JewishGen Discussion Group #JewishGen Re: Prussia in Poland #general

Roger Lustig

A few amplifications to Martin's comments:

First, thanks for mentioning today's Polish provinces. This is an excellent way of
describing what we're talking about.

Accordingly (and not quite precisely), here are descriptions of the territories in

(All of them were held by Prussia *at least* >from 1815 to 1918 and underwent very
little border change during that time.)

Posen Province corresponds to the western 2/3 of Wielkopolskie and the southwestern
part of Kujawo-Pomorskie, plus the eastern part of Lubuskie.
Pomerania, to Zachodnopomorskie and the NW part of Pomorskie.
East Prussia, to Warminsko-Mazurskie(plus the Russian exclave to the north).
Silesia, to Dolnoslaskie, Opolskie and Slaskie, plus the southern part of Lubuskie.
West Prussia, to the northeastern part of Kujawo-Pomorskie.
Neumark, to the west-central portion of Lubuskie.

Regarding the First Partition in 1772: much of the territory mentioned above had
belonged to Prussia for a long time before then:

the Neumark (to Brandenburg) since the 13thC;
East Prussia (except for Warmia) since the union of Prussia and
Brandenburg in 1618;
Pomerania since 1653;
Silesia since 1742.

(All of these, except for East Prussia, were part of the Holy Roman Empire of the
German Nation, i.e., what people generally meant when they said "Deutschland"
before such a state existed.)

What later became West Prussia and Posen were added during the 1st and 2nd
Partitions, partly removed by Napoleon, and restored at the Congress of Vienna in

Are there records in Germany? Yes, indeed.

First, there are the duplicate civil registers >from 1874-1945 that are kept at
Standesamt 1 in Berlin. These are >from all parts of the former Prussian
territories east of the Oder.

Next, the holdings of the Prussian State Archive in Berlin-Dahlem include a great
deal of information about the Jews in the areas under discussion, with the sad
exception of Silesia. Most of Silesia's records were archived separately in
Breslau and most of those were destroyed in the last days of WW II.

The Centrum Judaicum in Berlin has many records >from all over the former Germany,
though few vital records.

Some records >from West Prussia, especially Flatow (now Zlotow), are in the State
Archive in Greifswald.

All the records pertaining to Jews >from the city of Gleiwitz (now Gliwice) have
been filmed and the films printed out. They may be viewed at the Zentralarchiv in

Those are just the ones that come to mind at the moment.

Roger Lustig
Princeton, NJ USA
research coordinator, GerSIG
Prussian area coordinator, JRI-Poland

Martin Davis wrote:

Sy Pearlman wrote: Prussia occupied western Poland for more than a hundred years.
Did the Prussians make a set of vital records for themselves, in German? Or did
they just deal with the records in Polish? Or are there vital records of
residents of Poland in some archive in Germany.

The Republic of Poland is a country with provinces which, in their history, have
been administered by civil/military authorities who used German as the official
language. Examples are the German/Prussian provinces of Pomerania (now Zachodnio-
Pomorskie and Pomorskie) and Silesia (now Dolnoslaskie) which are today part of
western Poland.

...Sy's pertinent questions (1. were vital records written in German and 2. could
there still be vital records related to Polish citizens still in Germany?).
Simply speaking, central Poland, western Poland and southern Poland were all at
sometime in their history (>from the first partition of Poland in 1772
administered by record keepers who used German as their language of
administration so - depending on when that occurred - the records are in the
German language and, in later records, on German language printed forms. Many of
these records are held by the Polish State Archive and it would be worthwhile
visiting their site at for more
detailed information

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