Nietzsche's Polish Identity

Feb 2019
I was doing some reading and came across some quotes by Nietzsche which have him claiming Polish identity such as: ''I'm a pure-blooded Polish nobleman without a single drop of bad blood, certainly not German blood.'' I also saw claims that he though he was descended from Polish nobility but have not been able to find a primary source for these claims. I am aware he renounced his Prussian citizenship when he went to become a professor at Basel but doubt the legitimacy of the claims he considered himself Polish.

Did he really believe that he was a Polish nobleman? If yes, why did he do this and why did he consider himself Polish over any other nationality.


Ad Honorem
Jul 2011
He also said he was Zarathustra. His ancestry appears to be all German. Polish nobleman meant part of the 3% of the population that could vote. I don't see evidence tha Nietzche was from that background or from an aristocratic background.


Ad Honorem
Jul 2011
I did some Internet research on this. Nietzche's whole family appears to be German and mainly from Saxony. He appears to be from an upper middle class background, maybe the equivalent of the Polish lower nobility, but not a nobleman as most would consider it. His ancestry traces fairly far back, but no one is von or has a title or office. His father was a Lutheran clergyman. He did go to private school.
Dec 2019
Well for a Polish national he certainly feigned some knowledge and authority on Germanness, particularly its art, music, dance and philosophy. He was a contemporary of those early sociologists and would have appreciated the difference between having Polish blood and living as Poles do. Perhaps there was a stint in that period where it was fashionable to call oneself polish in Vienna or Parisian coffeehouses. Joseph Conrad was a prolific Pole who I believe thought in French and wrote in English? I think it's rather difficult to even appreciate what nationhood might have meant to a thinker of that era compared to what it means to us today. I feel like writers from that era sought out too many of life's questions by looking to blood, race, genetics etc. That's an interesting tidbit though and adds to the endless nuances that seem to be Nietzsche.


Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
with all due respect Nietzsche was crazy , a genius absolutely but crazy none the less
Jan 2012
South Midlands in Merlin's Isle of Gramarye
Nietzsche has been described as ironic. In Bismarck's Germany if you weren't a nationalist you were a creature apart. To describe yourself as a Pole in a recently united Germany when Poland did not exist, could well be a way of existing at odds with the predominating system without asserting a dangerous otherness. Bismarck and his successors had a nasty habit of exiling their opposition and taking away their citizenship. Perhaps Nietzsche didn't fancy being Swiss.