Poles in Germany: Roads to visibility

Magdalena Abakanowicz, Bambini, 1998
Magdalena Abakanowicz, Bambini, 1998. Ausstellungsansicht in der St. Elisabeth-Kirche, Berlin, Gallery Weekend 2015, Galerie ŻAK | BRANICKA, Berlin

Migratory people

 

Over the centuries, people have migrated from Polish to German territories. Generally speaking, though, this was not mass migration, as opposed to the migration movements from west to east which, since the High Middle Ages, had seen large populations of German-speaking people streaming into eastern Central Europe in the course of territorial expansion (“Ostsiedlung”). Representatives from the elite in particular made to move to the West. These included a number of Polish princesses, predominantly from the Jagiellonian dynasty. The most well known of these must surely have been Jadwiga (Hedwig), a daughter of King Kasimir IV, whose wedding to Duke Georg the Rich of Bavaria-Landshut in 1475 was celebrated with a lavish celebration.

But there were also other reasons to migrate to the West: Merchants from Polish lands, often Jews, sought out the large trading towns and fairs in Breslau or Leipzig; some from Danzig, often Germans, carried out their business throughout half of Europe. Moreover, the Jewish communities in the Old Empire maintained close contact with the much livelier Jewish centres in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. Many centres of European learning were also to be found in German lands, which is why large numbers of Polish students found their way to Cologne, Heidelberg, Leipzig or Königsberg. Many academics from Poland stayed in the Empire, for instance Matthäus from Kraków, who was Bishop of Worms from 1405 to 1410, or Johannes a Lasco, who established the Protestant church in East Frisia in the 1540s. A highpoint of the migration of the Polish elite was when August II and August III from the Saxon Wettin dynasty were on the Polish throne between 1697 and 1763 and Dresden attracted the nobility, officers, statesmen and artists from Poland. Jan Henryk Dąbrowski, who grew up in Hoyerswerda, became famous as one of Napoleon’s generals.

Worth mentioning are two settlement areas of Polish-speaking populations in regions that later belonged to the German Empire or to Prussia: The Masurians in southern Prussia, who had migrated to there from Mazovia since the 14th century, and the Polish population in Silesia, who were predominantly able to establish themselves in a large part of Upper Silesia.

 

Mediathek
  • The Mausoleum of Queen Richeza at the Cathedral of Cologne

    Mausoleum

    The Mausoleum of Queen Richeza at the Cathedral of Cologne
  • The coats-of-arms of Hedwig Jagiellonica and Georg the Rich of Bavaria-Landshut in the castle at Burghausen.

    The coats-of-arms of Hedwig Jagiellonica and Georg the Rich

    The coats-of-arms of Hedwig Jagiellonica and Georg the Rich of Bavaria-Landshut in the castle at Burghausen.
  • A stained glass painting in the Landshut town hall. The window is in the main staircase. The picture shows Georg the Rich and Hedwig of Poland.

    A stained glass painting in the Landshut town hall.

    A stained glass painting in the Landshut town hall. The window is in the main staircase. The picture shows Georg the Rich and Hedwig of Poland.
  • Philips Galle (1537-1612): Joannes Alasco, 1567.

    Johannes a Lasco, 1567

    Born into the family of a Polish magnate in 1499, Jan Łaski, whose Latin name is Johannes a Lasco, is predestined for a prominent political and theological career.
  • Count Athanasius Raczyński, 1826

    Count Athanasius Raczyński

    Count Athanasius Raczyński, 1826
  • The Raczynski Palace at Königsplatz (ca. 1875)

    The Raczynski Palace

    The Raczynski Palace at Königsplatz (ca. 1875)
  • Empfang der Polen in Leipzig 1830

    Empfang der Polen in Leipzig 1830

    Guillaume Thierry, Lithographie nach einer Zeichnung von Charles Malankiewicz, 39,8 x 48,7 cm, 1830/31
  • Transit routes taken by Polish fighters in the November uprising and the German organisations providing help to Poland 1831 – 1833 (overview). H. Asmus, 1981. Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin – Preußischer Kulturbesitz

    Transit routes (overview)

    Transit routes taken by Polish fighters in the November uprising and the German organisations providing help to Poland 1831 – 1833 (overview). H. Asmus, 1981
  • The Most Memorable Days in the Year 1830, a memorial tablet in 12 tableaux, Verlag Johann Andreas Endter, Nürnberg, 1830, engraving, coloured, 30.3 x 43.5 cm

    Memorial tablet in 12 tableaux

    The Most Memorable Days in the Year 1830, a memorial tablet in 12 tableaux, Verlag Johann Andreas Endter, Nürnberg, 1830, engraving, coloured, 30.3 x 43.5 cm
  • A special postage stamp issued by the German Postal Service to mark the anniversary of “175 Years Hambach Festival”

    A special postage stamp

    A special postage stamp issued by the German Postal Service to mark the anniversary of “175 Years Hambach Festival”
  • Ludwik Mierosławski (1814-1878)

    Ludwik Mierosławski

    Ludwik Mierosławski (1814-1878), photo ab. 1850
  • Józef Ignacy Kraszewski around the year 1879

    Józef Ignacy Kraszewski

    Józef Ignacy Kraszewski around the year 1879
  • Kraszewski-Museum in Dresden

    Kraszewski-Museum

    Kraszewski-Museum in Dresden
  • „Chopin spielt im Salon des Fürsten Anton Radziwill in Berlin“

    „Chopin spielt im Salon des Fürsten Anton Radziwill in Berlin“

    Ein Gemälde von Henryk Siemiradzki (1843-1902), um 1880, Sankt Petersburg, Staatliches Russisches Museum
  • Wiarus Polski vom 3. Juli 1907

    Wiarus Polski, Bochum

    Ausgabe vom 3. Juli 1907
  • Sachsengänger bei der Ankunft in Berlin, 1909

    Sachsengänger

    Sachsengänger bei der Ankunft in Berlin, 1909
  • Cover page of the first edition of “Narodowiec”

    Cover page of the first edition of “Narodowiec”

    Herne, 2 October 1909, from: “Polak w Niemczech”, Bochum 1972, p. 44
  • Carl Teufel: Künstleratelier Alfred Wierusz-Kowalski, München 1889

    Atelier von Alfred Wierusz-Kowalski in München, 1889

    Carl Teufel: Künstleratelier Alfred Wierusz-Kowalski, München 1889. Schwarzweiß-Fotografie vom Glasnegativ, 18 x 24 cm 
  • Kaiser Wilhelm II and Adolf v. Menzel in the workshop of the painter Adalbert von Kossak.

    In the workshop of Kossak

    Kaiser Wilhelm II and Adolf v. Menzel in the workshop of the painter Adalbert von Kossak.
  • Rosa Luxemburg speaking at the International Socialist Congress in Stuttgart, August 1907.

    International Socialist Congress

    Rosa Luxemburg speaking at the International Socialist Congress in Stuttgart, August 1907.
  • Helena und Stanisław Sierakowski, Hochzeitsfoto, 1910

    Helena und Stanisław Sierakowski, Hochzeitsfoto, 1910

    Stanisław Sierakowski - der erste Vorsitzender des Bundes der Polen in Deutschland "Rodło"
  • Wedding telegram with two men in national costume and the cartouche with a white eagle, colour print, 1913.

    Wedding telegram, 1913

    Wedding telegram with two men in national costume and the cartouche with a white eagle, colour print, 1913.
  • Roman Witold Ingarden, study record Albert-Ludwigs-University of Freiburg with signature Edmund Husserls, 1916

    Study record Albert-Ludwigs-University of Freiburg

    Roman Witold Ingarden, study record Albert-Ludwigs-University of Freiburg with signature Edmund Husserls, 1916
  • "Pola Negri - unsterblich", Dokumentation von 2017

    Eine Filmdokumentation über Leben und Schaffen eines der größten Stummfilmstars in Deutschland polnischer Herkunft.
  • Drei Tage im November. Józef Piłsudski und die polnische Unabhängigkeit 1918"

    Von Magdeburg in die Unabhängigkeit Polens - ein Film über einen polnischen Mythos.
  • The house in the Magdeburg Fortress where Józef Piłsudski was interned.

    The House in the Magdeburg Fortress

    The house in the Magdeburg Fortress where Józef Piłsudski was interned.
  • “Radziwill Palais”, view of the “Red Salon” and the winter garden of the building, ca. 1927.

    “Radziwill-Palais”

    “Radziwill Palais”, view of the “Red Salon” and the winter garden of the building, ca. 1927.
  • The religious ceremony of "Days of Faith of Our Fathers" in Herne, 1930

    The religious ceremony in Herne, 1930

    The religious ceremony of "Days of Faith of Our Fathers" in Herne, 1930
  • Werbeplakat für den Film Ich liebe alle Frauen (1935) mit Jan Kiepura

    Werbeplakat für den Film "Ich liebe alle Frauen" (1935) mit Jan Kiepura

    Werbeplakat für den Film "Ich liebe alle Frauen" (1935) mit Jan Kiepura in der Hauptrolle
  • Dziennik Berliński

    Dziennik Berliński

    Ausgabe vom 10. November 1937 mit der Titelgeschichte über die Eröffnung des Polnischen Gymnasiums im ostpreußischen Marienwerder (polnisch Kwidzyń).
  • Familie Jankowski – Ruhrpolen in Herne 1936

    Familie Jankowski – Ruhrpolen in Herne 1936

    Familie Jankowski, Eltern mit Kindern, 1936 in Herne
  • Polnischer Zwangsarbeiter beim Milchfahren, ca. 1943

    Polnischer Zwangsarbeiter beim Milchfahren, ca. 1943

    Polnischer Zwangsarbeiter vom Hof Schweers (Kr. Borken) beim Milchfahren, ca. 1943, Sammlung Ignaz Böckenhoff: Das Dorf Raesfeld in den 1930er bis 1960er Jahren
  • Polish fashion magazine “Moda” in Niederlangen (Emsland), 1945

    Polish fashion magazine “Moda” in Niederlangen (Emsland), 1945

    The cover page of the magazine, which was created in the former prisoner of war camp for those involved in the Warsaw Uprising, announced a new fashion collection for summer 1945 (some of which were m...
  • Soldat der polnischen 1. Panzerdivision

    Wilhelmshaven, 1945

    Soldat der polnischen 1. Panzerdivision des Generals Stanissław Maczek auf dem Hof der Kaserne in Wilhelmshaven, Mai 1945.
  • Józef Szajna in Maczków (Haren) on the Ems, 1946.

    Józef Szajna in Maczków

    Józef Szajna in Maczków (Haren) on the Ems, 1946.
  • Friedhofskapelle im DP-Lager Flossenbürg, 1947

    Friedhofskapelle im DP-Lager Flossenbürg, 1947

    Ein Kirchenfenster aus der durch polnische Displaced Persons 1946-47 erbauten Friedhofskapelle auf dem Gelände des ehemaligen KZ Flossenbürg (Detail) nach dem Entwurf von Władysław Płoskoń, 1947.
  • The film producer Artur "Atze" Brauner.

    The film producer Artur "Atze" Brauner.

    The film producer Artur "Atze" Brauner. The photo was taken on 25th January 2002 in Leipzig when he was there for the mdr talkshow "Riverboat".
  • Artur Brauner - Ein Jahrhundertleben zwischen Polen und Deutschland

    Eine Filmdokumentation über die legendäre Persönlichkeit des deutschen und internationalen Films.
  • Tadeusz Nowakowski, ca. 1950

    Tadeusz Nowakowski, ca. 1950

    ca. 1950
  • Audiodatei

    Teresa Nowakowski (101) im Gespräch mit Sohn Krzysztof, London 2019.

    Teresa Nowakowski (101) im Gespräch mit Sohn Krzysztof, London 2019 (auf Polnisch).
  • Fronleichnam in der Siedlung für polnische Displaced Persons in Dortmund Eving, 1951

    Fronleichnam in der Siedlung für polnische Displaced Persons in Dortmund Eving, 1951

    Ein durch die polnische DP-Familie Sokołowski angefertigter Alter für die Fronleichnamsprozession, Dortmund Eving, 1951.
  • Stefan Arczyński (right) with a friend in Moscow. Photographer unknown, 1956.

    Stefan Arczyński (right) with a friend in Moscow, 1956

    Stefan Arczyński (right) with a friend in Moscow. Photographer unknown, 1956.
  • Mieczysław Wejman, „Der Schlaf ist Bruder des Todes“, Wildflecken, 1971

    Mieczysław Wejman, „Der Schlaf ist Bruder des Todes“, Wildflecken, 1971

    Ein Fresco des Professors der krakauer Kunstakademie (Fragment) zum Gedenken an 428 polnische Kinder und 116 Erwachsene, die im DP-Lager Wildflecken 1945-48 verstorben sind, Friedhofskapelle Wildfleck...
  • Marcel Reich-Ranicki in the ZDF studio Programme title: Aus gegebenem Anlass - Marcel Reich-Ranicki talks to Thomas Gottschalk

    Marcel Reich-Ranicki in the ZDF studio

    Marcel Reich-Ranicki in the ZDF studio Programme title: Aus gegebenem Anlass - Marcel Reich-Ranicki talks to Thomas Gottschalk
  • Karol Broniatowski

    Memorial to the Jews deported from Berlin, 1991
  • Historische Vereinsfahnen des Bundes der Polen in Deutschland in der St. Anna Kirche der Polnischen Katholischen Mission in Dortmund. Die Fahnen gehören zum Bestand der Porta Polonica.

    Historische Vereinsfahnen des Bundes der Polen in Deutschland

    Historische Vereinsfahnen des Bundes der Polen in Deutschland in der St. Anna Kirche der Polnischen Katholischen Mission in Dortmund. Die Fahnen gehören zum Bestand der Porta Polonica.
  • Film "Narr und Nonne" - St. Ignacy Witkiewicz, Filmstudio Transform, Regie: Janina Szarek

    Film "Narr und Nonne" - St. Ignacy Witkiewicz, Filmstudio Transform, Regie: Janina Szarek
  • WORMHOLE, 2008

    A video installation in a public space. Steel construction, glass, video, monitor, DVD player. Ø = 100 cm, H = 110 cm. Copyright: Karina Smigla-Bobinski.
  • Andrzej Wirth in his apartment in Berlin.

    Andrzej Wirth in his apartment in Berlin

    Andrzej Wirth in his apartment in Berlin.
  • Audiodatei

    Interview with Leszek Zadlo

    Interview with Leszek Zadlo
  • Köln, Hohenzollernbrücke

    Köln, Hohenzollernbrücke

    From the series “Urban Spaces”, 2005-2009, “Cologne, Hohenzollern bridge”, Inkjet photo print, 85 x 240 cm.
  • ZEITFLUG - Hamburg

    © all films: Stefan Szczygieł. Courtesy: Claus Friede*Contemporary Art, Hamburg.
  • Lech Wieleba on the double bass.

    Lech Wieleba

    On the double bass.
  • Empty Images, 2000/2006. Bild (Berlin), 12th January 2006

    ill. 17b: Empty Images, 2000/2006

    Empty Images, 2000/2006. Bild (Berlin), 12th January 2006
  • Monika Czosnowska, Johanna

    Monika Czosnowska, Johanna

    Monika Czosnowska, Johanna , 2004, C-Print, 78 x 66 cm, Sammlung Marta Herford, Zugangsjahr: 2005
  • Polonia Dortmund 2012

    Polonia Dortmund 2012

    Robert Lewandowski, Łukasz Piszczek and Jakub Błaszczykowski from Borussia Dortmund – Champion of Bundesliga 2012
  • In Blau, Małgosia Jankowska, 2015, Aquarell, Filzstift auf Papier, 100 x 150 cm.

    Małgosia Jankowska

    In Blau, 2015, Aquarell, Filzstift auf Papier, 100 x 150 cm.
  • Katarzyna Myćka

    Katarzyna Myćka

  • Der Planet von Susanna Fels

    Ein Kunstfilm von Susanna Fels mit den Fotos von u.a. Annette Hudemann, 2019.
  • Agata Madejska, RISE, 2018. Installation view, ∼ =, Impuls Bauhaus, Zeche Zollverein, Essen, 2019.

    Agata Madejska, RISE, 2018

    Agata Madejska, RISE, 2018. Installation view, ∼ =, Impuls Bauhaus, Zeche Zollverein, Essen, 2019.