Masuria (Polish: Mazury (help·info), German: Masuren, Masurian: Mazurÿ) is a region in northern Poland, famous for its 2,000 lakes. Before the end of World War II, it was mostly inhabited by Polish-speaking (Masurian dialect) Lutheran Masurians and constituted a part of East Prussia. Masuria occupies much of the Masurian Lake District. Administratively, it is part of the Warmian-Masurian Voivodeship. Its biggest city, often regarded as its capital, is Ełk. The region covers a territory of some 10,000 km2 and had a population in 2013 of 59,790.
Sailing on Lake Niegocin
Masuria occupies much of the Masurian Lake District
|• Total||10,000 km2 (4,000 sq mi)|
|• Density||50/km2 (130/sq mi)|
Before the 13th century, the territory was inhabited by the Old Prussians also called Baltic Prussians, a Baltic ethnic group that lived in Prussia (the area of the southeastern coastal region of the Baltic Sea neighbouring of the Baltic Sea around the Vistula Lagoon and the Curonian Lagoon). The territory later called Masuria was then known as Galindia and was probably a peripheral, deeply forested and lightly populated area. Its inhabitants spoke a language now known as Old Prussian and had their own mythology. Although a 19th-century German political entity bore their name, they were not Germans. They were converted to Roman Catholicism in the 13th century, after conquest by the Knights of the Teutonic Order.
Estimates range from about 170,000 to 220,000 Old Prussians living in the whole of Prussia around 1200. The wilderness was their natural barrier against attack by would-be invaders. During the Northern Crusades of the early 13th century, the Old Prussians used this wide forest as a line of defence. They did so again against the Knights of the Teutonic Order, who had been invited to Poland by Konrad I of Masovia in 1226. The order's goal was to convert the native population to Christianity and baptise it by force if necessary. In the subsequent conquest, which lasted over 50 years, the original population was nearly exterminated, particularly during the major Prussian rebellion of 1261–83.
After the Order's acquisition of Prussia, Poles (or more specifically, Mazurs, that is inhabitants of the adjacent region of Mazovia) began to settle in the southeastern part of the conquered region. German, Dutch, Flemish, and Danish colonists entered the area afterward, from the northwest. The number of Polish settlers grew significantly again in the beginning of the 15th century, especially after the first and the second treaties of Thorn, in 1411 and 1466 respectively, following the Thirteen Years' War and the final defeat of the order. Later assimilation of the German settlers as well as the Polish immigrants and native inhabitants created the new Prussian identity, although the subregional difference between the German- and Slavic-speaking part remained. The western half of the province was ceded to Poland, and the grand master (still ruling Masuria among other areas) became a vassal of the Polish crown.
The secularization of the Teutonic Order in Prussia and the conversion of Albert of Prussia to Lutheranism in 1525 brought Prussia including the later called Masuria area to Protestantism. The Polish language predominated due to the many immigrants from Mazovia, who additionally settled the eastern, till then virgin part of (later Masuria) in the 16th century. While the countryside was inhabited by Protestant Polish-speakers, who took refuge, the cities constituted German mixed with Polish-speaking population. The ancient Old Prussian language survived in parts of the countryside until the early 18th century. Areas that had many Polish language speakers were known as the Polish Departments.
In 1656, during the Battle of Prostki, the forces of Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, including 2,000 Tatar raiders, beat the allied Swedish and Brandenburg army capturing Bogusław Radziwiłł. The war resulted in the destruction of most towns, 249 villages and settlements and 37 churches were destroyed. Over 50% of the population of southern Prussia (later Masuria) died within the years 1656–1657, 23,000 killed, another 80,000 died of diseases and famine, 3,400 people were enslaved. From 1709–1711, in all of East Prussia between 200,000 and 245,000 out of 600,000 inhabitants died from the Black Death. in Masuria the death toll varied regionally, while 6,789 people died in the district of Rhein (Rhyn) only 677 died in Seehesten (Szestno). In Lötzen (Giżycko) 800 out of 919 people died. Losses in population were compensated by migration of Protestant settlers or refugees from Scotland, Salzburg (expulsion of Protestants 1731), France (Huguenot refugees after the Edict of Fontainebleau in 1685), and especially from the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, including Polish brethren expelled from Poland in 1657. The last group of refugees to emigrate to Masuria were the Russian Philipons in 1830, when King Frederick William III of Prussia granted them asylum.
After the death of Albert Frederick, Duke of Prussia in 1618, his son-in-law John Sigismund, Margrave of Brandenburg, inherited the duchy (including Masuria), combining the two territories under a single dynasty and forming Brandenburg-Prussia. The Treaty of Wehlau revoked the sovereignty of the King of Poland in 1657. The region became part of the Kingdom of Prussia with the coronation of King Frederick I of Prussia in 1701. Masuria became part of the newly created administrative province of East Prussia upon its creation in 1773. The name Masuria began to be used officially after new administrative reforms in the Kingdom after 1818. Masurians referred to themselves during that period as "Polish Prussians" or as "Staroprusaki" (Old Prussians) Masurians showed considerable support for the Polish uprising in 1831, and maintained many contacts with Russian-held areas of Poland beyond the border of Prussia, the areas being connected by common culture and language; before the uprising people visited each other's country fairs and much trade took place, with smuggling also widespread Some early writers about Masurians - like Max Toeppen - postulated them as mediators between German and Slav cultures. Germanisation policies in Masuria included various strategies, first and foremost they included attempts to propagate the German language and to eradicate the Polish language as much as possible; German became the obligatory language in schools in 1834.
After the Unification of Germany into the German Empire in 1871, the Polish language was removed from schools in 1872, as part of Otto von Bismarck's Culture War. He also sought to eradicate the use of the Polish language and culture in the German Empire. After 1871 Masurians who expressed sympathy for Poland were deemed "national traitors" by German nationalists (this increased especially after 1918) According to Stefan Berger after 1871 the Masurians in the German Empire were seen in a view that while acknowledging their "objective" Polishness (in terms of culture and language) they felt "subjectively" German and thus should be tightly integrated into German nation-state; to Berger this argument went directly against the German nationalist demands in Alsace where Alsatians were declared German despite their "subjective" choice. Berger concludes that such the arguments of German nationalists were simply aimed at gaining as much territory as possible into German Reich. During the period of German Empire the Germanisation policies in Masuria became more effective; children using Polish in playgrounds and classrooms were widely punished by corporal punishment, authorities tried to appoint Protestant pastors who would use German instead of Polish which resulted in protests of local population. According to Jerzy Mazurek the native Polish-speaking population, like in other areas with Polish inhabitants, faced severe discrimination from Germanised local administration, in this climate first resistance defending the rights of rural population was formed; according to Jerzy Mazurek usually, teachers engaged in publishing Polish language newspapers.
Despite anti-Polish policies, such Polish language newspapers as the Pruski Przyjaciel Ludu (Prussian Friend of People) or the Kalendarz Królewsko-Pruski Ewangelicki (Royal Prussian Evangelical Calendar) or bilingual journals like the Oletzkoer Kreisblatt - Tygodnik Obwodu Oleckiego continued to be published in Masuria. In contrast to the Prussian-oriented periodicals, in the late 19th century such newspapers as Przyjaciel Ludu Łecki and Mazur were founded by members of the Warsaw-based Komitet Centralny dla Śląska, Kaszub i Mazur (Central Committee for Silesia, Kashubia and Masuria), influenced by Polish politicians like Antoni Osuchowski or Juliusz Bursche, to strengthen the Polish identity in Masuria. The Gazeta Ludowa was published in Lyck in 1896–1902, with 2,500 copies in 1897 and the Mazur in Ortelsburg after 1906 with 500 copies in 1908 and 2,000 prior to World War I.
Polish activists started to regard Masurians as "Polish brothers" after Wojciech Kętrzyński had published his pamphlet O Mazurach in 1872 and Polish activists engaged in active self-help against repressions by German state Kętrzyński fought against attempts to Germanise Masuria The attempts to create a Masurian Polish national consciousness, largely originating from nationalist circles of Provinz Posen, however faced the resistance of the Masurians, who, despite having similar folk traditions and linguistics to Poles, regarded themselves Prussians and later Germans. and were loyal to the Hohenzollern dynasty, the Prussian and German state. After World War I the editor of the Polish language Mazur described the Masurians as "not nationally conscious, on the contrary, the most loyal subjects of the Prussian king". However, a minority of Masurians did exist which expressed Polish identity After 1871 there appeared resistance among the Masurians towards Germanisation efforts, the so-called Gromadki movement was formed which supported use of Polish language and came into conflict with German authorities; while most of its members viewed themselves as loyal to Prussian state, a part of them joined the Pro-Polish faction of Masurians. German actions like Kulturkampf, the programme of Germanisation started to unite and mobilise Polish people in Polish inhabited territories held by Germany including Masuria A Polish-oriented party, the Mazurska Partia Ludowa ("People's Party of Masuria"), was founded in 1897. The eastern area of German Empire was systematically Germanised with changing of names and public signs, and the German state fostered cultural imperialism, in addition to giving financial and other support to German farmers, officials and teachers to settle in the east.
The German authorities in their efforts of Germanisation tried somewhat artificially to separate Masurian language from Polish by classifying it as non-Slavic language different from Polish one, this was reflected in official census Thus the Masurian population in 1890, 143,397 were reported by German officials as having German as their language (either primary or secondary), 152,186 Polish and 94,961 Masurian. In 1910, the German language was reported by German authorities as used by 197,060, Polish by 30,121 and Masurian by 171,413. In 1925, German authorities reported 40,869 as giving Masurian as their native tongue and 2,297 as Polish. However, the last result may have been a result of politics at the time and a desire to present the province as purely German; in reality the Masurian dialect was still in use.
Throughout industrialisation in the late 19th century about 10 percent of the Masurian populace emigrated to the Ruhr Area, where about 180,000 Masurians lived in 1914. Wattenscheid, Wanne and Gelsenkirchen were the centres of Masurian emigration and Gelsenkirchen-Schalke was even called Klein (little)-Ortelsburg before 1914. Masurian newspapers like the Przyjaciel Ewangeliczny and the Gazeta Polska dla Ludu staropruskiego w Westfalii i na Mazurach but also the German language Altpreußische Zeitung were published.
During World War I, the Battle of Tannenberg and the First and Second Battle of the Masurian Lakes between Imperial Germany and the Russian Empire took place within the borders of Masuria in 1914. After the war, the League of Nations held the East Prussian plebiscite on 11 July 1920 to determine if the people of the southern districts of East Prussia wanted to remain within East Prussia or to join the Second Polish Republic. The German side terrorised the local population before the plebiscite using violence, Polish organisations and activists were harassed by German militias, and those actions included attacks and murder of Polish activists; Masurs who supported voting for Poland were singled out and subjected to terror and repressions.
Names of those Masurs supporting the Polish side were published in German newspapers, and their photos presented in German shops; afterwards a regular hunts were organised after them by German militias which terrorized the Polish population. At least 3,000 Warmian and Masurian activists who were engaged for Polish side had to flee the region out of fear of their lives. At the same time German police engaged in active surveillance of the Polish minority and attacks against Polish activists. Before the plebiscite Poles started to flee the region to escape the German harassment and Germanisation policies.
The results determined that 99.32% of the voters in Masuria proper chose to remain with East Prussia. Notwithstanding national German agitation and intimidation, these results refect a successful proces of Germanisation at that time going on for more than half a century. In majority Mazurians had adopt a German national identity next to a regional, so to call ethnic, identity. Their traditional religious belief in Lutheranism kept them away from Polish national consciousness, dominated by Roman Catholicism. In fact almost only catholics voted for Poland in the plebiscite. They were to be found as a majority in the villages around the capital Allenstein, the same were Polish cultural activism got hold between 1919 and 1932. However, the contemporary Polish ethnographer Adam Chętnik accused the German authorities of abuses and falsifications during the plebiscite. Moreover, the plebiscite took place during the time when Polish–Soviet War threatened to erase the Polish state. As a result, even many Poles of the region voted for Germany out of fear that if the area was allocated to Poland it would fall under Soviet rule. After the plebiscite in German areas of Masuria attacks on Polish population commenced by German mobs, and Polish priests and politicians were driven from their homes After the plebiscite at least 10,000 Poles had to flee German held Masuria to Poland.
The region of Działdowo (Soldau), where according to the official German census of 1910 ethnic Germans formed a minority of 37.3%, was excluded from the plebiscite and became part of Poland. This was reasoned with placing the railway connection between Warsaw and Danzig (Gdańsk), of vital importance to Poland as it connected central Poland with its seacoast, completely under Polish sovereignty. Działdowo itself counted about 24,000 people of which 18,000 were Masurians.
According to the municipal administration of Rybno, after World War I Poles in Działdowo believed that they will be quickly joined with Poland, they organised secret gatherings during which the issue of rejoining Polish state with help of Polish military was discussed. According to the Rybno administration most active Poles in that subregion included Jóżwiakowscy, Wojnowscy, Grzeszczowscy families working under the guidance of politician Leon Wojnowski who protested German attempts to remain Działdowo a part of Germany after the war; other local pro-Polish activists were Alfred Wellenger, Paczyński, Tadeusz Bogdański, Jóźwiakowski.
The historian Andreas Kossert describes that the incorporation happened despite protests of the local populace, the municipal authorities and the German Government, According to Kossert 6,000 inhabitants of the region soon left the area.
In 1920 the candidate of the German Party, Ernst Barczewski, was elected to the Sejm with 74.6 percent of votes and to the Polish Senate with 34.6% of votes for the Bloc of National Minorities in 1928. During the Polish–Soviet War Działdowo was briefly occupied by the Red Army and were regarded as liberators by the local German populace, which hoisted the German flag, but it was soon recovered by the Polish Army.
During the interwar period many native inhabitants of Działdowo subregion left it and migrated to Germany.
With the start of the German war against Poland on 1 September 1939, the German minority in the parts of Masuria attached to Poland after World War I, organised in paramilitary formation called Selbstschutz begun to engage in massacres of local Polish population; Poles were imprisoned, tortured and murdered while Masurians were sometimes forcefully placed on Volksliste The Soldau concentration camp was established in winter 1939, where 13,000 people were murdered by the Nazi German state during the war. Notable victims included the Polish bishops Antoni Julian Nowowiejski and Leon Wetmański, as well as the nun Mieczysława Kowalska. Additionally, almost 1,900 mentally ill patients from East Prussia and annexed areas of Poland were murdered there as well, in what was known as Action T4. Polish resistance in Masuria was organised by Paweł Nowakowski "Leśnik" commander of the Home Army's Działdowo district.
Masuria was the only region of Germany directly affected by the battles of World War I. Damaged towns and villages were reconstructed with the aid of several twin towns from western Germany like Cologne to Neidenburg, Frankfurt to Lötzen and even Vienna to Ortelsburg. However Masuria was still largely agrarian-oriented and suffered from the economic decline after World War I, additionally badly affected by the creation of the Polish Corridor, which raised freight costs to the traditional markets in Germany. The later implemented Osthilfe had only a minor influence on Masuria as it privileged larger estates, while Masurian farms were generally small.
The interwar period was characterised by ongoing Germanisation policies, intensified especially under the Nazis.
In the 1920s Masuria remained a heartland of conservatism with the German National People's Party as strongest party. The Nazi Party became the strongest party in the Masurian constituencies in the elections of 1930 and received its best results in the poorest areas of Masuria with the highest rate of Polish speakers. Especially in the elections of 1932 and 1933 they reached up to 81 percent of votes in the district of Neidenburg and 80 percent in the district of Lyck. The Nazis used the economic crisis, which had significant effects in far-off Masuria, as well as traditional anti-Polish sentiments while at the same time Nazi political rallies were organized in the Masurian dialect during the campaigning.
In 1938, the Nazi government (1933–1945) changed thousands of toponyms (especially names of cities and villages) of Old Prussian and Polish origin to newly created German names; about 50% of the existing names were changed in 1938 alone, despite resistance by the Prussian people, who continued to use their traditional place names.
According to German author Andreas Kossert, Polish parties were financed and aided by the Polish government in Warsaw, and remained splintergroups without any political influence, e.g. in the 1932 elections the Polish Party received 147 votes in Masuria proper. According to Wojciech Wrzesiński (1963), the Polish organisations in Masuria had decided to lower their activity in order to escape acts of terror performed against Polish minority activists and organisations by Nazi activists. Jerzy Lanc, a teacher and Polish national who had moved to Masuria in 1931 to establish a Polish school in Piassutten (Piasutno), died in his home of carbon monoxide poisoning, most likely murdered by local German nationalists.
Before the war the Nazi German state sent undercover operatives to spy on Polish organisations and created lists of people that were to be executed or sent to concentration camps. Information was gathered on who sent children to Polish schools, bought Polish press or took part in Polish ceremonies and organised repressions against these people were executed by Nazi militias. Polish schools, printing presses and headquarters of Polish institutions were attacked as well as homes of the most active Poles; shops owned by Poles were vandalised or demolished. Polish masses were dispersed, and Polish teachers were intimidated as members of the SS gathered under their locals performing songs like "Wenn das Polenblut vom Messer spritzt, dann geht’s noch mal so gut" ("When Polish blood spurts from the knife, everything will be better").
The anti-Polish activities intensified in 1939. Those Poles were most active in politics were evicted from their own homes, while Polish newspapers and cultural houses were closed down in the region. Polish masses were banned between June and July in Warmia and Mazury.
In the final moments of August 1939 all remains of political and cultural life of Polish minority was eradicated by the Nazis, with imprisonment of Polish activists and liquidation of Polish institutions. Seweryn Pieniężny, the chief editor of "Gazeta Olsztyńska", who opposed Germanisation of Masuria, was interned. Others included Juliusz Malewski (director of Bank Ludowy of Olsztyn), Stefan Różycki, Leon Włodarczyk (activist of Polonia Warmińsko-Mazurska).
Directors of Polish schools and teachers were imprisoned, as was the staff of Polish pre-schools in the Masuria region. They were often forced to destroy Polish signs, emblems and symbols of Polish institutions.
The Nazis believed that in future, the Masurs, as a separate non-German entity, would disappear, while those who would cling to their "foreigness" as one Nazi report mentioned, would be deported. Local Jews were considered by the Nazis to be subhuman and were to be exterminated. The Nazi authorities also murdered Polish activists in Masuria and those who remained alive were sent to concentration camps. In August 1943 the Uderzeniowe Bataliony Kadrowe attacked the village of Mittenheide (Turośl) in southern Masuria
In 1943 "Związek Mazurski" was reactivated secretly by Masurian activists of the Polish Underground State in Warsaw and led by Karol Małłek. Związek Mazurski opposed Nazi Germany and asked Polish authorities during the war to liquidate German property after victory over Nazi Germany to help in agricultural reform and settlement of Masurian population, Masurians opposed to Nazi Germany requested to remove German heritage sites "regardless of their cultural value". Additionally a Masurian Institute was founded by Masurian activists in Radość near Warsaw in 1943
In the final stages of World War II, Masuria was partially devastated by the retreating German and advancing Soviet armies during the Vistula-Oder Offensive. The region came under Polish rule at the war's end in the Potsdam Conference. Most of the population fled to Germany or was killed during or after the war, while the rest was subject to a "nationality verification", organised by the communist government of Poland. As a result, the number of native Masurians remaining in Masuria was initially relatively high, while most of the population was subsequently expelled. Poles from central Poland and the Polish areas annexed by the Soviet Union as well as Ukrainians expelled from southern Poland throughout the Operation Vistula, were resettled in Masuria.
According to the Masurian Institute the Masurian members of resistance against Nazi Germany who survived the war, became active in 1945 in the region, working in Olsztyn in cooperation with new state authorities in administration, education and cultural affairs.
German author Andreas Kossert describes the post-war process of "national verification" as based on an ethnic racism which categorised the local populace according to their alleged ethnic background. A Polish-sounding last name or a Polish-speaking ancestor was sufficient to be regarded as "autochthonous" Polish. In October 1946 37,736 persons were "verified" as Polish citizens while 30,804 remained "unverified". A centre of such "unverified" Masurians was the district of Mrągowo (Sensburg), where in early 1946 out of 28,280 persons, 20,580 were "unverified", while in October, 16,385 still refused to adopt Polish citizenship. However even those who complied with the often used pressure by Polish authorities were in fact treated as Germans because of their Lutheran faith and their often rudimentary knowledge of Polish. Names were "Polonised" and the usage of the German language in public was forbidden. In the late 1940s the pressure to sign the "verification documents" grew and in February 1949 the former chief of the stalinist secret Police (UB) of Łódź, Mieczysław Moczar, started the "Great verification" campaign. Many unverified Masurians were imprisoned and accused of pro-Nazi or pro-American propaganda, even former pro-Polish activists and inmates of Nazi concentration camps were jailed and tortured. After the end of this campaign in the district of Mrągowo (Sensburg) only 166 Masurians were still "unverified".
In 1950 1,600 Masurians left the country and in 1951, 35,000 people from Masuria and Warmia managed to obtain a declaration of their German nationality by the embassies of the United States and Great Britain in Warsaw. Sixty-three percent of the Masurians in the district of Mrągowo (Sensburg) received such a document. In December 1956 Masurian pro-Polish activists signed a memorandum to the Communist Party leadership:
"The history of the people of Warmia and Masuria is full of tragedy and suffering. Injustice, hardship and pain often pressed on the shoulders of Warmians and Masurians... Dislike, injustice and violence surrounds us...They (Warmians and Masurians) demand respect for their differentness, grown in the course of seven centuries and for freedom to maintain their traditions".
Soon after the political reforms of 1956, Masurians were given the opportunity to join their families in West Germany. The majority (over 100 thousand) gradually left and after the improvement of Germano-Polish relations by the German Ostpolitik of the 1970s, 55,227 persons from Warmia and Masuria moved to West Germany in between 1971 and 1988, today approximately between 5,000 and 6,000 Masurians still live in the area, about 50 percent of them members of the German minority in Poland, the remaining half is ethnic Polish. As the Polish journalist Andrzej K. Wróblewski stated, the Polish post-war policy succeeded in what the Prussian state never managed: the creation of a German national consciousness among the Masurians.
Most of the originally Protestant churches in Masuria are now used by the Polish Roman Catholic Church as the number of Lutherans in Masuria declined from 68,500 in 1950 to 21,174 in 1961 and further to 3,536 in 1981. Sometimes, like on 23 September 1979 in the village of Spychowo (Puppen), the Lutheran Parish was even forcefully driven out of their church while liturgy was held.
In modern Masuria the native population has virtually disappeared. Masuria was incorporated into the voivodeship system of administration in 1945. In 1999 Masuria was constituted with neighbouring Warmia as a single administrative province through the creation of the Warmian-Masurian Voivodeship.
The Masurian Szczytno-Szymany International Airport gained international attention as press reports alleged the airport to be a so-called "black site" involved in the CIA's network of extraordinary renditions.
Masuria and the Masurian Lake District are known in Polish as Kraina Tysiąca Jezior and in German as Land der Tausend Seen, meaning "land of a thousand lakes." These lakes were ground out of the land by glaciers during the Pleistocene ice age around 14,000 - 15,000 years ago, when ice covered northeastern Europe. From that period originates the horn of a reindeer found in the vicinity of Giżycko. By 10,000 BC this ice started to melt. Great geological changes took place and even in the last 500 years the maps showing the lagoons and peninsulas on the Baltic Sea have greatly altered in appearance. More than in other parts of northern Poland, such as from Pomerania (from the River Oder to the River Vistula), this continuous stretch of lakes is popular among tourists. The terrain is rather hilly, with connecting lakes, rivers and streams. Forests account for about 30% of the area. The northern part of Masuria is covered mostly by the broadleaved forest, while the southern part is dominated by pine and mixed forests.
Marzanna Bogumiła Kielar (born 1962), poet
The East Prussia(n) plebiscite (German: Abstimmung in Ostpreußen), also known as the Allenstein and Marienwerder plebiscite or Warmia, Masuria and Powiśle plebiscite (Polish: Plebiscyt na Warmii, Mazurach i Powiślu), was a plebiscite for self-determination of the regions southern Warmia (Ermland), Masuria (Mazury, Masuren) and Powiśle, which had been in parts of the East Prussian Government Region of Allenstein and of West Prussian Government Region of Marienwerder, in accordance with Articles 94 to 97 of the Treaty of Versailles.
Prepared during early 1920, it took place on 11 July 1920. The plebiscite was conducted by German authorities, formally under Inter-Allied control. According to Richard K. Debo, both German and Polish governments believed that the outcome of the plebiscite was decided by the ongoing Polish-Bolshevik War which threatened the existence of the newly formed Polish state itself and, as a result, even many German citizens of Polish ethnicity of the region voted for Germany out of fear that if the area was allocated to Poland it would soon fall under Soviet rule.According to several Polish sources the German side engaged in mass persecution of Polish activists, their Masurian supporters, going as far as engaging in regular hunts and murder against them to influence the vote. Additionally the organisation of the plebiscite was influenced by Great Britain, which at the time supported Germany, fearing the increased power of France in post-war Europe.According to Jerzy Minakowski due to terror and unequal status of German and Polish side, Poles boycotted the preparations for the plebiscite which allowed Germans to engage in falsifications.
The German conducted plebiscite reported that majority of voters selected East Prussia over Poland (over 97% in the Allenstein Plebiscite Area and 92% in the Marienwerder Plebiscite Area); most of the territories in question remained in the Free State of Prussia, and therefore, in Germany.East Prussia
East Prussia (German: Ostpreußen, pronounced [ˈɔstˌpʁɔʏsən] (listen); Polish: Prusy Wschodnie; Lithuanian: Rytų Prūsija; Latin: Borussia orientalis; Russian: Восточная Пруссия) was a province of the Kingdom of Prussia from 1773 to 1829 and again from 1878 (with the Kingdom itself being part of the German Empire from 1871); following World War I it formed part of the Weimar Republic's Free State of Prussia, until 1945. Its capital city was Königsberg (present-day Kaliningrad). East Prussia was the main part of the region of Prussia along the southeastern Baltic Coast.The bulk of the ancestral lands of the Baltic Old Prussians were enclosed within East Prussia. During the 13th century, the native Prussians were conquered by the crusading Teutonic Knights. After the conquest the indigenous Balts were gradually converted to Christianity. Because of Germanization and colonisation over the following centuries, Germans became the dominant ethnic group, while Masurians and Lithuanians formed minorities. From the 13th century, East Prussia was part of the monastic state of the Teutonic Knights. After the Second Peace of Thorn in 1466 it became a fief of the Kingdom of Poland. In 1525, with the Prussian Homage, the province became the Duchy of Prussia. The Old Prussian language had become extinct by the 17th or early 18th century.Because the duchy was outside of the core Holy Roman Empire, the prince-electors of Brandenburg were able to proclaim themselves King beginning in 1701. After the annexation of most of western Royal Prussia in the First Partition of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in 1772, eastern (ducal) Prussia was connected by land with the rest of the Prussian state and was reorganized as a province the following year (1773). Between 1829 and 1878, the Province of East Prussia was joined with West Prussia to form the Province of Prussia.
The Kingdom of Prussia became the leading state of the German Empire after its creation in 1871. However, the Treaty of Versailles following World War I granted West Prussia to Poland and made East Prussia an exclave of Weimar Germany (the new Polish Corridor separated East Prussia from the rest of Germany), while the Memel Territory was detached and annexed by Lithuania in 1923. Following Nazi Germany's defeat in World War II in 1945, war-torn East Prussia was divided at Joseph Stalin's insistence between the Soviet Union (the Kaliningrad Oblast became part of the Russian SFSR, and the constituent counties of the Klaipėda Region in the Lithuanian SSR) and the People's Republic of Poland (the Warmian-Masurian Voivodeship). The capital city Königsberg was renamed Kaliningrad in 1946. The German population of the province was largely evacuated during the war or expelled shortly afterwards in the expulsion of Germans after World War II. An estimated 300,000 (around one fifth of the population) died either in war time bombing raids, in the battles to defend the province, or through mistreatment by the Red Army.Ełk
Ełk [ɛu̯k] (German: Lyck ; Old Prussian: Luks; Lithuanian: Lukas; before 1939 rendered in Polish as Łęg or Łęk) is a town in northeastern Poland with 61,156 inhabitants (as of 2010). It was assigned to Warmian-Masurian Voivodeship in 1999, after belonging to Suwałki Voivodeship from 1975 to 1998. Ełk is the capital of Ełk County. It lies on a shore of Ełk Lake, which was formed by a glacier, and is surrounded by forests. It is the largest city, and according to many, the capital of the region of Masuria. One of its principal attractions is hunting, which is carried out in extensive forests.Kota Doria
Kota doriya or Kota doria is one of many types of sari garments made at Kota, Rajasthan and Muhammadabad Gohna, Mau in Uttar Pradesh and its nearby area. Sarees are made of pure cotton and silk and have square like patterns known as khats on them. The chequered weave of a Kota sari is very popular. They are very fine weaves and weigh very less.List of Polish voivodeships by GRP per capita
This is a list of Polish voivodeships by gross regional product (GRP) per capita, based on purchasing power standards (PPS) and shown in euros. Statistics shown are for 2016 levels.
This is a list of Polish voivodeships by Nominal gross regional product (GRP) shown in billion euros. Statistics shown are for 2016 levels.List of cities and towns in East Prussia
List of cities and towns in East Prussia, as used before 1945:
This article is a translation of the German Wikipedia's Liste der Städte in Ostpreußen article.Lutheran Diocese of Masuria
The Diocese of Masuria is one of the 6 dioceses from the Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession in Poland. This seat sits in Olsztyn.Masurian Lake District
The Masurian Lake District or Masurian Lakeland (Polish: Pojezierze Mazurskie; German: Masurische Seenplatte) is a lake district in northeastern Poland within the geographical region of Masuria, in the past inhabited by Masurians who spoke the Masurian dialect. It contains more than 2,000 lakes. The district had been elected as one of the 28 finalists of the New 7 Wonders of Nature.The Lakeland extends roughly 290 km (180 mi) eastwards from the lower Vistula to the Poland–Russia border, and occupies an area of roughly 52,000 square kilometres (20,000 sq mi). Administratively, the Lake District lies within the Warmian-Masurian Voivodeship. Small parts of the district lie within the Masovian and Podlaskie Voivodeships.The lakes are well connected by rivers and canals, forming an extensive system of waterways. The 18th-century Masurian Canal links this system to the Baltic Sea. The whole area is a prime tourist destination, frequented by boating enthusiasts, canoeists, anglers, hikers, bikers and nature-lovers. It is one of the most famous lake districts in Central Europe and a popular vacation spot, with the highest number of visitors every year.Masurians
The Masurians or Mazurs (Polish: Mazurzy, Ukrainian: Мазури, German: Masuren, Masurian: Mazurÿ) are a small 5,000-15,000 strong Lechitic sub-ethnic group traditionally present in what is now the present-day Warmian-Masurian Voivodeship, Poland. In 2011 Polish census, 1376 individuals declared themselves to be Masurian either as a first or secondary identification. Before World War II and its post-war expulsions, Masurians used to be a more numerous ethnic group found in the southern parts of East Prussia for centuries following the 16th century Protestant Reformation. Today, most of Masurians live in what is now Germany and elsewhere.
They are descended from Masovians (Polish: Mazowszanie; German: Masowier), who were Polish settlers from Mazovia. These settlers moved to the Duchy of Prussia during and after the Protestant Reformation. They spoke the Masurian dialect. Since the middle 19th century, High German was increasingly used among Masurians as opposed to Low German used by most of East Prussia's German population. Many Masurians were often bilingual in German and Polish languages. In the 19th century, the Masuria region of East Prussia was named after the Masurians.
Like most of the East Prussian population, they favored Protestantism and adopted Lutheranism in 1525 when Albert, Duke of Prussia secularized the duchy and converted. Roman Catholic Warmiaks and Masovians were not affected as they inhabited parts that formally belonged to the Kingdom of Poland.
After World War II, many Masurians were classified as Germans and therefore mostly expelled along with them or emigrated after 1956 from what was now Poland to post-war Germany. Although most of them left for the West, some also ended up in East Germany. Conclusion of the war and ensuing resettlements saw an ethnic conflict between leaving Masurians and incoming Kurpie mainly on religious (Protestant-Catholic) grounds.Morąg
Morąg ([ˈmɔrɔŋk]; German: Mohrungen (listen)) is a town in northern Poland in Ostróda County in the Warmian-Masurian Voivodeship.Olecko
Olecko [ɔˈlɛt͡skɔ] (former German: Marggrabowa since 1560, colloquially also Oletzko , Treuburg since 1928, Lithuanian: Alėcka) is a city in Masuria, in the Warmian-Masurian Voivodeship of Poland, near Ełk and Suwałki. It is situated at the mouth of the Lega river which flows into the Great Olecko Lake (Jezioro Oleckie Wielkie) on its south-western shore. Olecko is the seat of Olecko County.Olsztyn
Olsztyn ([ˈɔlʂtɨn] (listen); German: Allenstein (listen); Old Polish: Holstin; Old Prussian: Alnāsteini or Alnestabs; Lithuanian: Olštynas) is a city on the Łyna River in northeastern Poland. Olsztyn is the capital of the Warmian-Masurian Voivodeship, and is a city with county rights. The population of the city was estimated at 173,070 residents in 2017.
Founded as Allenstein in the 14th century, Olsztyn was under the control and influence of the Teutonic Order until 1466, when it was incorporated into the Polish Crown. For centuries the city was an important centre of trade, crafts, science and administration in the Warmia region linking Warsaw with Königsberg. Following the First Partition of Poland in 1772 Warmia was annexed by Prussia and ceased to be the property of the clergy. In the 19th century the city changed its status completely, becoming the most prominent economic hub of the southern part of Eastern Prussia. The construction of a railway and early industrialization greatly contributed to Olsztyn's significance. Following World War II, the city returned to Poland in accordance with the Potsdam Agreement.
Since 1999 Olsztyn has been the capital city of the Warmia-Masuria. In the same year, the University of Warmia and Masuria was founded from the fusion of three other local universities. Today, the Castle of Warmian Bishops houses a museum and is a venue for concerts, art exhibitions, film shows and other cultural events, which make Olsztyn a popular tourist destination.The most important sights of the city include the medieval Old Town and the Olsztyn Cathedral, which dates back more than 600 years. The picturesque market square is part of the European Route of Brick Gothic and the cathedral is regarded as one of the greatest monuments of Gothic architecture in Poland.Olsztyn, for a number of years, has been ranked very highly in quality of life, income, employment and safety. It currently is one of the best places in Poland to live and work. It is also one of the happiest cities in the country.Protestantism in Poland
Protestantism in Poland is the third largest faith in Poland, after the Roman Catholic Church (32,910,865) and the Polish Orthodox Church (504,400). As of 2011 there were approximately 80 registered Protestant denominations in Poland, with a total of 145,600 members. Most Protestants (mainly Lutherans) in the country live in historically Protestant regions such as Cieszyn Silesia and Warmia-Masuria and in major urban areas. However, almost all urban and rural areas in Poland are predominantly Roman Catholic. The only town in the country with a majority Protestant population is Wisła.Major denominations (with at least two thousand followers) classified as Protestant by Poland's Central Statistical Office (as of 2017) include:
Evangelical-Augsburg Church in Poland: 61,270 members
Pentecostal Church in Poland: 23,984 adherents
Seventh-day Adventist Church in Poland: 9,660 adherents
Fellowship of Christian Churches in Poland (Kościół Chrystusowy w RP): 5,869 adherents
New Apostolic Church in Poland: 5,633 adherents
Baptist Union of Poland: 5,243 baptized members
Church of God in Christ: 4,933 adherents
United Methodist Church in Poland: 4,465 adherents
Evangelical-Reformed Church in Poland: 3,435 adherents
Church of Free Christians in the Republic of Poland: 3,098 adherents
Church of Evangelical Christians in the Republic of Poland: 2,149 adherents (data for 2016)Poland's Central Statistical Office lists 15 more Protestant denominations with at least 200 members and 57 smaller religious groups that it classifies as Protestant.Prussia (region)
Prussia (Old Prussian: Prūsa; German: Preußen; Lithuanian: Prūsija; Polish: Prusy; Russian: Пруссия) is a historical region in Europe, stretching from Gdańsk Bay to the end of Curonian Spit on the southeastern coast of the Baltic Sea, and extending inland as far as Masuria. The territory and inhabitants were described by Tacitus in Germania in AD 98, where Suebi, Goths and other Germanic people lived on both sides of the Vistula River, adjacent to the Aesti (further east). About 800 to 900 years later the Aesti were named Old Prussians, who, since 997, repeatedly defended themselves against take-over attempts by the newly created Duchy of the Polans. The territory of the Old Prussians and neighboring Curonians and Livonians was unified politically in the 1230s as the Teutonic Order State. Prussia was politically divided between 1466 and 1772, with western Prussia under protection of the Crown of Poland and eastern Prussia a Polish–Lithuanian fief until 1660. The unity of both parts of Prussia remained preserved by retaining its borders, citizenship and autonomy until western and eastern Prussia were also politically reunited under the German Kingdom of Prussia (which despite the name was based in Berlin, Brandenburg). It is famous for many lakes, as well as forests and hills. Since the military conquest of the area by the Soviet Army in 1945 and the expulsion of the German-speaking inhabitants it was divided between northern Poland (most of the Warmian-Masurian Voivodeship), Russia's Kaliningrad exclave, and southwestern Lithuania (Klaipėda Region). The former German kingdom and later state of Prussia (1701–1947) derived its name from the region.Rose (2011 film)
Róża (English: Rose) is a 2011 Polish film directed by Wojciech Smarzowski. It depicts the love story of a Masurian woman and an officer of the Armia Krajowa in postwar Masuria.University of Warmia and Mazury in Olsztyn
The University of Warmia and Mazury in Olsztyn was established on 1 September 1999, in accordance with the new Statute of Sejm signed by Polish President Aleksander Kwaśniewski, as well as Minister of Education Mirosław Handke, in August of the same year. Ryszard Górecki became its first chancellor. The Faculty of Theology was established with an agreement between Polish Episcopate and the government, in the presence of Cardinal Józef Glemp, among others. The university's first academic year started in October 1999.The core structure of the university was based on an agreement between the academic senates of three institutions of higher learning already established in the city: the Academy of Agriculture and Technology, the Pedagogical Institute, and the Warmia Institute of Theology.
The university has 16 faculties, out of which eight hold full academic rights and therefore entitle the university to operate as an autonomous unit.Warmian-Masurian Voivodeship
Warmian-Masurian Voivodeship or Warmia-Masuria Province or Warmia-Mazury Province (in Polish: Województwo warmińsko-mazurskie, [vɔjɛˈvut͡stfɔ varˈmiɲskɔ maˈzurskʲɛ], German: Woiwodschaft Ermland-Masuren, Russian: Варминьско-Мазурское воеводство), is a voivodeship (province) in northeastern Poland. Its capital and largest city is Olsztyn. The voivodeship has an area of 24,192 km2 (9,341 sq mi) and a population of 1,427,091 (as of 2006).
The Warmian-Masurian Voivodeship was created on January 1, 1999, from the entire Olsztyn Voivodeship, the western half of Suwałki Voivodeship and part of Elbląg Voivodeship, pursuant to the Polish local government reforms adopted in 1998. The province's name derives from two historic regions, Warmia and Masuria. It is also the southern half of the pre-World War II German region of East Prussia.
The province borders the Podlaskie Voivodeship to the east, the Masovian Voivodeship to the south, the Kuyavian-Pomeranian Voivodeship to the south-west, the Pomeranian Voivodeship to the west, the Vistula Lagoon to the northwest, and the Kaliningrad Oblast (an exclave of Russia) to the north.Wet Lake (Warmia-Masuria Voivodeship)
Wet Lake (Polish: Jezioro Mokre) is a ribbon lake in the Mrągowskie Lakeland of Poland. There are 5 islands in the lake. It is situated in the Mazurski Landscape Park near Zgon.