Die Lage der deutschen Katholiken in Polen in den Jahren 1919-1939

Wojciech Kotowski


This report makes use of files from German and Polish archives - chiefly from the Political Archives of the Foreign Office in Bonn; the Central State Archives of the German Democratic Republic in Postdam; the State Archives in Katowice, Bydgoszcz, and Poznań; as well as the Diocesan Archives in Gniezno and Poznań. The policy of the Polish authorities after the rebirth of the Polish State in 1918 lead to a "degermanizing" of the hereto Prussian parts of Poland. The Situation of the Germancatholics in these areas was governed by the same factors, which directly influenced the lives of the entire German minority. Even the Catholic Church - which had a privileged position in the Polish State - took part in the efforts to make these areas Polish again. The Situation of the catholic Germans was also made more difficult due to the fact that they were generally a minority amongst the Germans themselves - with the notable exception of Upper Silesia. The Polish authorities' various efforts to reduce the material wealth of the German religious Community and the limitations on the use of the German language in church in the early post war years lead to an alienation of the Germans from the Polish church and congregations. These isolating tendencies grew stronger in the thirties.