Zespół Pieśni i Tańca "Freundschaft" w Szczawnie-Zdroju (1952-1959)
The Song and Dance Ensemble „Freundschaft” in Szczawno Zdrój (1952–1959)
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The history of the Song and Dance Ensemble „Freundschaft”, with headquarters in Szczawno Zdrój, is among the last instances of participation of German population in the cultural life of Lower Silesia. The Ensemble was created on November 1, 1952 for the purpose of satisfying cultural needs of German population that remained in Poland following World War II. The Ministry of Culture financed it as it was intended as counterbalance to the popular amateur German song and dance ensembles, which the communist leadership found increasingly difficult to control. It was led by a Pole from Westphalia, Józef Klonowski and was comprised of both Poles and Germans. Their concerts were initially limited to Lower Silesia, they were later allowed to expand into Opole-Silesia and Western Pomerania. They were popular among the Polish population as well. The group had to cope with difficulties typical for the period, such as absurdities of the administrative restrictions, such as the regulation, which prevented them from acquiring their own means of conveyance. This forced the group to rent busesof the Car Communication Enterprise (PKS), which increased the incurred expenses. The Song and Dance Ensemble „Freundschaft” played a significant role in the cultural life of Lower Silesia, causing the Leadership of the Wałbrzych district and the city of Wałbrzych to defend it against disbandment, which nonetheless happened on December 31, 1959. It ceased to exist due to German members leaving as part of the initiative for reuniting separated families. The Ministry of Culture then used the financial backing, hitherto used to aid the Song and Dance Ensemble, to support the field units of the newly created German Socio-Cultural Society in Poland.
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