Usedom: Addendum

In my previous post about the nudist war on the German-Polish border I mainly quoted news articles. They do indeed make an impression that the open-minded Germans contrast with the Poles in their readiness to accept nudity. Of course, not all Germans are open-minded (but I think many of them are :-)). While, concerning the Poles, it is true that the Catholic Church has a strong presence in Polish society. It has roots in the history. In 1795, the third and the last of three military partitions of Poland ended the existence of an independent Polish state. In the absence of their own state, the Polish society begun identifying Polishness with Catholicism. In 1918 the Polish state was reconstructed, but after the Second World War Poland was under the control of pro-Soviet Communists and the situation repeated (see, e.g., Catholicism and politics in communist societies by Sabrina P. Ramet).

It had far-reaching consequences. Catholicism does not accept nudity. In 2002 the results of the investigations of Sopocka Pracownia Badań Społecznych (Sopot Laboratory for Social Research) were published. It appeared that

57% of all Polish spouses never saw their husband or wife naked.
92% of Poles claim that, going naked in their homes, even for a moment, is strictly prohibited.
97% of Polish sons did not see their fathers naked.
95% of Polish daughters never saw their mothers naked and so on.

It raised questions like, “Are we a nation of people who are ashamed of their bodies?” But I would not overestimate the results of the surveys like that. The transition of Poland from closed society to an open society allows for a distinction between natural and man-made law, and an increase in personal responsibility and accountability for moral choices.

Concerning German-Polish nude bathing war the German site, The Local, quotes Robert Karelus, spokesman for the city of Świnoujście, who said that

Poles weren’t as squeamish about nude bathing as had been portrayed in the media.
Swimming in the buff was getting more popular in Poland and several nudist beaches had sprung up off the coast of Poland too in recent years.
The new signs on Usedom will not prompt Polish beach-goers to turn back.
We aren’t so prudish at all.

Ala

Ala, originally uploaded by jędrek.

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