Wanted to write something about how there are a whole bunch of unrecognized minorities living in Poland, some in the north but mainly in the south, who don't show up on the radar screen whatsoever....Poland presents itself as being an ultra-homogenous nation but this isn't the truth. The truth is that powerful interests in Poland have been trying to eradicate the cultural traditions surrounding minorities in Poland since unification, and that Polish nationalism is something which, when it was in full power in Poland during the Pilsudski years before the Nazi invasion, verged on straight out fascism. Pilsudski and crew were populist military dictators, not actual self declared 'fascists', but during their tenure anti-semitism went through the roof, actualized in part by students who attacked their Jewish fellow students at University. People seem not to know that the Poland which was invaded by the Nazis wasn't some reign of freedom and tolerance but a place where intolerance already ruled. The Nazis brought that intolerance to it's gruesome conclusion but, on balance with that, the Communist regime in post-war Poland forbid any mention of Jews in relation to the death camps, preferring to see them as primarily a weapon used against the Polish people by the Nazi invaders. There's a certain level of hypocracy and arrogance in that stance which the populist oriented Polish Communist Party embodied which is hard to even describe. Death camps designed for Jews and used against Jews, like Auschwitz, weren't labelled as places where Jews were singled out for murder?
That gives you a flavour of Polish Nationalism in regard to minorities. Minorities, in short, don't matter, according to them. It's only within the last few years that the existence and the question of national minorities in Poland has even been able to be asked.
Otherwise, it's just been the usual "Poland is the most homogenous nation on the planet!" bullshit.
Poland and Lithuania took in many, many members of minority groups who had been kicked out of other countries in Europe when they formed the Grand Duchy of Poland and Lithuania. This is how so many people of Jewish descent came to live in Poland. The state which these countries made up had an official policy of tolerance.
They didn't just disappear once Poland united and became independant.
There are people out there who have Polish last names who aren't Polish but are members of minority groups which were assimilated, who knows, maybe forcefully, into Polish society.
Why do I bring this up?
Well, there's a tradition in my family, which is partially from Poland, that we really aren't Poles at all...