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Juraj Maruši­ak: The State and Behav­iour of the Pol­ish Minor­i­ty Liv­ing in Czecho­slo­va­kia (1956–1962)

In the focus of the study is the state, behav­iour of the Pol­ish minor­i­ty, to intro­duce the used vio­lent meth­ods by the com­mu­nis­tic pow­ers on the Pol­ish minor­i­ty in sum­mer, fall of 1956 and at the end of the fifties. At the same time the study intends to refer to pa­ral­lel events in con­nec­tion with the Hun­gar­i­an minor­i­ty, call­ing atten­tion to oppor­tu­ni­ties stand­ing before com­pa­ra­tion of such direc­tion, and/or its impor­tance.

The Czechoslo­vak com­mu­nis­tic power in the sec­ond part of the fifties took steps to oppose to open behav­iour of anti-mi­nor­i­ty nacional­ism and did not decide to use the rad­i­cal forms of reprisal, and to liq­ui­date the Pol­ish minor­i­ty’s organ­i­sa­tion (PZKO). At the same time, as well as in the case of other nation­al­i­ty minori­ties – Hun­gar­i­an­s, Ger­man­s, Ukraini­ans – the organ­i­sa­tion tried to con­trol the cul­tur­al and social life of the given minor­i­ty in whole exten­t. The rel­a­tive­ly tol­er­ant behav­iour of Czechoslo­vaks to minori­ties, main­ly com­par­ing with other com­min­is­tic par­ties, did not arise from the inter­na­tion­al pol­i­cy of the lead­ers of the Czechoslo­vak Com­mu­nis­tic Par­ty. Exter­nal fac­tors played also a role in it – wor­ries that the pos­si­ble open con­flict with the nation­al minori­ties would shake the inner sta­bil­i­ty and inter­na­tion­al sit­u­a­tion of the coun­try. On the other hand despite the Pol­ish minor­i­ty’s pos­i­tive behav­iour in con­nec­tion with the events in Poland in 1956 and strong religous­ness of Pol­ish peo­ple liv­ing in the area of Tìšín, the Pol­ish peo­ple liv­ing in Czecho­slo­va­ki­a, includ­ing the elite, was char­ac­terised by a rel­a­tive­ly strong sup­port of the pol­i­cy of the Czechoslo­vak Com­mu­nis­tic Par­ty). This result­ed main­ly from neg­a­tive expe­ri­ence that before 1948 the Pol­ish minor­i­ty gained in con­nec­tion with its rela­tion­ship and behav­iour to ci­vil pow­er­s.