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  • 1921

Free yourself

from your Oppressors

Vote for Poland


This poster from Silesia in 1921 shows a man -- apparently Polish but there is no distinctive dress to identify him for certain -- carrying on his back three symbols of "German oppression."

On the left is an overweight Prussian Junker, that is the local squire who owned the land (including the land underwhich the coal deposits lay) and who traditionally dominated the political machinery.

The middle figure is the stereotypical Prussian officer and represents the hated conscription, as well as the military power which the state could use against recalcitrant citizens.

The third is a milk-toasty looking Catholic priest. Silesia was nearly 100% Catholic, but the Church had not responded institutionally to the wave of Catholic Polish immigration into the area . Few parishes were staffed with priests or nuns who could speak Polish. The Mass, of course, was in Latin, but sermons and religious instruction were in German. To many Polish nationalists, the Church thus appeared as even more of a tyrannt than the aristocracy and military.

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