Menu toggle
Navigation

Mediathek Sorted

Media library
  • Front page of the "Dziennik Berliński" of 9/10 December 1922 with the news about the foundation of the Bund Polen in Germany and with the statute of the organisation.
    Front page of the "Dziennik Berliński" of 9/10 December 1922
  • Meeting of the Supreme Council (rada naczelna) and the Board of Directors (zarząd wykonawczy) of the Union of Poles in Germany on 21 January 1927 in Berlin (in the front, in the middle, the Chairman Count Stanisław Sierakowski).
    Meeting of the Supreme Council (rada naczelna) and the Board of Directors (zarząd wykonawczy) of the Union of Poles in Germany on 21 January 1927 in Berlin
  • Count Stanisław Sierakowski, Chairman of the Union of Poles in Germany 1922-1933.
    Count Stanisław Sierakowski
  • Priest Bolesław Domański, Chairman of the Union of Poles in Germany 1933-1939.
    Priest Bolesław Domański
  • Dr Jan Kaczmarek from Bochum, managing director (kierownik naczelny) of the Union of Poles in Germany 1922-1939.
    Dr Jan Kaczmarek aus Bochum
  • Workers' bank in Bochum (Bank Robotników) on what was then Klosterstraße, today Am Kortländer), 1917.
    Workers' bank in Bochum (Bank Robotników) on what was then Klosterstraße (today Am Kortländer), 1917.
  • Polish House in Bochum (Dom Polski) at the former Klosterstraße 6, today Am Kortländer 6, until 1939 office of the III. district of the Union of Poles (Westphalia), after 1945 until today headquarters of the organisation, photograph, ca. 1925.
    Polish House in Bochum (Dom Polski) at the former Klosterstraße 6, today Am Kortländer 6
  • The Congress of the Union of Poles in Germany 1935 in Bochum.
    The Congress of the Union of Poles in Germany 1935 in Bochum.
  • The Congress of the Union of Poles in Germany 1935 in Bochum.
    The Congress of the Union of Poles in Germany 1935 in Bochum.
  • Visit of Poles from France in front of the Polish House in Bochum, 1961.
    Visit of Poles from France in front of the Polish House in Bochum, 1961.
  • Am Kortländer in Bochum (formerly Klosterstraße), 1962.
    Am Kortländer in Bochum (formerly Klosterstraße), 1962.
  • Am Kortländer in Bochum (formerly Klosterstraße), 2014.
    Am Kortländer in Bochum (formerly Klosterstraße), 2014.

The Union of Poles in Germany

The Congress of the Union of Poles in Germany in Bochum 1935
The Congress of the Union of the Poles in Germany in Bochum 1935

The majority of the Union’s activities related to education issues. In 1923, the Federation of Polish School Associations was founded, which fought for the right to operate national schools. The result of these endeavours was a decree from the Prussian Council of Ministers from 1928 governing matters relating to the Polish school system. One of the things it permitted was the setting up of private schools in Germany. This was not an optimal solution but it could be taken as a positive. Schools were allowed to be set up in the areas with a native Polish-speaking population, particularly in Silesia, Ermland, Masuria and others. The first private primary schools were set up in Silesia, and later in other regions. Various problems had to be overcome when the new schools were founded. There were no suitable buildings, no teachers and hardly any textbooks. On top of this, the creators of such facilities were confronted at every turn by the reluctant Prussian administration, the hostility of German teachers and social discrimination and harassment. The success of these endeavours depended predominantly on the resolve of the Polish parents. As well as primary schools, secondary schools were also put under scrutiny. In 1932, the “private secondary school with the character of a grammar school and with teaching in the Polish language” was founded successfully. Three years later, this school was awarded public status. On 5 November 1937, a second private grammar school was opened in Marienwerder in East Prussia.

In 1927, the UPG was involved in the founding of an auditing association for Polish companies (Confederation of Polish Cooperatives in Germany), which supported their activities.

This easing of tension in the relationships between Nazi Germany and Poland was only temporary. Between 1937 and 1939, the situation of the Poles in Germany deteriorated and this despite a declaration about minority affairs being signed in 1937 (after the so-called Upper Silesian Treaty of 1922). Under these worsening conditions, the UPG managed to hold a Congress of Poles in the German capital Berlin, where the 15-year-old existence of the association was celebrated. The conference was held on Sunday, 6 March 1938, and was one of the largest demonstrations of Poles in Germany, who came from different regions. The event was opened by the President of the UPG, the priest Dr Bolesław Domański, who stressed the unity of the Polish nation. The official part ended with an address by the General Secretary of the UPG, Dr Jan Kaczmarek. He lent his attention to the situation of the Poles in Germany and the fight to respect the rights of the Polish minority in this country. His speech was repeatedly interrupted by applause. At the end of his speech he said:

“On 6 March 1938, we, the sons of the Polish nation, faithful sons gathered under the Rodło symbol, solemnly declare at the great Congress of Poles in Germany the five truths of the Poles:

First truth: We are Poles!

Second truth: The belief of our fathers is the belief of our children.

Third truth: A Pole is a brother to other Poles!

Fourth truth: Every day, the Pole serves his people!

Fifth truth: Poland is our mother – nothing bad can be said about our mother!“