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German legal discrimination against Polish speakers


mafketis 20 | 7,041
8 Jan 2010  #1
How on earth does any German government epresentative think this is remotely legal?

This isn't the only case I've heard of where German courts seek to make sure that children of Polish nationals won't learn Polish (depriving them of part of their cultural identity). This is blatant linguistic discrimination of the worst kind.

Inexcusable!

The national court in Hamburg rejected the lawsuit Polish Wojciech Pomorski parent who sued the city and the local Authority . Children and adolescents ( Jugendamt) for discrimination on grounds of nationality.

Living in Hamburg teacher- germanist demanded an apology in writing and 15,000 euros in damages for being Jugendamt in Hamburg - Bergedorfie forbade him to converse in Polish during supervised meeting with her daughters : Iwona - Polonia and Justyna ; after parting her parents were under the care of his mother, a citizen of Germany.

BrutalButcher - | 391
8 Jan 2010  #2
I wish they did the same with Arabic and Turkish immigrants. Oh wait, that's racism...

You can only be racist towards poor people coming from creepy countries in the middle east. Racism against Poles isn't racism in Germany.
MareGaea 29 | 2,752
8 Jan 2010  #3
They are living in Germany, so first and foremost they should learn German. After that they can learn Polish, but they have to understand that they are living in Germany, not in Poland anymore. So in a way I can understand if Germany doesn't want the Poles to learn Polish first and after that maybe some German. You will get the same kinda situation as here in Ireland, where there are Poles living here for over 5 years and who are STILL not capable of speaking a decent word of English. I think that's ridiculous. If this is due to too big a focus on Polish, then I say, no Polish. You're living somewhere else. Force them to learn the language of the country they're in. Their mother tongue can be spoken at home or with friends or sth.

>^..^<

M-G (is in favour of forced language education)
BrutalButcher - | 391
8 Jan 2010  #4
You are right, but my comment was directed towards the hypocrisy of those laws. Poles are the only immigrants that can be criticized. Germans wouldn't dare to apply such a law on Turkish people.
Torq 26 | 2,363
8 Jan 2010  #5
@MareGea:

Did you even read the article?

It is about Wojciech Pomorski - a German language teacher from Hamburg.
His daughters are currently living with their mother (a German citizen) and the Jugendamt
in Hamburg-Bergedorf has forbidden their father to speak Polish to his daughters during
their controlled meetings.

It's not about education or linguistic integration of immigrants. It's about a father
who can not say a word in Polish to his own daughters, for Christ's sake!

That's discrimination of the highest order and someone should finally put those
dodgy nazi-like jugendamts in their place.

Oh, and Butch is right - if it happened to an Arab, Turk or Nigerian, half of Europe
would scream RACISM!
convex 20 | 3,978
8 Jan 2010  #6
during
their controlled meetings

What happened for him to require controlled meetings? It's kind of hard to have a controlled meeting when you can't control it. Maybe it would be a better idea to look at why there are controlled meetings in the first place. I know a Polish guy here who's kids live in Germany with the mother and they come over often for visits, what's different in this case?
Harry
8 Jan 2010  #7
His daughters are currently living with their mother (a German citizen) and the Jugendamt in Hamburg-Bergedorf has forbidden their father to speak Polish to his daughters during their controlled meetings.

You can kind of see their point. One of the reasons for supervised visits is that the visits are supervised and they can not be supervised if the supervisor can not understand what the parent is saying to the child!

I'd be interested to hear what the Polish authorities would do in the case of an Welsh man who had been ordered to have only supervised visits with his Polish ex-wife. Would they even permit the use of a sworn interpreter if that man insisted on speaking Welsh to his children? I'm 100% sure that they wouldn't cover the cost of such an interpreter.
Torq 26 | 2,363
8 Jan 2010  #8
What happened for him to require controlled meetings?

I don't know that, but it's not so unusual to have controlled meetings with kids.
For example, if the mother is still bearing grudge against Pomorski after their
split up - all she had to do was to report that she has suspicions that the father
might try to kidnap the kids and the meetings would have to be controlled by
the jugendamt clerk.

It's kind of hard to have a controlled meeting when you can't control it.

That's not the father's problem if Jugendamt in Hamburg doesn't have Polish
speaking workers (although, according to Pomorski, they do) or can't hire an
interpreter.

@Harry:

Jugendamt in Hamburg DOES employ workers who speak Polish
so it's not a question of availability of Polish speaking worker or hiring
an interpreter. It's a question of discrimination and lack of goodwill.

Your example of Welsh-speaking parent is not very accurate. There are
more Polish speakers in Germany (some of them working in German state
offices and jugendamts) than Welsh speakers in Wales :)
convex 20 | 3,978
8 Jan 2010  #9
That's not the father's problem if Jugendamt in Hamburg doesn't have Polish
speaking workers or can't hire an interpreter.

It became his problem the moment the moment that he decided to take up residence and marry and live in a country in which German is the official language.

lack of goodwill

Lack of goodwill like someone who speaks German not speaking it because he wants to get recognition for a pet cause of his?
Harry
8 Jan 2010  #10
I don't know that, but it's not so unusual to have controlled meetings with kids.

I can tell you for an absolute fact that in such a situation the meetings would not be supervised. A good friend of mine (she's German) had to put up with a year and a half of her ex-husband breaking their custody agreement (basically taking their daughter whenever he wanted to) and the German court refused to order supervised visits.

And what would a Polish court do about a Welshman who insisted on speaking Welsh to his kids during supervised visits?
When I complete my tax returns, I have to complete them in Polish. If I tried to do it in English, I'd have all of my statements ignored and would most probably lose all deductions and be fined for underpaying my tax. Even though the tax office does employ staff who speak English. Do you hear me screaming about discrimination and lack of goodwill?
Torq 26 | 2,363
8 Jan 2010  #11
@convex:

Don't get me wrong, I have hardly any sympathy for the man: he's a volksdeutch,
who has German citizenship and lives in Germany since 1989. Out of all countries
he could choose to emmigrate, he chose Germany, has been living there for over
20 years now, married a German woman and has kids with her, so he pretty much
deserves everything he gets. If he was so worried about his kids' Polish heritage
he might have thought about all that before he joined the dark side ;)

However, on the other hand, the girls used to speak Polish with their father,
their mother also learnt that language (so even she would be able to act as
an interpreter during the meetings) and the whole family, on occassions, spoke
Polish at home.
After the divorce, girls' mother stopped speaking Polish to them at all so,
consequently, they forgot that language. Their father didn't like that, and
being their father had full right to have a say in his daughters heritage and
upbringing.

We are dealing with a situation where a woman is having a revenge on her
ex-husband (against whom, she obviously still bears some kind of grudge)
and German jugendamt authorities are aiding her in her personal revenge
of depriving her children of their father's national heritage.

And what would a Polish court do about a Welshman who insisted on speaking Welsh to his kids during supervised visits?

If the mother (present during the visit) spoke Welsh too (just as Pomorski's wife
speaks Polish and is present during the visits) - I don't see why it should be a problem
at all.
MareGaea 29 | 2,752
8 Jan 2010  #12
If the meetings are controlled, there is probably sth else going on as well, sth far beyond the reach of language-education. Maybe the mother deems it traumatic for her daughters to hear Polish again? Maybe he mistreated them severely and does the speaking of Polish remind them of this?

And no, I cannot read Polish, so I didn't read the article. However, if the contents is what you say it is, then the description of the TS is giving a wrong impression, the impression that the teaching of Polish is not allowed in Germany. Which I don't think it is.

>^..^<

M-G (maybe it's just a symptom?)
Harry
8 Jan 2010  #13
If the mother (present during the visit) spoke Welsh too (just as Pomorski's wife
speaks Polish and is present during the visits) - I don't see why it should be a problem
at all.

You appear to have entirely missed the point of supervised visits: it is so they can be supervised by an uninvolved profession who is completely neutral and who can make objective recommendations to the court as to future custody rights. That is not something which they can do if they can not follow the conversation between parent and child.

I notice that you have nothing to say about me not being able to submit my tax returns in English in Poland despite the tax office employing workers who speak English. I assume that you consider this 'discrimination and lack of good will' (to use your phrase, it is not one which I would use for this state of affairs) to be entirely acceptable.
Torq 26 | 2,363
8 Jan 2010  #14
Maybe the mother deems it traumatic for her daughters to hear Polish again? Maybe he mistreated them severely and does the speaking of Polish remind them of this?

Pure speculation, but I'm quite sure that if that was the case, the Jugendamt
in Hamburg would use it right away in their defence (instead of that they claimed
that they don't have Polish speaking employees, which later turned out to be not true).

You appear to have entirely missed the point of supervised visits: it is so they can be supervised by an uninvolved profession who is completely neutral and who can make objective recommendations to the court as to future custody rights.

If that was the point then I guess the jugendamt should simply send one of
their Polish speaking workers to supervise the visits.

I notice that you have nothing to say about me not being able to submit my tax returns in English in Poland despite the tax office employing workers who speak English. I assume that you consider this 'discrimination and lack of good will' (to use your phrase, it is not one which I would use for this state of affairs) to be entirely acceptable.

Oh, come on - where do you see the analogy between filling out a tax return form
in Polish and depriving man's kids of part of their heritage?
Harry
8 Jan 2010  #15
And the tax office should have my forms processed by one of their English speaking workers and only have those workers write to me (in English).

Oh, come on - where do you see the analogy between filling out a tax return form in Polish and depriving man's kids of part of their heritage?

How is it depriving them of anything to insist that until daddy has proved he is safe to have them unsupervised that he speaks to them in the legal language of the nation which he chooses to live in?

When one decides to live in a foreign land, one loses certain rights. Poland expects foreigners to just deal with that fact. Why can't Poles just deal with the fact that they get what they give?
MareGaea 29 | 2,752
8 Jan 2010  #16
Pure speculation

That's why I said "maybe" :)

But seriously: if it's controlled meetings, there must be sth more going on. At least where I come from, you don't get controlled meetings if not for a very good reason.

>^..^<

M-G (tiens)
OP mafketis 20 | 7,041
8 Jan 2010  #17
Unless there are credible accusations (that can be made public and/or verified) there is _no_ reason for the state to be monitoring visits with his own children. Period.

And the state has no business decreeing what language parents can speak to their own children in. Period.
Harry
8 Jan 2010  #18
Unless there are credible accusations (that can be made public and/or verified) there is _no_ reason for the state to be monitoring visits with his own children. Period.

And that is pretty much what German law says. Although they don't go with the 'making public' bit because they've thought things through a bit more than you.

And the state has no business decreeing what language parents can speak to their own children in. Period.

The state needs to protect those that can not protect themselves: in this case that is the children. Until Daddy can prove that he is fit to have unsupervised visits, he speaks to them in the language that the court appointed supervisor understands or he doesn't speak at all.
Torq 26 | 2,363
8 Jan 2010  #19
And the tax office should have my forms processed by one of their English speaking workers and only have those workers write to me (in English).

Actually, when I think about it, I come to the conclusion that the tax office (and all other
government offices in Poland) should allow speakers of major world languages to fill
out their forms in their native language. At least they would be forced to employ
people intelligent enough to learn a couple of foreign languages and there would
be fewer halfwits, who only get the job because of their connections :)

Why can't Poles just deal with the fact that they get what they give?

We don't get what we give really (compare the rights of German minority in Poland
and Polish minority in Germany, or Lithuanian minority in Poland and Poles in Lithuania
who can't even have their names spelt in Polish).

Poland, as usual throughout history, gives much more than she gets and her honour,
chivalry and goodwill very rarely get enough recognition... but we already had this
conversation, didn't we Harry?
OP mafketis 20 | 7,041
8 Jan 2010  #20
The state needs to protect those that can not protect themselves: in this case that is the children. Until Daddy can prove that he is fit to have unsupervised visits, he speaks to them in the language that the court appointed supervisor understands or he doesn't speak at all.

JAWOHL!!!!!

If the state feels the need to intrude on parent/child conversations, then it's the state's responsibility to find translators to help them in their snooping.
Harry
8 Jan 2010  #21
compare the rights of German minority in Poland and Polish minority in Germany, or Lithuanian minority in Poland and Poles in Lithuania who can't even have their names spelt in Polish).

Lithuanians who hold Polish passports can not give their children Lithuanian names (unless that name is on the list approved by the Polish government).

If the state feels the need to intrude on parent/child conversations, then it's the state's responsibility to find translators to help them in their snooping.

If he didn't want to have his conversations with his children listened to, he shouldn't have done whatever he did to be limited to only supervised visits. It is not snooping: it is child protection.
Torq 26 | 2,363
8 Jan 2010  #22
Lithuanians who hold Polish passports can not give their children Lithuanian names (unless that name is on the list approved by the Polish government).

Not true - the only limitation that Polish law puts on foreign names is that they
cannot be given to a child who is born Polish if that name has Polish equivalent
(like Karl - Karol, John - Jan etc. etc.)

However, if parents are foreigners - they CAN give their kid a name from their
native language (even if there is a Polish equivalent).

Możliwe jest nadawanie imion pochodzących z języków obcych o ile nie mają odpowiednika w języku polskim. Nie jest możliwe jednak stosowanie zagranicznej pisowni, np. Max lub Karl.

Gdy rodzicami są cudzoziemcy mogą nadać dziecku również imię w formie występującej w ich języku ojczystym, nawet jeśli ma ono polski odpowiednik.

becikowe.com/,usc:jakie-imie

If parents are members of an ethnic minority in Poland (Lithuanian for example)
then the law states very clearly that they have full right to use the spelling of
their names and surnames according to that of their native languages.

Art. 7.
1. Osoby należące do mniejszości mają prawo do używania i pisowni swoich imion
i nazwisk zgodnie z zasadami pisowni języka mniejszości, w szczególności do
rejestracji w aktach stanu cywilnego i dokumentach tożsamości.

bezuprzedzen.org/prawo/art.php?art=141
Harry
8 Jan 2010  #23
In other words, foreign names can not be used.

However, if parents are foreigners - they CAN give their kid a name from their
native language (even if there is a Polish equivalent).

You are completely wrong there. Have a google for the American businessman I used to know who was told that he couldn't call his daughter Lauren because it doesn't end in an 'a'. He took his family out of Poland, closed his company here and moved his business to the Czech republic. 27 of his former workers gave "My boss wasn't allowed to call his daughter Lauren" as the official reason why they lost their job when completing forms for unemployment benefit.
Torq 26 | 2,363
8 Jan 2010  #24
In other words, foreign names can not be used.

Foreign names that have Polish equivalent , and it only applies
to Polish children of Polish parents.

You are completely wrong there.

No, I'm not.

The law states clearly that if parents are foreigners they can give their kid
a name from their native language (even if there is a Polish equivalent).

Gdy rodzicami są cudzoziemcy mogą nadać dziecku również imię w formie
występującej w ich języku ojczystym, nawet jeśli ma ono polski odpowiednik.

Podstawa prawna:

1. Ustawa z dnia 29 września 1986 r. - prawo o aktach stanu cywilnego (tekst jednolity: Dz.U. z 2004 r. Nr 161, poz. 1688).
2. Ustawa z dnia 25 lutego 1964 r. - Kodeks rodzinny i opiekuńczy (Dz.U. Nr 9, poz. 59 z późn. zm.).
3. Ustawa z dnia 19 czerwca 1960 r. - Kodeks postępowania administracyjnego (tekst jednolity: Dz. U. 2000 r. Nr 98 poz. 1071)

The case that you described is probably another example of stupidity of some clerk.
1jola 14 | 1,879
8 Jan 2010  #25
And the state has no business decreeing what language parents can speak to their own children in. Period.

Absolutely. He guy should refuse to speak in German, and take this up the chain to Strassbourg. He would win.

Supervised visits are not there to control the content of the conversation. It is not prison. But if someone thinks they are, then does he get a list of approved topics, the monitor can stop the visit if she "feels" it's not going according to the prescribed, official, script?

OK, before Harry jumps in, are the social workers not trainned to observe the behavior of the kids during such visits and can they not tell if the kids are adversly affected by the conversation? They should not be even listening in, but be present at a distance.

For those of you who think, there must be a valid reason for all this, just wait till a nut case wife accusses you of sexual molestation of a child or some other sick lie. Most of these cases are revenge.
MareGaea 29 | 2,752
8 Jan 2010  #26
Polish children of Polish parents.

So if I'm Polish and I have kids, I cannot name my boy "Peter" because the Polish equivalent is Piotr? What if I don't like the name Piotr and want to call my son Peter? Do I get a fine for disobeying the law or do I go to prison or sth? What happens? Who can force me to give my kids a name that I choose myself?

Edit: NB, I do admit that some foreign names sound a bit odd as in NL you're allowed to give your kid any name you like as long as it's a person's name (example: the only guy that was refused in city hall when wanting to enter his daughter's name in the census was the guy who wanted to call his daughter "Deurknopje", which means "Doorhandle") and "Agnieszka de Vries" does sound a bit weird, I agree, but I still think everybody should be free to pick a name for his children as long as it's an existing, person's name.

>^..^<

M-G (wondering)
TheOther 5 | 3,643
8 Jan 2010  #27
...and depriving man's kids of part of their heritage

Correct me if I'm wrong (I can't read the article): it sounds as if the father is riding the "political correctness and racism wave" here just to press the authorities and his ex. All this talk about "depriving the kids of their heritage" is somewhat over the top in my eyes. Maybe the kids don't even want this heritage, or they are so young that they don't understand what that actually means?
1jola 14 | 1,879
8 Jan 2010  #28
I still think everybody should be free to pick a name for his children as long as it's an existing, person's name.

This is not America. Many European countries have similar rules. Joop is a real name to you, but not to us.

Other,

Would you like to be told what language you must speak to your kids?
MareGaea 29 | 2,752
8 Jan 2010  #29
Joop is areal name

But how about Peter, is that not a real name to the Polish?

In NL it doesn't matter that much as long as, as I've said, it's a person's name, so not the name of a thing.

But it can lead to funny situations, for example, a friend of mine, her name was Joke (from Johanna - Jo, "ke" behind it makes it smaller, Joke means in Dutch therefore sth like "little Jo") had some trouble with her English penpal, troubles only got bigger when Joke was talking about her sister "Door" (from Dorotha - generally it's Doortje, "little Dora"). The exchange lasted perhaps two letters, then the English penpal didn't answer anymore.

:)

>^..^<

M-G (true story)
TheOther 5 | 3,643
8 Jan 2010  #30
Would you like to be told what language you must speak

Well, I've seen signs on shop fronts here which said "In this country we speak English"...

I don't know the background of the whole story, but I cannot imagine that the Jugendamt simply told the father to shut the f*ck up and speak German to his kids. If that really happened, then there must be something else behind it. As I said before: I believe that both parents are having a fight at the expense of their children, and the father is trying to succeed by pulling the racism card.


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