Zagadnienia etniczne na Śląsku po II wojnie światowej

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Zagadnienia etniczne na Śląsku po II wojnie światowej
[The ethnic issues in Silesia after World War II]
s. 77–100; pp. 77–100
Summary: p. 99; Zusammenfassung: S. 99–100

The tragic events that took place in the first half of 1945 turned the situation in Silesia upside down. The victorious Red Army, which did not know the situation in ethnically mixed Silesia (especially region of Opole and Upper Silesia), acted with revenge on the inhabitants. Many people were imprisoned in internment camps, originally intended for the detention of Nazis. Thousands of people died, regardless of their origin and views. Many thousands were forcibly taken away deep into the Soviet Union. Many of them died there.

The German community (communities) was almost annihilated, starting in 1946, as a result of forced deportations. These displacement had huge consequences. Where up to now this population was the majority, local communities have disintegrated, more than once.

Activities aimed at repolonization and rehabilitation of the so-called indigenous peoples, i.e. German citizens residing here who were of Polish origin, were not very effective. During these few decades, when the Polish authorities did not officially recognize the German minority, ethnic relations in Upper Silesia were frozen. It was only after the changes that took place after 1989 that the existence of the German minority in Poland could be recognized.

During the forty years of so-called ‘real socialism’, significant changes occurred in the social situation in Upper Silesia. Workers from the villages that entered the large cities became workers in large industrial plants. Nevertheless, their rural sensitivity, though weakened, remained. Despite the efforts of the communist authorities, even the University of Katowice, created to support the changes taking place in Upper Silesia, did not significantly weaken the attachment of Upper Silesians to rural traditions and the Catholic faith. Under this communist “soul engineering” did not succeed.

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