The German minority in Silesia and contemporary German-Polish relations

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference proceeding contribution


National minorities and their relations with majority populations represent one of many unresolved issues in the process of European integration, given a new impetus and range by the dissolution of the Soviet bloc and the extension of the European Union to include several central and eastern European (CEE) countries. One case that this encompasses is the ethnic German population in Poland, concentrated especially in the south-western region of Silesia/Schlesien/Slaskie. While ethnicity is still the principal criterion for social and political division or discord it is not exclusive. Divergence along ethnic-national lines is joined—and perhaps diluted—by intra-German and intra-Polish squabbles. Financial matters have been a focus of disagreement between the German minority and the German state. A continued reduction of funding from the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) may animate ethnic-national tensions even as the German state seeks to promote Silesia as a ‘European’ region and the German minority as a ‘bridge-building’ group. Conversely, a dependence on external assistance suggests that historical animosity between Germans and Poles may be submerged rather than exorcised.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication13th International Conference of Europeanists
Number of pages20
Publication statusPublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes
Event13th International Conference of Europeanists - Chicago, United States
Duration: 14 Mar 200216 Mar 2002


Conference13th International Conference of Europeanists
CountryUnited States

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    Wood, S. (2002). The German minority in Silesia and contemporary German-Polish relations. In 13th International Conference of Europeanists