THE SIGNIFICANCE OF RELIGION IN THE NATIONAL-POLITICAL ACTIVITY OF THE GERMANS IN THE SECOND REPUBLIC
Citizens of the Protestant creed constituted about 81% of all the Germans in Poland, while approximately 16% of the German minority were Roman Catholics, 1,3% represented the Mosaic persuasion, and around 1% was composed of members of the Free Churches and Protestant communities. One of the characteristic features of the Protestant faith was its organisational diversity. Protestants of the German nationality belonged to six Churches: two Lutheran, one Reformed, and three attended by the faithful of both confessions, with the Lutherans comprising a decisive majority. Assorted Churches, and in particular Protestant and Catholic, provided an opportunity for demonstrating national identity. It was precisely Church life which offered numerous occasions for activity conducted for the sake of national and political stands. The Protestants were decidedly superior as regards their political involvement, but they also disclosed greater regional differentiation. Emphasis must be placed on the vivid difference in the political involvement of the Protestant-Union Church (especially in Greater Poland and Pomerania) and the remaining Protestant Churches. The Union Protestants were unable to, or perhaps did not wish to accept the new reality in which they were no longer a ruling nation, and their Church - a privileged creed. On the other hand, intense national activity aimed at shaping German national awareness was pursued by Protestants and Catholics alike. Its consequences included the isolation of Germans of all confessions from Polish religious life. The rank of the Catholics for the national-political life of the Germans in Poland was indubitably lesser than that of the Protestants. This fact was the outcome of their total dependence upon the Polish Church administration as well as advanced assimilation and the ensuing feeling of facing threats. The resultant situation relegated the German Catholics to more or less defensive positions.
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