Semitism row to the economic difficulties of the post First World War. The prayer house was burnt down in 1926 and rebuilt four years later.
The Germans occupied Słomniki September 6, 1939 and set up a Judenrat to use strong workforce of 1,000 people for the war effort. The first raid came in 1942 and Jews were deported to the Belzec extermination camp. Other young people were sent to the Plaszow camp on the outskirts of Krakow. In the second "Aktion", the Jews were all gathered around to Słomniki about 10 000. 2000 were sent to the Plaszow camp, 500 elderly Jews were killed and hundreds were killed on the spot. A hundred wagons were used for the deportation to the Belzec extermination camp. In November 1942, 2,000 Jews were exterminated in the forest of Chodowsk. After the war, four Jews who had returned to Słomniki them were murdered. Other survivors left the country.
The synagogue was built in the late nineteenth century or early twentieth. She also served as a yeshiva and mikveh. During the occupation, she was devastated by the Nazis, then turned into movies after the war. It was later used as a warehouse and then as a workshop. In 1990, the foundation of the Jews of Israel did put Słomniki two plates, one in Polish and in Hebrew on the front reminiscent of the functions of the synagogue and martyr during the war.
Today the synagogue is unused since 1997 and belongs to the Jewish community in Krakow under the law of restitution of Jewish property.

Year of visit: 2008
Notes:
The synagogue is located at the entrance to the National Słomniki. It has retained its pre-war appearance. Stars of David on top of plaques remind passersby of its former function.

shabbat-goy.com/?page_id=1948
Palivec - | 380
30 Sep 2011  #28
Such houses are sometimes listed, sometimes not. The situation is absolutely chaotic. And even listed houses often get sold to the first investor. They don't have to present a concept for the building, they just have to bring the money. In many cases these investors destroy these buildings during restoration, and the monument protection service has no means to stop them.


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