Memory, Identity and Poland's German Minority

in German Politics and Society

This paper seeks to offer an assessment of the nature of identity among Poland's German minority and to investigate why since 1950 large numbers of that minority have migrated to Germany. It does so by examining the nature of identity in the historic Polish-German borderlands, by recounting the experiences of those Germans who remained behind in Poland after the post World War Two expulsion process was completed in 1949, and by examining the continued salience of negative stereotypes of Germans and Germany among elements of Polish society. The paper highlights a number of salient factors of importance for members of the minority in deciding whether or not to stay in Poland or to migrate to Germany.