Über die Möglichkeit des Kulturtransfers in der Grenzregion Provinz Posen. Überlegungen zu den Akteuren

Elżbieta Nowikiewicz


There is a long history of German-Polish migration experiences in Greater Poland. This underwent a clear revival during the time when Poland was divided, a period that saw Ger-man settlers arrive in the Grand Duchy of Posen, including a large, socially and profess-sionally homogenous group of civil servants and teachers. For them, mobility was a neces-sity, and the state sent them to places where they had to gain a foothold for a period of time, sometimes against their will. The specifics of the lives of German settlers in the nine¬teenth and early twentieth centuries will be reflected upon here, using autobiographically inspired German-language literary texts as a guide. Analysis of these sources reveals that the newcomers in many cases ignored the surrounding society that took them in, often deliberately distancing themselves and creating a microcosm of their own in a (Polish-German-Jewish) environment because of a prevailing idea that the Polish culture was not equal to their own. Thus, they made a concerted effort to “live in German” in these places, while the autochthonous Polish population was expected to integrate over time into the Prussian-German state. Although a mutual exchange between the two sides was never explicitly pursued, as some autobiographers clearly emphasize in their texts, a cultural ex-change did in fact take place, even though these were neighborhoods where political oppo-nents lived side by side.