The Cieslar Platform - the National Question in Zaolzie during the Stalinist Era
During the communist period the so-called Cieslar Platform remained the only programme for arranging national relations in a part of Tesin (Cieszyn) Silesia (Czechoslovakia) inhabited by a Polish minority. Its author was Pawel Cieslar, a representative of the Polish minority, a member of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia, and the author of several memorials containing postulates for national relations in an area inhabited by a Polish minority. Cieslar went on the assumption that the entire indigenous population, whose members used a local dialect, constituted a Polish population regardless of the nationality to which it formally admitted. The population polls, which not until the early days of the Czechoslovak state disclosed a predominance of the Czech population, did not reflect the actual state of things; Cieslar explained the declining number of Poles by stressing the impact of national oppression. The prime postulate of the Cieslar platform was to establish autonomy in the counties of Karviná (Karwina) and Cesky Tesin. Cieslar proposed, i.a. that the whole indigenous population should send children to schools with Polish as the language of instruction. Schools with Czech as the language of instruction, in which the Polish language would be regarded as a compulsory subject, would be intended only for newcomers. Cieslar envisaged his programme as a way of compensating wrongs and the only just solution. In 1950, Pawel Cieslar outlined his views to the Party authorities, upon the latter's behest, but did not announce them publicly. As a result of a decision made by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia at a county conference held in Cesky Tesin in April 1951, his 'platform' was falsely presented and condemned, and Cieslar was branded as a 'bourgeois nationalist'. Public opinion never became acquainted with the contents of the 'platform' and Cieslar was deprived of all his Party posts. In February 1952 he became excluded from the Party. The propaganda campaign aimed against him served the reinforcement of Party control over Polish minority organisations and the incorporation of youth organisations by their state counterparts.
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