Silesians


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Silesians

 

(Polish, Ślązacy; Czech, slezane), one of the West Slavic tribes from which the Polish and Czech peoples are descended. The Silesians are mentioned along with other “tribal” princedoms by the Bavarian Geographer of the ninth century. In contemporary Czechoslovakia and Poland the term “Silesians” refers to the inhabitants of Upper and Lower Silesia.

References in periodicals archive ?
Silesian Catholic expellees sometimes compared the spiritual plight of their community to grim portrayals of postwar German society as a whole, where the forces of modernization were steadily eroding communal bonds and rendering the population into a rootless, isolated, godless mass of individuals adrift in an uncaring world.
As they extolled the importance of rootedness in a homeland and warned of the dangers of displacement, at times Silesian Catholic expellees offered disturbing echoes of the Blut-und-Boden ideology in circulation during the Nazi era.
Another argument that repeatedly surfaced in Silesian Catholic discourse concerned the nature and effects of homesickness (Heimweh).
In one notable defense of homesickness, Johannes Kaps called attention to biblical examples of homesickness in order to reinforce the argument that it is entirely appropriate for Silesian Catholics to experience the same feelings.
A final theme one encounters in the discourse of Silesian Catholic expellees is the claim that through their suffering they have been called to witness to the religious significance of place in a world very much in need of the message.
"It is a general fact of life that one must stand at a certain remove from one's homeland in order to truly and fully comprehend its riches." (56) So noted Oskar Golombek, a priest of the Archdiocese of Breslau, who from his postwar base in Cologne served as one of the most prominent leaders of the Silesian Catholic community in exile until his death in 1972.
In the case of expelled Silesian Catholics, these motivations can be broken down into three interrelated categories: to preserve their psychic well-being, to advance their political interests, and to meet their religious needs.
To appreciate the psychic value of Silesia, it is important to keep in mind that most Silesian Catholic expellees arrived in West Germany with little more than the clothes on their backs.
Nicholas Church [in Ratibor] are found." (60) Ulitzka was one of thousands of Silesian Catholics who shared their memories of the homeland in expellee media organs and social gatherings in a collective effort to encourage each other and to assuage the wounds of exile.
Remembering the lost homeland served another purpose within the interior lives of Silesian Catholics: it enabled them to better cope with wartime guilt.
(66) In addition to its psychic utility, the Silesian Catholic discourse on homeland had political dimensions.
Silesian Catholic expellee leaders were often quite transparent about the political calculus embedded in their discourse on homeland.