Tag Archives: Silesia

Schoenau / Świerzawa

Schoenau an der Katzbach Świerzawa

An old postcard from Schoenau an der Katzbach, now Świerzawa, Schlesien, c.1899.

In response to a visitor request here are scans of three images from our archive of the small town of Schoenau an der Katzbach, now Świerzawa in Lower Silesia, south-west Poland.

Schonau Swierzawa

The Lower Market Square in Schonau / Swierzawa, Lower Silesia, c.1930.

Three things you may not know about Świerzawa:
- Świerzawa was called Schoenau until 1945 and between 1945 and 1947, Szunów.
- A recently closed railway line once connected Świerzawa with Legnica, Złotoryja, Marciszów, Kamienna Góra, and Lubawka.
- Świerzawa has a population of around 2,400.

Schonau Swierzawa pl

An aerial photograph of the centre of Schoenau / Swierzawa. This was taken in 1939.

Related content: Information and images of the nearby city of Jelenia Gora.


Częstochowa Through Time

Częstochowa 1899

A very early lithographic picture postcard image of Częstochowa in what was Lesser Poland. Mailed in 1899.

A selection of pre-war images of the city of Częstochowa, Silesia (śląskie) in the south of Poland.

Częstochowa  Czenstochau

A German picture postcard of Częstochowa / Czenstochau, commemorating the taking of the city from Russian forces, c.1914.

Some things you may not know about Częstochowa:
- Czestochowa is located on the banks of the River Warta.
- When Poland was invaded in 1939 Częstochowa was renamed Tschenstochau, and became part of the General Government.
- In April 1941, a Jewish ghetto was created and it is believed that more than 40,000 of Częstochowa’s Jews died during the war.

Częstochowa  1916

A scan of an old picture postcard of the New Market Square in Częstochowa, c.1916.

More information on Częstochowa:
- The city of Czestochowa has a population of around 230,000. More than 400,000 people live in and around Częstochowa.
- Several million people from all over the world come to Częstochowa each year to visit the Pauline monastery of Jasna Góra, the home of the Black Madonna painting.

Częstochowa 1929

A photographic postcard view of the centre of Czestochowa, c.1929.

How to get to Czestochowa:
- There are at present six railway stations in the city and railway lines connect Częstochowa with Lubliniec, Kielce, Warsaw, Katowice, and Chorzew Siemkowice.
- The nearest airport is Katowice International, which is around 60 kilometres from Częstochowa.

Czestochowa  1936

Market day in the New Market Square in Czestochowa, Lesser Poland, c.1935.

Related content on Polish Poland: PRL (Communist-era) images of Częstochowa.

Ratibor / Raciborz

Three pre-war pictures of Ratibor, Upper Silesia, since 1945, Raciborz, Poland. Click on images to enlarge.


An old picture postcard of Railway Street, Ratibor, Silesia, c.1910.

At the end of the Second World War and after the decisions made at the Potsdam conference, Ratibor became part of Poland and was renamed Raciborz. The German population was expelled and their place taken by Poles from areas lost to Poland in what is now Ukraine.

Ratibor Schlesien

Nine photographs of different locations around Ratibor when it was part of Germany in the 1920s.

Ratibor Silesia

The railway station in Ratibor (Raciborz), Upper Silesia (Slaskie), c.1937.

Racibórz (Ratibor) is a town in the Silesian Voivodeship of southern Poland. Its current population is just under 60,000.

Related content on Polish Poland: images of Racibórz during the communist period.

Schloss Fuerstenstein / Ksiaz Castle

Schloss Fuerstenstein / Ksiaz Castle Through Time

zamek ksiaz schloss fuerstinstein

An engraving by the German artist Ludwig Richter of Schloss Fuerstinstein, c.1845

Ksiaz castle Fürstinstein

Zamek Książ / Ksiaz Castle / Fürstenstein, Silesia, c.1902.

ksiaz castle in poland

Ksiaz Castle / Zamek Książ in Silesia, south-west Poland, c.1960.

Ksiaz Castle (Zamek Książ / Schloss Fürstenstein) is a castle in Wałbrzych (Waldenburg) in the Lower Silesian province of south-west Poland. It is one of the largest castles in Europe and the third largest castle in present-day Poland, behind Wawel Castle in Krakow and Malbork Castle. Ksiaz Castle is around 70 kilometres from the city of Wrocław (Breslau).

Wroclaw (Breslau) 1939-1945

Wroclaw breslau 1939

Planes and Nazi German flags flying over the airport in Wroclaw (Breslau), Schlesien, in 1939.

Four more images from our picture archive of Wrocław (former: Breslau). These photographs were taken during the Second World War before the widespread destruction of the city in 1945.

wroclaw breslau 1940

Trams and traffic on Most Grunwaldzki (Kaiser Bridge) in Wroclaw (Breslau) in early 1940.

wroclaw breslau 1941

Trams and people in the centre of Wrocław (Breslau), Lower Silesia, c.1941.

wroclaw breslau 1943

Another photograph of central Wroclaw (Breslau), c.1943.

More old images of Wroclaw (Breslau):
- Wroclaw (Breslau) Through Time.

Adolf Hitler Strasse in Beuthen / Bytom

Two different views of the same location in the south of Poland.

How the city looked as Beuthen In Silesia, Germany, in 1935, and as, Bytom, Poland, 1960.

Beuthen Bytom

Adolf Hitler Platz (Place) on Beuthen, Silesia, c.1935. Click image to enlarge and see all the detail.

Beuthen into Bytom

In 1945, the city of Beuthen, Germany, was transferred to Poland as a result of decisions made at the Potsdam Conference. Most of the population who hadn’t already fled westwards were expelled by the Soviet Red Army and incoming Polish authorities. The city was then renamed Bytom and populated with Poles from the eastern provinces of Poland annexed by the Soviets.

Bytom, Poland

An early 1960s photograph of Plac Kosciuszki, Bytom, Poland. Larger size image available.

Bytom today

Bytom is a city with a population of around 180,000 and is located in Silesia in southern Poland, not far from the larger city of Katowice.

Related content on Polish Poland: Information on and images of the smaller town of Bytom Odrzański in Lubuskie, Poland.

Oppeln / Opole

Three pictures of pre-war Oppeln, Upper Silesia, since 1945, Opole, Poland.

Oppeln Opole

The Ring in Oppeln (Opole), Silesia, on an old picture postcard mailed in 1913.

These photographs include loads of great period detail. Simply click on picture to enlarge.

Oppeln Opole Silesia

A photo of the same spot in Oppeln twenty years later.

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.

Oppeln Opole

Opole Today

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).

Thomasdorf / Domanów

Nieder Thomasdorf

A very early lithograph picture postcard of Nieder Thomasdorf (Domanow), Schlesien, c.1899.

A trio of pre-war picture postcards from the village of Thomasdorf (Domanów) in Silesia, Poland.

Thomasdorf de

Another early litho postcard featuring three different views of Thomasdorf, Silesia, c.1900.

wind mill in thomasdorf Domanów

A multiview postcard including the windmill and other photographs of Thomasdorf (Domanów), c.1922

Domanów (Thomasdorf) is a village not far from Marciszów (Merzdorf) in Lower Silesia, Poland. It is located in the foothills of the Walbrzyskie Mountains in the Sudetenland.

Liegnitz / Legnica

Three pre-war pictures of Liegnitz, Silesia, since 1945, Legnica, Poland.

Liegnitz Legnica Silesia

Glogauer Tor in Liegnitz, now Legnica, on a picture postcard, c.1905.

Liegnitz Legnica

A photograph of the ‘new’ City Hall in the centre of Liegnitz, Legnica, c.1935.

Liegnitz into Legnica

Census records show that Liegnitz’s population before the Second World War was 95% German. The other inhabitants of the city describing themselves as Wendish, German and Polish, Czech, and Polish. All this changed in 1945. After the defeat of Nazi Germany in World War II, Liegnitz and all of Silesia east of the Neisse was transferred to Poland following the Potsdam Conference in 1945. The German population was expelled between 1945 and 1947 and replaced with Poles and the town renamed Legnica.

Liegnitz Legnica

Fountains photographed in Liegnitz (Legnica), Schlesien, before the Second World War.

Legnica today

Legnica / Liegnitz is a city in the central part of Lower Silesia in the south west of Poland. Legnica has a population of just over 100,000 and is the third largest city in the voivodeship (after Wrocław and Wałbrzych) and 38th in Poland.