|1.5 - 2,0
|Related ethnic groups|
Polish minority in Germany, is the second largest Polish minority (Polonia) in the world and the biggest in Europe. Estimations of the number of Poles living in Germany vary from 1.5 million to about 2 million and with up to three million people living that might be of Polish descent, although many of them have lost their ancestors' identity. The main Polonia organisations in Germany are the Union of Poles in Germany and Congress of Polonia in Germany. Polish surnames are relatively common in Germany, especially in the Ruhr area (Ruhr Poles) and among Silesians. Minority rights for Poles in Germany were revoked by Hermann Göring's World War II decree of 27 February 1940, and their property was confiscated. The official minority status of Poles has never been restored in Germany.
Since the Partitions of Poland in 1772, 1793 and 1795 and Poland's partial incorporation into Prussia, a large Polish ethnic group existed inside Prussia's borders, especially in the new provinces of Posen and West Prussia.
During the late 19th century rapid industrialization in the Ruhr region attracted about 300,000 Poles, especially from East Prussia, West Prussia, Poznan, and Silesia. Silesia. They comprised about 30% of the Ruhr area population by 1910. Kashubians and Masurians also came. Participants in this migration are called the Ruhrpolen.
After 1870 the Poles were under an increasing pressure of Germanization, and the Kulturkampf attacked their Catholic Church. Most Catholic bishops were imprisoned or exiled. The teaching language which had previously been Polish in the predominantly Polish-speaking areas in Prussia was replaced by German as teaching language, even in religious education where Polish priests were replaced by German teachers. However, these Germanization policies were not at all successful. In contrast, it led to the political awakening of many Poles and to the establishment of a wealth of Polish economic, political and cultural associations which were aimed at preserving Polish culture and Polish interests, especially in the Province of Posen and in the Ruhr area. The policy of forced cultural Germanization alienated large parts of the Polish-speaking population against the German authorities and produced nationalistic sentiments on both sides.
After the First World War, the predominantly Polish provinces had to be ceded to the newly created Polish Republic. Polish-speaking minorities remained especially in Upper Silesia and parts of East Prussia. During Weimar Republic, Poles had the judicial status as a national minority in Upper Silesia under the auspices of the League of Nations (likewise the German minority in the Polish Silesian Voivodeship. After the rise of the Nazis, all Polish activities were systematically constrained. However, in August 1939, the leadership of the Polish community was arrested and interned in the Nazi concentration camps of Sachsenhausen and Buchenwald. On 7 September 1939, shortly after the outbreak of World War II, the Nazi government of the 3rd Reich stripped the Polish community in Germany of its minority status. This was formally confirmed by Hermann Göring's decree of 27 February 1940.
Today the German government does not recognize Poles in Germany as a national minority, thus not recognizing a right of self-determination for the group, claiming their recent origin due to immigration within the past two centuries After Poland joined the European Union, several organisations of Poles in Germany attempted to restore the pre-war official minority status, particularly claiming voidness of the Nazi decree. While the initial memorandum to the Bundestag remained unanswered, in December 2009 the Minority Commission of the Council of Europe obliged the German government to formally respond to the demands within four months.
See also 
- German minority in Poland
- Union of Poles in Germany
- List of notable Germans of Polish origin
- Association of National Minorities in Germany
- (German) Erstmals mehr als 16 Millionen Menschen mit Migrationshintergrund in Deutschland Statistisches Bundesamt Deutschland (German text about migrants in Germany)
- (Polish) Raport o sytuacji Polonii i Polaków za granicą 2009. Ministerstwo Spraw Zagranicznych 2009. p. 177, ISBN 978-83-89607-81-2
- "Ausländische Bevölkerung: Fachserie 1 Reihe 2 - 2011". Statistisches Bundesamt Deutschland. 31.12.2011. Retrieved 4 January 2013.
- prof. dr hab. inż. Piotr Małoszewski, "Sytuacja Polaków w Niemczech w zakresie dostępu do nauki języka ojczystego".
- "Nazistowskie prawo wciąż dyskryminuje Polaków", Polska Agencja Prasowa
Further reading 
- Cyganski, Miroslaw. "Nazi Persecutions of Polish National Minorities in the Rhineland-Westphalia Provinces in the Years 1933-1945," Polish Western Affairs (1976) 17#12 pp 115-138
- Fink, Carole. " Stresemann's Minority Policies, 1924-29," Journal of Contemporary History (1979) 14#3 pp. 403-422 in JSTOR
- Kulczycki, John J. School Strikes in Prussian Poland 1901-1907: The Struggle over Bilingual Education (1981)
- Kulczycki, John J. The Polish Coal Miners' Union and the German Labor Movement in the Ruhr, 1902-1934: National and Social Solidarity (1997)
- Kulczycki, John J. The Foreign Worker and the German Labor Movement: Xenophobia and Solidarity in the Coal Fields of the Ruhr, 1871-1914 (1994)
- Riekhoff, Harald von. German-Polish Relations, 1918-1933 (1971).
- Sobczak, Janusz. "The Centenary Of Polish Emigration To Rhineland-Westphalia," Polish Western Affairs (1970) 11#1 pp 193-198.
- Wynot, Edward D. "The Poles in Germany, 1919-139," East European Quarterly, 1996 30#2 pp 171+ online broad overview
- Polonia in Germany
- Web site of Polish community in Germany
- Andrzej Kaluza, Zuwanderer aus Polen in Deutschland
- Sebastian Nagel, Zwischen zwei Welten - Kulturelle Strukturen der polnischsprachigen Bevölkerung in Deutschland Analyse und Empfehlungen