What screams I'm new to Poland

How do you say “home” in Polish?

On the history of social roots in Poland's western and northern regions

There is no literal equivalent of the term home in the Polish language. However, this does not mean that there are no phenomena in Polish culture that could be described with the word home. There are texts and phenomena that relate to different regions and that go beyond the pure semantics of the term region. (1) In the documents of the first years of Polish settlement in the western and northern areas after the war, there are numerous references to disputes between, for example, the Poznan, Lviv and Vilnius, or about Krakow or Warsaw “characters”, as well as about the Longing of the settlers for their ancestral area. These are real phenomena that could be perfectly described as home or homeland culture, if there were such terms in Polish.

The name for it has been known in Polish for several years mała ojczyzna (small fatherland), which is considered to be congruent with the German concept of home. Before this name came into being and was accepted, especially with regard to the western and northern regions, profound political and social upheavals took place in Poland. Immediately after the war, this name certainly could not have been used. The Polish settlers settled in the until recently German areas that had nothing to do with theirs ojcowizna (paternal farm and soil) or their ancestral areas. In order to understand a room as a home of one's own, the awareness of being at home must arise. (2) And that takes time. Let's try to roughly outline this process.

The year 1945 - a "ready-made consciousness"

The first Polish settlers did not know this area from their own experience, they did not spend their childhood here, during which particularly strong emotional ties to the environment develop. No mythology associated them with this area. There was only eternal, as they said at the time, enmity against the Germans and against everything that was German. The authorities decided to offer the settlers a kind of “ready-made awareness”. These in turn had no choice but to accept this consciousness and acquire it. This in turn supported the policy of the new Polish state power to create a fait accompli. This policy was intended to justify the Warsaw government's assertions at the peace conference planned for 1949 that the western and northern regions had already been fully integrated into the Polish state. Back then, the local population had no chance to develop their specific local or regional identity. The settlers had to (but also wanted to) strengthen their ties to the “ideological fatherland”, even if they were very critical of the new power and the new Polish state.

An awareness of the integration into the mother country (as they said at the time) was created by means of linguistic expressions, i.e. by means of propaganda. So these areas were called "the old areas", "the new areas", "the reclaimed areas" (a ministry for the reclaimed areas was established) that had returned to the mother country or to which the mother country had returned. The Piastic tradition was spoken of everywhere, regardless of whether these areas actually had a historical connection to the Piasts. The tradition of the Piastic Poland, whose interest was aimed at the Western Slavs and who wanted to expand towards the West, i.e. the tradition of an anti-German Poland (as it was understood at the time), became, so to speak, state doctrine. One of the first books to be published in Szczecin after the war was entitled “In the Piastic Cities of West Pomerania”. Its author was Stanisław Helsztyński, the first commissioner for education in Szczecin after the war. (3) The Poland of the Piasts was opposed to the Poland of the Jagiellonians. Despite its undoubted successes (victory in the Battle of Tannenberg in 1410), the latter is said to have turned away from the west and towards the east, lost interest in the "Piastic areas on the Oder and Baltic Sea" and engaged in senseless competition for supremacy with Russia to have. In the eastward orientation and the corresponding change in the direction of expansion of the Jagiellonian, one saw the cause of the later downfall of the Polish state. The return to the piastic idea should guarantee Poland a secure future, supported by the alliance with the Soviet Union.

The "own" country

The first settlers were thus given a common mythology by telling them they had returned to their “own country”, to the “ancient piastic land” which Poland fought for and “recovered through a fair judgment of history”. For the previous residents of Vilnius, Cracow, Posen or Lemberg, West Pomerania (that didn't mean anything to them) was not their “own” and certainly not their “home” country, but at most it was the Polish country. They had left their own and homeland where they had come from. So they believed that they would settle in the land of their ancestors, the mythical Slavic fathers, in order to bring back its true - Slavic, i.e. Polish - culture to this country after centuries of Germanization. But when they left this mythologized space and moved in real space, when they traveled to their places of origin for the holidays or vacations, they said (even many years later, sometimes even today): “I'm going home”, “I'm going to go to Poland." And if someone came from the former Polish eastern regions, he would say: "I am not allowed to visit my home."

It wasn't easy to get used to the new places. Establishing oneself in the place of residence, in the new room and in the new community could not take place overnight. The statements made by the Ukrainians who have been living in the western and northern regions since 1947 as a result of the Vistula campaign are remarkable to this day. (4) Many of them have been visiting their homes regularly since 1990, and some returned when there was still something to return to. Wasyl Bilo from Trzebiatów (Treptow an der Rega), whose home village in southeast Poland was destroyed in 1947, says: “I dream of being able to return to my homeland. A small wooden house, the warm nights ... And here (in Trzebiatów - B.T.) it's cold. Everyone wants to go back, but there should be opportunities to do so. (...) The children go to the Lemken meeting in Żdynia every year. " (5) And another quote from Wasyl Bilo's wife Daria Walicka-Bilo: “I always long terribly for Ukraine. I then gain strength and vitality. " (6)

The Mission of "Repolonization"

How did the settlers develop their first ties to the new areas? The Poles settled here after the war for various reasons. About a third decided to do so because they had lost their home in the Polish Eastern Marches. Most of them came from central Poland and came here voluntarily or as a result of an administrative assignment. The first phase of settlement was voluntary. It was "a spontaneous movement towards the Reclaimed Territories," as stated in a document from the Western Union of Poland. (7) The first settlers, especially those from the Poznan area, moved to the "old Piast areas" with the feeling that they had to fulfill the mission of repolonization, and the cities in Wielkopolska took on sponsorships for cities in the new areas.

The main motivation for the military settlers was the blood shed in the struggle for this earth. The widow of a soldier who perished at the front justified her application to the authorities for a farm as follows: "My husband went to the Polish Army on November 14, 1944, and on May 3, 1945 he was killed while crossing the Elbe ( ...) and my only wish and effort is to settle in these regained areas that are attached to Poland, in which my husband fought and died a heroic death, in order to work here for the good of the Polish nation and to promote Polishism in to strengthen this region. " (8th)

The soldiers at the front (military settlers) as well as the settlers from Greater Poland and Central Poland often behaved like conquerors in these areas. They demonstrated that they were acting in the interests of the state, in the name of the "ideological fatherland". A soldier who settled in the area of ​​Boleszkowice (formerly Fürstenfelde) wrote tellingly: “It was strange when we arrived at this settlement, but we got used to it quickly. I got a farm on which a German family was, I expelled them from the farm and moved in there. When I get up in the morning I have everything ready, after breakfast I pick up the German (sic!) And take them to work. (...) I believe that within a short time I can live in prosperity and work for our beloved fatherland so that Germans no longer spit in our faces. " (9)

The new place of life was "own" insofar as it was sanctified through the struggle against the Germans, through blood, offsetting of suffering and victory, both on the level of myths and symbols, after centuries of defeat, as well as on the real one Reality on the front lines of World War II. The voluntary settlers and the military settlers began their lives in these areas as executors of a fair judgment of history (as they said at the time) and as victors over the Germans. This opinion is clearly expressed in the diaries of the first Polish mayor of Szczecin, Piotr Zaremba. On July 5, 1945, on the day the Germans took over the city administration, Zaremba noted: “I will address the Germans in German and only tell them that the gentlemen will take over the departments tomorrow. In addition, I make it clear to them that the leaders of the former German city administration have to leave the city, but only with my personal permission. The Germans didn't say a single word the whole time. It is the dreamed-up moment that has been awaited for years. It seems to me that there is not a single city in Poland where the Germans gave up their power in such a cold and subtle way - because elsewhere they were only driven out. " (10)

The semantic appropriation of space

It happened that the farms were taken over by those farm workers who had been forced to work there for the German farmers during the war. One of these farm workers wrote to the authorities: "And what it is about is, I was a slave on this farm, so I ask you to assign it to me because I have struggled here and I wish to get it." (11) Another case was Herman W., a carpenter born in Berlin who - as he writes in his application for Polish citizenship - “moved to the voivodship in 1920 Nojmark to Kinigsberg came". He wanted to stay in today's Chojna (formerly Königsberg in the Neumark). He could only do this with the approval of the authorities. To convince the officials, he wrote that he was Catholic, did not belong to any German party, had suffered a lot from the Germans, and that his "maternal grandfather came from Congress Poland." (12) Whether he was allowed to stay in Chojna did not depend on his years of residence in the city, but on whether he met the criteria of belonging to the ideological fatherland set by the central authorities.

How the relationships between the settlers and their new cultural area developed, reflected an event in Dębno (formerly Neudamm) in September 1946, in which a number of people, including representatives of the authorities, were involved. Since November 1945, a deaf-mute settler (at that time it was called: repatriant) worked in the scrap depot there, who, according to official records, had come from the area of ​​Stanisławów (today Ivanofrankiwsk in the Ukraine). His papers had been stolen on the way. So you didn't know who he was or what his name was. The company's employees wanted to help him and wrote a letter to the district administrator: “The deaf-and-dumb man mentioned above is also illiterate, so his name cannot be determined. Without personal papers, he is often exposed to inconvenience. Therefore we ask the district administration office to give it a name. The meeting of all employees decided to give him the surname ‘Repatryant” and the first name ‘Franciszek’. " (13)

The whole affair could be viewed as one of the many sad post-war stories, were it not for the suggested name. Because everything indicates that the applicants saw in that deaf and dumb illiterate person a symbolic representative of the "repatriates" (the first name Franciszek was common at the time), as an icon of people who do not have their own voice and who therefore simply have to be named .

The district administrator could not approve the application due to a lack of competence and therefore forwarded it to the Voivodship Office in Szczecin. But he also treated this person like an icon. He suggested not giving him the surname “Repatryant” but “Zabugowski” because he came from across the Bug, or for example “Dębski” because he lived in Dębno. The matter dragged on for more than two years. Ultimately, the Voivodeship Office issued the documents on December 7, 1948. The date of this man's birth (December 7, 1912) was set, his parents (Antoni and Maria, née Krzemińska) were thought of and he was given the first name Franciszek and the family name Zabużański. “Zabugowski” could, as one rightly argued, sound ironic. (14) The fact that a deaf and dumb illiterate person was given such a semantically distinctive name symbolizes the process of the settlers becoming aware of who they were in the new places of life and the new cultural area. They wanted to semantically appropriate this space.

They spontaneously came up with place names. For example, they named a village (near Chojna) Navodna, after the name of the first and highly esteemed community leader. There were village names like Akowo [after the abbreviation AK: Home Army], Kościuszki [after the Kościuszko Army] or Narvik, a reference to the settlers' personal experiences. There were also other place names that symbolically integrated the western territories into the space of the ideological fatherland, such as Piastów [after the Piast family], Chrobryń [after King Bolesław Chrobry], Wojciechowo [after Saint Adalbert], Gniazdowo [after the homeland] , Jurandowo [after Jurand, a literary figure from the time of the wars against the Teutonic Order], Placówka [after the title of a novel by Bolesław Prus in which the Polish resistance against German colonists is described].

The authorities later replaced many of the place names that arose from the authentic need to appropriate the foreign space with historical names which, from a linguistic point of view, had - as they said - a Slavic word core and were reconstructed using the method of Pastor Stanisław Kozierowski. (15) Many old, traditional place names did not have to be reconstructed at all; it was sufficient to Polonize (reslaw) them, since the etymologically Slavic names had entered German lexicons over the centuries. When they were Polonized after the war, they became clear evidence of the thesis that Poland had removed “the centuries-long layer of Germanness” and thus returned to its old territories. But to the settlers who began to cultivate these areas, these place names often meant nothing at all.

The street names in the cities should also emphasize the connection between those places and the ideological fatherland, integrate them into the space of Polish symbolism and not, for example, facilitate orientation in real space. In Szczecin, for example, the street that ran towards the west and Berlin, i.e. Berliner Strasse, was renamed Mieszko-I.-Strasse. While the German street name was based on the topography, the Polish one linked to the symbolic space of national mythology, as if to assure the residents of Szczecin that they are at home, in their own space, and by the Germans were in no danger, as Mieszko I was the one who had defeated them in the Battle of Cedynia (Zehden) on the Oder.

It was similar in Trzebiatów, for example, but you could also use any other city in the western and northern areas.Andrzej Chludziński states that 35 percent of street names in the German era took up local topographical designations to make it easier for people to find their way around. Today there are almost no such Polish street names in Trzebiatów. (16) The naming that was practiced in the new Polish metropolitan area after the war was intended to confirm the city's ties to the ideological fatherland. Trzebiatów did not function as a Polish homeland at that time. The new residents were not at home there yet, or otherwise - they did not yet recognize the place as theirs, they did not yet identify with the place. Basically, they did not care where exactly they lived in the west or north of Poland. The main thing was that it was Poland, or more precisely: the Polish state.

In addition to churches and official buildings, train stations and train stations were important marking points in the room. Quite a few settlers chose an apartment or house near a train station, even if they weren't in the best condition, so that they could get away better if the Germans should return.

The settlers tried to give the new space characteristics of the well-known space that had once been theirs. In doing so, they used the naming convention, but also looked for places and landscapes that they could recognize as their own, homeland. Katarzyna Suchodolska, a well-known writer from Polesia who lived in Szczecin after the war, found Polesian landscapes with her husband on the West Pomeranian Drage (Drawa). She wrote about it in her books, among other things Ciche trawy [Silent Grass] (1966), Jedenaście bajek o kwiatach [Eleven fairy tales about flowers] (1984) Echo nad bindugą [The Echo at Flößerplatz] (1986). The space has also been made homely by means of religious and national symbols. The resettlers had brought memorabilia from their homeland, including cult objects such as pictures of Our Lady of the Gate of Dawn (Ostra Brama) in Vilnius. The relics helped them feel safe in the new room. The room was sacralized, the Protestant churches and cemeteries were rededicated in the Catholic rite.

Remove the layer of Germanness

A second aspect of the appropriation process consisted in removing traces of German culture and German memory. German symbols, inscriptions, signs were removed, German books from libraries and historical objects from museums, especially from the Heimatstuben, were removed. A great many documents were destroyed. They were German, so they were generally useless. As a result, the museums in Trzebiatów, Dębno and Łobez (Labes), among others, were closed and the collections rescued by special teams were transported to Szczecin and other institutions in central Poland. A few years ago the employees of the Stargarder Museum found numerous historical objects and books from their city in the university libraries in Lodz and Thorn; there are also some in Szczecin and in the National Museum in Poznan. It also happened that German books and cultural works were removed from Szczecin (although not only from there) and Polish works and book collections were taken from museums and libraries in central Poland. The return process did not begin until many years later and continues to this day.

In the western and northern areas, the German inscriptions were supposed to disappear everywhere, even in the cemeteries and pictures in the churches. The completely preserved Stations of the Cross with German inscriptions in a small church from the 14th century in the village of Lubiesz (formerly Lubsdorf) in the Wałcz district (formerly Deutsch Krone) is therefore absolutely unique. The reason for this was probably the fact that this area had belonged to the historical Wielkopolska, i.e. the pre-war German-Polish border area, the church had always been Catholic and many Poles had lived in the village before 1945.

At the beginning of June 1948, the district administrator of Gryfino (Greifenhagen) ordered the removal of German inscriptions “from buildings, shops, ashtrays, cemeteries, beer mats, unless they were of a monumental character”, although such rigorous instructions had existed before. (17) In the report of the social policy department of the Voivodship Office in Stettin for the second quarter of 1948 one can read: “In the area of ​​the city of Stettin there are almost no German traces left, except in the cemeteries, where all German inscriptions will soon be removed become." (18) However, this was difficult to accomplish, as confirmed by the annual report for the first quarter of the following year: “An exception are the German cemeteries, where there are still German inscriptions on the gravestones; Removing these is currently not possible for a variety of reasons, including with regard to the delicate question of religious cult. " (19)

The so-called repolonization action was rigorous and included everything related to the language. The already quoted district administrator from Gryfino wrote: “You have to pay attention to whether the German language is used in private life and by young people in schools. If it turns out that the young people are using the German language, their parents must be ordered and they must be informed that such a situation is unacceptable. (...) Complaints must be filed against people who are caught in the offensive act of using the German language in an unfounded and demonstrative manner, as well as against people who are sabotaging the repolonization action in another way Refund Article 18 of the Administrative Offenses Act. I have to tell me personally about the people who are not actively involved, but passively tolerate the cultivation of Germanness. " (20) Such instructions were given in accordance with the relevant instructions from the central authorities.

Struggle for memory

The measures mentioned should make it easier to create a Polish culture in these areas. At the same time it was forbidden to cherish the memory of the old homeland, especially of the Eastern stamps, which should be erased from the social memory at all costs. (21) It was believed that this memory could destructively influence the process of the so-called repolonization of the western and northern areas. The traditional culture of remembrance was therefore deliberately destroyed.

What memory means, said after years Ryszard Kapuściński, who had his home in Pińsk, now Belarus. Let us quote an excerpt from his speech, which he gave during the award ceremony of the honorary doctorate at the University of Wroclaw. “Memory is an indispensable element of home. It enables us to think back to home, even if we lose direct contact with it. As long as and wherever we live, memory remains a part of our identity, ours Identification sign. This has a special value today, because for many people their city, their region, their homeland was a kind of protective shield, a niche, a coveted protection against the sudden progress of the all-leveling globalization. "(22)

The memory of the “private fatherland” was fostered at home. She was excluded from public space until the late 1980s. In the western and northern regions they wanted to create a new citizen, free from all ties to the past. In 1960, Feliks Fornalczyk, a well-known and respected literary critic from Poznan who lived in Szczecin for a while, wrote: “We should remember that the western regions have become the breeding ground for a new, energetic type of Pole. A number of factors contributed to this that are not found to such an extent in other parts of our country. The youngest, most courageous and energetic elements usually went to the West, and they were given the unique opportunity there to secure their material and social position in a short period of time. (...) In a few years this will bear great fruits for the whole country. A wave of young, energetic, educated and talented people is returning to central Poland from the western border areas. And that will be very useful. "(23)

That was the official domestic political strategy of the People's Republic of Poland. In the western and northern areas it was relatively easy to carry out up to a certain point, because there were only a few inhabitants who had been connected with this country for generations: only the so-called autochthons born there, mainly in the Opole area, in Kashubia and in Warmia. They were only allowed to stay in post-war Poland on the condition that they made a declaration of loyalty to the Polish nation and underwent a verification process. If they could not prove their ties to Poland, to the ideological fatherland, they were resettled to Germany.

Perseverance and Adaptation

In the first post-war years, the settlers had to adapt to the new conditions. The archives give little information about those who did not make it, as if they did not exist. One of the settlers wrote in a complaint about his neighbors: “I point out that my roommates are not interested in the farm at all and do nothing there (...), but truthfully I have to say that they (... ) Do not take anything away from the farm or sell anything. " (24) It is not known how many there were. But we know that many residents of these areas have not renovated their houses for a very long time. It wasn't just for economic reasons.

Significantly, in the letters of the first settlers, the duration of the presence is increased. When they turned to the authorities to resolve an issue positively for themselves, they emphasized how long they had been here ("I've been here for a long time"; "I am the first pioneer.") (25) that should be confirm their right to land, house or apartment. In April 1949, some farmers from Moryń (Mohrin) wrote to the local authorities. They asked if they could have a garden, arguing: "Firstly because we are from here." (26)

In the first few years the local authorities reported in their reports that people from the new areas were fleeing to central Poland. But often there was also evidence that those who stayed (or did not know where to go since their yards were across the Bug) were quick to defend “theirs”. One settler wrote: "I hope that my application will be approved, because I have provided the four hectares with my own inventory and planted my seeds." (27) The settlers counted on the protection of the state or they demanded such protection. They were afraid of the Soviet troops and it happened that they fled their stationing areas. A serious situation arose in Trzebiatów in October 1947. A representative of the Polish Western Union wrote in his report that only 2,000 of the 6,000 residents there had stayed. He emphasized that the townspeople showed their “hard pioneering attitude of perseverance in Trzebiatów”, although they “live under constant fear” (28), which was due to the arbitrariness of the Soviet troops.

There was also fear of the return of the Germans and of the outbreak of a third world war. Under such conditions, the settlers hoped for a strong state power that would guarantee them security. In a complaint we read: "As a repatriant ... I was settled ... together with my family, who returned from Germany (sic!) And settled themselves." (29) People expected help in truly dramatic circumstances. One settler wrote: "I live under difficult conditions because my own agriculture (...) is outside the state borders and I cannot get there." (30)

So it was easy to enforce state policy in these areas. The rulers used this for their propaganda and handled the “German bogeyman” (31). Let us quote Ryszard Kapuściński again: “A person who ends up in a new and unknown place due to a fate usually feels insecure and strange for a long time. It takes many years to settle in there. Often this symbiosis never occurs, and the feeling of alienation or even hostility remains predominant and permanent. " (32) To confirm these words one can refer to the statement of the Deputy Mayor of Stargard in the 1990s. In 1945, as a two-year-old child, he and his parents arrived in Stargard after fleeing from Zbaraż. Decades later, in the foreword to the documentation for the conference materials, he wrote “The old Stargard. The city and its inhabitants ”the following:“ I know that the settlement in this city, in the consciousness of my parents' generation, was shaped by provisionality, fears and unrest. They did not feel at home for a very long time, sometimes until the end of their days. The trauma of displacement is long-lasting. Therefore, even the Germans who had left the city could not accept this state of affairs and for a long time cultivated the idea of ​​returning. Only the following generations of Germans and Poles broke this vicious circle. Slowly the memory of the lost places matured and the respect for the memory of those who lived here matured. The need to preserve historical truth and to beware of the traps of nationalism became conscious. Such thoughts naturally repressed the ingrained phobias, prejudices, aversions or even hatred. " (33)

First changes

The war ended 62 years ago. The resettlement of the German and the settlement of the Polish population lasted almost until the end of the 1950s, with varying degrees of intensity. 1958 saw the second phase of the repatriation of around 400,000 people from the Polish eastern regions. Germans also left the country, among other things as part of family reunification. Meanwhile, the ties of the new residents to the new land strengthened, and social ties also became closer. In the course of the “renewal after October 1956”, regional cultural associations were gradually set up, which, however, were completely subordinate to the central management, mostly based in Warsaw. The regional movement intensified, in the western and northern areas its aim was to emphasize the historical and current ties of the country to Poland. The process of their repolonization was under way.

For obvious objective reasons, it was necessary to take care of the material cultural heritage (without so designating it). Some objects (e.g. the castle in Szczecin) had to be rebuilt, and documents, libraries and museum holdings had to be secured. There were attempts to get back works of art and archival material that had been taken away after the war - sometimes also to the Soviet Union (34). The recognizable traces of German culture were still removed from the public space: the German inscriptions and inscriptions had to be chipped off or covered with plaster and the tombstones destroyed. Gradually, however, the relationship between the residents and the legacy they found changed. In the second half of the 1960s, a new name for the Szczecin Palace gradually established itself, which was no longer called the "Piast Palace", but the palace of the West Pomeranian princes. (35) A new literature emerged, which one could call homeland literature, in which sentimental relations to the new areas were taken up. German topics no longer appeared exclusively in the context of the struggle against the Germans, for example in the novel Ryszard Liskowackis Examination of conscience, in which the figure of an orphaned German boy living in ruined Szczecin appears, or in the poems of Joanna Kulmowa.

In the 1970s numerous publications on the history of the region appeared in West Pomerania, although the history until 1945 was still rather neglected and the later period was treated in much more detail. A Polish history of the western and northern regions emerged. The events of December 1970 in Szczecin and on the coast became a turning point for integration and social identity.

After 1945, the settlers initially integrated themselves within the framework of their rural relations, especially in the places in which entire villages from the east or residents of a city (such as the Lvivs in Breslau) had been settled. The dissolution of these traditional ties and their replacement by new ones happened as a result of upheaval generational events.Initially, it was the state authorities who tried to organize such events, such as the Szczecin meeting “We keep watch on the Oder” (1947) or the later “patriotic manifestations”. But there were also spontaneous social demonstrations, for example in support of Mikołajczyk during the above-mentioned meeting of 1947, anti-Soviet riots in 1951 and then the revolts of 1956, 1968, 1970, etc. Finally, the prerequisites for a discussion about homeland emerged , about the “small fatherlands”, about the “private fatherlands” and also about their relationship to the large, “ideological fatherland” (36) or the public, ideologized and propagandistic fatherland (Jerzy Bartmiński) (37).

Appropriation: homeland or mała ojczyzna

If you are in Poland today mała ojczyzna speaks, this is equated with the German term Heimat (38). In other words, home means the same as mała ojczyzna, for example by Leszek Szenborn from Ziębice in Lower Silesia (formerly Münsterberg) in his article Why do we need knowledge of the history of the city? The author writes: “In the German language there are two terms that the Polish ojczyzna reflect: the fatherland (country of the fathers) and home as the place of birth and above all as the place of childhood in which we are at home. " (39) “In our homeland we should try to understand how the past has shaped our present. Today's problems in our region cannot really be understood without a good and benevolent knowledge of history. We should strive to understand what our city was and is for all those who had their home here. The truth about our city and an understanding of the diversity of cultures are indispensable in order to be able to place it in the history of Silesia and Poland, especially with regard to the ongoing process of European integration. "(40)

The Museum in Stargard Szczeciński (formerly Stargard) published a German-Polish catalog in 1999 for the exhibition of old postcards, which was given the following title: Mała Ojczyzna - Wczoraj i dziś.Little ones (sic!) Home - yesterday and today. In the foreword, the then Mayor Kazimierz Nowicki wrote that the project “makes a real contribution to the natural neighborly integration process of Poles and Germans who are historically and often personally connected to Pomerania through the fate of their families. It is the task of our generation as well as the next generations of people who live today on both sides of the Oder, in two different countries but from the same historical and geographical landscape, to develop a new common 'Pomeranian' consciousness and the To overcome stereotypes and prejudices. ”(41) The author is obviously convinced that the relationship to the homeland, Germans and Poles, connects the then and now residents of Stargard. Both of them regard Stargard as their own place.

The terms home and mała ojczyzna are not only equated with regard to the western and northern regions. Jolanta Wewiurska, who presents her project “The area around Sanok - my home”, writes: “Our terms ojczyzna ideologiczna (ideological fatherland) and ojczyzna prywatna (private fatherland) correspond in the German language to the terms fatherland and homeland. ”(42) Marek S. Szczepański, sociologist at the Silesian University, said something similar at the World Congress of Czestochowa in 2003: Stanisław Ossowski developed terms ojczyzna prywatna (private, small fatherland) and ojczyzna ideologiczna (ideological, great fatherland) have their origins in German. It is precisely in this language that there is the terminological duo Heimat - Vaterland, which precisely reflects the essence of difference. (...) The term Heimat most likely comes from the old Germanic language heimskepija, which signifies the original connection between home and cosmos, i.e. planetary civilization. "(43)

“My home is my city, my village. It is both the history of the place based on scientific research and the customs, stories and legends passed down from generation to generation, ”writes Małgorzata Wietecha in her book Legends and traditions in the development of the homeland bondaimed at pre-school and elementary school teachers in Opole Silesia. (44) Significantly, the author distinguishes between a small and a large fatherland: “I have a beautiful, large fatherland / And my own small fatherland; // The first is my country / the second - my city. // The Vistula crosses the first / and the Tatras give it its crown // In the second, the Oder flows proudly / and the city boasts of its monuments. " (45)

This fraternization between the Polish mała ojczyzna and the German homeland leads to protests by conservative and right-wing publicists and activists. They believe that in the Polish tradition the primary category is the nation, which is associated with the idea of ​​freedom and national solidarity. This is what Zdzisław Krasnodębski wrote in his essay About the post-patriotic times (46): “Patriotism is love for the fatherland. But what is the fatherland that Patria? The territory? That has changed all too often in the case of Poland. The entirety of the inhabitants of the country in which I was born? Neither. It is difficult to develop patriotic feelings towards a population. So is it the state in the given form? And certainly not, then one would actually have had to work for people's Poland and profess the patriotism of Mieczysław Rakowski or other such ideologues. Some are of the opinion that it should be the small fatherland and not the large, ideological one. So the tighter the better? Why? I do not share the enthusiasm of Polish intellectuals for the beautiful German word Heimat. The term is enough for me strony rodzinne (the area my family comes from). Therein lies a rare piece of Polish superiority over Germany: the lack of the sentimental and narrow ideology of the homeland. " (47)

Let us quote an extreme statement by the national Catholic journalist Krzysztof Janiewicz: "In Polish journalism, one can observe more and more often how the Polish media use the conceptual figure small fatherland’, private fatherland ’or the like. launch. These are not concepts of Polish national thought. I met them recently: they are used with particular preference by European enthusiasts and globalists of various stripes. The term ‘small fatherlands’ is a translation (...) of a term taken from the German language and German philosophy to which the word Heimat corresponds. For historical reasons, the Germans in particular have these two terms: home and fatherland. The Polish word ojczyzna has a completely different meaning and weighting than the German term Heimat and is closer to the German word Vaterland. (...) The German word Heimat corresponds in the Polish language to the city, the village or the area from which my family comes (...). This is a place in my homeland where I was born and with which I feel particularly emotionally connected. For me it is not just some little fatherland, as the European enthusiasts want it to be. I was born and grew up in Krakow, Krakow is my home city, but not my country. The symbol of my fatherland is the white eagle and not the coat of arms of Krakow. If I am asked in a foreign country who I am, then I do not answer: I am Cracow, but: I am Pole. When I use the term fatherland in a territorial sense, I am not thinking of the Krakow area, but of the Polish areas, of all of Poland and not just one of its parts - namely Krakow. " (48)

Home - freedom

The term mała ojczyzna makes a career in Poland. The political upheavals after 1989 contributed to this: the development of local self-government, the activities of the Thorner Foundation of Little Fatherlands, the search for local identity. In the western and northern regions, the many years of post-war integration and the new German-Polish contacts after 1990 also played an important role, including those with the organizations of the former German residents. Last but not least, this is also a reaction to the globalization processes.

The democratic transformation in Poland after 1990 coincided with the beginning of the social activities of those who were already born in the new areas. Bartłomiej Sochański, Mayor of Szczecin from 1994-1998, emphasized with satisfaction that he was the first Polish Mayor of Szczecin to be born there and therefore can say: "This is my hometown." Sochański emphasized that this had made it easier for him to talk to the German expellees.

In the second half of the 1980s, pictures of German Szczecin appeared in the Szczecin press for the first time. Such publications became a real fashion after 1989. Everywhere one began to discover the German history of these areas, which is a sign of their otherness in the whole of Poland. But also the Polish history, including that of the settlement, has been increasingly documented in recent years. A good example is the Central Cemetery in Szczecin, where the preserved German tombs are being renovated, but there are also numerous monuments: for the victims of Katyń, for those exiled to Siberia, for the Home Army, for the Polish and Soviet soldiers who died during of the Berlin offensive at the end of the Second World War, for the prisoners of the concentration camps. There are places where everyone can meet, such as the church in Chojna or the one in Danowo (Jakobsdorf) near Goleniów (Gollnow), which Joanna Kulmowa and Jan Kulma describe: “There can always be other people living here, but certain places have to remain . "(49)

The Polish “homeland” are increasingly gaining their own identity, such as Witnica (formerly Vietz) in the Lubusz region; a dissertation was even dedicated to this place. (50) In Poland, the intensive search for the meaning of “homeland” is ongoing. So far this has mainly been related to discovering their history. Since the conservative national parties have recently gained in importance in Poland, the social home movement is now being pushed into political contexts.

In the introduction to the anthology What is home?, which appeared a year ago, we read: “This is no longer just the most localized human environment’, as Stanisław Ossowski noted. Today, home is above all a source and a task for civil society based on values ​​such as freedom, the rule of law, self-government, the common good and dialogue; this results in activities aimed at preserving and developing what people value most. " (51)

November 18/19, 2006, Collegium Polonicum (Conference: What is Heimat?)

From the Polish Ewa Czerwiakowski

(1) Stanisław Ossowski wrote that the region had nothing to do with the small, private fatherland because it was a kind of “ideological fatherland”. See: S. Ossowski, Zagadnienie więzi regionalnej i więzi narodowej na Śląsku Opolskim [The regional and national ties in Opole Silesia], in: O ojczyźnie i narodzie [About fatherland and nation], Warszawa 1984. S, 74.

(2) See: Grzegorz Odoj, Lokalność jako ojczyzna - w kręgu pojęć podstawowych [The local as home - basic concepts], in: Dziedzictwo kulturowe Ziemi Suskiej i Podbabiogórza. Materiały z konferencji: Ochrona Lokalnej i regionalnej tożsamości kulturowej a edukacja regionalna [The cultural heritage of the Suser Land and the Babia Góra region. Documentation of the conference on the preservation of local and regional cultural identity and regional pedagogy], ed. R. Lisowski, M. Peć, A. Peć, Kraków 2005.

(3) The book was published in 1946 by the Organizing Committee of the All-Poland Manifestation We keep watch on the Oder relocated. Helsztyński stayed in Szczecin for only a few months and later worked

(4) The year 2007 marks the 60th anniversary of the Vistula Action, during which around 150,000 Ukrainians, Polish citizens, were forcibly evacuated from the Bieszczady area in south-east Poland and in north-west Poland, in the areas annexed after the Second World War . The official justification for these deportations was the thesis that the Ukrainian underground, i.e. the Ukrainian Insurgent Army, whose goal was an independent Ukraine, had to be deprived of its base and smashed. In 1947 a full-blown Polish-Ukrainian war took place in the Bieszczady area, actually a civil war between citizens of the same state.

(5) Renata Korek, O czym marzą Ukraińcy w Trzebiatowie [What do Ukrainians dream of in Trzebiatów], in: Trzebiatów - spotkania pomorskie [Trzebiatów - Pomeranian Encounters], ed. Janina Kochanowska, Wołczkowo 2006, p. 119. In Żdynia (Zdynia), a village in the Gorlice district (East Beskids), meetings of the Lemks, the Ruthenian population who are close to the Ukrainians, are organized annually.

(6) A.a.O.

(7) Instrukcja ramowa o osadnictwie i Ruchu Spółdzielczo-Parcelacyjnym [Framework guidelines on settlement, the cooperative movement and the division of land]., Poznań 1946, p. 11 (reproduced manuscript).

(8) APSz. SPSz 82, manuscript, undated

(9) Osadnik Wojskowy [The military settler] 1945, No. 3, APSz, SPCh 28.

(10) Piotr Zaremba, Dziennik 1945 [Diary 1945], Szczecin 1996, p. 64.

(11) APSz, SPSz, Sign 81, manuscript, 08/28/1945.

(12) APSz, SPCh 93, p. 227.

(13) APSz SPCh 89, p. 305

(14) Complete documentation: AP Sz SPCh 89, p. 305-337.

(15) Pastor Stanisław Kozierowski (1874-1949), professor at the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan, historian, linguist specializing in onomastics, author of the unfinished Atlas nazw geograficznych Słowiańszczyzny Zachodniej [Atlas of the geographical names of Western Slavicism]; the volume on West Pomerania and Rugien appeared in 1934, second edition in 1945, and served as the basis for the new naming of the places after the Second World War. Pastor Kozierowski was the main figure at the First Onomatology Congress in Szczecin (September 11-13, 1945), at which the rules of the so-called repolonization of place names were laid down. A street in Szczecin was named after him.

(16) Andrzej Chludziński, Nazwy ulic Trzebiatowa [The street names in Trzebiatów], in: Trzebiatów - spotkania pomorskie [Trzebiatów - Pomeranian Encounters] 2005, ed. Janina Kochanowska, Wołczkowo 2006, p. 60.

(17) APSz GWŻ 5, bns.

(18) APSz, UWS 835, p. 57.

(19) APSz UWWS 835, p. 105. The German inscriptions and gravestones were never completely removed from the cemeteries, although there were many such actions later. Today, lapidaries are created in the former German cemeteries. The preserved cemeteries will be put in order. Often these are spontaneous initiatives from below.

(20) APSz GWŻ 5.

(21) The most glaring example was the entry in the identity cards of the eastern Poles that they were born in the USSR.

(22) Ryszard Kapuściński, Skąd pochodzimy? Kim jesteśmy? Do kogo możemy się odwołać? [Where do we come from? Who are we? Who can we fall back on?] In: Spotkania Wrocławskie [Wroclaw Encounters] 2002, No. 1.

(23) Feliks Fornalczyk, Szansa Polski Zachodniej, [The chance of western Poland], in: Tygodnik Zachodni, 1960, No. 4., p. 3.

(24) APSz PO PUR Białogard 1, npg, letter of February 26, 1946.

(25) APSz UWS 3376 p. 434, letter dated May 5, 1949.

(26) APSz GRN Moryń 6 npg, manuscript.

(27) Letter of July 29, 1946. APSz PO PUR Gryfice 7 bns.

(28) APSz PZZ 21. The people asked to be settled in places where they could remain undisturbed by the Soviet troops. (PO PUR Gryfice 7).

(29) APSz UWS 3373, letter of October 10, 1947.

(30) letter dated December 27, 1946; ASPSz SPSz 86 bns.

(31) When, for example, the so-calledanti-state and anti-socialist excesses came (1956, 1968, 1970, 1976), the rulers used the alleged German danger to calm the mood. There was talk of the revisionists, the country teams, the revisionist tendencies in West Germany. War films or the "Crusaders" based on the novel of the same name by Henryk Sienkiewicz were shown on television. It was basically like that until the late 1980s. Incidentally, the alleged German danger is also invoked today by some political groups.

(32) Ryszard Kapuściński, loc. Cit.

(33) Jan Szut, Szanowni Państwo [Dear Sir or Madam], in: Dawny Stargard i jego mieszkańcy [Old Stargard and the people of the city], Stargard 2000, p. 5.

(34) In 1956, the USSR gave Poland, among other things, valuable medieval sculptures and drawings by famous Italian artists, the Tiepolo brothers, from the Szczecin graphic collection. The sculptures and drawings are now in the Szczecin National Museum.

(35) The terms West Pomeranian Princes and the Principality of West Pomerania are not historical names. They were spread in Polish post-war historiography because they wanted to emphasize the common origin of all of Pomerania.

(36) Stanisław Ossowski suggested the terms: private, personal and ideological fatherland in his classic work O ojczyźnie i narodzie [About Fatherland and Nation] before, Warszawa 1984.

(37) Jerzy Bartmiński: Polskie rozumienie Ojczyzny i jego warianty [On the Polish understanding of the fatherland and its variants], in: Pojęcie ojczyzny we współczesnych językach europejskich [The concept of the fatherland in modern European languages], ed. J. Bartmiński, Lublin 1993.

(38) Andrzej Denek presents the current understanding of these terms and the current state of the discussion in his essay Synteza naczelnych wartości [The synthesis of the main values], in: Regionalizm pomorski. Społeczny ruch regionalny wobec wartości narodowych [Pomeranian regionalism. The social regional movement and national values], Vol. 2, ed. Alicja Derbisz and others, Szczecin 2000.

(39) See: www.ziebiceszenborn.republika.pl/historiamiasta.html

(40) A.a.O.

(41) Kazimierz Nowicki, Szanowni Goście [Dear guests], in: Mała Ojczyzna - Wczoraj i dziś. Little home - yesterday and today, ed. Jolanta Aniszewska, Sławomir Prize, Museum in Stargard Szczeciński 1999, p. V.

(42) Jolanta Wewiurska, Prezentacja programu Ziemia Sanocka - moja mała ojczyzna, in: www.pcen.rzeszow.pl/gallery/albums/userpics/10002/Edukacja%20regionalna-referat.rtf

(43) Marek Szczepański, Powroty do mniejszego nieba. Mała Ojczyzna w oglądzie socjologicznym [Return to the lesser heaven. Heimat in sociological perception], in .: www.polonia, czestochowa.um.gov.pl

(44) Małgorzata Wietecha, Legendy i podania w kształtowaniu więzi z małą ojczyzną [Legends and traditions in the development of the homeland bond], Opole 2006.

(45) A.a.O., p. 57.

(46) Ośrodek Myśli Politycznej, see: www.omp.org.pl/index.php

(47) Zdzisław Krasnodębski, O czasach postpatriotycznych [From post-patriotic times], in: www.omp.org.pl/index.php

(48) Krzysztof Janiewicz, Małe Ojczyzny, www.naszawitryna.pl/europa_34

(49) After: Urszula Chęcińska, Z Wielgoszyc do Danowa. Literackie stacje i leśne tropy Joanny Kulmowej [From Wielgoszyce to Danowo], in: Dzieje wsi pomorskiej. I Międzynarodowa Konferencja Naukowa [History of the Pomeranian Villages. First international scientific conference], Dygowo-Szczecin 2006.

(50) Maciej Dudziak, Mała ojczyzna w euroregionie: tożsamość kulturowa mieszkańców pogranicza polsko-niemieckiego (na przykładzie gminy Witnica) [Mała ojczyzna in the Euroregion: the cultural identity of the inhabitants of the German-Polish border area using the example of the Witnica municipality], Poznań 2003.

(51) Mała Ojczyzna. Kultura, edukacja, rozwój Lokalny [Homeland. Culture, education, local development], ed. Wiesław Theiss, 2005.