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31 August 2011

Hey Stan - Colonize any Good Towns Lately?

The east German town of Löcknitz, about fifty kilometres inland from the Baltic Sea, has witnessed a minor miracle in recent years, as one of the few cities of East Germany to halt the decline in population a few years ago; to the contrary, people have started to move in. What’s quite unusual about this is that the local kindergarten and school classes have begun to fill up. There is one “fly in the ointment”, though: the new residents are not Germans, but Poles, coming mainly from the Polish port city of Szczecin, a city of more than 400,000 inhabitants some 20 kilometres from Löcknitz.
The renewal of the former-GDR is afoot. The Poles that Brits don't like are movin' in:
The population of Poles in the town is already at 15 percent, and every fifth child in a local kindergarten has Polish nationality. Even the local Germans are happy for the Poles. “Without them the town would die out,” says the German owner of a local upmarket restaurant. Most of the former East Germany, however, hasn’t had the same luck as Löcknitz. When the East German Communists put up the Berlin Wall fifty years ago they were trying to stem, among other things, the exodus of their citizens to the West. Each year before the Wall was built over a hundred thousand people abandoned the East for the West, and the Communist GDR was facing the threat of a country with no people in it.
Keep on rocking in the free world...
Quietly, the Central Europe of yore is tiptoeing back, where national borders have often been very hazy. And it’s entirely differently from what we feared – which is another reason why we could and should overcome our national inferiority complexes towards Germans and Germany.

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