Changes in the political power and the population in the southern part of East Prussia, which went to Poland in 1945, led to the removal of traces of the German past in the region, and to its Polonisation immediately after the war. After discussing the de-Germanisation policy, typical of the postwar period, the removal of symbols of ‘German power’, the elimination of the ‘German spirit’, and trends in the adaptation of the new population to the cultural landscape, the author raises the question how relations between the population of the territory and the German heritage and past changed after 1989. The issue is considered in the context of the discussion among intellectuals in Poland as to what the relationship with the German heritage should be. The answer is based on the results of a sociological poll carried out by the Institute for Western Affairs in 2001.
Journal:Acta Historica Universitatis Klaipedensis
Volume 24 (2012): Erdvių pasisavinimas Rytų Prūsijoje XX amžiuje = Appropriation of Spaces in East Prussia during the 20th Century = Prisvoenie prostranstv v Vostochnoi Prussii v dvadtsatom stoletii, pp. 153–171
The article reveals the assumptions under which Polish claims to Warmia and Masuria Regions were legitimated in the 20th c. and the impact made on the starting points of the policies applied after WWII to the integration of Warmia and Masuria into Poland by the ideological political situation and the ratio of powers formed in the years of the war. The author pays great attention to the disclosure of the policy of “de-Germanization” and its practices by demonstrating the ways of instrumentalization of anti-German attitudes by the postwar Polish authorities, thus promoting the symbolical integration of former German territories (the Recovered Lands) into the minds of Polish settlers in them.