Uprooted: How Breslau Became Wroclaw during the Century of Expulsions

Uprooted: How Breslau Became Wroclaw during the Century of Expulsions

by Gregor Thum
     
 

ISBN-10: 0691152918

ISBN-13: 9780691152912

Pub. Date: 08/28/2011

Publisher: Princeton University Press

With the stroke of a pen at the Potsdam Conference following the Allied victory in 1945, Breslau, the largest German city east of Berlin, became the Polish city of Wroclaw. Its more than six hundred thousand inhabitants--almost all of them ethnic Germans--were expelled and replaced by Polish settlers from all parts of prewar Poland. Uprooted examines the

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Overview

With the stroke of a pen at the Potsdam Conference following the Allied victory in 1945, Breslau, the largest German city east of Berlin, became the Polish city of Wroclaw. Its more than six hundred thousand inhabitants--almost all of them ethnic Germans--were expelled and replaced by Polish settlers from all parts of prewar Poland. Uprooted examines the long-term psychological and cultural consequences of forced migration in twentieth-century Europe through the experiences of Wroclaw's Polish inhabitants.

In this pioneering work, Gregor Thum tells the story of how the city's new Polish settlers found themselves in a place that was not only unfamiliar to them but outright repellent given Wroclaw's Prussian-German appearance and the enormous scope of wartime destruction. The immediate consequences were an unstable society, an extremely high crime rate, rapid dilapidation of the building stock, and economic stagnation. This changed only after the city's authorities and a new intellectual elite provided Wroclaw with a Polish founding myth and reshaped the city's appearance to fit the postwar legend that it was an age-old Polish city. Thum also shows how the end of the Cold War and Poland's democratization triggered a public debate about Wroclaw's "amputated memory." Rediscovering the German past, Wroclaw's Poles reinvented their city for the second time since World War II.

Uprooted traces the complex historical process by which Wroclaw's new inhabitants revitalized their city and made it their own.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780691152912
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Publication date:
08/28/2011
Pages:
544
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.20(d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

A Note on Names xi

Prologue A Dual Tragedy xiii

The Destruction of Breslau xvii Poland's Shift to the West xxxi

Introduction 1

PART ONE: The Postwar Era: Rupture and Survival

Chapter One: Takeover 17

A Fait Accompli 17

The Mission of the Government Plenipotentiaries 20

"Noah's Ark" in Krakow 22

Poles and Russians-A Secret Hostility 29

Russians and Germans-An Unsettling Friendship 36

The Patriotic Reorganization of the Church 43

Chapter Two: Moving People 53

The Evacuation of the Germans 62 The Settlement of the Poles 65

The Resettlement Apparatus and the Migration of Peoples 74

Searching for Urban Settlers 89 The Ruralization of the City 98

Chapter Three: A Loss of Substance 105

Vandalism and the Great Fires 106

Soviet Dismantling 110

The "Szabrownicy" and the Black Market 118

Polish Dismantling 126

The Decay of Residential Housing 132

Chapter Four: Reconstruction 140

Wroc?aw between Provincial City and Bustling Metropolis 140

Momentum and Stagnation 143

Raising the Old Town from Its Ashes 153

1956 and a Changing Building Policy 160

PART TWO: The Politics of the Past: The City's Transformation

Chapter Five The Impermanence Syndrome 171

An Alien Place 173

A Motley Society 178

The Capital of Poland's

"Wild West" 181 Sitting on Packed Suitcases 186

Chapter Six Propaganda as Necessity 190

The Tradition of Polish Western Thought (My?l Zachodnia) 191

Nationalism and Communism in the People's Republic 194

The Advocates of Western Thought 198

The Phases of Propaganda 207

Language Conventions 212

The Success of Propaganda and the Requirements of the Time 215

Chapter Seven: Mythicizing History 217

The Land of the Piasts 222 Wroc?aw's Eternal Ties to Poland 227

Prussia's Conquest and Wroc?aw's Decline 229

A Bastion of Polishness 232

From Friedrich II to Hitler: German Continuities 236

The Pioneers of 1945 240

Migrations 241

Chapter Eight Cleansing Memory 244

Polonization: Places, Streets, and People 244

De-Germanization: Inscriptions, Monuments, Cemeteries 266

Chapter Nine The Pillars of an Imagined Tradition 288

A New Coat of Arms 294

The Power of Old Monuments and the Placelessness of New Ones 297

The Noisy Silence of Local Historiography 310

The Ritual of Commemoration 317

Chapter Ten: Old Town, New Contexts 323

Warsaw as a Model 325

The Sacralization of the Gothic 329

The Toleration of the Baroque 348

The Anti-Prussian Reflex 360

Historic Buildings and Forced Migration 372

PART THREE: Prospects

Chapter Eleven: Amputated Memory and the Turning Point of 1989 381

The City without a Memory 382 The Revolution in German-Polish Relations 385

The Fall of Communism and the Discovery of the Bourgeois City 393

Wroc?aw's Search for a New Local Identity 402

Appendix 1 List of Abbreviations 409

Appendix 2 Translations of Polish Institutions 411

Appendix 3 List of Polish and German Street Names 412

Notes 417

Sources and Literature 459

Map of Poland after the Westward Shift of 1945 494

Simplified Map of Wroc?aw Today 495

Index 497

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