Evidence of German Presence

WROCLAW | | polen

WROCLAW (Own report) - German right-wing extremists are politically exploiting government funded cultural events for the German-speaking minority in Poland. According to reports, members of the "Silesian Youth" recently established contacts in neighboring Poland during this year's "Cultural Festival of the German Minority" in Wroclaw. The "Silesian Youth" have been classified as right-wing extremist. Several of its leading members had been active members in currently banned neo-Nazi organizations. Another association of German right-wing extremists also called for participation at the festival. Earlier, "Silesian Youth" activists marched in a demonstration in Katowice demanding "autonomy for Upper Silesia." The Saxon regional section claims to be secretly taking care of former German cemeteries ("Evidence of German Presence in Silesia") as well as systematically expanding its relations to the German-speaking minority - in cooperation with a "relief organization" under the direction of a former activist of the neo-Nazi NPD.

German Culture

Activists of the "Silesian Youth" participated in this year's "Cultural Festival of the German Minority" held September 29, in Wroclaw, and according to reports, used the opportunity to establish new contacts to Poland's German-speaking minority. The festival has been taking place every third year since 2003, drawing several thousands of members of the German-speaking minority. Representatives of German resettled groups, who have close sentimental ties - as "Heimatvertriebene" (expellees from the homeland) to the "Heimatverbliebene" (those who remained in the homeland) also regularly, attend the festival. According to the event's organizer, the objective of the cultural festival is to put "the cultural riches of the German minority" on public display.[1] In addition, it promotes future cohesion within the minority and reinforces an orientation on Germany, whose General Consul in Opole contributed financially. The German national anthem was sung at the event. The report points out that the German ambassador attended the festival "up to the end," - "a great honor," says the organizer.[2] Also in attendance was a right-wing group that had split off from the German League of Expellees (BdV), whose leader has been convicted of relativizing the Shoah.[3] A certain "Owners Association - East," which seeks to have Polish property taken over by German "expellees" was also beating the drums for people to attend. (german-foreign-policy.com reported.[4])

Neo-Nazi Contacts

The Silesian Youth was founded in 1983 as the official youth organization of the "Homeland Association Silesia." Through advertizing for younger members, the homeland association sought to rejuvenate its aging organization, attracting a new generation of members, born long after resettlement. Over the past decade, the Silesian Youth has clearly made a right-wing development, even though some regional chapters have not followed. For example, the Bavarian regional chapter broke with the national organization in April 2008, declaring that in the latter, "extremist forces" were in action and "were challenging, to a certain extent, the German Constitution."[5] The Silesian Youth in Saxony and Thuringia are still the main activists. The German government officially accuses them of maintaining "links to the neo-Nazi milieu including to the NPD." As of May 2011, "leading officiating functionaries" had also been active "in the neo-Nazi 'Heimattreuen Deutschen Jugend' ('Homeland-Faithful German Youth')." The German government boasts possessing "concrete evidence" "that - emanating from the Thuringia Silesian Youth regional organization - right-wing extremists also exert influence on the Silesian Youth National Organization."[6] Independent research has confirmed contacts to neo-Nazis.

"Break with Warsaw!"

Activists of the Silesian Youth, who, for years, had limited themselves to "East Trips" as tourists to Poland, have now begun to engage in politics on Polish territory. The Silesian Youth from Saxony claim that they not only participated in the "Cultural Festival of the German-speaking Minority," but also in a demonstration July 14, 2012 in Katowice, where several thousands demanded "autonomy for Upper Silesia." The organizers are not Poles of the German-speaking minority, but rather activists of a movement that interprets the Polish-"Silesian" regional dialect to be evidence of a "Silesian" minority and therefore demands they be granted special rights - even including political autonomy. There are also German-speaking nationalists in this movement. The movement is said to be "un-Polish well organized" and is in constant growth, praises the Silesian Youth from Saxony. At the July 14 closing rally, messages of greetings from Germany and from separatists in Catalonia and Flanders were read. "Numerous consultations" had taken place and "many new friends" were made, according to the organization's webpage. "All the best, at 'Break with Warsaw,' See you again next year, promised."[7]

In the Cold of East Germany

According to the Silesian Youth from Saxony, they continue to be active in Poland, caring for "evidence of German presence in Silesia" - "even if this only means the cemeteries." They report, for example, having visited and provisionally repaired the ruins of a protestant cemetery of German graves "not far beyond the Neisse." "The infinite damage caused there by the pride of the Polish nation (...)" could not be completely "eradicated" on such short notice, but mitigated - with, for example, the restoration of a memorial to German soldiers killed in action.[8] Silesian Youth from Saxony also report on their various visits to members of the German-speaking minority, which they intend to intensify. In the "cold of East Germany" they made "Christmas donations" to some of the German-speaking Polish women, explicitly promising to "return more often" in the future.[9] In a self-portrait, the Silesian Youth from Saxony answer an objection from right-wing extremists - referring to regions of Poland - that "East Germany is in any case lost." They declare that "lost and dead is only that which is forgotten."[10]

"Germans Help Germans First"

According to their own account, the Silesian Youth from Saxony explain that thanks to Klaus Hoffmann, head of the "Freundschafts- und Hilfswerks Ost" ("Friendship and Relief Service East") their "Christmas donations" were made possible. Hoffmann - a former activist of the neo-Nazi NPD and "Gauführer" (district leader) of Lower Saxony's "Viking youth" (banned in 1994) - and his organization of 80 members, founded in 1991, regularly deliver "relief supplies" to the German-speaking minority in Poland. One of their objectives is to promote German courses. The motto inspiring Hoffmann's Friendship and Relief Service East's activities was listed by the government of Lower Saxony in the same breath with mottos of other extremist right-wing organizations, such as "The German Reich - Government in Exile" or "The Community of Faith of the intrinsic Germanic Way of Life."[11] Hoffmann's group's motto is "Germans help Germans first!" The organization, whose leader is officially classified a "right-wing extremist" by the Lower Saxony regional government, demands that German courses be systematically established in schools and pre-schools "for the preservation of the identity of the German ethnic community" in the "territories beyond the Oder and the Neisse [German/Polish border]." His organization is persistently on the road in Poland with this demand.

[1] Über das Festival; kulturfestival2012.wordpress.com
[2] Kleine Helden; www.vdg.pl
[3] Es handelt sich um Aktivisten der "Gemeinschaft deutscher Vertriebener" um Paul Latussek aus Thüringen.
[4] see also Proprietors in Waiting
[5] Info April 2008; www.schlesische-jugend-bayern.de
[6] Deutscher Bundestag, Drucksache 17/5725, 05.05.2011. See also Ostfahrten
[7] Unter Autonomen; www.schlesische-jugend.org
[8] Hofdienst, der I.; www.schlesische-jugend.org
[9] Weihnachtsüberraschung 2011; www.schlesische-jugend.org
[10] Oft gefragt; www.schlesische-jugend.org
[11] Niedersächsischer Landtag, Drucksache 16/4711