Province of Lower Silesia

The Province of Lower Silesia (German: Provinz Niederschlesien; Silesian German: Provinz Niederschläsing; Polish: Prowincja Dolny Śląsk; Silesian: Prowincyjŏ Dolny Ślůnsk) was a province of the Free State of Prussia from 1919 to 1945. Between 1938 and 1941 it was reunited with Upper Silesia as the Province of Silesia. The capital of Lower Silesia was Breslau (now Wrocław in Poland). The province was further divided into two administrative regions (Regierungsbezirke), Breslau and Liegnitz.[1]

Province of Lower Silesia
Provinz Niederschlesien
Province of Prussia
Coat of arms

Province of Lower Silesia (red)
within the Free State of Prussia.
CapitalBreslau (now Wrocław)
26,616 km2 (10,276 sq mi)
 Merged into Silesia Province
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Province of Silesia
Lubusz Voivodeship
Lower Silesia Voivodeship
Opole Voivodship

The province was not congruent with the historical region of Lower Silesia, which now lies mainly in Poland. It additionally comprised the Upper Lusatian districts of Görlitz, Rothenburg and Hoyerswerda in the west, that until 1815 had belonged to the Kingdom of Saxony, as well as the former County of Kladsko in the southeast.

The province was disestablished at the end of World War II and with the implementation of the Oder–Neisse line in 1945, the area east of the Neisse river fell to the Republic of Poland. The smaller western part was incorporated into the German states of Saxony and Brandenburg.

Administrative regions[2]

Regierungsbezirk Breslau

Urban districts / Stadtkreise

  1. City of Breslau
  2. City of Brieg
  3. City of Schweidnitz
  4. City of Waldenburg

Rural districts / Landkreise

  1. Landkreis Breslau
  2. Landkreis Brieg
  3. Landkreis Frankenstein
  4. Landkreis Glatz
  5. Landkreis Groß Wartenberg
  6. Landkreis Guhrau
  7. Landkreis Habelschwerdt
  8. Landkreis Militsch
  9. Landkreis Namslau
  10. Landkreis Neumarkt
  11. Landkreis Oels
  12. Landkreis Ohlau
  13. Landkreis Reichenbach (im Eulengebirge)
  14. Landkreis Schweidnitz
  15. Landkreis Strehlen
  16. Landkreis Trebnitz
  17. Landkreis Waldenburg
  18. Landkreis Wohlau

Regierungsbezirk Liegnitz

Urban districts / Stadtkreise

  1. City of Glogau
  2. City of Görlitz
  3. City of Hirschberg im Riesengebirge
  4. City of Liegnitz

Rural districts / Landkreise

  1. Landkreis Bunzlau
  2. Landkreis Fraustadt
  3. Landkreis Freystadt i. Niederschles.
  4. Landkreis Glogau
  5. Landkreis Görlitz
  6. Landkreis Goldberg
  7. Landkreis Grünberg
  8. Landkreis Hirschberg
  9. Landkreis Hoyerswerda
  10. Landkreis Jauer
  11. Landkreis Landeshut
  12. Landkreis Lauban
  13. Landkreis Liegnitz
  14. Landkreis Löwenberg
  15. Landkreis Lüben
  16. Landkreis Rothenburg (Ob. Laus.)
  17. Landkreis Sprottau

Post-1945 population

During the Polish post-war census of December 1950, data about the pre-war places of residence of the inhabitants as of August 1939 was collected. In case of children born between September 1939 and December 1950, their origin was reported based on the pre-war places of residence of their mothers. Thanks to this data it is possible to reconstruct the pre-war geographical origin of the post-war population. The same area corresponding to pre-1938 Province of Lower Silesia east of the Oder-Neisse line (which became Polish in 1945) was inhabited in December 1950 by:

1950 population by place of residence back in 1939:[3]
Region (within 1939 borders): Number Percent
Autochthons (1939 DE/FCD citizens) 120,885 6,1%
Polish expellees from Kresy (USSR) 696,739 35,3%
Poles from abroad except the USSR 91,395 4,6%
Resettlers from the City of Warsaw 61,862 3,1%
From Warsaw region (Masovia) 69,120 3,5%
From Białystok region and Sudovia 23,515 1,2%
From pre-war Polish Pomerania 54,564 2,8%
Resettlers from Poznań region 172,163 8,7%
Katowice region (East Upper Silesia) 66,362 3,4%
Resettlers from the City of Łódź 16,483 0,8%
Resettlers from Łódź region 96,185 4,9%
Resettlers from Kielce region 141,748 7,2%
Resettlers from Lublin region 70,622 3,6%
Resettlers from Kraków region 156,920 7,9%
Resettlers from Rzeszów region 110,188 5,6%
place of residence in 1939 unknown 26,586 1,3%
Total pop. in December 1950 1,975,337 100,0%

Over 90% of the 1950 inhabitants were new to the region, with less than 10% residing in the province already back in August 1939 (so called autochthons, who had German citizenship before World War II and were granted Polish citizenship after 1945). The largest group among new inhabitants were Poles expelled from areas of Eastern Poland annexed by the USSR. The second largest group came from Southern Poland (from Kraków, Rzeszów, Lublin, Kielce and Katowice regions in total 28%) followed by Greater Poland. Many Poles from Bosnia settled around Bolesławiec.

See also


  1. Division of Siliesia Province
  2. Administrative divisions of Lower and Upper Silesia (in German)
  3. Kosiński, Leszek (1960). "Pochodzenie terytorialne ludności Ziem Zachodnich w 1950 r. [Territorial origins of inhabitants of the Western Lands in year 1950]" (PDF). Dokumentacja Geograficzna (in Polish). Warsaw: PAN (Polish Academy of Sciences), Institute of Geography. 2: Tabela 1 (data by county) via Repozytorium Cyfrowe Instytutów Naukowych.

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