Skip to comments.German stereotypes of Poles
Posted on 06/29/2006 11:36:36 AM PDT by lizol
German stereotypes of Poles
They are car thieving, backward and unemployed who cant play football, apparently.
Report by Slawek Szefs
Although their image has been changing for the better, Poles are still negatively perceived by most Germans and are not fully accepted in the country of their Western neighbors. Those are the conclusions of a six-year study published in a report by the Institute of Public Affairs in Warsaw.
In the eyes of an average German, Poles are mostly associated with car theft, cultural backwardness and unemployment. What's worse, they can't even play football! The latter opinion is fully justified, given the shameful performance of the Polish team in the first round of the World Cup tournament. However, it could be easily upgraded with a few wins of the national eleven, for instance, in the nearest European Championship qualifiers.
What remains disturbing are the stereotypes of Poles deeply imbedded in German minds, something that cannot be changed overnight thanks to some flashy performance. But an interesting aspect of the negative opinions is that they are shared by a majority of Germans who have never visited Poland, or had such opportunity a long, long time ago.
Konrad Schuller, Warsaw correspondent of Frankfurter Allgemeine, says this is a quite common exaggeration of an early Nineties memory when certain strata of Eastern societies spilled into what they perceived then as Western paradise.
' From among my friends in Berlin, very few have ever been to Poland. Though it is only a hundred kilometers away, if you ask people in Berlin how many of them have been to Poland, you might think it was a thousand kilometers! What you see of Poles is the black laborer on the German market, invited by a German to do black labor for mutual profit. So we have this stereotype, as this is what we see of our neighboring nation. Since few of us travel to Poland that is how our direct contacts with Poles tend to be in Germany.'
Doctor Kazimierz Woycicki, a Polish historian, considers the negative image of Poles being their own fault, because Poland does not show enough interest in promoting a different perception among Germans, especially the young generation, for instance in school curricula.
' In such a country, only a long-term program incorporated into the education system can change these stereotype views. More attention should be devoted to what information is being presented in German schools on the countries of Central Europe, on Poland and to enter into a serious discussion on the matter.'
Konrad Schuller agrees that little knowledge of Polish affairs is a contributing factor to forging false opinions. But as always, there are two sides to the coin.
' Germans are much less interested in Poland than Poles are interested in Germany, which has a negative and positive aspect. The negative one is that this kind of stereotype may develop. The positive aspect is that the German view of Poland is far less dominated by the past than the Polish view of Germany.'
However, growing two way unrestricted travel and common engagement of Poland and Germany in political and economic ventures will positively influence German perception of Poles, hopes Konrad Schuller.
' When border controls pass away between our countries, the relationship might get more relaxed. And, of course, Poland's economy is growing much more quickly than the German economy, so the stereotype of the Pole as a poor neighbor will vanish one day. Just as the stereotype of the Italian as a poor neighbor has vanished.'
And the sooner, the better. For all sides concerned.
"More attention should be devoted to what information is being presented in German schools on the countries of Central Europe, on Poland and to enter into a serious discussion on the matter."
I may be wrong but there is probably more self-criticism of the nation's past in American schools than in German schools.
Yes, but they LOVE David Hasselhoff.
"...and they just sit there on their side of the border doing nothing. It taunts us."
Meaning black market, or quasi-legal employment.
Yah, yah, ve need to invade tem, lak ve did in '39 under Der Furher!
It sounds like Germans are trying to revive Nazism, this time hatred against Poland, dreaming to invade Poland again.
"This is not news to me" ping!
Germans: Welfare check collecting, beer swilling, nazis into sadistic porn who spend their disability checks and trips to Florida where they proceed to scare local children by wearing speedos, which barely cover their fat, sunburned bodies. Lets not forget that they have not won a war since that little conflict with France (a country my grandmother could defeat) over Alsace Lorraine.
I actually have been to Germany and loved the folks in Bavaria. I just hope that they can take being made fun of for their OWN shortcomings just as much as they like to dish it out.
The funny thing is that the Poles have the same stereotype of Russians that the Germans do of Poles. Except, of course, for the "all Russian women are prostitutes" stereotype. The last one is not true. Only about 85% of Russian women are prostis...
This American's stereotype of Poles is that they tend to be big and burly and blond and stout in heart but alas lack some sort of "winning instinct" (despite the presence of many eminent Polish players on the Notre Dame and Nebraska football teams the past 125+ years).
This deal about "being courageous in defeat, pusillanimous in victory" sort of thing, from their history.
However, I hope I'm wrong.
Actually, there was a survey of average IQs that came out a few months ago showing that Poles were in the top 5 WORLDWIDE and were second in Europe behind Sweden, I believe.
The important fact is that they were ahead of Germany!
Looks like they are up to something!!!
The important fact actually is that the Poles have a long and wonderful and distinguished history, a culture second to none, and their people remarkable in humanity.
But they must have been terribly defeated in some battle 500-1000 years ago, which forever marked their psyche.
This is not a trivial matter; most historians and sociologists trace the present-day Serb mentality and attitude to some crushing defeat suffered by them circa 740 years ago.
What has always gotten me was that Poland could have owned Russia, some time back during the later Middle Ages, but spurned the prize. Which of course was all too bad, because a Russia dominated by Poland then would have had a happier history since then.
"Maybe pave the way for more German and European tourism."
Or maybe don't give a damn.
Just for you:
Oops, the video left the Lat/Long coordinates! Looked it up and here's the location:
Funny, I watched the 50 worst songs last night, and they picked on Don Johnson, Will Smith, etc., but I don't recall Hasselhoff.
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