The Info List - Province Of Posen

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The Province of Posen
Province of Posen
(German: Provinz Posen, Polish: Prowincja Poznańska) was a province of Prussia
from 1848 and as such part of the German Empire
German Empire
from 1871 until 1918. The area, roughly corresponding to the historic region of Greater Poland
Greater Poland
annexed during the 18th century Polish partitions, was about 29,000 km2 (11,000 sq mi).[1] For more than a century, it was part of the Prussian Partition, with a brief exception during the Napoleonic Wars. Incorporated into the Grand Duchy of Posen
Grand Duchy of Posen
after the 1815 Congress of Vienna, the territory was administered as a Prussian province upon the Greater Poland
Greater Poland
Uprising of 1848. In 1919 according to the Treaty of Versailles, Germany had to return the bulk of the province to the newly established Second Polish Republic.


1 Geography 2 History 3 Religious and ethnic conflicts 4 Statistics 5 Divisions 6 Presidents 7 Notable people 8 References 9 External links

Geography[edit] The land is mostly flat, drained by two major watershed systems; the Noteć
(German: Netze) in the north and the Warta
(Warthe) in the center. Ice Age
Ice Age
glaciers left moraine deposits and the land is speckled with hundreds of "finger lakes", streams flowing in and out on their way to one of the two rivers. Agriculture
was the primary industry. The three-field system was used to grow a variety of crops, primarily rye, sugar beet, potatoes, other grains, and some tobacco and hops. Significant parcels of wooded land provided building materials and firewood. Small numbers of livestock existed, including geese, but a fair number of sheep were herded. When this area came under Prussian control, the feudal system was still in force. It was officially ended in Prussia
(see Freiherr vom Stein) in 1810 (1864 in Congress Poland), but lingered in some practices until the late 19th century. The situation was thus that (primarily) Polish serfs lived and worked side by side with (predominantly) free German settlers. Though the settlers were given initial advantages, in time their lots were not much different. Serfs worked for the noble lord, who took care of them. Settlers worked for themselves and took care of themselves, but paid taxes to the lord. Typically, an estate would have its manor and farm buildings, and a village nearby for the Polish laborers. Near that village, there might be a German settlement. And in the woods, there would be a forester's dwelling. The estate owners, usually of the nobility, owned the local grist mill, and often other types of mills or perhaps a distillery. In many places, windmills dotted the landscape, reminding one of the earliest settlers, the Dutch, who began the process of turning unproductive river marshes into fields. This process was finished by the German settlers employed to reclaim unproductive lands (not only marshland) for the host estate owners. History[edit] The territory of later province had become Prussian in 1772 (Netze District) and 1793 (South Prussia) during the First and Second Partition of Poland. After Prussia's defeat in the Napoleonic Wars, the territory was attached to the Duchy of Warsaw
Duchy of Warsaw
in 1807 upon the Franco-Prussian Treaty of Tilsit. In 1815 during the Congress of Vienna, Prussia
gained the western third of the Warsaw
duchy, which was about half of former South Prussia. Prussia
then administered this province as the semi-autonomous Grand Duchy of Posen, which lost most of its exceptional status already after the 1830 November Uprising
November Uprising
in Congress Poland,[1] as the Prussian authorities feared a Polish national movement which would have swept away the Holy Alliance
Holy Alliance
system in Central Europe. Instead Prussian Germanisation measures increased under Oberpräsident Eduard Heinrich von Flottwell, who had replaced Duke-governor Antoni Radziwiłł. A first Greater Poland
Greater Poland
Uprising in 1846 failed, as the leading insurgents around Karol Libelt
Karol Libelt
and Ludwik Mierosławski
Ludwik Mierosławski
were reported to the Prussian police and arrested for high treason. Their trial at the Berlin
court gained them enormous popularity even among German national liberals, who themselves were suppressed by the Carlsbad Decrees. Both were released in the March Revolution of 1848 and triumphantly carried through the streets. At the same time, a Polish national committee gathered at Poznań
and demanded independence. The Prussian Army
Prussian Army
under General Friedrich August Peter von Colomb at first retired. King Frederick William IV of Prussia
as well as the new Prussian commissioner, Karl Wilhelm von Willisen, promised a renewed autonomy status. However, both among the German-speaking population of the province as well as in the Prussian capital, anti-Polish sentiments arose. While the local Posen (Poznań) Parliament voted 26 to 17 votes against joining German Confederation, on 3 April 1848[2] the Frankfurt Parliament ignored the vote, forcing status change to a common Prussian province and its integration in the German Confederation.[3] The Frankfurt parliamentarian Carl Friedrich Wilhelm Jordan
Carl Friedrich Wilhelm Jordan
vehemently spoke against Polish autonomy. The assembly at first attempted to divide the Posen duchy into two parts: the Province of Posen, which would have been given to the German population and annexed to a newly created Greater Germany, and the Province of Gniezno, which would have been given to the Poles and remain outside of Germany. Because of the protest of Polish politicians, this plan failed and the integrity of the duchy was preserved. Nevertheless, after the Greater Polish revolt had been finally crushed by Prussian troops, the authorities on 9 February 1849, after a series of broken assurances, renamed the duchy the Province of Posen. The "Grand Duke of Posen" remained a title held by the Hohenzollern dynasty and the name remained in official use until 1918. With the unification of Germany after the Franco-Prussian War
Franco-Prussian War
of 1870-71, the Province of Posen
Province of Posen
became part of the German Empire, and the city of Posen was officially named an imperial residence city. Bismarck's hostility towards the Pole was already well known, as in 1861 had written in a letter to his sister: "Hit the Poles so hard that they despair of their life; I have full sympathy for their condition, but if we want to survive we can only exterminate them."[4] His dislike bordered on insanity and was firmly entrenched in traditions of Prussian mentality and history. While he did not write or talk about it, it pre-occupied his mind. There was little need for discussions in Prussian circles, as most of them, including the monarch, agreed with his views.[5] Poles suffered from discrimination by the Prussian state; numerous oppressive measures were implemented to eradicate the Polish community's identity and culture.[6][7] The Polish inhabitants of Posen, who faced discrimination and even forced Germanization, favored the French side during the Franco-Prussian War. France and Napoleon III were known for their support and sympathy for the Poles under Prussian rule[8][9] Demonstrations at news of Prussian-German victories manifested Polish independence feelings and calls were also made for Polish recruits to desert from the Prussian Army, though these went mostly unheeded. Bismarck regarded these as an indication of a Slavic-Roman encirclement and even a threat to unified Germany.[10] Under German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck
Otto von Bismarck
renewed Germanisation policies began, including an increase of the police, a colonization commission, and the Kulturkampf. The German Eastern Marches Society
German Eastern Marches Society
(Hakata) pressure group was founded in 1894 and in 1904, special legislation was passed against the Polish population. The legislation of 1908 allowed for the confiscation of Polish-owned property. The Prussian authorities did not permit the development of industries in Posen, so the duchy's economy was dominated by high-level agriculture. At the end of World War I, the fate of the province was undecided. The Poles inhabitants demanded the region be included in the newly independent Second Polish Republic, while the German minority refused any territorial concessions. Another Greater Poland
Greater Poland
Uprising broke out on 27 December 1918, a day after the speech of Ignacy Jan Paderewski. The uprising received little support from the Polish government in Warsaw. After the success of the uprising, Posen province was until mid-1919 an independent state with its own government, currency and military. With the signing of the Treaty of Versailles
Treaty of Versailles
in 1919, most of the province, composed of the areas with a Polish majority, was ceded to Poland and was reformed as the Poznań
Voivodeship. The German populated remainder (with Bomst, parts of Czarnikau and Filehne, Fraustadt, Meseritz, Schneidemühl and Schwerin), about 2,200 km2, was merged with the western remains of former West Prussia
and was administered as Posen-West Prussia[1] with Schneidemühl as its capital. This province was dissolved in 1938, when its territory was split between the neighboring Prussian provinces of Silesia, Pomerania and Brandenburg. In 1939, the territory of the former province of Posen was annexed by Nazi Germany and made part of Reichsgau Danzig- West Prussia
West Prussia
and Reichsgau Wartheland (initially Reichsgau Posen). By the time World War II
World War II
ended in May 1945, it had been overrun by the Red Army.

1919 German army permit to enter the Polish territory of Posen, just ceded to Poland.

Following Germany's defeat in World War in 1945, at Stalin's demand all of the German territory east of the newly established Oder–Neisse line
Oder–Neisse line
of the Potsdam Agreement
Potsdam Agreement
was either turned over to the Poland or the Soviet Union. All historical parts of the province came under Polish control, and the remaining ethnic German population was expelled by force. Religious and ethnic conflicts[edit] Main articles: Kulturkampf
and Prussian Settlement Commission

Province of Posen, 1905, Polish-speaking areas according to Prussian census shown in yellow

This region was inhabited by a Polish majority, with German and Jewish minorities and a smattering of other ethnic groups. Almost all the Poles were Roman Catholic, and most of the Germans were Protestant. The small numbers of Jews were primarily in the larger communities, mostly in skilled crafts, local commerce and regional trading. The smaller a community, the more likely it was to be either all Polish or German. These "pockets of ethnicity" existed side by side, with German villages being the most dense in the northwestern areas. Under Prussia's Germanization
policies, the population became more German until the end of the 19th century, when the trend reversed (in the Ostflucht). This was despite efforts of the government in Berlin
to prevent it, establishing the Settlement Commission to buy land from Poles and make it available for sale only to Germans. The province's large number of resident Germans resulted from constant immigration since the Middle Ages, when the first settlers arrived in the course of the Ostsiedlung. Although many of those had been Polonized over time, a continuous immigration resulted in maintaining a large German community. The 18th century Jesuit-led Counter-Reformation
enacted severe restrictions on German Protestants. At the end of the 18th century when Prussia
seized the area during the Partitions of Poland, thousands of German colonists were sent by Prussian officials to Germanize the area. During the first half of the 19th century, the German population grew due to state sponsored colonisation.[11] In the second half, the Polish population grew gradually due to the Ostflucht and a higher birthrate among the Poles. In the Kulturkampf, mainly Protestant Prussia
sought to reduce the Catholic impact on its society. Posen was hit severely by these measures due to its large, mainly Polish Catholic population. Many Catholic Germans
Catholic Germans
in Posen joined with ethnic Poles in opposition to Kulturkampf
measures[citation needed]. Following the Kulturkampf, the German Empire
German Empire
for nationalist reasons implemented Germanisation programs. One measure was to set up a Settlement Commission to attract German settlers to counter the Polish population's higher growth. However, this failed, even when accompanied by additional legal measures. The Polish language
Polish language
was eventually banned from use in schools and government offices as part of the Germanisation policies.

Ethnic composition of the Province of Posen

year 1815[12] 1819[13] 1861[citation needed] 1890[14] 1910

total population[15] 776,000 883,972 1,467,604 1,751,642 2,099,831

% Poles (including bilinguals)[16] 73% 77.0% 54.6% 60.1% 61.5%

% Germans 25% 17.5% 43.4% 39.9% 38.5%

There is a notable disparity between German statistics gathered by the Prussian administration, and the Polish estimates conducted after 1918. According to the Prussian census of 1905, the number of German speakers in the Province of Posen
Province of Posen
was approximately 38.5%(which included colonists, military stationed in the area and German administration), while after 1918 the number of Germans in the Poznan Voivodship, which closely corresponded to province of Posen, was only 7%. According to Witold Jakóbczyk, the disparity between the number of ethnic Germans and the number of German speakers is because Prussian authorities placed ethnic Germans and the German-speaking Jewish minority into the same class.[17] In addition, there was a considerable exodus of Germans from the Second Polish Republic
Second Polish Republic
after the latter was established. Another reason of the disparity is that some border areas of the province, inhabited mostly by Germans (including Piła), remained in Germany after 1918.[18][19] Statistics[edit] Area: 28,970 km² Population

1816: 820,176 1868: 1,537,300 (Bromberg 550,900 - Posen 986,400) 1871: 1,583,843

Religion: 1871

Catholics 1,009,885 Protestants 511,429 Jews 61,982 others 547

1875: 1,606,084 1880: 1,703,397 1900: 1,887,275 1905: 1,986,267 1910: 2,099,831 (Bromberg 763,900 - Posen 1,335,900)


Regierungsbezirke Posen (pink) and Bromberg (green) and Kreise subdivisions

Prussian provinces were subdivided into government regions (Regierungsbezirke), in Posen:

Posen 17,503 km² Regierungsbezirk
Bromberg 11,448 km²

These regions were again subdivided into districts called Kreise. Cities would have their own "Stadtkreis" (urban district) and the surrounding rural area would be named for the city, but referred to as a "Landkreis" (rural district). In the case of Posen, the Landkreis was split into two: Landkreis Posen West, and Landkreis Posen East. Data is from Prussian censuses, during a period of state-sponsored Germanization, and includes military garrisons. It is often criticized as being falsified.[20]

Kreis ("County") Polish spelling 1905 Pop Polish speakers German speakers1 Jewish2 Origin

Posen (southern)

City of Posen Poznań

55% 45%

Adelnau Odolanów

90% 10%

Birnbaum Miedzychód

51% 49%

Bomst Babimost

49% 51%

Fraustadt Wschowa

27% 73%

Gostyn Gostyn

87% 13%


Grätz Grodzisk

82% 18%


Jarotschin Jarocin

83% 17%


Kempen Kępno

84% 16%


Koschmin Koźmin

83% 17%


Kosten Kościan

89% 11%

Krotoschin Krotoszyn

70% 30%

Lissa Leszno

36% 64%


Meseritz Międzyrzecz

20% 80%

Neutomischel Nowy Tomyśl

51% 49%


Obornik Oborniki

61% 39%

Ostrowo Ostrów

80% 20%


Pleschen Pleszew

85% 15%

Posen Ost Poznań, Wsch.

72% 28%


Posen West Poznań, Zach.

87% 13%


Rawitsch Rawicz

55% 45%


Samter Szamotuły

73% 27%

Schildberg Ostrzeszów

90% 10%

Schmiegel Śmigiel

82% 18%


Schrimm Śrem

82% 18%

Schroda Środa

88% 12%

Schwerin Skwierzyna

5% 95%

Birnbaum - 1877

Wreschen Września

84% 16%

Bromberg (northern)

City of Bromberg Bydgoszcz

16% 84%

Bromberg Bydgoszcz

38% 62%

Czarnikau Czarników

27% 73%

Filehne Wieleń

28% 72%


Gnesen Gniezno

67% 33%

Hohensalza Inowrocław

64% 36%

Kolmar Chodzież

18% 82%

Mogilno Mogilno

76% 24%

Schubin Szubin

56% 44%

Strelno Strzelno

82% 18%


Wirsitz Wyrzysk

47% 53%

Witkowo Witkowo

83% 17%


Wongrowitz Wągrowiec

77% 23%

Znin Żnin

77% 23%


1 includes bilingual speakers 2 only religious Jews, without regard of their native language The German figure includes the German-speaking Jewish population. Presidents[edit] The province was headed by presidents (German: Oberpräsidenten).

Time in Office Name

1815–1824 Joseph Zerboni de Sposetti 1760–1831

1825–1830 Johann Friedrich Theodor von Baumann 1768–1830

1830–1840 Eduard Heinrich Flottwell 1786–1865

1840–1842 Adolf Heinrich Graf von Arnim-Boitzenburg 1803–1868

1843–1850 Carl Moritz von Beurmann 1802–1870

1850–1851 Gustav Carl Gisbert Heinrich Wilhelm Gebhard von Bonin (1.time in office) 1797–1878

1851–1860 Eugen von Puttkamer 1800–1874

1860–1862 Gustav Carl Gisbert Heinrich Wilhelm Gebhard von Bonin (2.time in office) 1797–1878

1862–1869 Carl Wilhelm Heinrich Georg von Horn 1807–1889

1869–1873 Otto Graf von Königsmarck 1815–1889

1873–1886 William Barstow von Guenther 1815–1892

1886–1890 Robert Graf von Zedtlitz-Trützschler 1837–1914

1890–1899 Hugo Freiherr von Wilamowitz-Moellendorff 1840–1905

1899–1903 Karl Julius Rudolf von Bitter 1846–1914

1903–1911 Wilhelm August Hans von Waldow-Reitzenstein 1856–1937

1911–1914 Philipp Schwartzkopf ?

1914–1918 Joh. Karl Friedr. Moritz Ferd. v. Eisenhart-Rothe 1862–1942

Notable people[edit] (in alphabetical order) (see also Notable people of Grand Duchy of Posen)

Stanisław Adamski
Stanisław Adamski
(1875–1967), Polish priest, social and political activist of the Union of Catholic Societies of Polish Workers (Związek Katolickich Towarzystw Robotników Polskich), founder and editor of the 'Robotnik' (Worker) weekly Tomasz K. Bartkiewcz (1865–1931), Polish composer and organist, co-founder of the Singer Circles Union (Związek Kół Śpiewackich) Wernher von Braun
Wernher von Braun
(1912 –1977) German rocket engineer and space architect; a leading figure in the development of rocket technology, from the V1 & V2 to the Saturn rocket that powered the first Moon landing, and credited as being the "Father of Rocket Science" Czesław Czypicki (1855–1926), Polish lawyer from Kożmin, activist for the singers' societies Michał Drzymała
Michał Drzymała
(1857–1937), Polish peasant Ferdinand Hansemann (1861–1900), Prussian politician, co-founder of the German Eastern Marches Society Paul von Hindenburg
Paul von Hindenburg
(1847–1934), German field marshal and statesman, last President of Germany before Adolf Hitler Józef Kościelski
Józef Kościelski
(1845–1911), Polish politician and parliamentarian, co-founder of the Straż
(Guard) society Józef Krzymiński (1858–1940), Polish physician, social and political activist, member of parliament Władysław Marcinkowski (1858–1947), Polish sculptor who created a monument of Adam Mickiewicz
Adam Mickiewicz
in Milosław Władysław Niegolewski
Władysław Niegolewski
(1819–85), Polish liberal politician and member of parliament, insurgent in 1846, 1848 and 1863, cofounder of TCL and CTG Cyryl Ratajski
Cyryl Ratajski
(1875–1942), president of Poznań
1922–34 Arthur Ruppin (1876–1943), pioneering sociologist, Zionist thinker and leader, co-founder of Tel Aviv Karol Rzepecki (1865–1931), Polish bookseller, social and political activist, editor of Sokół
(Falcon) magazine Antoni Stychel (1859–1935), Polish priest, member of parliament, president of the Union of the Catholic Societies of Polish Workers (Związek Katolickich Towarzystw Robotników Polskich) Roman Szymański (1840–1908), Polish political activist, publicist, editor of Orędownik magazine Alfred Trzebinski
Alfred Trzebinski
(1902–1946), SS-physician at several Nazi concentration camps executed for war crimes Aniela Tułodziecka (1853–1932), Polish educational activist of the Warta
Society (Towarzystwo Przyjaciół Wzajemnego Pouczania się i Opieki nad Dziećmi Warta) Piotr Wawrzyniak (1849–1910), Polish priest, economic and educational activist, patron of Union of the Earnings and Economic Societies (Związek Spółek Zarobkowych i Gospodarczych)


^ a b c Gerhard Köbler, Historisches Lexikon der Deutschen Länder: die deutschen Territorien vom Mittelalter bis zur Gegenwart, 7th edition, C.H.Beck, 2007, p.535, ISBN 3-406-54986-1 ^ Andrzej Chwalba
Andrzej Chwalba
- Historia Polski 1795-1918 Wydawnictwo Literackie 2000 Kraków ^ Dieter Gosewinkel, Einbürgern und Ausschliessen: die Nationalisierung der Staatsangehörigkeit vom Deutschen Bund bis zur Bundesrepublik Deutschland, 2nd edition, Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2001, p.116, ISBN 3-525-35165-8 ^ Hajo Holborn: A History of Modern Germany: 1840-1945, Volume 3, page 165 ^ Bismarck Edward Crankshaw pages 1685-1686 Bloomsbury Publishing, 2011 ^ Jerzy Zdrada - Historia Polski 1795-1918 Warsaw
Wydawnictwo Naukowe PWN 2007; pages 268, 273-291, 359-370 ^ Andrzej Chwalba
Andrzej Chwalba
- Historia Polski 1795-1918 Wydawnictwo Literackie 2000 Kraków pages 175-184, 307-312 ^ Bismarck: A Political History Edgar Feuchtwange page 157r ^ Zarys dziejów wojskowości polskiej w latach 1864-1939 Mieczysław Cieplewicz Wydawn. Ministerstwa Obrony Narodowej, 1990, page 36 ^ Clark, Christopher (2006). Iron Kingdom: The Rise And Downfall of Prussia, 1600–1947. Harvard University Press. p. 579.  ^ Preußische Ansiedlungskommission ^ Historia 1789-1871 Page 224. Anna Radziwiłł and Wojciech Roszkowski. ^ Hassel, Georg (1823). Statistischer Umriß der sämmtlichen europäischen und der vornehmsten außereuropäischen Staaten, in Hinsicht ihrer Entwickelung, Größe, Volksmenge, Finanz- und Militärverfassung, tabellarisch dargestellt; Erster Heft: Welcher die beiden großen Mächte Österreich und Preußen und den Deutschen Staatenbund darstellt; Nationalverschiedenheit 1819: Polen - 680,100; Deutsche - 155,000; Juden - 48,700. Verlag des Geographischen Instituts Weimar. p. 43.  ^ Scott M. Eddie, Ethno-nationality and property rights in land in Prussian Poland, 1886-1918, Buying the land from under the Poles' feet? in S. Engerman, Land rights, ethno-nationality and sovereignty in history, 2004, p.57, [1] ^ Leszek Belzyt: Sprachliche Minderheiten im preußischen Staat 1815–1914. Marburg 1998, S.17 ^ Leszek Belzyt: Sprachliche Minderheiten im preußischen Staat 1815–1914. Marburg 1998, S.17f. ISBN 3-87969-267-X ^ "Dzieje Wielkopolski" (red. Witold Jakóbczyk) ^ Blanke, Richard (1993). Orphans of Versailles: the Germans in Western Poland, 1918-1939. University Press of Kentucky. pp. 33–34. ISBN 0-8131-1803-4. Retrieved 2009-09-05.  ^ Stefan Wolff, The German Question Since 1919: An Analysis with Key Documents, Greenwood Publishing Group, 2003, p.33, ISBN 0-275-97269-0 ^ Spisy ludności na ziemiach polskich do 1918 r Archived 2009-06-28 at the Wayback Machine.

External links[edit]

has the text of the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica article Posen (province).

Administrative subdivision of the province (in 1910) Genealogy research

v t e

Territories and provinces of Prussia

Before 1701

Duchy of Prussia Margraviate of Brandenburg Cleves / Mark / Ravensberg (1614) Farther Pomerania / Minden / Halberstadt (1648) Lauenburg–Bütow / Draheim
(1657) Magdeburg (1680) Colonies

Gold Coast Arguin St. Thomas

After 1701

Neuchâtel (1707) Guelders (1713) Minden-Ravensberg (1719) Western Pomerania
Western Pomerania
(1720 / 1815) Silesia
/ Glatz (1742) East Frisia (1744) East / West Prussia
West Prussia
(1772–73) South Prussia
South Prussia
(1793) New East Prussia
/ New Silesia

Post-Congress of Vienna (1814–15)

Brandenburg Principality of Neuchâtel (1814–1848) Pomerania Grand Duchy of Posen1 Saxony Silesia Westphalia Rhine Province2 (1822) Province of Prussia
(1824–1878) Hohenzollern (1850) Schleswig-Holstein / Hanover / Hesse-Nassau

Territorial reforms after 1918

Lower / Upper Silesia
(1919) Greater Berlin
(1920) Posen-West Prussia
Posen-West Prussia
(1922) Halle-Merseburg
/ Magdeburg / Kurhessen / Nassau (1944)

1 Became Province of Posen
Province of Posen
in 1848.   2 From the Lower Rhine and Jülich-Cleves-Berg.

v t e

Historical administrative divisions of Greater Poland

12–13th century

Duchy of Greater Poland

until 1768

Poznań / Kalisz Voivodeships

until 1793

Poznań / Kalisz / Gniezno
Voivodeships Netze District

until 1806

South Prussia

until 1815

Poznań / Kalisz / Bydgoszcz

until 1837 1848

Kalisz Voivodeship Grand Duchy of Posen

until 1918

Province of Posen Kalisz / Warsaw

until 1939

Poznań / Łódź Voivodeships Posen-West Prussia

until 1945

Reichsgau Wartheland

until 1975


until 1998

Poznań / Kalisz / Leszno / Konin / Piła Voivodeships

since 1998

Greater Poland
Greater Poland

Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 242083