Verein für kaschubische Volkskunde w latach 1907–1914. Ludoznawstwo kaszubskie między niemieckością a polskością
Verein für kaschubische Volkskunde in the years 1907–1914. Kashubian ethnography between the German and the Polish
Verein für kaschubische Volkskunde, which operated for several years prior to the outbreak of WW I, is one of the most interesting episodes in the organisation of scientific life in West Prussia. The eastern province of Germany was inhabited by Poles, Germans and Kashubians. Kashubians inhabited mainly the rural areas of the regency of Gdansk and belonged to the poorest social strata. Their dialect resembled the Polish language, while their folklore attracted the interest of ethnographers and linguists. In 1907 a Pole, a teacher and a social activist from Wdzydze – Izydor Gulgowski, also known as Ernts Seefried-Gulgowski (1874–1925), and a German linguist Dr Friedrich Lorentz (1870–1937) set up the Society whose members were Germans, Poles and a few Kashubians. Its aim was to integrate and intensify the research on the culture of Kashubia. The Society seated in Kartuzy started to issue their own scientific journal Mitteilungen des Vereins für kaschubische Volkskunde and it contributed to the preservation of the relics of folk culture. However, in the period of national tensions and the increase in political aspirations of Poles, the activity of the Society gave rise to many political controversies. According to some German circles, particularly the ones connected with Ostmarkenverein, the activity of the Society led to the strengthening of Polishness. Some Polish-Kashubian political activists such as Dr Aleksander Majkowski used the increase in the activity and awareness among Kashubians for their own political purposes creating the Society of Young Kashubians (1912). The scientific and ethnographic questions were only a tool to execute national objectives. The article presents the structure of the Society, the source of its financing, scientific achievements on the basis of archival sources (the State Archive in Gdansk), the press and journalism. The author analyses the reasons for different attitudes of its prominent members such as I. Gulgowski, a social activist influenced by the thinker Heinrich Sohnrey, the scientist Lorentz and the politician Aleksander Majkowski.