This is What the Polish Emigrants Look Like


This 1919 poster was produced as part of the campaign to convince ethnic Germans in Upper Silesia to vote to keep the province German after World War I. The poster appeals to German voters by depicting destitute ethnic Germans leaving Poland. The complete text reads: “This is what the Polish emigrants look like, and you'll look like this too if Silesia becomes part of Poland. Upper Silesians! Stay with the new Germany!” Located in present-day southwestern Poland, Upper Silesia was originally a Polish territory that over the centuries passed to Bohemian, Austrian, and Prussian control. Beginning in the 10th century, rulers of Silesia encouraged the immigration of Germans to work as farmers and in the local coal and textile industries. Following the defeat of Germany and Austria-Hungary in the war, ownership of Upper Silesia was disputed between Germany and the newly-independent Poland. The 1919 Treaty of Versailles mandated that the question of ownership be decided by popular referendum. In the plebiscite of March 20, 1921, approximately 706,000 votes were cast for Germany and about 479,000 for Poland. However, the Silesian Poles staged an armed uprising and in the end the Allies agreed to incorporate the bulk of Upper Silesia into Poland. This poster is by Adolf Franz Theodor Münzer (1870–1953), a German artist who was born in Upper Silesia and who is best known for his decorative murals.

Date Created

Subject Date


Title in Original Language

So sehen die polnischen Auswanderer aus, und so werdet Ihr auch aussehen, wenn Schlesien zu Polen kommt. Oberschleisier! Bleibt beim neuen Deutschland!

Type of Item

Physical Description

1 print (poster) : lithograph, color ; 90 x 60 centimeters


Last updated: February 10, 2014