Let’s Look at Poland

Let’s Look at Poland

The original

So far in this investigation of Polish/German genetics, we’ve focused almost entirely on the German side of the picture, so today I’d like to pause and learn a bit about Poland.

I have a certain fondness for Poland, born of Polish-American friends and Polandball comics.

Humans have been living in [the area that is now-called] Poland for longer than H. sapiens has been around. (H. erectus and neanderthalis lived there, first.)

We’re not sure exactly what language(s) were spoken by the various tribes in [what is now] Poland, [henceforth refererd to as “Poland” for simplicity’s sake,] during the Bronze Age and before, simply because they left no written records and had very little contact with the literate peoples of Greece and Rome, who could have written about them.

Recreation of the Biskupin fort, Lusatian Culture, Poland

As we’ve discussed before, the idea that everyone outside of Classical Greece and Rome lived in rude barbarism is probably a bit wrong; pre-literate, bronze-age Europe had long-distance trade, pleasant villages, art, and luxury goods.

One of the more prominent goods produced local area was amber, gathered on the shores of the Baltic and traded to places like Greece, Rome, and Spain in exchange for copper and tin (necessary for making bronze.)

We’re still not sure exactly when and how the Indo-European languages spread to Europe, but the Corded Ware Culture, culturally and genetically Indo-European, appeared in Poland (and elsewhere) around 3,000 BC. It was later replaced by various other cultures like the Lusatians, who probably also spoke Indo-European languages.

The Slavic languages appear to have started differentiating around 2,800 BC in modern Ukraine and proceeded to spread out from there. The modern Slavic languages are divided into East (Russian, Belarussian, Ukrainina,) West (Polish, Czech, Slovak,) and South (Slovene, Croatian, Serbian, Macedonian, Montenegrin, Bosnian, Bulgarian, etc.)

According to Wikipedia:

Western historians refer to the period of migrations that separated Antiquity from the Middle Ages in Europe as the Great Migrations or as the Migrations Period. …

The first phase, from 300 to 500, saw the movement of Germanic, Sarmatian and Hunnic tribes and ended with the settlement of these peoples in the areas of the former Western Roman Empire. …

The second phase, between 500 and 900, saw Slavic, Turkic and other tribes on the move, re-settling in Eastern Europe and gradually making it predominantly Slavic.

Back row: A. Piccard, E. Henriot, P. Ehrenfest, E. Herzen, Th. de Donder, E. Schrödinger, J.E. Verschaffelt, W. Pauli, W. Heisenberg, R.H. Fowler, L. Brillouin;
Middle Row: P. Debye, M. Knudsen, W.L. Bragg, H.A. Kramers, P.A.M. Dirac, A.H. Compton, L. de Broglie, M. Born, N. Bohr;
Front Row: I. Langmuir, M. Planck, M. Skłodowska-Curie, H.A. Lorentz, A. Einstein, P. Langevin, Ch.-E. Guye, C.T.R. Wilson, O.W. Richardson

In other words–and I wager this is probably a pretty controversial claim–archaeologists think there may have been Germanic-speaking tribes in Poland prior to the fall of the Roman Empire, and Slavic-speaking tribes moved into the area.

Poland itself is named for the Polans, a Slavic tribe that inhabited the area in the 700s.

In 1867, double-Nobel Prize winner Marie Curie was born in Warsaw. (The Curie family has collectively won 5 Nobels, though one of these was a Peace Prize, meaning the Curie family alone has won more Nobel prizes than the majority of countries in the world.)

Modern Poland is a lovely country stocked with the survivors of some of the 20th century’s worst atrocities:

Under the two occupations, Polish citizens suffered enormous human and material losses. It is estimated that about 5.7 million Polish citizens died as a result of the German occupation and about 150,000 Polish citizens died as a result of the Soviet occupation. Ethnic Poles were subjected to both the Nazi and Soviet persecution. The Jews were singled out by the Germans for a quick and total annihilation and about 90% of Polish Jews.(close to three million people) were murdered. …

About 16 of Polish citizens lost their lives in the war,[44][45] most of the civilians targeted by various deliberate actions. The German plan involved not only the annexation of Polish territory, but also a total destruction of Polish culture and the Polish nation (Generalplan Ost).

The long-term Nazi plan, as I understand it, was to kill all the Slavs.

After WWII, about 12 million ethnic Germans fled or were kicked out of eastern Europe (no real surprise). As for Poland:

A 2005 study by the Polish Academy of Sciences estimated that during the final months of the war, 4 to 5 million German civilians fled with the retreating German forces, and in mid-1945, 4.5 to 4.6 million Germans remained in the territories under Polish control. By 1950, 3,155,000 had been transported to Germany, 1,043,550 were naturalized as Polish citizens and 170,000 Germans still remained in Poland.[123]:455–60,466

This is depressing material, but obviously relevant to our original question of Polish-German genetic similarity, as such flight/expulsions are likely to drive the existing populations apart. But we’ll look closer at the genetics in the next post.

9 thoughts on “Let’s Look at Poland

  1. “The long-term Nazi plan, as I understand it, was to kill all the Slavs.”

    Actually no. Nazi’s plan was to destroy the nations: For Poles, the “valuable human material” would be absorped into German nation, and the rest would be turned into perpetual serfs, source of cheap labour. Whenever some “valuable” child would be identified, it would be transferred to German families and raised as a German. It’s hard to say actually, because sometimes some plan state about deporting all Slavs east of Ural, and some are saying about some Slavs staying in GG, without any proper education, encouragement of abortions and alcoholism. During war about 200 thousand POlish children were kidnapped, only 30 thousand were returned to their families after war. Unknown number perished, as special commission examining children could decide that the children were “racially worthless” after all and then they would be sent for extermination.


    In short, if Nazis would succeed, I would be killed in some of the numerous intelligenzaktions, while my blue-eyed, above-average intelligent children would be kidnapped and raised as Germans. And if you are blue-eyed, blonde German, there is small chance you are in fact descendant of some Polish kid kidnapped from Zamość area or during the Heu-aktion.


  2. >In other words–and I wager this is probably a pretty controversial claim–archaeologists think there may have been Germanic-speaking tribes in Poland prior to the fall of the Roman Empire, and Slavic-speaking tribes moved into the area.

    An example I recently ran into:

    Just as the Iliad has a list of all the peoples participating in the story’s fight against Troy, so the Song of Roland has a list of all the peoples who join the story’s fight against al-Andalus. I got interested and looked all of them up. One was the Burgundians.

    They are believed to have originated in Scandinavia, lived in what’s now Poland during the time of the Roman Empire, and then during the Volkerwanderrung moved to what’s now the borderlands of France/Italy/Switzerland.

    Sidonius Apollinaris, the Gallo-Roman who lived through the Roman withdrawal from Gaul, on the newly arrived Burgundians:

    To Catullinus, Senator:

    Why–even supposing I had the skill–do you bid me compose a song dedicated to Venus the lover of Fescennine mirth, placed as I am among long-haired hordes, having to endure German speech, praising oft with wry face the song of the gluttonous Burgundian who spreads rancid butter on his hair? Do you want me to tell you what wrecks all poetry? Driven away by barbarian thrumming the Muse has spurned the six-footed exercise ever since she beheld these patrons seven feet high. I am fain to call your eyes and ears happy, happy too your nose, for you don’t have a reek of garlic and foul onions discharged upon you at early morn from ten breakfasts, and you are not invaded even before dawn, like an old grandfather or a foster-father, by a crowd of giants so many and so big that not even the kitchen of Alcinous could support them.


    I’m not aware of any controversy about the Burgundians’ movements, but maybe the generalists have some. Either due to unsubstantiated emotional reasons (at worst), or general knowledge the Burgundian specialists aren’t aware of that make it seem less likely (at best).


    • If any controversies exist, I assume they’re due to people being sensitive to Nazi propaganda on the matter, not obscure Roman writings about Burgundians. I try to avoid stumbling into other peoples’ nationalist controversies because they just result in cranky people.


  3. Polish Pyramids: Ruins of Megalithic Tombs from the Time of Stonehenge Discovered in Poland

    german tribes VS. tribes Veneti ( Slavs)

    Germans lived primarily in Asia, in the vicinity of Samarkand. Hence the Caspian steppes, upland Eastern European, Valdai reached the Baltic Sea. In a further hike from the shores of the Gulf of Finland they infiltrated the ice on the Åland Islands and the Gulf of Bothnia – on the Scandinavian Peninsula in a very sparsely populated area Sigtuna, Uppsala and Birka, which became their new place of residence. On infested land they encountered incomprehensible names of rivers, which added Germanic explanation ie. – “An”, “au”, “elf” (stream, river), which also provides for their strangeness in the area of ​​Scandinavia. Soon they took significant little use for agriculture areas. Harnessing the Finno-Ugric, Slavic, or local Lappish small number of the population, caused an increase in the number and strength of the Germans and led, thanks to the peace and seclusion of these lands north to overcrowding poor food land.

    Difficult climatic conditions and food economy and forced to find new places to settle for the rapidly increasing number of the tribe, and plundering expeditions – to discipline and obedience. In the sixth century. Before n. Christ, they tried to colonize the island and very rarely populated northern part of the peninsula called Jutland today “, which began the expedition to Western Europe. They mention the source Latin: “Gens Germaniae inter Rhenum, Moesium, Danuwium incolens, oriunda et Profect ex Chersoneso Cimbrica; Aednorum fines populantur, cum Ariowisto adwersus Caesar pugnant “- that means” people of Germanic residing between the Rhine, Main, Danube rivers, coming in fact from Kherson Cymbricum … (Jutland). ”
    Germans march east stop the powerful state of Croats (Veneti), covering the western basin of the river Elbe. What he described the two thousand years ago Vibius Sequester words: “Albis Germans Suewos a cervetiis dividit”
    ie. “Elbe Germanic Slavs of Croats separates.” Also, a message that confirms the end of the sixth century. Teofylakt Simokalta wrote that the headquarters of the Slavs reached the North Sea.
    Extremely important testimony Veneti living in northern France, even in the first century. BC is a document written by Gaius Julius Caesar p. T. “Commentarii de bello Gallico”, ie., “Report on the Gallia war .” He wrote them as commander-in-chief of the Roman army that conquered GALJA (later France). It states that the Veneti living in northern areas of Gaul from the river Loire to the Seine on the coast of the Channel and the Atlantic Ocean, call themselves in their own language Aremoricae (are – at, more – sea). This Pomeranians. And so the name Pomeranians- Slavs contrary to what was already known two thousand years ago. Coast of this land called Caesar Venetian. It further states that:

    “The tribe has the greatest significance for the whole sea coast in these parts, because Wenetowie have a lot of ships, which used to sail to Britain, and the knowledge and experience of sailing over other tribes.”

    With nautical and military skills Pomeranians Slavs persisted for a long time in Brittany under the rule of the Celts and then the Romans. There can therefore be no question of backwardness and savagery of Slavic tribes in antiquity, as it represent some historians.

    It should be noted that the name – Veneti is understandable Polish name of the tribal people originally inhabiting central Europe, ie. Before the arrival of the Germans to Scandinavia. The name is mentioned in the earliest descriptions of the ancient peoples of Europe.


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