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The Arms of Pomerania with the legendary griffin, or gryphon

Pomerania (German: Pommern, Polish: Pomorze, Kashubian: Pòmòrskô), is a historical region and former province of Germany on the south shore of the Baltic Sea. Today a minor part remains in Germany, with the bulk being under the occupation of Poland since May 1945, illegally awarded to them by the Soviet Union. Poland still argues that this was a decision of the Potsdam Conference but that is untrue. Byrnes wrote: "It is difficult to credit with good faith any person who asserts that Poland's western boundary was fixed by the conference, or that there was a promise that it would be established at some particular place."[1]

The indigenous German population were raped, murdered and expelled[2][3][4] and replaced by imported Poles from central and eastern Poland. Pomerania has never been ethnically Polish although anciently Poland invaded at least twice before being ejected.


During the Coalition Wars, Napoleon's French Imperial Army marched across Pomerania met by fierce resistance from the Prussians, notably in the famous and successful defence in the 1807 siege of Kolberg.[5]
Schloss Falkenburg dated from the 14th century. It was dynamited by the Poles in 1970; the Pomeranian Germans had all been murdered or expelled after May 1945.[6]
Map of the Province of Pomerania in 1905

Pomerania stretches roughly from the Recknitz River near Stralsund in the West, via the Oder River delta near Stettin, to the mouth of the Vistula River near Danzig in the East. It belongs to the lowlands of the great North European Plain. Outside the few urban centers, such as Kolberg and most notably Stettin and other metropolitan areas, the poor soil is mostly used as farmland, dotted with numerous lakes, forests, and small towns. Primary agriculture consists of raising livestock, forestry, fishery and the cultivation of cereals, sugar beets, and potatoes, although the agricultural produce is today a fraction of what it was before WWII.

Since the late 19th century, tourism became an important sector of the economy, primarily in the numerous seaside resorts along the coast. Of the limited industrial zones, notably the capital, Stettin, the most important products are ships, metal products, refined sugar, and paper.

Seven miles from Stolp was the village and agricultural estate of the von Blumenthal family who were dispossessed by Poland in 1945.

The town of Falkenburg lies on the edge of 'Pomeranian Switzerland' between Stargard and Neustettin. The area was under Waldemar von Brandenburg at the beginning of the 14th century. He leased it in 1317 for 14 years to Bishop Heinrich von Cammin; from 1402 to 1455 it belonged to the Teutonic Knights, and after that it was again owned by the Margraves of Brandenburg. Falkenburg is mentioned for the first time in 1251. Possibly the Knights Templars built a castle there in the second half of the 13th century, which was strategically important for the country, being at the confluence of the Drage and Vansow rivers. It cannot be ruled out that Hasso von Wedel, who sat on the Valkenborch in 1312, was responsible for the construction of the castle. Under his or his successor's direction, the settlement near the castle was granted Brandenburg city rights in 1333.


Some Kashubians have always lived in the far east of the province, or more properly Pomerelia, and anciently Wends lived in scatted tribal groups across Pomerania.

Poland invades

Poland's second king, Boleslaw I 'the Brave' (r.992-1025) was expansionist and invaded Pomerania, defeating the indigenous Pomeranian tribes.[7] But following this conquest the Poles withdrew. However they returned under their Duke Boleslaw III 'the Wrymouth' (r.1102-38) who again invaded Pomerania, giving Poland a temporary coastline. But the division of loyalties among the several Polish princes brought on a long period of dynastic struggle, intrigue, and national weakness. Poland soon lost the by now largely Germanised Pomerania.[8]


By the 1300s, Pomerania was ruled by the House of Svantibors, and in 1396 Duke Wratislav of Pomerania's son, Bogislav (renamed Erik), a nephew of Margareta, Queen of all Scandinavia at this time, was chosen by her to ascend the throne of Sweden.[9]


In 1529, Brandenburg had, by the Treaty of Grimnitz, secured the reversion to the Duchy of Pomerania after a series of conflicts, and by the Treaty of Stettin (1653) acquired all of the eastern part of Pomerania following the Peace of Westphalia. Sweden's defeat by Russia, Saxony, DenmarkNorway, Hanover, and Prussia, in the Great Northern War (1700–1721) marked the end of Swedish power on the southern shores of the Baltic Sea. In the course of the Siege of Stralsund (1711–1715)‎ in the Pomeranian campaign, and by the Prussian-Swedish Treaty of Stockholm (January 1720), Prussia now gained that part of Pomerania which had remained under Swedish sovereignty.

Province of Pomerania

The Province of Pomerania (German: Provinz Pommern) was a province of Brandenburg-Prussia (1618–1701) within the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation (until 1806), the Kingdom of Prussia (1701–1918) and the Free State of Prussia (1918–1947) within the post-WWI German Reich.

The province was created from the former Prussian Province of Pomerania, which consisted of Farther Pomerania and the southern Western Pomerania, and former Swedish Pomerania. It resembled the territory of the former Duchy of Pomerania, which after the Peace of Westphalia in 1648 had been split between Brandenburg-Prussia and Sweden. Also, the districts of Schivelbein and Dramburg, formerly belonging to the Neumark, were merged into the new province.

After the border issues with Sweden had been resolved in the wake of the Peace of Westphalia, the Great Elector Friedrich Wilhelm appointed a governor for Western Pomerania. The successors were responsible for the Province of Pomerania, which was enlarged in 1679, 1720 and 1818. They have not had a real share in the administration of the country since the beginning of the 18th century. Since the beginning of the 19th century, Pomerania was the only province distinguished by the continuous appointment of a governor. First Statthalter or governor from 1650 to 1659 was was the last Pomeranian Chancellor (since 1625), the Brandenburg statesman Philipp von Horn (1595–1659).

The Province of Pomerania was newly constituted in 1815 during the Congress of Vienna, based on the "decree concerning improved establishment of provincial offices" (German: Verordnung wegen verbesserter Einrichtung der Provinzialbehörden), issued by Karl August von Hardenberg on 30 April 1815. After the Wars of Liberation and the final defeat of Napoleon, Prussia regained Swedish Pomerania by paying 2,6 million Taler to Denmark and granting her the Duchy of Lauenburg, and paying an additional 3,5 million Taler to Sweden on 7 June 1815. On 23 October 1815, Swedish Pomerania was merged into the Prussian province, both now constituting the Province of Pomerania.

With the Prussian administrative reform (1815), the office of Supreme President was created with its seat in Stettin. By 1945, Pomerania had 15 presidents, the first being Karl Heinrich Ludwig Freiherr von Ingersleben (1753–1831) from 1815 to 1816, the last being Franz Reinhold Schwede-Coburg (1888–1960) from 1934 to 1945.

In 1816, the province consisted of the three administrative districts of Köslin, Stettin and Stralsund. In the 19th century, two large districts were divided: The Lauenburg-Bütow district was divided into the Lauenburg and Bütow districts in 1846. The Fürstenthum district was divided into the Köslin, Kolberg-Körlin and Bublitz districts in 1872.

Extensive reorganizations took place during the National Socialist era. On1 October 1938, the borders of the Prussian Province of Pomerania were redrawn: The Province of Grenzmark Posen-West Prussia was dissolved and most of its districts were integrated into the Province of Pomerania as the new administrative district of Grenzmark Posen-West Prussia with its headquarters in Scheibemühl. In addition, the districts of Arnswalde and Friedeberg (Neumark) from the Province of Brandenburg as well as the Pomeranian districts of Dramburg and Neustettin were incorporated into the new administrative district. The province underwent a final change to its district structure in 1939 with the Greater Stettin Act: the Randow district was completely dissolved and its municipalities were assigned to the surrounding districts, which in particular increased the size of the Stettin urban district.

Population and size

In 1905, the province of Pomerania had 1,684,326 inhabitants. The area of the province amounted to 30,120 km2 (11,630 sq mi). In 1925, the province had an area of 30,208 km2 (11,663 sq mi), with a population of 1,878,780 inhabitants. In 1933, it had 1,920,897 and in 1939 2,393,844 inhabitants.


Pomerania remained part of Prussia and Germany until Feb-Mar 1945 (de jure until 1947) when it was invaded by the Red Army and subsequently fell into the Soviet Zone of Occupation following World War II. Without any attempt at consulting their Allies, the Soviets illegally handed over to their puppet Communist Polish Government the administration of the entire area up to to the Oder and Western Neisse rivers, which included Pomerania. At the Potsdam Conference this was presented by the Soviets as their fait accompli.[10] On 1 August 1945 the Potsdam Conference Protocols (XII) stated: "The Czechoslovak Government, the Polish Provisional Government and the Control Council in Hungary are being requested meanwhile to suspend further expulsions". This was ignored. The population were expelled, raped, murdered, and dispossessed of their homes and homeland.[11]

People from Pomerania

Main article: People from Pomerania

Pictures from Pomerania

Further reading

  • Baxter, Ian, The Last Rally - The German Defence of East Prussia, Pomerania and Danzig 1944-45, Helion & Co., Solihull, England, 2010, ISBN: 978-1-906033-74-3
  • See: German partial unification

External links


  1. Speaking Frankly by James F. Byrnes, New York & London, 1947, p.79-81. Byrnes, a Judge and former State Governor, served as a close adviser to President Truman and became US Secretary of State in July 1945. In that capacity, Byrnes attended the Potsdam Conference and the Paris Conference.
  2. The Expulsion of the German Population from the Territories East of the Oder-Neisse-Line, editor, Professor Theodor Schieder, University of Koln, et al, with translations by Professor Dr. Vivian Stranders, M.A., University of London, FDR Ministry for Expellees, Refugees and War Victims, Bonn, 1954.
  3. The Hour of the Women by Christian, Count von Krockow, English-language edition London, 1991, ISBN 0-571-14320-2
  4. Promise Me You'll Shoot Yourself - The Downfall of Ordinary Germans in 1945 by Florian Huber, Allen Lane publishers, U.K., 2019, ISBN: 978-0-241-39924-8
  5. See the film (YouTube): Kolberg (1945)
  6. Falkenburg
  7. Gurney, Gene, Kingdoms of Europe, New York, 1982, p.507. ISBN 0-517-543958
  8. Davies, Norman, Heart of Europe, Clarendon Press, Oxford UK, 1984, p.286-7.
  9. Lindquist, Herman, A History of Sweden, Stockholm, 2002/2006, p.77, ISBN 10:91-1-301455-2
  10. Balfour, Michael, Four-Power Control in Germany and Austria 1945-1946, Oxford University Press, U.K., 1956, p.78.
  11. English subtitles: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h-VPqRCEQeI