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Silesians
Ślōnzŏki, Ślůnzoki (Silesian) Schlesier (German)
Ślązacy (Polish)
Slezané (Czech)
Flag of Silesians.svg
Flag of Upper Silesia
Total population
Several million (of which about 0.8 million officially declared Silesian nationality in national censuses in Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia).
Regions with significant populations
Silesians Germanyc. 2.4–3.6 million[1]
Silesians Poland2 million,[2] of which 847,000[3] officially declared Silesian nationality, most of them combined it with Polish nationality at the same time
Silesians Czech RepublicNo data, 31,301 declared Silesian nationality, of which 12,451 declared it as their only nationality[4]
Silesians Slovakiano data; 22 declared Silesian nationality[5]
Languages
Silesian
Polish
German (incl. Silesian German dialects)
Czech
Religion
Roman Catholicism
Protestantism (Mainly Lutheranism)
Related ethnic groups
Sorbs, Poles, Czechs, Germans
Silesians
Silesians in the Opole and Silesian Voivodeships of Poland (2011 census)
Silesians
Silesians in Czech Silesia (2021 census)
Silesians
Woman in Silesian dress from Cieszyn Silesia, 1914
Silesians
"Ślōnskŏ nacyjŏ bōła, je a bydzie", which means "Silesian Nation was, is, and will be" - Eighth Autonomy March, Katowice, 18 July 2009

Silesians (Silesian: Ślōnzŏki or Ślůnzoki; Silesian German: Schläsinger or Schläsier; German: Schlesier; Polish: Ślązacy; Czech: Slezané) is a geographical term[6] for the inhabitants of Silesia, a historical region in Central Europe divided by the current national boundaries of Poland, Germany and the Czech Republic. Historically, the region of Silesia (Lower and Upper) has been inhabited by Germans (German speakers), Czechs, Poles and Slavic Upper Silesians. Therefore, the term Silesian can refer to anyone of these ethnic groups. However, in 1945, great demographic changes occurred in the region as a result of the Potsdam Agreement leaving most of the region ethnically Polish and/or Slavic Upper Silesian.

There have been some debates on whether or not the Silesians (historically, Upper Silesians) constitute a distinct nation. In modern history, they have often been pressured to declare themselves to be German, Polish or Czech, and use the language of the nation which was in control of Silesia. Nevertheless, 847,000 people declared themselves to be of Silesian nationality in the 2011 Polish national census (including 376,000 who declared it to be their only nationality, 436,000 who declared to be their first nationality, 411,000 who declared to be their second one, and 431,000 who declared joint Silesian and Polish nationality),[3] making them the largest minority group. About 126,000 people declared themselves as members of the German minority (58,000 declared it jointly with Polish nationality), making it the third largest minority group in the country (93% of Germans living in Poland are in the Polish part of Silesia). 31,301 people declared Silesian nationality in the Czech national census of 2021, including 18,850 of those who declared two nationalities[4] (44,446 in Czechoslovakia in 1991),[7] and 6,361 people declared joint Silesian and Moravian nationality in the Slovak national census.[8]

During the German occupation of Poland, Nazi authorities conducted a census in East Upper Silesia in 1940. At the time, 157,057 people declared Silesian nationality (Slonzaken Volk), and the Silesian language was declared by 288,445 people. However, the Silesian nationality could only be declared in the Cieszyn part of the region. Approximately 400–500,000 respondents from the other areas of East Upper Silesia who declared "Upper Silesian nationality" (Oberschlesier) were assigned to the German nationality category.[9] After World War II in Poland, the 1945 census showed a sizable group of people in Upper Silesia who declared Silesian nationality. According to police reports, 22% of people in Zabrze considered themselves to be Silesians, and that number was around 50% in Strzelce County.[10]

  1. ^ "Volkszählung vom 27. Mai 1970" Germany (West). Statistisches Bundesamt. Kohlhammer Verlag, 1972, OCLC Number: 760396
  2. ^ "The Institute for European Studies, Ethnological institute of UW" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-08-16.
  3. ^ a b Przynależność narodowo-etniczna ludności – wyniki spisu ludności i mieszkań 2011. GUS. Materiał na konferencję prasową w dniu 29. 01. 2013. p. 3. Retrieved 2013-03-06.
  4. ^ a b "Národnost". Census 2021 (in Czech). Czech Statistical Office. Retrieved 8 December 2022.
  5. ^ "Bilancia podľa národnosti a pohlavia - SR-oblasť-kraj-okres, m-v [om7002rr]" (in Slovak). Statistics of Slovakia. Retrieved 31 July 2019.
  6. ^ Dillingham, William Paul; Folkmar, Daniel; Folkmar, Elnora (1911). Dictionary of Races or Peoples. Washington, D.C.: Washington, Government Printing Office. p. 128.
  7. ^ "Národnost ve sčítání lidu v českých zemích" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2009-10-07. Retrieved 2012-08-16.
  8. ^ "Archived copy". www.greekhelsinki.gr. Archived from the original on 6 April 2003. Retrieved 15 January 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  9. ^ "Górny Śląsk: szczególny przypadek kulturowy" (en: "Upper Silesia: special case of cultural") - Mirosława Błaszczak-Wacławik, Wojciech Błasiak, Tomasz Nawrocki, University of Warsaw 1990, p. 63
  10. ^ "Polityka antyniemiecka na Górnym Śląsku w latach 1945-1950" - Bernard Linek, Opole 2000, ISBN 978-83-7126-142-8

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of Slavic speaking Silesians became politicized. Some, like Óndra Łysohorsky, a poet and author in Czechoslovakia, saw the Silesians as being their own...

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refers to an article, item, or person of or from Silesia. Silesian may also refer to: Silesians, inhabitants of Silesia, either a West Slavic (for example...

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of both Polish Silesian and German Silesian dialects in that region. Modern Silesia is inhabited by Poles, Silesians, Germans, and Czechs. Germans first...

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showed that in 1910, in most of the Upper Silesian districts east of the Oder river, Polish-speaking Silesians constituted a majority, forming more than...

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Frequently, the flags are used in vertical variants. Flag of Silesians (with eagle) Flag of Silesians (Saxony) Flag of Sorbs (Saxony) Coats of arms of German...

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Silesian Voivodeship, or Silesia Province (Polish: województwo śląskie [vɔjɛˈvut͡stfɔ ˈɕlɔ̃skʲɛ]) is a voivodeship, or province, in southern Poland, centered...

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Texas Silesian (Silesian: Teksasko gwara; Polish: Gwara teksaska) is a dialect of the Silesian language used by descendants of immigrant Silesians in American...

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Silesian German

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Silesian (Silesian: Schläsisch, Schläs’sch, Schlä’sch, Schläsch, German: Schlesisch), Silesian German or Lower Silesian is a nearly extinct German dialect...

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language-hood". Many linguistic sources categorize Silesian as a dialect of Polish. However, many Silesians consider themselves a separate ethnicity and have...

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Silesian Piasts

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Lower Silesian Voivodeship

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