The small towns in the province of Posen became a nineteenth-century intellectual reservoir that fed German modernization. A new cultural interface had arisen where the Jewish tradition of text interpretation could interact with Enlightenment thinking and the new Bildung ideal in the spirit of von Humboldt.
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Even though, with the dissolution of Austria-Hungary, Galicia ceased to exist, the idea of Galicia has a kind of ghostly presence in contemporary politics. The area was incorporated in 1919—1923 in the resurrected Polish state, only to be divided twenty years later between Germany and the Soviet Union as a result of the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact. This cleaving in two endured through the “shift” of Poland westwards after the Second World War. East Galicia became part of Soviet Ukraine and thereafter of independent Ukraine.
For millennia there has been plenty of amber in the blue clay around the coasts of the Baltic Sea. These coveted stones, which were considered to be have magical properties, were sent via the rivers of Europe all the way to Rome to be traded.