Post WW1 Polish citizenship #galicia


Peter Barber <peter_barber@...>
 

I hope I might be allowed to add a little 'hard' information. My family
originated in Galicia, but moved to Austrian Silesia (now in the Czech
Republic) in 1880 when my grandfather and his younger brother were still
quite small. Officially, though, they remained registered ('zustaendig') in
Dankowice in what in 1918 became Poland.

I suspect that the details of the provisions relating to nationality change
in the Versailles treaties did not receive much publicity in the area of the
former monarchy and that decisions about nationality were not taken when
there was the opportunity. It was only some years later that both
brothers became aware of the consequences of having acquired or been
allocated Polish citizenship. They had both lost their livelihoods in the
wake of the fall of the Monarchy (my grandfather's Tabaktrafik was handed
over to a Czech and a Czech replaced his brother as manager of a state
enterprise). >from the early 1920s onwards both desperately and repeatedly
tried to obtain Czech citizenship in order to be better placed when trying
to find jobs, but to no avail. My father, who had been born in Moravia, had
a fairly hard time obtaining Czech nationality too, but he did eventually
succeed.

One might conclude:

1. After 1918 your nationality was determined not be where you actuallly
lived but by where your family was registered unless within a relatively
short period you exercised your option to select another nationality.
2. Little information was passed on to the numerous people affected who
found themselves living in countries of which they were not citizens.
3. Bureaucrats sometimes took advantage of the situation to be spiteful.

Peter Barber

London, UK

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