Three pictures of pre-war Oppeln, Upper Silesia, since 1945, Opole, Poland.
These photographs include loads of great period detail. Simply click on picture to enlarge.
Oppeln into Opole
At the end of the Second World War, Oppeln was transferred from Germany to Poland and renamed Opole. Unlike in other parts of Poland’s so-called Recovered Territories, the ethnic German population of Opole and the surrounding region remained and were not forcibly expelled. Around a million Silesians who considered themselves Poles or were treated as such by the authorities due to their language and customs were allowed to stay after they were classified as Poles in a special verification process. This involved chiefly declaring Polish nationality and making an oath of allegiance to the Polish nation. In return they were allowed to stay.
In later years, notably the 1980s, however, many ethnic Germans left for West Germany, which offered better economic prospects than the communist Eastern Bloc.
Opole is a city on the Oder River (Odra) and the capital of the Upper Silesia, in the south of Poland It’s current population is just under 125,000. In the last census only 2% of the inhabitants declared themselves as German.
Related content on Polish Poland:
- Images and information on the neighbouring town of Grodkow (Grottkau).