Łódzcy Niemcy – fragment pejzażu „ziemi obiecanej”. Problemy badawcze
THE GERMANS IN LODZ – FRAGMENTS OF “THE PROMISED LAND’S” LANDSCAPE. THE RESEARCH PROBLEMS
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The article discusses the situation of the descendants of the Germans from Lodz, their lifestyle and attitude to their own heritage and roots. It also shows how the Lodz authorities commemorate the multi-ethnic past of the city, and what is the contemporary Lodzians’ level of knowledge of the German community living in the city nowadays. The materials and data used in the article were collected in 2009–2010 in the course of the research sponsored by the Town Council of Lodz. In its first part, the article focuses on the town’s memory policy and the inter-cultural relations, which have taken place there over the years between Germans and other communities, as seen from the perspective of local Germans. The second part of the article analyses how the local German community is perceived by the Polish inhabitants of Lodz, and to what extent their image is influenced by stereotypical concepts of the Germans in general. It seems that Lodz inhabitants’ knowledge on the post-war situation of German minority in their city is very poor. It appeared that the majority of interlocutors did not express their opinions on local Germans, but on the Germans in general. Direct questions about Lodz Germans caused associations mainly connected with the times of “The Promised Land’’ – the period in history when German settlers created and stood for the “Industrial Empire’’ in Lodz. Sadly, the Lodzians’ awareness of the contemporary German minority living in Lodz was marginal. What is interesting though, both examined age groups: the older one (Lodzians born between 1945 and 1960) and the youngest one (those born in 1989–1990) responded similarly. The lack of knowledge of the younger people who indicated school as their source of information, alarmed the authors and pointed their attention to the relation between this fact and the existing educational system. To conclude this part of research, it can be stated that the school education in the town taking pride in its long-term multi-cultural tradition is on very low level. It is definitely insufficient in terms of teaching the young generation both the history and present life of all the ethnic minorities, in particular German one, living side by side with them.
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