736,000 people fled West Prussia and Posen, of which
117,000 died on the way.
In this province
once lived 763,000 Germans.
Birnbaum, Bromberg, Dirschau, Graudenz,
Kulm, Löbau, Schwetz, Strasburg, Thorn,
Wirsitz and Zempelburg
Danzig, the then
German city (now Gdansk, Poland)
Posen and Danzig in a nutshell
The area of West
Prussia is almost as big as Switzerland and the size of
the free city of Danzig is comparable to Luxembourg.
Between 1922 and
1938 the province of West Prussia and Posen was in
alliance with the German Reich. Its borders have changed
The area around
Schneidemühl was until 1919 a part of West Prussia; in
1920 it came to East Prussia, in 1939 to West Prussia
and Posen, then to the province of Pomerania.
The area around
Meseritz was until 1919 also a part of Posen; in 1938 it
came to the province of West Prussia and Posen, then
became a part of the province of Brandenburg.
The district of
Fraustadt was until 1919 a part of Posen; in 1938 it
came to West Prussia and Posen, then it became a part of
the province of Silesia.
of West Prussia and Posen
4th millenium B.C.
First evidence of
First mention of
Duke Konrad of
Mazovia bestowed the Kulmerland upon the Teutonic Order
With the Golden Bull
of Rimini the Emperor Frederick II confirmed that the
Kulmerland and the Prussian Land to be conquered belong
to the Teutonic Order.
In the Golden Bull
of Rieti Pope Gregory IX placed the lands of the Order
under the protection of the Holy See.
the seat of the a Grand Master of the Teutonic Order.
Province of West Prussia.
Frederick II (the
Great) was crowned King of Prussia.
Danzig and Thorn
came to West Prussia.
The Peace Treaty of
Tilsit declares Danzig a Free City under a French
The Vienna Congress
confirms the attachment of West Prussia to the Kingdom
of Prussia, with the capital of Danzig.
Versailles: by referendum in 1920 four districts of West
Prussia stay with the Reich, the rest of West Prussia
and the whole of Posen fall to Poland, Danzig becomes
Free City. Almost a million people leave the ceded area.
Founding of the
Reichsgau (district) Danzig-West Prussia.
Flight and expulsion
of 600,000 Germans from their native West Prussia and
Flight and expulsion
West Prussia and the
eastern Warthegau were the first affected by the massive
Soviet offensive in January 1945.
Many residents of
these areas tried to flee west or to Silesia.
But the Red Army
advanced so fast that the biggest part of West Prussia
and Warthegau were already occupied in February.
A flight was
therefore almost impossible. Only from the Danzig area
succeeded a small group in escaping by boat across the
Those who remained,
mostly elderly, the sick, women and children, were
delivered to the atrocities of the occupiers who
plundered, murdered and raped without restraint.
The able-bodied men
and women were deported and pressed into forced labor.
Many were - as they
have just met - driven without shoes or coats towards
the Vistula. For the majority it was transition into
For others - 600,000
Germans - it was systematic expulsion from their native
West Prussia and Posen.
personalities of West Prussia,
Posen and Danzig
Famous names; who
remember where they came from?
Emil Adolf von
Behring - Hansdorf, 1854-1917, physician and
Wernher von Braun - Wirsitz,
Günter Grass - Danzig-Langfuhr,
1927-, writer and graphic artist
Johannes Hevelius - Danzig,
1611-1687, astronomer, inventor of the pendulum clock
Paul von Hindenburg - Posen,
1847-1934, President of Germany
Kinski - Zoppot, 1926-1991, actor
Kopernikus - Thorn, 1473-1543, astronomer and canon
Leistikow - Bromberg, 1865-1908, painter
Löns - Kulm, 1866-1914, poet
Ludendorff - Kruszewnia, 1865-1937, general
Montau - Montau,
- Danzig, 1788-1860, philosopher