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Old July 15th, 2015, 05:04 AM   #1901
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If I was given a choice between totalitarian Russian Soviet occupied communist Poland versus western Germany, I might compromise my identity just so my children would live better and free. The post war situation was very grim in Poland, shortages, ruins, food lines, persecution...Poles are leaving Poland now for very much the same reasons but now its more of a revolving door and many do come back while a new group goes out exploring the lands of milk and honey.

More and more people in Germany are becoming curious about their roots, I met such people in Krakow recently. Love the sound of Polish spoken with a German accent
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Old July 15th, 2015, 10:52 AM   #1902
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Former Protestant church in Stare Juchy/Alt Jucha, Masuria (now sadly converted to Roman Catholic)




Foundation plaque from 1776 (before and after "restoration" at the beginning of the 20th century; original plaque in Polish)


Memorial plaque


Masurian house




WW1 memorials


Gustav Grzegorzewski from Sawadden/Zawady - a proper Masurian/Polish tongue twister last name.
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Old July 15th, 2015, 02:09 PM   #1903
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Renovation of presbytery in Reszel/Rößel, Warmia


Ongoing renovation works...







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Old July 15th, 2015, 07:36 PM   #1904
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With "the end" I meant the end of an actual East Prussia as an entity. 1945 obviously was a huge cut. Maybe the most striking one this land has seen since the the teutonic orders conquest.
I agree. My point is that presence of Masurians in this area lasted a little bit longer than up to the Huge Cut and 1945-48 (within this 3-year period the "exchange of population" was basically completed). In some cases it took the whole generation longer. That is the difference between Masurians and Germans who were simply expelled or not allowed to return after the flee.

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Thats actually not fair. Many Germans wanted to stay and some of the ones who fled naturally returned to their homes shortly after the fighting ended, especially in Pomerania and Silesia. In East Prussia this was of course much harder because of the distance. Anyway, I believe that many, maybe not a vast majority but still a lot of Germans would had decided to stay there too, if they were led to. At least for the first decades. But it wasn't even a question if people classified by the Poles as Germans would be allowed to stay. So you can't say they chose patriotism over their Heimat more easily than Masurians. Because there was no choice.
To some degree you are right, but the willingness to stay vanished quickly, when Germans realised that there is little chance for restoring Germany in these areas. They certainly wouldn't be happy to leave, but lots of them would kiss Poland goodbye anyway.

You can compare it with situations of Germans after Versailles, when nobody harassed them and nobody forced them to go, and yet, within 5 years, over 75% of them left Poland. For many reasons.

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The thing is, when I hear such a name in a combination with a common german pre name, my first reaction is Berlin or Ruhrgebiet, not Poland.
You tell me. It's hard to find any place in our planet, where you don't find some Poles or at least people who can be perceived as being such (Russians, Jews, Germans). Actually, it's getting annoying

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More and more people in Germany are becoming curious about their roots, I met such people in Krakow recently.
In Kraków, you say? "Soczewica, koło, miele młyn"
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Old July 16th, 2015, 10:53 PM   #1905
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The thing is, when I hear such a name in a combination with a common german pre name, my first reaction is Berlin or Ruhrgebiet, not Poland.
In many cases, depending on how it's pronounced and without seeing the name in print, "ski" could actually be "ske". Many Germans in the US had or changed their name spelling to "ske" so as not to be confused as polish. In English both suffixes sound the same.
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Old July 16th, 2015, 11:00 PM   #1906
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To some degree you are right, but the willingness to stay vanished quickly, when Germans realised that there is little chance for restoring Germany in these areas. They certainly wouldn't be happy to leave, but lots of them would kiss Poland goodbye anyway.

You can compare it with situations of Germans after Versailles, when nobody harassed them and nobody forced them to go, and yet, within 5 years, over 75% of them left Poland. For many reasons.
The situation in 1945 is absolutely not comparable to post WWI. After WWII, the ethnic German population was indeed forced, without choice, to abandon their homes and native lands and send on what were essentially death marches westward to end up within the newly created borders of Germany. They were harassed horribly, starved, died of disease, and in some cases lines of the refugees were strafed by soviet fighter planes. At this point, they left for one reason--Potsdam treaty.
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Old July 16th, 2015, 11:14 PM   #1907
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The situation in 1945 is absolutely not comparable to post WWI. After WWII, the ethnic German population was indeed forced, without choice, to abandon their homes and native lands and send on what were essentially death marches westward to end up within the newly created borders of Germany.
Well, in case you haven't understood plain English, the discussion is what WOULD happen in completely unrealistic scenario without all these atrocities.

Suppose, that transfer of these lands to Poland would be made in calm and civilised matter, just like in 1919-20.

In 1919-20 (and soon afterwards) lots of German left their homes anyway, although they weren't harassed or forced to leave. And still they didn't want to be the citizens of Poland.

Also it seems you mistake death marches of prisoners of Nazi concentration camps (or not-much-better evacuation flight of German civil population in harsh winter of Jan-Feb 1945 ordered suddenly by Nazis after being DELAYED before by them on purpose), with expulsion of remaining Germans from Central Europe. It wasn't particularly nice, nor humanitarian, but apparently you are not aware that even it these backward areas of Europe the railways existed at that time

Well, that's how it was done. Railway transports.

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They were harassed horribly, starved, died of disease, and in some cases lines of the refugees were strafed by soviet fighter planes. At this point, they left for one reason--Potsdam treaty.
We are all aware that Nazi Germany didn't care much about their own citizens, leaving them behind to deal with vengeful Red Army, you don't have to show off in this thread. Especially when you don't have much to show off with. Nearly half of Germans fled from the East long before Potsdam Agreement. It probably had something to do with fear of Germans of being brought to "people's justice" (in USA it's called linch) and with fully understandable reluctance of German women to be gang-raped by the brave soldiers of the Red Army.

Even so, it's quite interesting, that so called "autochtons", the Slavic indigenous population of the areas in the German-Polish borderland were - statistically speaking - more keen to remain in their Heimat than their German neighbours.
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Old July 17th, 2015, 11:59 AM   #1908
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"Nasz Informator" (published in Szczytno/Ortelsburg, Masuria)



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Diocesan Choral Festival in Szczytno/Ortelsburg, Masuria (04/06/2015)





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Old July 19th, 2015, 10:04 AM   #1909
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Corpus Christi procession in Olsztyn/Allenstein, Warmia (04/06/2015)











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Museum of Warmia and Masuria in Olsztyn/Allenstein

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Old July 19th, 2015, 10:45 AM   #1910
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Arno Surminski in Węgorzewo/Angerburg (03/06/2015)





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House of Horst Michalowski in Zełwągi/Zellbongen where he wrote "Die Silberstraße. Ein Masurenleben" (Horst Michalowski moved from Poland to Germany in 1968)
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Old July 19th, 2015, 10:55 PM   #1911
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Chapel near City Hospital in Olsztyn/Allenstein, Warmia



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Saint John the Baptist church (consecrated by Ignacy Krasicki in 1790) in Tłokowo/Lokau, Warmia





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Plaques to commemorate redevelopment of Saint Matthias church in Bisztynek/Bischofstein (Warmia) by Krzysztof Andrzej Jan Szembek in 1740 and consecration by Adam Stanisław Grabowski in 1748



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Franciszek Kwas’ Old Warmian House in Skajboty/Skaibotten (where he wrote "Wspomnienia z mojego życia") is now for sale



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Old July 20th, 2015, 06:45 PM   #1912
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In addition to the post #1303...

Klebark Wielki/Groß Kleeberg, Warmia














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Old July 20th, 2015, 07:30 PM   #1913
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Between 1790 and 1890 Germanisation made huge progress there, according to Partsch.
Which can be explained by a variety of reasons. I'd start with public education that was only available in German (please keep in mind we're talking about the 18th and 19th century here, Europe didn't recognized minority rights until after the WW1). Also, the Industrial Revolution played a role here. Hundreds of thousands moved from the Polish speaking farmland to the German dominated cities. Not to mention that being ethnically German was somehow in fashion. A national identity was being formed and people wanted to be a part of it. And last but not least, the Prussian/German government treated you differently if you were German. In other words, being Polish in the 19th century Prussian Silesia offered no advantage and could get you in trouble while becoming German offered you a chance at a better life. That's why minorities all across Europe merged into the majority of their respectful societies.
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Old July 20th, 2015, 08:35 PM   #1914
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Which can be explained by a variety of reasons. I'd start with public education that was only available in German (please keep in mind we're talking about the 18th and 19th century here, Europe didn't recognized minority rights until after the WW1). Also, the Industrial Revolution played a role here. Hundreds of thousands moved from the Polish speaking farmland to the German dominated cities. Not to mention that being ethnically German was somehow in fashion. A national identity was being formed and people wanted to be a part of it. And last but not least, the Prussian/German government treated you differently if you were German. In other words, being Polish in the 19th century Prussian Silesia offered no advantage and could get you in trouble while becoming German offered you a chance at a better life. That's why minorities all across Europe merged into the majority of their respectful societies.
Not to mention, the commonality of religion. Lutheranism was strong among the rural population in Masuria, compared to Catholicism in Poland, which made the cultural connection through religion all the more easy.
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Old July 21st, 2015, 02:56 AM   #1915
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And almost all of them chose for the german side in the end as they went with their "real" german neighbors and left now polish East Prussia after 1945.
Most of them left still german at that time East Prussia already before and during 1945, when the Soviets were coming. I don't have data specifically for Masuria, but when it comes to East Prussia as a whole, according to one estimate about 13% of its population perished in the last phase of WW2 (late 1944 and first months of 1945), and about 57% were evacuated or escaped westward. So that in May 1945, after the end of the East Prussian Offensive, less than 30% of the population remained in their places of residence:

See chapter 8. here: http://www.igipz.pan.pl/en/zpz/Political_migrations.pdf

http://rcin.org.pl/Content/15652/WA5...Monografie.pdf

An excerpt from chapter 8. from the first link:



Let's add, that percent of those who stayed in East Prussia was lower than to the wets. Possibly just 20%.

On 17.05.1939 entire East Prussia had 2,119,879 inhabitants, of them 396,739 people lived in the region of Masuria, including 359,493 Protestants (90,61%) and 27,614 Roman Catholics (6,96%). That included both Polish-speakers and German-speakers. Most of that population fled from the Red Army or were evacuated by Nazi Germany's authorities already before the end of wartime operations, so that only 20% up to 30% stayed as of May 1945.

Polish administration took over the area from the Soviets in mid-1945, probably in June (IIRC).

Those of the locals who didn't apply for Polish citizenship and/or were judged to be nationally German, were deported/expelled to Germany, while those who applied for Polish citizenship and/or were positively verified as Poles, were allowed to stay. As of 4 November 1948 there were 60,675 Protestants in that area (compared to 359,493 on 17 May 1939) and as of year 1950, there were 68,500 Protestants there - source in the link below:

http://sgph.geo.uni.lodz.pl/wp-conte...Kasprzycki.pdf

And here you can also see the regional breakdown:

In the former Free City Danzig/Gdansk those who stayed were of course Catholic, not Protestant; the city had a sizeable Catholic and Polish population before WW2 - certainly larger than according to official German censuses; in 1920 parliamentary elections Polish nationalists (Polnische Partei) got 6,1% of the votes in Danzig, compared to 28,2% of the votes for German nationalists (Deutschnationale Partei) - quite a surprising result in a city which according to German official claims was in 1923 only 3,3% Polish-speaking (in reality the percent of Poles in FCD was closer to 15% - 20%, though):

1920 election results: http://www.gonschior.de/weimar/Danzig/LT1.html



Data from the article by Emil Kasprzycki linked above, including Table 7. from page 198, shows that the decline of Protestants in Masuria in the following years (after 1950) was not only due to emigration to Germany, but also due to conversions to Catholicism and intermarriage with Catholic Poles.

According to Table 7., which presents a statistical sample of data on marriages from several communes in period 1949-1966, shows that out of 899 marriages in which Protestant Masurians (autochthons) were nupturients/spouses in those several communes during that period, in 667 cases those were marriages between two Protestant autochthons (ludność rodzima), and in 232 cases (or 26% of the sample) those were marriages between Protestant Masurians and Catholic Poles who settled there after WW2 (ludność napływowa). Moreover, in those 232 cases of mixed (mieszane) marriages, only in 17 cases Catholic spouse converted to Protestantism, while in 215 cases Masurians converted to Catholicism. So as you can see conversions and intermarriage also played role in the shrinking process of the Evangelical Masurian community, not just emigration to West Germany.

As for their emigration to West Germany - that was not just a choice between Poland and Germany, but also - if not first and foremost - the choice between Communism and Democracy/Capitalism.

There was, unfortunately, no West Poland free from Communism, where Poles who despised Communism could emigrate. East Germans could always jump above the Berlin Wall or cross the border (if they were lucky enough not to get shot*), while Poles couldn't.

*https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schießbefehl

Despite conversions to Catholicism, intermarriages with Catholics, and emigration to West Germany, a traditional Protestant community still exists in Masuria today, it numbers about 8,500 people (compared to 68,500 in 1950), plus about 2,500 more Protestants of non-traditional denominations (I don't think that these 2,500 are descended from Masurians, though, becasue these are different types of denominations):

http://www.historycy.org/index.php?s...post&p=1405150

=======================================

Catholic Warmiaks is yet another story - much more of them stayed, and a much smaller percent emigrated to Germany. But of course Warmiaks - like German-speaking Prussians and Masurians - had also suffered during the advance of the Red Army in late 1944/1945, and the subsequent flight and evacuation until April 1945. Just read Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's poem "Prussian Nights", which Solzhenitsyn described the fightings in Polish-inhabited areas of Warmia/Ermland around Olsztyn (Allenstein).

Below is an English translation of Solzhenitsyn's "Prussian Nights":

Olsztyn has just been taken.
An hour ago, a sudden strike
Of tanks and cavalry overwhelmed it...
Now the night flares. Burning sugar.
It flames with violet-coloured fire
Over the earth. It seems to simmer,
A trmbling blaze, a lilac shimmer...
Knocks. Rings. A tumult. Then we hear
A moment later, the cry of a girl,
Somewhere from behind a wall,
"I'm not German. I'm not a German.
No. I'm Polish, I'm a Pole!"
Grabbing what comes handy, those
Like-minded lads get in and start-
And oh, what heart
Could well oppose?


Here is a map of the traditional borders of the region of Warmia / Ermland (black lines) within the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth before 1772. Malborskie voivodeship - the region to the north-west of Warmia, which included the city of Elbląg (Elbing), also belonged to the PLC. Big round dots show churches which existed in Warmia and this small part of Malborskie which is shown by the map, around year 1770. Red dots show Roman Catholic churches, blue dots show Lutheran churches. All of this is superimposed on a modern map:

Larger map version: http://s12.postimg.org/4xe3rv64b/Warmia_Ermland.png





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Old July 21st, 2015, 03:44 AM   #1916
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With name ending in "-ski" it's hard not to be mistaken for Pole or, worse yet, for Russian
What's the problem ??? - they could always change their surnames:

http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtop...2cf6e69f4abd8b

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Chrzonszcz, Günter - 23 kills (Stug.Abt.277)

last rank : Leutnant ; changed his surname to Carsten after the war
Here also some examples of surname changes by Polish immigrants:

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Old July 21st, 2015, 04:47 PM   #1917
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Here I posted some surnames of Baltic Prussian origin:

http://www.historycy.org/index.php?s...post&p=1411535

"Surnames of inhabitants of the Lidzbark District (1500-1772)", in English:

http://www.uwm.edu.pl/human/duch/komornictwoang.pdf

Etymological explanation for each surname is also given:

http://www.historycy.org/index.php?s...post&p=1412000

For example, etymology of Prussian [West Baltic] surname Damreis:

"Damreis – with metathesis er > re from the Prussian personal name *Damerĭs, this name formed with the suffix -er T p. 177 from Damme T p. 22"

===================================

And here is a list of 38 Yotvingian [West Baltic] names recorded in Medieval sources:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yotvingians

http://postimg.org/image/tenyvegmx/


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Old July 21st, 2015, 05:28 PM   #1918
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A commemorative plaque to born in Brzozowo/Brosowen Masurian Kurt Obitz, author of "Dzieje ludu mazurskiego"/"Geschichte das Masurichen Volkes", was unveiled by Ewa Blanc-Obitz in Działdowo (27/06/2015)



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Old July 22nd, 2015, 01:56 AM   #1919
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Most of them left still german at that time East Prussia already before and during 1945, when the Soviets were coming. I don't have data specifically for Masuria, but when it comes to East Prussia as a whole, according to one estimate about 13% of its population perished in the last phase of WW2 (late 1944 and first months of 1945), and about 57% were evacuated or escaped westward. So that in May 1945, after the end of the East Prussian Offensive, less than 30% of the population remained in their places of residence:

Let's add, that percent of those who stayed in East Prussia was lower than to the wets. Possibly just 20%.

On 17.05.1939 entire East Prussia had 2,119,879 inhabitants, of them 396,739 people lived in the region of Masuria, including 359,493 Protestants (90,61%) and 27,614 Roman Catholics (6,96%). That included both Polish-speakers and German-speakers. Most of that population fled from the Red Army or were evacuated by Nazi Germany's authorities already before the end of wartime operations, so that only 20% up to 30% stayed as of May 1945.
What's the point in "assuming" if there are registries? Also, what's the point in counting statistics from the whole East Prussia, if it Northern part was neither settled by Polish-speaking people, nor ever was under Polish administration?

In September 1945 in Warmia and Mazury there was approximately 30 thousand local Warmiacy and Mazurzy. But that number grew quickly, because people, who fled in early 1945, were coming back. Maximum of local population of 124 thousand (approx. 75 thousand in Masuria, 50 thousand in Warmia) was achieved in 1947, since then it was falling.

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Polish administration took over the area from the Soviets in mid-1945, probably in June (IIRC).
Most of this "taking over" was purely formal. The real power stayed within Red Army local military commanders. The real authority in the backwatertown were thugs and criminals, mostly Soviet "marauders" and vengeful population from northern Masovia and Podlasie. The more-or-less law and order reigned in the area approx. since 1946-47.

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Originally Posted by Domen123 View Post
Data from the article by Emil Kasprzycki linked above, including Table 7. from page 198, shows that the decline of Protestants in Masuria in the following years (after 1950) was not only due to emigration to Germany, but also due to conversions to Catholicism and intermarriage with Catholic Poles.
Very good point. Still, the number of migration to Germany are confirming the thesis of nearly complete extintion of the ethnographic groups of Warmiaks and Mazurians by moving out:
1956-59: 38,4 thousand
1960-70: 20 thousand
1971-86: 50 thousand

So far the people qualifying themselves as Mazurians or Warmiaks make - according to different estimations 10-20 thousand, approx. 3% of the area they are inhabiting.

The same way you can say that Indians didn't perished in the USA. No, technically speaking they didn't. Some of them even can leave their "reservations" To some degree it's apparently even fashionable to have some "Native American" roots.

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As for their emigration to West Germany - that was not just a choice between Poland and Germany, but also - if not first and foremost - the choice between Communism and Democracy/Capitalism.
The problem is that among these nearly 110 thousand of autochtons, nearly 10 thousand moved to East Germany, where Communism was much more serious than in Poland.

And the problem is that theory Communist vs. Capitalist doesn't explain two facts. First one: nearly complete extintion of Masurians in Działdowo Country - the only part of Masuria granted to Poland after Versailles. Out of 18 thousand of Masurians (as of 1920) only 6 thousand left in 1931, the rest of them decided to move to Germany. Of these, who stayed, most started to speak German, join German organisations and claim German as their native language (census of 1931).

The first pro-Polish organizations of Masurians ("Związek Mazurów") was created in 1935. Well, marvellous

Note for the sake of non-Polish participants of the thread: Poland 1918-39 wasn't a Communist country.

The second fact is in after-war Masuria happened such things as public ostentacyjny usage of German language (pretty much to the same degree they spoke Polish before the war), reading German books or making informal private classes of German language (OMG, that sounds nearly like tajne komplety)

Also German radio programmes were most popular. Interesting.

And it all happened in the region, where Communist authorities pumped lots of money in and, speaking objectively, promoted upward social mobility (better known in Poland as "awans społeczny"). And where Communist terror was relatively weak, no underground activity, no village pacifications, no open war (as in some areas of "Old" Poland).

And yet, every time the system went towards liberalisation, the queues for passports emerged among Masurians.

I'm trying to point out that claiming that Masurians were always faithful Polish, who moved out to Germany only because shortcomings of totalitarian/authoritarian Communism - it's a simplification. Pretty much the same as the one claiming that Masurians are good Germans always ready to give live for Sacred Trinity: Fuehrer, Nation and Great Germany.


One more note for non-Polish users about queues for passport: up to 1988 in Poland people didn't have passports at home. They had passports (physically they existed), but in order to go anywhere, one had to apply for passport (with good chance of not being granted) and after coming back from abroad (supposing he/she didn't just remained abroad, which was quite common) it was necessary to give back the passport to proper authorities.

Yes, I know, Poland is marvellous

Quote:
Originally Posted by Domen123 View Post
Despite conversions to Catholicism, intermarriages with Catholics, and emigration to West Germany, a traditional Protestant community still exists in Masuria today, it numbers about 8,500 people (compared to 68,500 in 1950), plus about 2,500 more Protestants of non-traditional denominations (I don't think that these 2,500 are descended from Masurians, though, becasue these are different types of denominations):
Methodists mostly are.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Domen123 View Post
Catholic Warmiaks is yet another story - much more of them stayed, and a much smaller percent emigrated to Germany.
Yes, great success, only 70% left, not 90%, like their Protestant neighbours. Great success indeed

Including vanishing villages, which used to be the bastions of Polishness for centuries. But the Government decided to make larger shooting range around Łańsk special resort

Quote:
Originally Posted by Domen123 View Post
What's the problem ??? - they could always change their surnames:
Well, apparently some people don't want to change their surnames, that went around their family for centuries only because some chauvinist decided what "Proper German" or "Proper Polish" surnames are.
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Old July 22nd, 2015, 11:28 AM   #1920
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Związek Stowarzyszeń Niemieckich Warmii i Mazur/Verband der deutschen Gesellschaften in Ermland und Masuren (link)


Leader of an organisation, Henryk Paweł Hoch, Civic Platform/Platforma Obywatelska member


"Girl with a basket" by Sylwester Antoni Sznarbach, Warmian painter and poet (on the right)

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