Gentlemen, in court no Pole may represent his own case in his own language; he will get no hearing from administrative officials in his native language. In short, in every area the Pole is being pushed back, at every step he is humiliated; and with this happening every day, there are complaints about agitation, about unrest, and about a Polish threat, and there is talk of Germandom being besieged!
Gentlemen, now about the school! Is the Volksschule [extended elementary school] among us an educational institution, an educational establishment in the elevated sense of that phrase? No, it is virtually an establishment for miseducation; it is nothing so much as an obedience institute [Abrichtungsinstitut]. For this, I must reproach the school administration in the harshest terms, that it does not make sure – as is its duty and obligation – that the population is properly taught its mother tongue in school, the language of the family and the Church, that the Polish child in most cases cannot even learn to read and write Polish passably in the Volksschule. Gentlemen, these are all conditions that the Polish population has before its eyes every single day, and which it encounters daily; and now the recently arrived ministerial organ speaks of a Polish threat generated by agitation! This Polish threat, my dear gentlemen at the ministerial desk, you yourself have conjured up and raised. It is your very own work.
Source: Stenographische Berichte über die Verhandlungen des Preußischen Hauses der Abgeordneten [Stenographic Reports on the Proceedings of the Prussian House of Representatives], 19 LP, III Session, Vol. 1, pp. 173-74.
Original German text reprinted in Willibald Gutsche, Herrschaftsmethoden des deutschen Imperialismus 1897/8 bis 1917 [The Ruling Methods of German Imperialism, 1897/8 to 1917]. East Berlin, 1977, pp. 74-76.
Translation: Thomas Dunlap