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Ostflucht

Ostflucht

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The Ostflucht was a movement by residents of the former eastern territories of Germany, such as East Prussia
East Prussia
East Prussia is the main part of the region of Prussia along the southeastern Baltic Coast from the 13th century to the end of World War II in May 1945. From 1772–1829 and 1878–1945, the Province of East Prussia was part of the German state of Prussia. The capital city was Königsberg.East Prussia...

, West Prussia
West Prussia
West Prussia was a province of the Kingdom of Prussia from 1773–1824 and 1878–1919/20 which was created out of the earlier Polish province of Royal Prussia...

, Silesia
Province of Silesia
The Province of Silesia was a province of the Kingdom of Prussia from 1815 to 1919.-Geography:The territory comprised the bulk of the former Bohemian crown land of Silesia and the County of Kladsko, which King Frederick the Great had conquered from the Austrian Habsburg Monarchy in the 18th...

 and Province of Posen
Province of Posen
The Province of Posen was a province of Prussia from 1848–1918 and as such part of the German Empire from 1871 to 1918. The area was about 29,000 km2....

 beginning around 1850, to the more industrialized western German Rhine and Ruhr provinces. Along with ethnic Germans, many of those migrating to the Ruhr were originally of Polish ethnicity later so-called Ruhrpolen
Ruhrpolen
Ruhrpolen is a German umbrella term for a mixture of people from the former kingdom of Poland , also from Silesians, Masurians, Kashubians), who migrated to the rapidly-industrializing areas of the Ruhr Valley.-Origins:The immigrants, many who had left under the harsher czarish rule and failed...

.

America
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, which had been the major destination of emigrants from the German East, lost much of its attraction when it stopped granting free land to settlers in 1893. At the same time, the Ruhr area
Ruhr Area
The Ruhr, by German-speaking geographers and historians more accurately called Ruhr district or Ruhr region , is an urban area in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. With 4435 km² and a population of some 5.2 million , it is the largest urban agglomeration in Germany...

 prospered, leading to a high demand of workforce, especially in coal mining and heavy industries. This led to an East-to-West inner-Prussia
Prussia
Prussia was a German kingdom and historic state originating out of the Duchy of Prussia and the Margraviate of Brandenburg. For centuries, the House of Hohenzollern ruled Prussia, successfully expanding its size by way of an unusually well-organized and effective army. Prussia shaped the history...

n migration. Until 1907, of Prussia's eastern provinces (Pomerania, West Prussia
West Prussia
West Prussia was a province of the Kingdom of Prussia from 1773–1824 and 1878–1919/20 which was created out of the earlier Polish province of Royal Prussia...

, East Prussia
East Prussia
East Prussia is the main part of the region of Prussia along the southeastern Baltic Coast from the 13th century to the end of World War II in May 1945. From 1772–1829 and 1878–1945, the Province of East Prussia was part of the German state of Prussia. The capital city was Königsberg.East Prussia...

, Posen
Province of Posen
The Province of Posen was a province of Prussia from 1848–1918 and as such part of the German Empire from 1871 to 1918. The area was about 29,000 km2....

, Silesia
Province of Silesia
The Province of Silesia was a province of the Kingdom of Prussia from 1815 to 1919.-Geography:The territory comprised the bulk of the former Bohemian crown land of Silesia and the County of Kladsko, which King Frederick the Great had conquered from the Austrian Habsburg Monarchy in the 18th...

), 2,300,000 emigrated, while only 358,000 migrated into these provinces. Among these were 600,000 were Poles, This loss of workforce hit farms, which made up for this calling in season workers from further east. Berlin
Berlin
Berlin is the capital city of Germany and is one of the 16 states of Germany. With a population of 3.45 million people, Berlin is Germany's largest city. It is the second most populous city proper and the seventh most populous urban area in the European Union...

 and Brandenburg
Brandenburg
Brandenburg is one of the sixteen federal-states of Germany. It lies in the east of the country and is one of the new federal states that were re-created in 1990 upon the reunification of the former West Germany and East Germany. The capital is Potsdam...

 in the same time gained 1,200,000 inhabitants, while the Ruhr area
Ruhr
The Ruhr is a medium-size river in western Germany , a right tributary of the Rhine.-Description:The source of the Ruhr is near the town of Winterberg in the mountainous Sauerland region, at an elevation of approximately 2,200 feet...

 and surrounding provinces (Westphalia
Westphalia
Westphalia is a region in Germany, centred on the cities of Arnsberg, Bielefeld, Dortmund, Minden and Münster.Westphalia is roughly the region between the rivers Rhine and Weser, located north and south of the Ruhr River. No exact definition of borders can be given, because the name "Westphalia"...

 and Palatinate) gained 640,000 people.

At the same time, increased immigration into the eastern German regions by Poles from western Russia caused imbalances and upheavals there, especially in Upper Silesia
Upper Silesia
Upper Silesia is the southeastern part of the historical and geographical region of Silesia. Since the 9th century, Upper Silesia has been part of Greater Moravia, the Duchy of Bohemia, the Piast Kingdom of Poland, again of the Lands of the Bohemian Crown and the Holy Roman Empire, as well as of...

.

The emigration of Germans, and the higher Polish birth rate in these areas caused concern among German nationalists, leading to the introduction of some special measures:
  • limiting sale of estates to Germans only,
  • encouraging Germans to immigrate to the Prussian state,
  • creating an Ansiedlungskommision, ("Settlement Commission") funded by the state, that aimed at buying land from ethnic Poles and selling it to Germans,
  • instituting rules which required an ethnic Pole to apply for approval (rarely given) to build a new house on a newly acquired farm (see Drzymała's wagon).


The sociologist Max Weber first came to public attention in Germany as a result of his study of the Ostflucht and of methods of combatting it, carried out on behalf of the Verein für Socialpolitik
Verein für Socialpolitik
The Verein für Socialpolitik is an important society of economists in the German-speaking area. The Society, which covers all branches of economics was founded in 1873. Among its members were eminent economists like Gustav von Schmoller and Adolph Wagner.It annually awards the Gossen Prize to...

.