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BKGE | Projects | Ancestral Homeland Movement throughout Silesia

The 'Ancestral Homeland Movement throughout Silesia' and the 'Greater Frisian Movement' from the 1920-1930s - a comparison of two ethno-nationalist movements

This research project, which will be completed through a post-doctoral thesis at the Carl von Ossietzky University, Oldenburg, is investigating two regional ethnic groups that emerged around 1925 in two quite separate geographical areas of Europe.

The "Ancestral Homeland Movement throughout Silesia" brought together German politicians, creative artists, scientists and regional activists from Prussian Silesia and the German minority in Czechoslovakia. It led to the organisation of the "Silesian Cultural Weeks" between 1925 and 1933 as well as the publication of the "Silesian Yearbook" as a joint series of publications.

Running parallel to this organisation was the "Greater Frisian Movement", for which representatives from North Friesland, East Friesland and the province of Friesland/Fryslân in the Netherlands gathered for "Frisian Conferences" in 1925, 1927, 1930 and 1937.

At the time, both movements had the particularly virulent idea of "cultural origin" as an underlying concept, which not only reached beyond national borders but also influenced questions of international politics. Both groups promoted a claim to exclusivity. Both were actively involved in the general concept of being German national ethnic organisations and, as such, were also involved in the imperial politics behind such organisations. As a consequence, they also came into conflict with the diplomatic interests of Warsaw, Prague, The Hague and Copenhagen.

The project aims to assess the similarities and the differences between the two movements from a comparative perspective and using a methodological combination of political and cultural-historical paradigms. In order to achieve this, extensive research will be undertaken in German, Polish, Czech, Netherlands and American libraries and archives.

Project Manager: Dr Tobias Weger

Bundesinstitut für Kultur und Geschichte des östlichen Europa
Johann-Justus-Weg 147a | 26127 Oldenburg
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