The Full Wiki

Polonisation: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.


(Redirected to Polonization article)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Polonization (Polish: polonizacja)[1] is the acquisition or imposition of elements of Polish culture, in particular, Polish language, as experienced in some historic periods by non-Polish populations of territories controlled or substantially influenced by Poland. As with other examples of cultural assimilation, could either be voluntary or forced and is most visible in the case of territories, where the Polish language or culture were dominant, or their adoption could result in gaining of prestige or social status. Such was the case of the nobility of Ruthenia and Lithuania throughout the ages. To certain extent polonization was also administratively-promoted by the authorities, particularily in the period following the World War II.

On the one hand, Polonization can be seen as an example of cultural assimilation. Such view is widely considered applicable to the times of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth (1569-1795) when the Ruthenian and Lithuanian upper classes were drawn towards the more Westernized Polish culture, political and financial benefits of such transition, as well as, sometimes, by the administrative pressure exerted on their own cultural institutions, primarily the Orthodox Church. The conversion to the Roman Catholic faith (and to a lesser extent, Protestant) was often the single most important part of the process as for Ruthenians of that time being Polish culturally and Roman Catholic by religion was almost the same. This aspect of Polonization that led to the diminishing of the Orthodox Church was most resented by Belarusian and Ukrainian masses. In contrast the Lithuanians, who were mostly Catholic, were in danger of losing their cultural identity as a nation, but that did not become evident for the wide masses of Lithuanians until the Lithuanian national renaissance in the middle of the 19th century.

On the other hand, the Polonization policies of the Polish government in the interwar years of the twentieth century were again two-folded. Some of them were similar to the mostly forcible assimilationist policies, implemented by other European powers that have aspired to regional dominance (e.g., Germanization, Russification), while others resembled policies carried out by countries aiming at increasing the role of their native language and culture in their own societies (e.g., Rumanization, Ukrainization). For Poles, it was a process of rebuilding the Polish national identity and reclaiming Polish heritage, including the fields of education, religion, infrastructure and administration, that suffered under the prolonged periods of foreign occupation by the neighboring empires of Russia, Prussia, and Austria-Hungary. However, as a third of recreated Poland's population was ethnically non-Polish and many felt their own nationhood aspirations thwarted specifically by Poland, large segments of this population resisted to varying extent policies aimed to assimilate them into Polish culture. Part of the country's leadership emphasized the need for the ethnic and cultural homogeneity of the state in the long term. However, the governmental advancement of Polish language in the administration, the public life and, especially, the education were perceived by some as an attempt at forcible homogenization. In areas inhabited by ethnic Ukrainians for example, actions of the Polish authorities seen as aiming at restricting the influence of the Orthodox and the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church caused additional resentment, and were considered to be closely tied to religious Polonization, as most ethnic Poles were Catholics.

History of Polonization

Poland's borders throughout the ages
Ruthenia subdued, a 19th century picture by Jan Matejko

12th-14th centuries

Between the 12th and the 14th centuries many towns in Poland adopted the so-called Magdeburg rights that promoted the towns' development and trade. The rights were usually granted by the king on the occasion of the arrival of migrants. Some, integrated with the larger community, such as merchants who settled there, especially Greeks and Armenians. They adopted most aspects of Polish culture but kept their Orthodox faith. Since the Middle Ages, Polish culture, influenced by the West, in turn radiated East, beginning the long and uneasy process of cultural assimilation.[2]

Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth (1569–1795)

In the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, the non-Polish ethnic groups, especially the Ruthenians and Lithuanians, found themselves under the strong pressure of Polish culture.[3][4]

The Polish rule of the territory started from the 1569 Union of Lublin, when many of the territories formerly controlled by largely Ruthenized[5][6] Grand Duchy of Lithuania were transferred to the Polish Crown, while in reality it continued well into the 19th century as the enserfed peasantry and huge estates were left in the Russian and Austrian Empires under the control of the Polish magnates, or the Polonized ones, virtually indistinguishable from the former.

In the climate of the colonization of Ruthenian lands by the Polish or Polonized nobility,[7] persecution[8][9] and even an attempted ban[10] of the Eastern Orthodox Church in the Polish controlled territories following the attempt to convert the Ruthenian peasantry[10] into the Catholicism, pressures and attractions of Polonization on Ruthenian nobility and cultural elite resulted in almost complete abandonment of Ruthenian culture, traditions and the Orthodox Church by the Ruthenian higher class.[11]

The Lithuanian Grand Duke Jogaila was offered the Polish crown and became Władysław II Jagiełło (reigned 1386-1434). This marked the beginning of the gradual Polonization of the Lithuanian nobility. He built many Roman Catholic churches in pagan Lithuanians land and provided them generously with estates, gave out the lands and positions to the Catholics, settled the cities and villages and gave most the biggest cities and towns the Magdeburg Rights privileges that consisted of many allowances. These rights were given only to the settlements dominated by the Poles and the Germans but not to Ruthenian settlements whose residents were fully taxed. The noble Ruthenians were also freed from many payment obligations and their rights were equalized with those of the Polish nobility but only when they adopted the Catholicism. Then they were provided with compensation for the military service, while those who remained Orthodox received none. As such, the entire population of Ruthenia was split into the privileged and non-privileged ones, and the latter were the Orthodox people of Ruthenia.[3]

Under Jagiełło's successor Władysław III of Varna (reigned 1434-1444) the Polonization which earlier took place more by force than by other means[12] attained a certain degree of subtlety. Władysław III introduced some more liberal reforms. He expanded the privileges to all Ruthenian nobles, irrespective of their religion, and in 1443 he signed a bull equalizing the Orthodox church in rights with the Roman Catholicism thus alleviating the relationship with the Orthodox clergy. These policies continued under the next king Casimir IV Jagiellon. Still, the mostly cultural expansion of the Polish influence continued since the Ruthenian nobility were attracted by both the glamour of the Western culture and the Polish political order where the magnates became the unrestricted rulers of the lands and serfs in their vast estates.

Some Ruthenian magnates like Sanguszko, Wiśniowiecki and Kisiel, resisted the cultural Polonization for several generations, with the Ostrogski family being one of the most prominent examples. Remaining generally loyal to the Polish state, the magnates, like Ostrogskis, stood by the religion of their forefathers, and supported the Orthodox Church generously by opening schools, printing books in Ruthenian language (the first four printed Cyrillic books in the world were published in Cracow, in 1491[2]) and giving generously to the Orthodox churches' construction. However, their resistance was gradually waning with each subsequent generation as more and more of the Ruthenian elite turned towards Polish language and Catholicism.

Still, with most of the educational system getting Polonized and the most generously funded institutions being to the west of Ruthenia, the Ruthenian indigenous culture further deteriorated. In the Polish Ruthenia the language of the administrative paperwork started to gradually shift towards Polish. By the 16th century the language of administrative paperwork in Ruthenia was a peculiar mix of the older Church Slavonic with the Ruthenian language of the commoners and the Polish language. With the Polish influence in the mix gradually increasing it soon became mostly like the Polish language superimposed on the Ruthenian phonetics. The total confluence of Ruthenia and Poland was seen coming.[13]

As the Eastern Rite Greek-Catholic Church originally created to accommodate the Ruthenian, initially Orthodox, nobility, ended up unnecessary to them as they converted directly into the Latin Rite Catholicism en masse, the Church largely became an hierarchy without followers. The Greek Catholic Church was then used as a tool aimed to split even the peasantry from their Ruthenian roots, still mostly unsuccessfully.[10] The commoners, deprived of their native protectors, sought protection through the Cossacks,[10] who, being fiercely Orthodox, tended also to easily turn to violence against those they perceived as their enemies, particularly the Polish state and what they saw as its representatives, the Poles and generally the Catholics , as well as the Jews.[14]

After several Cossack uprisings, especially the fateful Khmelnytsky uprising, and foreign invasions (like the Deluge), the Commonwealth, increasingly powerless and falling under the control of its neighbours,[15][16] started to decline, the process which eventually culminated with elimination of the Polish statehood in the end of the 18th century for the next 123 years.

While the Commonwealth's Warsaw Compact is widely considered an example of an unprecedented religious tolerance for its time,[17] the oppressive policies of Poland towards its Eastern Orthodox subjects is often cited as one of the main reasons that brought the state's demise.[18]

During all time of existing of Commonwealth Polonization in western part of country referred to rather small groups of colonists, like Bambrzy in Greater Poland.

Partitions (1795-1918)

Polonization also occurred during times when a Polish state didn't exist, despite the empires that partition Poland applied the policies aimed at reversing the past gains of Polonization or aimed at replacing Polish identity and eradication of Polish national group.[19][20][21][22]

The Polonization took place in the early years of the Prussian partition, where, as a reaction to the persecution of Roman Catholicism during the Kulturkampf, German Catholics living in areas with a Polish majority voluntarily integrated themselves within Polish society, affecting approximately 100,000 Germans in the eastern provinces of Prussia.[19]

According to some scholars the biggest successes in Polonisation of the non-Polish lands of former Commonwealth were achieved after the Partitions, in times of persecution of Polishness (noted by Leon Wasilewski (1917[23]), Mitrofan Dovnar-Zapolsky (1926[24])). Paradoxically, the substantial eastward movement of the Polish ethnic territory (over these lands) and growth of the Polish ethnic regions were taking place exactly in the period of the strongest Russian attack on everything Polish in Lithuania and Belarus.[25]

The general outline of causes for that is considered to include the activities of the Roman-Catholic Church[26] and the cultural influence exacted by the big cities (Vilna, Kovno) on these lands,[27] the activities of the Vilna educational district in 1800s—1820s,[28] the activities of the local administration, still controlled by the local Polish or already Polonised nobility up to the 1863—1864 January Uprising,[29] secret (Polish) schools in second half nineteenth to the beginning of the twentieth century (tajne komplety)[29] and the influence of the land estates.[29]

Following the demise of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in the end of the eighteenth century, the Polonization trends initially continued in Lithuania, Belarus and Polish-dominated parts of Ukraine as the initially liberal policies of the Empire gave the Polish elite significant concessions in the local affairs. Dovnar-Zapolsky notes[30] that the Polonization actually intensified under the liberal rule of Alexander I, particularly due to the efforts of Polish intellectuals who led the Vilnius University which was organized in 1802–1803 from the Academy in Vilna (Schola Princeps Vilnensis), vastly expanded and given the highest Imperial status under the new name Vilna Imperial University (Imperatoria Universitas Vilnensis).[31] By the Emperor's order, the Vilna education district overseen by Adam Czartoryski, a personal friend of Alexander, was greatly expanded to include the vast territories in the West of the Russian Empire stretching to Kiev in south-east and much of the Polish territory and the development of the University, which had no rival in the whole district, received the highest priority of the Imperial authorities which granted it significant freedom and autonomy.[31] With the effort of Polish intellectuals who served the rectors of the University, Hieronim Strojnowski, Jan Śniadecki, Szymon Malewski, as well as Czartoryski who oversaw them, the University became the center of Polish patriotism and culture; and as the only University of the district the center attracted the young nobility of all ethnicities from this extensive region.[31][32]

With time, the traditional Latin was fully eliminated from the University and by 1816 it was fully replaced by Polish and Russian. This change both affected and reflected a profound change in the Belarusian and Lithuanian secondary schools systems where Latin was also traditionally used as the University was the main source of the teachers for these schools. Additionally, the University was responsible for the textbooks selection and only Polish textbooks were approved for printing and usage.[32]

Dovnar-Zapolsky notes that "the 1800s – 1810s had seen the unprecedented prosperity of the Polish culture and language in the former Great Duchy of Lithuania lands" and "this era has seen the effective completion of the Polonization of the smallest nobility, with further reduction of the areal of use of the contemporary Belarusian language.[33] also noting that the Polonization trend had been complemented with the (covert) anti-Russian and anti-Orthodox trends.[34] The Lithuanian opposition to these development was quieted by various, sometimes even violent means.[32] The results of these trends are best reflected in the ethnic censuses in previously non-Polish territories.

The trends continued with the arrival of Napoleon in 1812. The Poles continued to occupy the most important positions in the Vilnius government of Lithuania and following the restoration of the Russian rule the central government policies changed little. Jan Śniadecki, who was promoted under Napoleon times to the rank of the Minister of Education and Cults retained his rectorship due to the Czartoryski's protection. As Alexander's plan to break Lithuania away from Poland through the restoration of the Grand Duchy became apparent, Sniadecki, supported by Czartoryski, who pretended to be faithful to Tzar, made the last-ditch effort to Polonize the young generation of Lithuanians by educating them as Poles that would join the ranks of the struggle for the independent and homogeneous Poland.[32]

Following the Polish November Uprising aimed at breaking away from Russia, the Imperial policies finally changed abruptly. The University was forcibly closed in 1832 and the following years where characterized by the policies aimed at the assimilationist solution of the "Polish question", the trend that was further strengthen following another unsuccessful January Uprising (1863).

In the 19th century, the mostly unchallenged Polonization trend of the previous centuries had been met staunchly by then "anti-Polish" Russification policy, with temporary successes on both sides, like Polonization rises in mid-1850s and in 1880s and Russification strengthenings in 1830s and in 1860s.[35] Any Polonization of the east and west territories (Russian and German partitions) occurred in the situation were Poles had steadily diminishing influence on the government. Partition of Poland posed a genuine threat to the continuation of Polish language-culture in those regions.[21] As Polonization was centered around Polish culture, policies aimed at weakening and destroying it had a significant impact on weakening Polonization of those regions. This was particularly visible in Russian-occupied Poland, where the Polish culture fared worst, as Russian administration gradually became strongly anti-Polish.[21] After a brief and relatively liberal early period in the early 19th century, where Poland was allowed to retain some autonomy as the Congress Poland puppet state,[36] the situation for Polish culture steadily worsened.

Second Polish Republic (1918-1939)

Decree on the official language on the annexed territory of Zaolzie (modern Czech republic) in 1938.
Idex of Jewish student in Poland with Ghetto benche seal, a policy, introduced under Pilsudski regime. Litvaks were accused of using Russian in public communication.[37]

By the times of Second Polish Republic (1918-1939) much of Poland's previous territory, which were historically mixed Ruthenian and Polish, had Ukrainian and Belorussian majorities.[38] Following the post-World War I rebirth of the Polish statehood, these lands became again disputed but the Poles were more successful than the nascent West Ukrainian People's Republic in the Polish-Ukrainian War of 1918. Thus, in the wake of the Poland's elimination of Ukrainian statehood attempt in Galicia (Eastern Europe) and Volhynia followed by the further westward expansion into Belarus – which the Russian SFSR succeeded to deter only to a degree – these territories ended up under the Polish control. Approximately one third of the new state's population was non-Catholic,[39] including a large number of Russian Jews who immigrated to Poland following a wave of Ukranian pogroms which continued until 1921.[40] The Jews were entitled by a peace treaty in Riga to choose the country they preferred and several hundred thousand joined the already large Jewish minority of the Polish Second Republic.[41]

How to deal with the non-Polish minorities was a subject of intense debate within the Polish leadership. Two ideas of Polish policy clashed at the time - a more tolerant and arguably less assimilationist approach advocated by Józef Piłsudski,[42] whose project of creating a Międzymorze federation with other states failed in the aftermath of the Polish-Soviet War, clashed with the eventually prevailing assimilationist approach advocated by Roman Dmowski (minister of foreign affairs) and Stanisław Grabski (minister of religion and education). Dmowski and Grabski saw the solution of the "minorities problem" in imposing "Polish values" (Polish language and the Catholic Church) on the minorities to achieve "national assimilation", i.e. to make them "Polish" within the "next generation".[43] On the other hand, Józef Piłsudski, a Polish chief of State who also controlled the army, supported "state" rather than "national" assimilation as a more practical approach.

As most of the Polish government was initially controlled by Roman Dmowski, National Democratic leader and a strong proponent of Polonization,[44] policies based on his views were implemented.[45] Dmowski is quoted as having said: "Wherever we can multiply our forces and our civilizational efforts, absorbing other elements, no law can prohibit us from doing so, as such actions are our duty."[46] Linguistic assimilation was considered by National Democrats to be a major factor for "unifying the state." For example, Stanisław Grabski, Polish Minister for Religion and Public Education in 1923 and 1925–1926, wrote that "Poland may be preserved only as a state of Polish people. If it were a state of Poles, Jews, Germans, Rusyns, Belarusians, Lithuanians, Russians, it would lose its independence again"; and that "it is impossible to make a nation out of those who have no 'national self-identification,' who call themselves 'local' (tutejszy).". Grabski also said that the aim of Polish policy should be "the transformation of the Commonwealth into Polish ethnic territory."[47][48] Some officials denied the existence of the Ukrainian and Belarusian nations altogether.

A law issued in 1924 banned usage of any language but Polish in governmental and municipal paperwork. It the area of public education it was postulated that state schools could be only Polish language schools.[43] Local populations could have private local language schools, but only in territories "loyal to the Polish state". Specifically with respect to the Eastern territories (known as Kresy Wschodnie, or "Eastern Borderlands") it was recognized that "schools can become an instrument of the cultural development in Eastern lands only if Polish teachers will work there". It turned out to be infeasible for implementation and, in particular cases, bilingual schools ("utraquist schools", szkoły utrakwistyczne) were proposed, while in reality those schools were functionally the Polish language ones.[43]

In internal politics, Piłsudski's reign marked a much-needed stabilization and improvement in the situation of ethnic minorities, which formed almost a third of the population of the Second Republic. Piłsudski replaced the National-Democratic "ethnic-assimilation" with a "state-assimilation" policy: citizens were judged by their loyalty to the state, not by their nationality.[43] The years 1926–1935 were favourably viewed by many Polish Jews, whose situation improved especially under the cabinet of Piłsudski’s appointee Kazimierz Bartel.[49] However a combination of various reasons, from the Great Depression,[43] through the Pisłudski's need for support from parties for the parliament's election[43] to the vicious spiral of terrorist attacks by Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists and government pacifications[43][50] meant that the situation continued to degenerate, despite Piłsudski's efforts.

Polonization of the economy was advanced by Polish statism. Lack of private capital in the country after the First World War, and later state interventions and takeovers of politically important sectors in the aftermath of the Great Depression, increasingly expanded the government economic sector. From 1931 on, the state industrial sector grew more rapidly than the private sector, however the Jewish minority was excluded from this sector of the economy. Even facing acute shortage of engineers, the responsible authorities preferred to leave positions vacant than fill them with Jewish experts [51] Jews were also excluded from local administrations. In Lublin, where Jews made up about 40% of the population, only 2.6% of municipal workers were Jews; in Warsaw 16% of the Poles, and only 0.8% of Jews, were employed in the state or public sectors [52]. Efforts to Polonize the economy also affected Jews employed in the private sector. Boycotts of Jewish businesses were instigated by National-Democratic groups such as the League of the Green Band (Liga Zielonej Wstążki). The Catholic Church and Polish government condoned this Polonization of the economy especially after the National Democrats gained control of the government in 1937.[53].

However, Polonization also created a new educated class among the non-Polish minorities, a class of intellectuals aware of the importance of schooling, press, literature and theatre, who became instrumental in the development of their own ethnic identities.[54]

Some scholars emphasize the importance of the interwar government's Polonization policies for the preservation of Polish statehood in the long term.[55]

Polonization in Western Belarus

The 1921 Treaty of Riga made between Polish Second Republic and Soviet Russia with Soviet Ukraine without any participation from Belarusian side left almost half of modern Belarus territories in the hands of Polish Second Republic. The government of Soviet Russia according to the text of the Riga treaty was acting "on behalf of Belarusian Soviet Socialist Republic" [56]. Additionally, according to Riga Treaty, Soviet Russia, acting on behalf of Belarus, received from Belarus three Eastern regions, which were returned to Belarus in 1924 and 1926.[57]

Determination of Poland's eastern border after World War I and Soviet-Polish War was deeply affected by the assumption of Polish nationalists that eastern Central Europe and considerable portions of Eastern Europe historically belonged to a Polish "linguistic and cultural space", a notion which was uncanny similar to German nationalist concept of Central Europe as a deutscher Sprach- und Kulturraum. [58] This Polish chauvinist national policy of assimilation and colonization in Western Belarus was met with armed and political resistance by Belarusians. [59][60][61][62][63]

Polonization policy by Poland in Western Belarus (1921-1939) involved:

Polish political terror in Western Belarus

Immediately after the occupation of Western Belarus, Polish authorities started repressions of local communists, Komsomol activists, Independent politicians, former Red Army soldiers and Soviet officials.[68] The Orders from regional commandant's offices and Gmina police stations give a clue on scale and methods of political shadowing. The order of regional Novogrudak police department issued on January 27, 1922, was directing to police stations in Paczapow, Rajczanow gminas, towns Haradzishcze and Tsaritsyno of Novogrudak region, to follow and observe for specific people who during Soviet offensive in Polish-Soviet War had been officials in revolutionary committees. Especially, the section II of the Polish General Staff (responsible for counter-intelligence), was carefully shadowing Belarusian refugees returning from Soviet Russia in 1919-1923.[68]

Political deprivations of rights were the subject of interappelations (requests) by Belarusian Senate Club in the Sejm of Poland. For example, Belarusian deputy Valitzky S. in his interappelation to the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Poland was demanding to stop regular beatings of arrested people in police stations, "accidental" murders of arrested in police stations, bribery of local officials responsible for Army recruitment.[69] Throughout the time of eradication of the most popular people's political party - Belarusian Peasants' and Workers' Union (the end of 1926- beginning of 1927) 946 individuals were arrested. Of them, 116 were sentenced by the Emergency tribunals to hanging, others were sent to prisons.

Polish repressions have further intensified after Hitler's coming to power in Germany. In 1934, Bereza Kartuska concentration camp was built in Pruzhany powiet of Polesie Voivodeship. According to incomplete data around 10 000 people had gone through concentration camp.[70] Within 1934-1936 only in Polesie Voivodeship 1064 were arrested.[68] Bereza Kartuska concentration camp has become a major penetentiary place to which those opposing Pilsudski dictatorship were directed. Poles numbered 43% of all prisoners, Jews - 33%, Ukrainians - 17%, Belarusians - 6%, Germans - 1%. [71] It should, however, be noted that a large number of Belarusians, Ukrainians and Lithuanians were officially considered as Poles in Pilsudski Poland, due to falsifications of population census by Polish authorities and issuing documents with Polish nationality to various population groups,for example to those confessing Catholicism.[59]

Polonization in Western Ukraine

Decree of Voivod of Wołyń Voivodeship Jan Krzakowski "On language in Volyn Voyevodstvo", setting Polish as the only state language in the territory of Volhynia (modern Ukraine) in 1921.

When the territories of Western Belarus, Western Ukraine and the Wilno region were incorporated into Poland after the Treaty of Riga, Poland rejected its international obligations to grant autonomy to eastern Galicia[21], which she had never intended to honor.[72]

Territories of Galicia and Volhynia had different backgrounds, different recent histories and different dominant religions. Until the First World War, Galicia with its large Greek Catholic Ukrainian population, was controlled by the Austrian Empire whose local policies were relatively pro-Ukrainian (Ruthenian) in an attempt to cement the Austrian control over the territories and prevent the political trends of population's leaning towards the rest of Ukrainians controlled by the Russian Empire. Such policies resulted in much stronger national self-perception among the Galicia Ukrainians. On the other hand, the Ukrainians of Volhynia, formerly of the Russian Empire, were largely Orthodox by religion, and were influenced by strong Russophile trends. Therefore, while the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church (UGCC), which functions in communion with the Latin Rite Catholicism, could have hoped to receive a better treatment in Poland, where the leadership saw Catholicism as one of the main tools to unify the nation, the Poles saw the predominantly Greek Catholic Galician Ukrainians as even less reliable than the Orthodox Volhynia Ukrainians and seen as good candidates for political assimilation. As such the Polish policy in Ukraine initially was aimed at keeping Greek Catholic Galicians from influencing Orthodox Volhynians.[43]

Due to the region's history the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church attained a strong Ukrainian national character, and the Polish authorities sought to weaken it in various ways. In 1924, following a visit with the Ukrainian Catholic believers in North America and western Europe, the head of the UGCC was initially denied reentry to Lviv for a considerable amount of time. Polish priests led by their bishops began to undertake missionary work among Eastern Rite faithful, and the administrative restrictions were placed on the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church.[73]

With respect to the Orthodox Ukrainian population in eastern Poland, the Polish government initially issued a decree defending the rights of the Orthodox minorities. In practice, this often failed, as the Catholics, also eager to strengthen their position, had official representation in the Sejm and the courts. Any accusation was strong enough for a particular church to be confiscated and handed over to the Roman Catholic church. The goal of the two so called "revindication campaigns" was to deprive the Orthodox of those churches that had been Greek Catholic before Orthodoxy was imposed by the tsarist Russian government.[74][75] 190 Orthodox churches were destroyed (some of the destroyed churches were abandoned[76] and 150 more were forcibly transformed into Roman Catholic (not Greek Catholic) churches.[77] Such actions were condemned by the head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, metropolitan Andrei Sheptytsky, who claimed that these acts would "destroy in the souls of our non-united Orthodox brothers the very thought of any possible reunion."[73]

The land reform designed to favour the Poles[78] in mostly Ukrainian populated Volhynia, the agricultural territory where the land question was especially severe, brought the alienation from the Polish state of even the Orthodox Volhynian population who tended to be much less radical than the Greek Catholic Galicians.[43]

The attitude of Ukrainians of that time is well shown in the statements by Ukrainian historian Mykhailo Hrushevsky, who noted negative influence of Polish policies on the Ukrainian culture: "the four centuries of Polish rule had left particularly destructive effects (...) economic and cultural backwardness in Galicia was the main "legacy of historical Poland, which assiduously skimmed everything that could be considered the cream of the nation, leaving it in a state of oppression and helplessness".[79]

Polonization in Lithuania

During the interwar period of the 20th century (1920-1939), Lithuanian-Polish relations were characterized by mutual enmity. As a consequence of the conflict over the city of Vilnius, and the Polish-Lithuanian War, both governments - in the era of nationalism which was sweeping through Europe - treated their respective minorities harshly.[80 ][81][82] In 1920, after the staged mutiny of Lucjan Żeligowski, Lithuanian cultural activities in Polish controlled territories were limited and the closure of Lithuanian newspapers and the arrest of their editors occurred.[83] One of them - Mykolas Biržiška was accused of state treason and sentenced to the death penalty and only the direct intervention by the League of Nations saved him from being executed. He was one of 32 Lithuanian and Belarussian cultural activists formally expelled from Vilnius on September 20, 1922 and deported to Lithuania.[83] In 1927, as tensions between Lithuania and Poland increased, 48 additional Lithuanian schools were closed and another 11 Lithuanian activists were deported.[80 ] Following Piłsudski's death in 1935, the Lithuanian minority in Poland again became an object of Polonisation policies with greater intensity. 266 Lithuanian schools were closed after 1936 and almost all Lithuanian organizations were banned. Further Polonisation ensued as the government encouraged settlement of Polish army veterans in the disputed regions.[84] About 400 Lithuanian reading rooms and libraries were closed in Poland between 1936 and 1938.[81] Following the 1938 Polish ultimatum to Lithuania, Lithuania re-established diplomatic relations with Poland and efforts to Polonize Lithuanians living in Poland decreased somewhat.

Post–World War II

Gravestone with removed German inscriptions in Gliwice (Southern Poland). Also visible is the changing of the name Karl into the polish Karol.

Ethnic Germans still living in the western territories gained by Poland (determined by Tehran Conference by Stalin in the aftermath of World War II - e.g. Silesia) were denied the use of their language in public by the Communist regime and they had to adopt the Polish language and citizenship to evade discrimination, expropriation and insult. Some 180,000 were sent to forced work camps like camp Tost, camp Potulice or camp Lamsdorf.[85] Their situation improved in 1950 with the Treaty of Zgorzelec between Poland and the GDR. Western Germany however did not recognize this agreement. Until 1953 there were 55 German basic schools and 2 higher German schools in Poland. The Germans enjoy a formally recognized status of an ethnic minority in modern Poland.

During Operation Vistula in 1947, the Ukrainian and Rusyn populations were deported from their historic territories in the south-east of Poland to northern areas of the territories awarded by the Allies to Poland in the post-war settlement. According to the order of the Ministry of Recovered Territories, "the main goal of the relocation of settlers "W" is their assimilation in a new Polish environment, all efforts should be exerted to achieve those goals. Do not apply the term "Ukrainians" towards the settlers. In cases when the intelligentsia element reaches the recovered territories, they should by all means be settled separately and away from the communities of the "W" settlers."[86 ]

Controversy over ethnicity of notable figures

As a consequence of the process of cultural Polonization, disputes occur as to the ethnicity of some notable persons such as Tadeusz Kościuszko, Adam Mickiewicz and Ignacy Domeyko, who are claimed as national celebrities by Poles, Belarusians and Lithuanians alike.


  1. ^ In Polish historiography, particularly pre-IIWW (E.g., L. Wasilewski. As noted in Смалянчук А. Ф. (Smalyanchuk 2001) Паміж краёвасцю і нацыянальнай ідэяй. Польскі рух на беларускіх і літоўскіх землях. 1864—1917 г. / Пад рэд. С. Куль-Сяльверставай. — Гродна: ГрДУ, 2001. — 322 с. ISBN 985-417-345-1. Pp.24, 28.), an additional distinction between the Polonization (Polish: polonizacja) and self-Polonization (Polish: polszczenie się) has been being made, however, most modern Polish researchers don't use the term polszczenie się.
  2. ^ a b Michael J. Mikoś, Polish Literature from the Middle Ages to the End of the Eighteenth Century. A Bilingual Anthology, Warsaw: Constans, 1999. First chapters online
  3. ^ a b Nataliia Polonska-Vasylenko, History of Ukraine, "Lybid", (1993), ISBN 5325004255, v.I, Section: "Ukraine under Poland"
  4. ^ Natalia Iakovenko, Narys istorii Ukrainy s zaidavnishyh chasic do kincia XVIII stolittia, Kiev, 1997, Section: 'Ukraine-Rus, the "odd man out" in Rzeczpospolita Obojga Narodow
  5. ^ "Within the [Lithuanian] grand duchy, the Ruthenian lands initially retained considerable autonomy. The pagan Lithuanians themselves were increasingly converting to Orthodoxy and assimilating into Ruthenian culture. The grand duchy's administrative practices and legal system drew heavily on Slavic customs, and Ruthenian became the official state language. Direct Polish rule in Ukraine since the 1340s and for two centuries thereafter was limited to Galicia. There, changes in such areas as administration, law, and land tenure proceeded more rapidly than in Ukrainian territories under Lithuania. However, Lithuania itself was soon drawn into the orbit of Poland." from Ukraine. (2006). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved June 3, 2006, from Encyclopædia Britannica Premium Service: [1]
  6. ^ Polonska-Vasylenko, Section: Evolution of Ukrainian lands in the 15th-16th centuries
  7. ^ "Transferred as a result of the Union of Lublin from the grand duchy of Lithuania to the more ethnically homogeneous Crown, Ukraine was “colonized” by both Polish and Ukrainian great nobles. Most of the latter gradually abandoned Orthodoxy to become Roman Catholic and Polish. These “little kings” of Ukraine controlled hundreds of thousands of “subjects”" from Wladyslaw IV Vasa in "Poland, history of". (2006). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved June 3, 2006, from Encyclopædia Britannica Premium Service: [2]
  8. ^ "Ukraine had flourished under Lithuanian rule, and its language became that of the state; but after the organic union of Poland and Lithuania in 1569, Ukraine came under Polish rule, enserfment of the Ukrainian peasants proceeded apace, and the Ukrainian Orthodox Church suffered persecution." from "Ukraine". The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. 2001-05.[3]
  9. ^ "The Uniate church was unsuccessful in gaining the legal equality with the Latin church foreseen by the agreement. Nor was it able to stem the process of Polonization and Latinization of the nobility. At the same time, the Union of Brest caused a deep split in the Ruthenian church and society. This was reflected in a sizeable polemical literature, struggles over the control of bishoprics and church properties that intensified after the restoration of an Orthodox hierarchy in 1620, and numerous acts of violence. Efforts to heal the breach in the 1620s and '30s were ultimately fruitless." from Ukraine. (2006). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved June 3, 2006, from Encyclopædia Britannica Premium Service: [4]
  10. ^ a b c d In 1596 the Union of Brest-Litovsk subordinated the Eastern Orthodox church of the Commonwealth to the papacy by creating the Eastern-rite (Uniate) church. Politically, this was intended to cement the cohesion of the state vis-à-vis Moscow; instead it led to internal divisions among the Orthodox. The new Eastern-rite church became a hierarchy without followers while the forbidden Eastern Orthodox church was driven underground. Wladyslaw's recognition of the latter's existence in 1632 May have come too late. The Orthodox masses—deprived of their native protectors, who had become Polonized and Catholic—turned to the Cossacks. from Wladyslaw IV Vasa in "Poland, history of". (2006). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved June 3, 2006, from Encyclopædia Britannica Premium Service: [5]
  11. ^ Orest Subtelny, Ukraine: A History, Second Edition, 1994, University of Toronto Press, pp. 89
  12. ^ "The new Polish king, the son of Jagello, Vladislav [Wladyslaw] named in history "of Varna" due to his death in the battle with Turks at Varna in 1444) curbed significantly the aspirations of Svidrigello [Švitrigaila] by his attitude to the Ruthenian people and the Ruthenian religion. Until that day [under Jagiello] the Poles captured power in Ruthenia by force [...] . Jagiello's successor, Wladyslaw (reigned from 1434), acted differently than his father, although with the same goals in mind. He expanded the privileges and liberties formerly available only to the Ruthenian nobles of the Latin religion to all Ruthenian nobles without exception. This marked the beginning of the reconciliation between Ruthenia and Poland..."
  13. ^ Kostomarov, "Ostrozhski"
  14. ^ (Russian) "Little Russian Hetman Zinoviy-Bogdan Khmelnytsky" (Bohdan Khmelnytsky) in "Nikolay Kostomarov's, "Russian History in Biographies of its main figures", [6]
  15. ^ William Bullitt, The Great Globe Itself: A Preface to World Affairs, Transaction Publishers, 2005, ISBN 1-4128-0490-6, Google Print, p.42-43
  16. ^ John Adams, The Political Writings of John Adams, Regnery Gateway, 2001, ISBN 0-89526-292-4, Google Print, p.242
  17. ^ The Confederation of Warsaw of 28th of January 1573: Religious tolerance guaranteed, part of the Memory of the World project at UNESCO.
  18. ^ Aleksandr Bushkov, Andrey Burovsky. Russia that was not - 2. The Russian Atlantis", ISBN 5-7867-0060-7, 5-224-01318-6
  19. ^ a b The Prussian-Polish Situation: An experiment in Assimilation by W.I. Thomas.
  20. ^ Various authors, The Treaty of Versailles: a reassessment after 75 years, Cambridge University Press, 1998, ISBN 0521621321, Google Print, p.314
  21. ^ a b c Roland Sussex, Paul Cubberley, The Slavic Languages, Cambridge University Press, 2007, ISBN 0521223156, Google Print, p.92
  22. ^ Mikhail Dolbilov, The Stereotype of the Pole in Imperial Policy: The "Depolonization" of the Northwestern Region in the 1860s, Russian Studies in History, Issue: Volume 44, Number 2 / Fall 2005, Pages: 44 - 88
  23. ^ Wasilewski L. (Wasilewski 1917) Kresy Wschodnie. — Warszawa: T-wo wydawnicze w Warszawie, 1917. p. VII as cited in (Smalyanchuk 2001), p.24.
  24. ^ (Dovnar 1926) pp.290—291,298.
  25. ^ "In times of Myravyov the Hanger", as noted in (Wasilewski 1917), p. VII as cited in (Smalyanchuk 2001), p.24. See also the note on treatment of Polonisation as self-Polonisation.
  26. ^ As noted in (Wasilewski 1917), p.42 as cited in (Smalyanchuk 2001), p.24. Also noted by Halina Turska in 1930s in "O powstaniu polskich obszarów językowych na Wileńszczyźnie", p.487 as cited in (Smalyanchuk 2001), p.25.
  27. ^ As noted in (Wasilewski 1917), p.42 as cited in (Smalyanchuk 2001), p.24.
  28. ^ (Dovnar 1926) pp.290—291,293—298.
  29. ^ a b c (Smalyanchuk 2001), p.28, (Dovnar 1926), pp.303—315,319—320,328—331,388—389.
  30. ^ Довнар-Запольский М. В. (Mitrofan Dovnar-Zapolsky) История Белоруссии. — 2-е изд. — Мн.: Беларусь, 2005. — 680 с. ISBN 985-01-0550-X, LCCN 20-500047
  31. ^ a b c Tomas Venclova, Four Centuries of Enlightenment. A Historic View of the University of Vilnius, 1579-1979, Lituanus, Volume 27, No.1 - Summer 1981
  32. ^ a b c d Rev. Stasys Yla, The Clash of Nationalities at the University of Vilnius, Lituanus, Volume 27, No.1 - Summer 1981
  33. ^ Dovnar-Zapolsky, pp.290-298.
  34. ^ Dovnar-Zapolsky, pp.293—296.
  35. ^ Dovnar-Zapolsky, pp.303—315,319—320,328—331.
  36. ^ Harold Nicolson, The Congress of Vienna: A Study in Allied Unity: 1812-1822 , Grove Press, 2001, ISBN 080213744X, Google Print, p.171
  37. ^ Celia Stopnicka Heller, On the Edge of Destruction: Jews of Poland Between the Two World Wars, 1993, Wayne State University Press, 396 pages, ISBN 0814324940, page 43.
  38. ^ THE REBIRTH OF POLAND. University of Kansas, lecture notes by professor Anna M. Cienciala, 2004. Last accessed on 2 June 2006. Quote:"there were large Polish minorities in what is today western Belarus, western Ukraine and central Ukraine. According to the Polish Census of 1931, Poles made up 5,600,000 of the total population of eastern Poland which stood at 13,021,000.* In Lithuania, Poles had majorities in the Vilnius [P. Wilno, Rus. Vilna] and Suwałki areas, as well as significant numbers in and around Kaunas [P.Kowno]."
  39. ^ "Poland['s] one third of population consisted of non-Poles, many of whom felt bitterly alienated from a state that had forcibly incorporated them into itself... [T]he Polish government felt it had little reason to negotiate terms of autonomy with minorities upon which it had already imposed its rule."
    Roshwald, Aviel (2001). Ethnic Nationalism and the Fall of Empires: Central Europe, the Middle East and Russia, 1914-1923. Routledge (UK). ISBN 0-415-24229-0.  
  40. ^ Arno Joseph Mayer, The Furies: Violence and Terror in the French and Russian Revolutions. Published by Princeton University Press, pg. 516 [7]
  41. ^ History of the Jews in Russia
  42. ^ Zbigniew Brzezinski in his introduction to Wacław Jędrzejewicz’s “Pilsudski A Life For Poland” wrote: Pilsudski’s vision of Poland, paradoxically, was never attained. He contributed immensely to the creation of a modern Polish state, to the preservation of Poland from the Soviet invasion, yet he failed to create the kind of multinational commonwealth, based on principles of social justice and ethnic tolerance, to which he aspired in his youth. One may wonder how relevant was his image of such a Poland in the age of nationalism.... Quoted from this website.
  43. ^ a b c d e f g h i Timothy Snyder, The Reconstruction of Nations: Poland, Ukraine, Lithuania, Belarus, 1569-1999, Yale University Press, ISBN 0-300-10586-XGoogle Books, p.144
  44. ^ Manfred F. Boemeke, Gerald D. Feldman, Elisabeth Glaser, The Treaty of Versailles: A Reassessment After 75 Years, Cambridge University Press, 1998, ISBN 0-521-62132-1, Google Print, p.314
  45. ^ Lonnie R. Johnson, Central Europe: Enemies, Neighbors, Friends
  46. ^ Tomaszewski J. Kresy Wschodnie w polskiej myśli politycznej XIX i XX w.//Między Polską etniczną a historyczną. Polska myśl polityczna XIX i XX wieku.—T.6.—Warszawa, 1988.—S.101. (Cited through: Oleksandr Derhachov (editor), "Ukrainian Statehood in the Twentieth Century: Historical and Political Analysis", 1996, Kiev ISBN 966-543-040-8)).
  47. ^ Anna Reid, Borderland: A Journey Through the History of Ukraine, Westview Press, 2000, ISBN 0-8133-3792-5, Google Print, p.106
  48. ^ Rogers Brubaker, Nationalism Reframed: Nationhood and the National Question in the New Europe, Cambridge University Press, 1996, ISBN 0-521-57649-0, Google Print, p.100
  49. ^ Feigue Cieplinski, Poles and Jews: The Quest For Self-Determination 1919-1934, Binghamton Journal of History, Fall 2002, Last accessed on 2 June, 2006.
  50. ^ Davies, God's Playground, op.cit.
  51. ^ Herbert Arthur Strauss "Hostages of Modernization: Studies on Modern Antisemitism, 1870-1933/39", Walter de Gruyter, 1993, p. 1084
  52. ^ Strauss, p.1050
  53. ^ Strauss, p.1083
  54. ^ Eugenia Prokop-Janiec, "Polskie dziedzictwo kulturowe w nowej Europie. Humanistyka jako czynnik kształtowania tożsamości europejskiej Polaków." Research group. Subject: The frontier in the context of Polish-Jewish relations. CBR grant: Polish cultural heritage in new Europe. Humanism as a defining factor of European identity of Poles. Pogranicze polsko-żydowskie jako pogranicze kulturowe
  55. ^ In an article written in 1968 for the fiftieth anniversary of Polish independence in 1918, and the emergence of the Polish Second Republic, Jan Nowak-Jeziorański wrote: "Even a large amount of staunch criticism of the Polish independence of the interwar period cannot overshadow the fact that the resurgence and rebuilding of the country was the biggest victory achieved by the Polish people in their history... The interwar period, short from the historical perspective, was by no means a finite episode. The twenty years of independence cemented Polish presence on the map of the world with such strength that no Hitler in collusion with Stalin in 1939, nor Stalin alone in 1945 were able to remove it again from among the European states... The biggest achievement of the interwar period for the sovereign Polish state was the making of a new generation of Poles, who proved themselves in a test of fire during World War II." Jan Nowak-Jeziorański , Na Antenie nr 68, dodatek do Wiadomości 47/1182, Londyn 24 listopada 1968. "11 listopada 1918", reprinted by THE SCROLLS, An Internet Cultural Periodical, 1997, ISSN 1496 - 6115
  56. ^ Photocopy of Polish text of the Riga Treaty made on March 18, 1921.[8]
  57. ^ Europa World Year, Book 1, Taylor & Francis Group, Page 713 [9]
  58. ^ Lonnie Johnson.Central Europe: enemies, neighbors, friends. Page 53.[10]
  59. ^ a b c d e f g David R. Marples. Belarus: a denationalized nation. Page 7.[11]
  60. ^ Eastern Europe. Tom Masters et al. Page 77.[12]
  61. ^ a b c d e f An Ethnohistorical dictionary of the Russian and Soviet empires. Edited by James S. Olson. Page 95.[13]
  62. ^ a b c d Patricia Levy,Michael Spilling. Belarus. Cultures of the world. Page 25.[14]
  63. ^ James Minahan. Miniature empires: a historical dictionary of the newly independent state. Page 39.[15]
  64. ^ a b c d e f g h i History of Belarus, "Ekoperspektiva", Minsk, (2006), ISBN 985-6598-12-2, ISBN 985-469-149-7 for Volume V, v.V, Pages 367-368
  65. ^ a b c d e f g h i Chigrinov P.G. Belarusian History, "Modern school", Minsk, (2010), ISBN 978-985-513-625-6, Pages 714-722
  66. ^ Marek Wierzbicki. Western Belarus in September 1939:Revisiting Polish-Jewish Relations in the kresy in Elazar Barkan, Elizabeth A. Cole, Kai Struve. Shared history - divided memory: Jews and others in Soviet-occupied Poland.[16]
  67. ^ Joanna B. Michlic. Poland's threatening other: the image of the Jew from 1880 to the present. Page 114.[17]
  68. ^ a b c History of Belarus, "Ekoperspektiva", Minsk, (2006), ISBN 985-6598-12-2, ISBN 985-469-149-7 for Volume V, v.V, Page 366.
  69. ^ Interappelations of Belarusian deputies in Sejm of Poland, Minsk, (1927), Pages 151-152.
  70. ^ Ladusev U.F. Communist party of Western Belarus as organizer of workers struggle for democratic rights and freedoms. Minsk, 1976, Page 24.
  71. ^ Sleszynski W. Oboz odosobnienia w Berezie Kartuskiej. 1934-1939. Bialystok, 2003, Page 52.
  72. ^ Roshwald, p. 144.
  73. ^ a b Magosci, P. (1989). Morality and Reality: the Life and Times of Andrei Sheptytsky. Edmonton, Alberta: Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies, University of Alberta.  
  74. ^ Paul R. Magocsi, A history of Ukraine,University of Toronto Press, 1996, p.596 [18]
  75. ^ "Under Tsarist rule the Uniate population had been forcibly converted to Orthodoxy. In 1875, at least 375 Uniate Churches were converted into Orthodox churches. The same was true of many Latin-rite Roman Catholic churches."[19] Orthodox churches were built as symbols of the Russian rule and associated by Poles with Russification during the Partition period[20]
  76. ^ The Impact of External Threat on States and Domestic Societie, Manus I. Midlarsky in Dissolving Boundaries, Blackwell Publishers, 2003, ISBN 1-4051-2134-3, Google Print, p.15
  77. ^ Subtelny, Orest (1988). Ukraine: A History. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. ISBN 0-8020-5808-6.  
  78. ^ Snyder, op cit, Google Print, p.146
  79. ^ C. M. Hann, Paul Robert Magocsi. Galicia: A Multicultured Land. University of Toronto, 2005. ISBN 0-8020-3781-X. Google Print, Page 85.
  80. ^ a b Żołędowski, Białorusini i Litwini..., p. 114
  81. ^ a b Makowski, Litwini..., pp.244-303
  82. ^ Fearon, James D.; Laitin, David D. (2006). "Lithuania" (pdf). Stanford University. pp. 4. Retrieved 2007-06-18.  
  83. ^ a b Čepėnas, Pranas (1986). Naujųjų laikų Lietuvos istorija. Chicago: Dr. Griniaus fondas. pp. 655,656.  
  84. ^ Fearon, James D.; Laitin, David D. (2006). "Lithuania" (pdf). Stanford University. pp. 4. Retrieved 2007-06-18.  
  85. ^ Włodzimierz Borodziej, Hans Lemberg, Unsere Heimat ist uns ein fremdes Land geworden... Die Deutschen östlich von Oder und Neiße. Dokumente aus polnischen Archiven, Herder Institut, Marburg 2000, ISBN 3-87969-283-1, Based on this review (German)
  86. ^ Роман Дрозд Явожно– трагічний символ акції «Вісла»

External links

Further reading

  • Subtelny, Orest (1988). Ukraine: A History. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. ISBN 0-8020-5808-6.  
  • Snyder, Timothy (2004). The reconstruction of nations: Poland, Ukraine, Lithuania, Belarus, 1569-1999. Yale University Press. ISBN 0-3001-0586-X.  
  • Davies, Norman (2005). God's Playground: A History of Poland, Vol. 1: The Origins to 1795. Columbia University Press. ISBN 0-2311-2817-7.  


Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary



Alternative spellings


Polonise +‎ -ation




Polonisation (plural Polonisations)

  1. (British) The process of Polonising.


Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address