Tag Archives: Poles

Where Poles Lived in 1918

poland map 1918

A 1918 / 1919 map of part of Central Europe. Areas that were to have plebiscites are marked.

Two maps showing where Poles lived in 1918

Here is a rather fine map published in the immediate post-First-World-War period. The map, marked by areas in red, shows the areas where more than 50% of the population were Poles or had declared themselves as Polish. This is a Polish map and one should be aware that similar maps produced by German publishers tend to differ, especially in regard to what became known as the ‘Polish corridor’ to the Baltic Sea.

poland 1918

A map showing the distribution of Poles at the end of World War One. Source: Geograficzno-Statystyczny Atlas Polski. Published in Lwów in 1921.

To see the map at full size click here. It is though a huge file so be patient if you have a slow internet connection.

The sort of information contained in maps such as this was used in drawing the borders of a newly independent Poland. The figures used to compile this map were drawn it is stated from various Polish documents dating from 1914 to early 1920 and the census of 1919.

Related content on Polish Poland:
- A pre-independence map showing Germany, Poland, and Russia.
- A 1920 map of Poland and the Baltic States.

Images of Old Poland

polish people

A Polish women cooling off in a pond in the early years of the twentieth century.

Here are scans of two images from our pre-independence Poland archive. These pictures both feature Polish women in country settings and date from between 1914-1918. They were primarily designed to appeal to soldiers during World War One. Most were sent home as picture postcards to locations in Germany.

A female Polish farmhand taking a break from fieldwork near a haystack, c.1914.

A female Polish farmhand taking a break from fieldwork near a haystack in Russian Poland, c.1914.

Poles in the UK

Polish butchers shop

The BBC have just published a fascinating article about how Britain and Poland came to be intertwined.

“Britain entered World War Two because of Germany invading Poland. But it failed to save the country from Stalin’s clutches in 1945. So has a feeling of historic debt affected Anglo-Polish relations over the years?

I hear someone speaking Polish every day. On the train, in a shop, in the street. Ten years after Poland joined the EU, no-one knows for sure how many Poles live in the UK. The 2011 census estimated it at nearly 600,000.

But that doesn’t include those who stayed after the end of World War Two, or their offspring – people like me. In total, the UK is probably home to a million or more people who regard Poland as their ancestral home in some way. Yet Britain and Poland have no long standing historical ties, like Britain and Ireland or Poland and France. The 1931 Census showed only around 40,000 Poles lived in the UK. Poland did not open an embassy in London until 1929. So how and why did we all end up here?

When Britain declared war on Germany on 3 September 1939 it did so for only one reason – Germany had invaded Poland, and Britain had guaranteed to support her ally. The diplomat and writer Sir Nicholas Henderson, himself a former ambassador to Poland, called it “a fatal guarantee”.

It was unprecedented. Britain had never given such a pledge to an eastern European country. There had never been a special relationship with Poland. Even Winston Churchill was amazed.

“His Majesty’s Government have given a guarantee to Poland. I was astounded when I heard them give this guarantee,” he told MPs in May 1939, when still a backbencher.

So why did Britain do it? The answer of course …. … ”

The rest of the article can be read here:


Poles Deported to Siberia

poles deported russia

Did you know?

That after Russia invaded and occupied vast areas of eastern Poland in 1939 between 500,000 and one million Poles are estimated to have been deported by Stalin to slave labour camps in the Soviet Union. These camps were chiefly located in Siberia and Kazakhstan. It is believed that only one third of those deported survived.