Assessing Actions and Outcomes in Contemporary Central-Eastern Europe
Edited By Jacek Kurczewski
Compelled to be Neighbours: A Small Polish Town in Former Germany
Upper Silesia is the small but important country that was since Middle Ages divided between several small duchies belonging to first Polish Piast dynasty and that in the years 1289-1339 were one by one swallowed up by the Bohemian rulers, finally by Jang de Blannen, that is king John of Luxembourg and with him into the Holy Roman Empire of German Nation and after Luxembourgs in 1526 went to Hapsburgs who fortified themselves in Austria but lost almost whole Silesia to Prussia after war of 1741. Century later the area witnessed beginning of the rapid industrialization based upon the rich coal mining opportunities, The area was – in contrast to the Lower Silesia which was more thoroughly Germanized in the organic historical process – mostly Polish- speaking, though the common folk idiom was far from the literary language used in the Commonwealth. In 1744 Prussian king inviting at the same time tens thousands of new settlers from the German countries banned Polish from the courts, in 1763 compulsory general elementary education in German was introduced. The Upper Silesia is one of the exemplary place of the transient settlements, that unknown in the Western Europe except for Rhine-Mosel French-German borderland, are since World Wars standard element of Central-Eastern European landscape. But all begun earlier as German Chancellor Bismarck ordered first modern forced expulsion sending from here 3159 Poles and Jews back beyond the Russian and 3.340 beyond Austrian border in the years 1885-1887 (Galos 1954:table 94). In the Upper Silesia (Górny...
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