Pomeranian Voivodeship (1919–39)

Pomeranian Voivodeship
Województwo Pomorskie
Voivodeship of Poland


Coat of arms

Location of the Pomeranian Voivodeship (red)
within the Second Polish Republic (1938).
Capital Toruń
Government Voivodeship
  1919–1920 Stefan Łaszewski
  1936–1939 Władysław Raczkiewicz
Historical era Interwar period
  Established 12 August 1919
  Territorial changes 1 April 1938
  Annexed by Germany September 1939
  1921 16,386 km2 (6,327 sq mi)
  1939 28,402 km2 (10,966 sq mi)
  1921 935,643 
Density 57.1 /km2  (147.9 /sq mi)
  1931 1,884,400 
Political subdivisions 28 powiats

The Pomeranian Voivodeship or Pomorskie Voivodeship (Polish: Województwo Pomorskie) was an administrative unit of inter-war Poland (from 1919–1939). It ceased to exist in September 1939, following the German and Soviet invasion of Poland.

Most of its territory became part of current Kuyavian-Pomeranian Voivodeship, whiches one of two capitals is the same like the interwar voivodeship's (Toruń); the second one is Bydgoszcz.

The name Pomerania comes from Slavic po more, which means Land at the Sea.[1]


This was a unit of administration and local government in the Republic of Poland (II Rzeczpospolita) established in 1919 after World War I from the majority of the Prussian province of West Prussia(made out of territories taken in Partitions of Poland which was returned to Poland. Toruń was the capital. In 1938–1939, the voivodeship extended to the south at the expense of Poznań Voivodeship and Warsaw Voivodeship, and was called Great Pomerania afterwards (see: Territorial changes of Polish Voivodeships on April 1, 1938).

During World War II, it was occupied by Nazi Germany and unilaterally annexed as Reichsgau Danzig-Westpreussen ("Reich province of Danzig-West Prussia"). Poles and Jews were classified as untermenschen by German authorities and their intended fate slavery and extermination. In 1945, the region was returned to Poland. In 1945, out of its northern territory the new voivodeship of Gdańsk was formed, including annexed territories of the Free City of Danzig and of German Prussian Province of Pomerania and German Prussian Province of East Prussia. The bulk of the old voivodeship was enlarged by annexed territories of the German Prussian Province of Pomerania and later renamed into Bydgoszcz voivodeship. In the years 1975–1998 it was reorganized into the voivodeships of Gdańsk, Elbląg, Bydgoszcz, Toruń and Włocławek.

Area and counties

Between April 1, 1938 and September 1, 1939, the Voivodeship's area was 25 683 km², and its population - 1 884 400 (according to the 1931 census). It consisted of 28 powiats (counties), 64 cities and 234 villages. Railroad density was high, with 11.4 km. per 100 km² (total length of railroads within the Voivodeship's area was 1 887 km., second in the whole country). Forests covered 26.7% of the Voivodeship, which was higher than the national average (in 1937 the average was 22.2%).

Pomorskie Voivodeship was one of the richest and best developed in interwar Poland. With numerous cities and well-developed rail, it also provided the country with access to the Baltic Sea. Only 8.3% of population was illiterate, which was much lower than the national average of 23.1% (as for 1931). Poles made up majority of population (88%). After World War I the number of Germans was 117,251 in 1926 and 107,555 in 1934.[2] As of 1931 10.1% of the populace were ethnic Germans and 1.6% Jews.

This is the list of the Pomorskie Voivodeship counties as for August 31, 1939:

Main cities

Biggest cities of the Voivodeship were (data according to the 1931 Polish census):

German minority

According to Polish census figures the German minority in 1921 counted 18.8% of the overall population(with 175.771 Germans still remaining in Polish areas), while in 1931 it counted 9.6%(104.992 Germans remaining)[3] Other more detailed estimates below:

(German name in brackets)[4]
ethnic German population (1926) ethnic German population (1934)
Kościerzyna (Berent) 6,884 5,974
Wąbrzeźno (Briesen) 7,615 7,344
Chełmno (Kulm) 7,905 7,673
Tczew (Dirschau)/ Gniew (Mewe)/ Świecie (Schwetz) 20,446 17,571
Grudziądz (Graudenz, town) 3,542 3,875
Grudziądz (Graudenz, district) 9,317 8,190
Kartuzy (Karthaus) 4,800 3,927
Chojnice (Konitz) 9,022 8,070
Lubawa (Löbau) 2,078 1,689
Wejherowo (Neustadt)/ Puck (Putzig) 6,556 6,305
Starogard Gdański (Pr. Stargard) 2,909 3,418
Toruń (Thorn, town) 2,255 2,057
Toruń (Thorn, district) 7,107 6,738
Tuchola (Tuchel) 3,170 2,861
Sępólno Krajeńskie (Zempelburg) 10,866 11,130
Pomeranian Voivodship (total) 117,251 107,555



  1. Der Name Pommern (po more) ist slawischer Herkunft und bedeutet so viel wie „Land am Meer“. (Pommersches Landesmuseum, German)
  2. Kotowski, Albert S. (1998). Polens Politik gegenüber seiner deutschen Minderheit 1919-1939 (in German). Forschungsstelle Ostmitteleuropa, University of Dortmund. p. 55. ISBN 3-447-03997-3.
  3. http://web.ku.edu/~eceurope/hist557/lect11.htm
  4. Kotowski, Albert S. (1998). Polens Politik gegenüber seiner deutschen Minderheit 1919-1939 (in German). Forschungsstelle Ostmitteleuropa, University of Dortmund. p. 55. ISBN 3-447-03997-3.


Coordinates: 53°00′41″N 18°36′25″E / 53.011288°N 18.606882°E / 53.011288; 18.606882

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