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(Redirected from Germanization)

Germanisation as a verb means to expand the German language and culture.

It was the name given to the policy of Imperial Germany and Nazi Germany to expand the German language in areas populated by non-Germans. The means of the policy was eradication of non-German languages from public life and from the schools. In addition in 1885 the Prussian Settlement Commission financed from budget was set up to buy land from non-German hands and distribute it among German farmers. In 1908 the committee was entitled to force owners to sell the land. Other means included Prussian deportations 1888, deportation of non-Prussian nationals living in Prussia for longer times (mostly Poles and Jews) and the ban on building houses by non-Germans (Drzymala car). Forced Germanisation stimulated resistance, especially by self-education and solidarity between minority members.

Under the Nazi regime, Germanisation escalated, to the point of separating "racially acceptable" children from their families, and enculturating them as Germans. [1] ( In 1939 most of the minority activists were sent to concentration camps, minority children were forced to join Hitlerjugend therefore parents were afraid to speak with them minority language.

In wider sense, Germanisation refers to the process of acculturation of Slavic speakers, populating, after conquests in the early dark ages, areas of the modern eastern Germany to the line of Elbe. The process was performed by elimination of the leading group and pushing most of Slavic speakers into status of serfs yet in Middle Ages. In East Prussia, forced resettlements of the Prussia (Baltic), especially after the 1525 rebellion, contributed to the eventual extinction of the Prussian language in the mid-16th century. The same process happened in Bohemia after the 1620 defeat of Czech Protestants.

Germanisation encountered resistance (e.g. the Hussite movement) and was reverted by the national awakening that occurred in the 18th and 19th centuries in Bohemia, Moravia, Silesia, Lusatia and Slovenia.

In the German colonies, the policy of having German as official language led to the forming of German-based pidgins and creoles, such as Unserdeutsch.

Nazi era

With Nazi era years of minorities in Germany were counted. The obligatory membership in Hitlerjugend made dialogue between old and young next to impossible, while using other languages then German had been not warmly welcome by officials.


Oletzko County refers to historical East Prussia County with capital in Oletzko. The county was populated by Masurs, ethnic Polish group. In the process of Germanisation, the number of Polish-speaking people decreased.
1818 - over 90% of population
1852 - 65%
1861 - 58%
1890 - 46%
1900 - 33.5% (Prussian census)
1890 - 19%

In 1888, the Polish language was completely forbidden in schools of all levels.

See also

pl:Germanizacja de:Germanisierung


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