While in the Kingdom of Prussia, the province was heavily influenced by the reforms of Karl August von Hardenberg+Werner Buchholz, Pommern, Siedler, 1999, pp.393ff, ISBN 3-88680-272-8 and Otto von Bismarck+.Werner Buchholz, Pommern, Siedler, 1999, pp.420ff, ISBN 3-88680-272-8 The Industrial Revolution+ had an impact primarily on the Stettin+ area and the infrastructure, while most of the province retained a rural and agricultural character.Werner Buchholz, Pommern, Siedler, 1999, pp.412,413,464ff, ISBN 3-88680-272-8 From 1850, the net migration rate+ was negative; Pomeranians+ emigrated primarily to Berlin, the West German industrial regions and overseas.
After World War I, democracy and the women's right to vote+ were introduced to the province. After Wilhelm II+'s abdication, it was part of the Free State of Prussia+.Werner Buchholz, Pommern, Siedler, 1999, pp.472ff, ISBN 3-88680-272-8 The economic situation worsened due to the consequences of World War I and worldwide recession+.Werner Buchholz, Pommern, Siedler, 1999, pp.443ff,481ff, ISBN 3-88680-272-8 As in the previous Kingdom of Prussia, Pomerania was a stronghold of the nationalist conservatives+Adolf Hitler: a biographical companion David Nicholls page 178 ;(November 1, 2000 ''The main nationalist party the German National People's Party DNVP was divided between reactionary conservative monarchists, who wished to turn the clock back to the pre-1918 Kaisereich, and more radical ''volkisch'' and anti-Semitic elements. It also inherited the support of the old Pan-German League, whose nationalists rested on the belief in the inherent superiority of the German people'' who continued in the Weimar Republic.Werner Buchholz, Pommern, Siedler, 1999, pp.377ff,439ff,491ff, ISBN 3-88680-272-8
In 1933, the Nazis+ established a totalitarian regime+, concentrating the province's administration in the hands of their ''gauleiter+'', and implementing ''gleichschaltung+''. The German invasion of Poland+ in 1939 was launched in part from Pomeranian soil. Jewish and Polish populations (whose minorities lived in the region) were classified as "subhuman+" by the German state during the war and subjected to repressions, slave work and executions. Opponents were arrested and executed; Jews who by 1940 had not emigrated were all deported to the Lublin reservation+.Werner Buchholz, Pommern, Siedler, 1999, pp.500ff,509ff ISBN 3-88680-272-8
Besides the air raids conducted since 1943, World War II reached the province in early 1945 with the ''East Pomeranian Offensive+'' and the Battle of Berlin+, both launched and won by the Soviet Union+'s Red Army+. Insufficient evacuation left the population subject to murder, war rape+, and plunder by the successors.
Until 1932, the province was subdivided into the government regions (Regierungsbezirk+) Köslin+ (eastern part, Farther Pomerania+), Stettin+ (southwestern part, Old Western Pomerania), and Stralsund+ (northwestern part, ''Neuvorpommern'').Peter Oliver Loew, ''Staatsarchiv Stettin: Wegweiser durch die Bestände bis zum Jahr 1945'', a translation of Radosław Gaziński, Paweł Gut, Maciej Szukała, ''Archiwum Państwowe w Szczecinie, Poland. Naczelna Dyrekcja Archiwów Państwowych'', Oldenbourg Wissenschaftsverlag, 2004, pp.91–92, ISBN 3-486-57641-0 The Stralsund region was merged into the Stettin region in 1932. In 1938, Grenzmark Posen-Westpreußen+ (southeastern part, created from the former Prussian Province+Grenzmark Posen-Westpreußen+) was merged into the province. The provincial capital was Stettin+ (''now Szczecin''), the ''Regierungsbezirk'' capitals were Köslin+ (''now Koszalin''), Stettin, Stralsund+ and Schneidemühl+ (''now Pila''), respectively.
In 1905 the Province of Pomerania had 1,684,326 inhabitants, among them 1,616,550 Protestants, 50,206 Catholics, and 9,660 Jews. There lived 14,162 inhabitants (1900) the native language of whom was Polish (at the border to West Prussia+), and 310 (at the Lake Leba and at the Lake Garde) whose native language was Kashubian+. The area of the province amounted to 30,120 square kilometers. In 1925, the province had an area of 30,208 square kilometers, with a population of 1,878,780 inhabitants.
The Hardenberg decree reformed all Prussian territories, which henceforth formed ten (later eight) provinces with similar administrations. After the implementation of the reform, the new Province of Pomerania consisted basically of its predecessor and Swedish Pomerania, but also of the Dramburg+ and Schivelbein+ counties.
The province was headed by a governor (''oberpräsident'', literally "senior president") with his seat in the capital, Stettin. It was subdivided into government regions (''regierungsbezirk+e'') headed by a president (''regierungspräsident''). Initially, two such regions were planned (Regierungsbezirk Stettin+, comprising Western Pomerania+, and Regierungsbezirk Köslin+, comprising Farther Pomerania+). Hardenberg however, who as the Prussian chief diplomat had settled the terms of session of Swedish Pomerania with Sweden+ at the Congress of Vienna+, had assured to leave the local constitution in place when the treaty was signed on 7 June 1815. This circumstance led to a creation of a third government region, Regierungsbezirk Stralsund+, for the former Swedish Pomerania at the expense of the Stettin region.Werner Buchholz, Pommern, Siedler, 1999, pp.366–369, ISBN 3-88680-272-8
In early 1818, Governor Johann August Sack+ had reformed the county (''Kreis+'') shapes, yet adopted the former shape in most cases. Köslin government region comprised nine counties, Stettin government region thirteen, and Stralsund government region four (identical with the previous Swedish ''Amt''+ districts).
The new parliament (''landtag+'') assembled first on 3 October 1824. Based on two laws of 5 June and July, 1823, the ''landtag'' was constituted by 25 lords and knights, 16 representatives of the towns, and eight from the rural communities.
Subordinate to the provincial ''landtag'' were two ''kommunallandtag'' assemblies, one for former Swedish Pomerania (Western Pomerania+ north of the Peene+ River) and one for the former Prussian part+.Werner Buchholz, Pommern, Siedler, 1999, p.377, ISBN 3-88680-272-8
The counties each assembled a ''kreisstand+'', where the knights of the county had one vote each and towns also just one vote.
Throughout its existence, the province was a stronghold of the Conservative Parties.
In the 19th century, the first overland routes (''chaussee'') and railways were introduced in Pomerania. In 1848, 126.8 Prussian miles of new streets had been built. On October 12, 1840, construction of the Berlin-Stettin+ railway began, which was finished on 15 August 1843. Other railways followed: Stettin-Köslin+ (1859), Angermünde+-Stralsund+ and Züssow+-Wolgast+ (1863), Stettin- Stolp+ (1869), and a connection with Danzig+ (1870).
In rural areas, many narrow-gauge railways+ were built for faster transport of crops. The first gas, water, and power plants were built. Streets and canalisation of the towns were modernized.
The construction of narrow-gauge railways was enhanced by a special decree of July 28, 1892, implementing Prussian financial aid programs. In 1900, the total of narrow-gauge railways had passed the 1,000 kilometer threshold.
From 1910 to 1912, most of the province was supplied with electricity as the main lines were built. Plants were built since 1898.
The Swine+ and lower Oder+ rivers, the major water route to Stettin, were deepened to five meters and shortened by a canal (kaiserfahrt+) in 1862. In Stettin, heavy industry was settled, making it the only industrial center of the province.
Stettin was connected to Berlin by the Berlin-Stettin waterway in 1914 after eight years of construction. The other traditional waterways and ports of the province, however, declined. Exceptions were only the port of Swinemünde+, which was used by the navy, and the port of Stolpmünde+, from which parts of the Farther Pomerania+n exports were shipped, and the port of Sassnitz+, which was built in 1895 for railway ferries to Scandinavia+.
With the infrastructural improvements, mass tourism to the Baltic Coast+ started. The tourist resort ("Ostseebad") Binz+ had 80 visitors in 1870, 10,000 in 1900, and 22,000 in 1910. The same phenomenon occurred in other tourist resorts.
Already in 1807, Prussia issued a decree ("Steinsches Oktoberedikt") abolishing serfdom+. Hardenberg+ issued a decree on September 14, 1811, defining the terms by which serfs+ were to be released ("Hardenbergsches Regulierungsedikt"). This could either be done by monetary payment or by releasing title to the land to the former lord. These reforms were applied during the early years of the province's existence. The so-called "regulation" was applied to 10,744 peasants until 1838, who paid their former lords 724,954 taler+ and handed over 255,952 hectar+ of farmland to bail themselves out.
Tumults arose in 1847 in the towns of Stettin+ and Köslin+ due to food shortages, as a result, prices for some foods were fixed.
On March 2, 1850, a law was passed settling the conditions on which peasants and farmers could capitalize their property rights and feudal service duties+, and thus get a long-term credit (41 to 56 years to pay back). This law made way for the establishment of ''rentenbank'' credit houses and ''rentengut'' farms. Subsequently, the previous rural structure changed dramatically as farmers, who used this credit to bail out their feudal duties, were now able to self determine how to use their land (so-called "regulated" peasants and farmers, ''regulierte Bauern''). This was not possible before, when the jurisdiction had sanctioned the use of farmland and feudal services according not to property rights, but to social status within rural communities and estates.
From 1891 to 1910, 4,731 ''rentengut' farms were set up, most (2,690) with a size of 10 to 25 hectar+.
In 1869, Friedrich Albrecht Graf zu Eulenburg+ drafted a county reform (''Kreisreform'') that was promoted by Bismarck. The reform passed the House of Lords on December 7, 1872. Most importantly, the reform cut the linkage between noble status and the right to vote, the latter now depended on property (one had to be above a certain tax threshold) and not on status, aiming against the overrepresentation of the knights compared to burgher+s.
On June 29, 1875, a new constitution for the province was passed ("Provinzialordnung"), which entered into force in 1876. It redefined the responsibilities of the provincial administration (headed by the Oberpräsident) and the self-administrative institutions ("Provinzialverband", comprising the provincial parliament ("Provinziallandtag"), a "Landeshauptmann" (head) and a "Landesausschuß" (commission)). The Provinzialverband was financed directly from the Prussian state budget. The Landtag was responsible for streets, welfare, education, and culture. Landownership was not a criterion to become elected anymore. The provincial Landtag (Provinziallandtag) was elected by the county representative assemblies ("Kreistag" for counties, "Stadtverordnetenversammlung" for town districts) for a six years' term. A subordinate Kommunallandtag only existed for Regierungsbezirk Stralsund, until it was abolished in 1881.Werner Buchholz, Pommern, Siedler, 1999, pp.420ff,450–453, ISBN 3-88680-272-8
In 1891, a county reform was passed, allowing more communal self-government. Municipalities hence elected a "Gemeindevorstand" (head) and a "Gemeindevertretung" (communal parliament). Gutsbezirk districts, i.e. estates not included in counties, could be merged or dissolved.Werner Buchholz, Pommern, Siedler, 1999, p.453, ISBN 3-88680-272-8
During the First World War, no battles took place in the province.
Nevertheless, the war had an impact on society, economy, and administration. During the war, the provincial administrative institutions were subordinate to the military and headed by military officials. Mobilization+ resulted in work force shortage affecting all non-war-related industry, construction, and agriculture. Women, minors and POW+s partially replaced the drafted men. Import and fishing declined when the ports were blocked. With the war going on, food shortages occurred, especially in the winter of 1916/17. Also coal, gas, and electricity were at times unavailable.Werner Buchholz, Pommern, Siedler, 1999, pp.468,469, ISBN 3-88680-272-8
When the Treaty of Versailles+ entered into force on January 10, 1920, the province's eastern frontier became the border to the newly created Second Polish Republic+, comprising most of Pomerelia+ in the so-called Polish Corridor+. Minor border adjustments followed, where 9,5 km2 of the province became Polish and 74 km2 of former West Prussia+ (parts of the former counties of Neustadt in Westpreußen+ and Karthaus+)Werner Buchholz, Pommern, Siedler, 1999, p.469, ISBN 3-88680-272-8 were merged into the province.Werner Buchholz, Pommern, Siedler, 1999, pp.443ff, ISBN 3-88680-272-8
During the German Revolution of 1918–1919+, revolutionary councils of soldiers and workers took over the Pomeranian towns (Stralsund+ on November 9, Stettin+, Greifswald+, Pasewalk+, Stargard+, and Swinemünde+ on November 10, Barth+, Bütow+, Neustettin+, Köslin+, and Stolp+ on November 11). On January 5, 1919, "Workers' and Soldiers' Councils" ("Arbeiter- und Soldatenräte") were in charge of most of the province (231 towns and rural municipalities). The revolution was peaceful, no riots are reported. The councils were led by Social Democrats+, who cooperated with the provincial administration. Of the 21 Landrat officials, only five were replaced, while of the three heads of the government regions ("Regierungspräsident") two were replaced (in Stralsund and Köslin) in 1919.Werner Buchholz, Pommern, Siedler, 1999, p.471, ISBN 3-88680-272-8
On November 12, 1918, a decree was issued allowing farmworkers' unions to negotiate with farmers (Junker+s). The decree further regulated work time and wages for farmworkers.Werner Buchholz, Pommern, Siedler, 1999, p.472, ISBN 3-88680-272-8
On May 15, 1919, street fights and plunder occurred following Communist assemblies in Stettin. The revolt was put down by the military. In late August, strikes of farmworkers occurred in the counties of Neustettin+ and Belgard+. The power of the councils however declined, only a few were left in the larger towns in 1920.
Conservative and right-wing groups evolved in opposition to the revolutions' achievements. Landowners formed the Pommerscher Landbund+ in February 1919, which by 1921 had 120,000 members and from the beginning was supplied with arms by the 2nd army corps in Stettin. Paramilitias ("Einwohnerwehr") formed throughout the spring of 1919.
Pommerscher Landbund units participated in the nationalist Kapp Putsch+ in Berlin, 1920.
Members of the "Iron Division" ("Eiserne Division"), a dissolved Freikorps in the Baltic+, reorganized in Pomerania, where the Junker+s hosted them on their estates as a private army.
Also, counter-revolutionary Pomeranians formed Freikorps+ participating in fights in the Ruhr area+.
In 1920 (changed in 1921 and 1924), the Free State of Prussia+ adopted a democratic constitution for her provinces. The constitution granted a number of civil rights+ to the Prussian population and enhanced the self-government of the provinces.
The provincial and county parliaments (Landtag and Kreistag) were hence elected directly by the population, including women, in free and secret votes.
The "Provinzialverband", which included all self-governmental institutions of the province such as the provincial parliament ("Provinziallandtag"), gained influence on the formerly Berlin-led provincial government: The Provinzialverband would hence elect the "Oberpräsident" (head of the administration) and appoint representatives for the Reichsrat+ assembly in Berlin. Furthermore, the Provinzialverband officials could hence self determine how to spend the money they received from Berlin.
The border changes however caused a severe decline in the province's economy. Farther Pomerania+ was cut off from Danzig+ by the corridor. Former markets and supplies in the now Polish territories became unavailable.
Farther Pomeranian farmers had sold their products primarily to the eastern provinces, that were now part of the Second Polish Republic+. Due to high transport costs, the markets in the West were unavailable too. The farmers reacted by modernizing their equipment, improving the quality of their products, and applying new technical methods. As a consequence, more than half of the farmers were severely indebted in 1927. The government reacted with the Osthilfe+ program, and granted credits to favourable conditions.Werner Buchholz, Pommern, Siedler, 1999, p. 481, ISBN 3-88680-272-8
Stettin particularly suffered from a post-war change in trade routes. Before the territorial changes, it had been on the export route from the Katowice+(Kattowitz) industrial region in now Polish Upper Silesia+. Poland changed this export route to a new inner-Polish railway+ connecting Katowice with the new-build port of Gdynia+ within the corridor.Werner Buchholz, Pommern, Siedler, 1999, pp. 443ff., ISBN 3-88680-272-8
As a counter-measure, Prussia invested in the Stettin port since 1923. While initially successful, a new economical recession+ led to the closure of one of Stettin's major shipyard, AG Vulcan Stettin+, in 1927.Werner Buchholz, Pommern, Siedler, 1999, p. 485, ISBN 3-88680-272-8
The province also reacted to the availability of new traffic vehicles. Roads were developed due to the upcoming cars and buses, four towns got electric street cars, and an international airport was built in Altdamm+ near Stettin+.
The Pomeranian agriculture underwent a crisis. Programs were started to regain soil that had turned into swamps during the wartime, and even to establish new settlements by setting up settlement societies. The results were mixed. On the one hand, 130,858 hectare of farmland were settled with 8,734 new-build settlements until 1933. The settlers originated in Pomerania itself, Saxony+, and Thuringia+, also refugees from the former Province of Posen+ settled in the province. On the other hand, people left the rural communities ''en masse'' and turned to Pomeranian and other urban centers (Landflucht+). In 1925, 50.7% of the Pomeranians worked in agricultural professions, this percentage dropped to 38.2% in 1933.
With the economic recession+, unemployment rates reached 12% in 1933, compared to an overall 19% in the empire.
Throughout the existence of the Weimar Republic+, politics in the province was dominated by the nationalist conservative DNVP+ (German National People's Party); an entity composed of nationalists, monarchists, radical volkisch+ and anti-semitic elements, and supported by Pan-German League+ an old organisation believing in superiority of German people over others. The Nazi party (NSDAP+) did not have any significant success at elections, nor did it have a substantial number of members. The Pomeranian Nazi party was founded by students of the University of Greifswald+ in 1922, when the NSDAP was officially forbidden. The university's rector Theodor Vahlen+ became Gauleiter+ (head of the provincial party) in 1924. Soon afterwards, he was fired by the university and went bankrupt. In 1924, the party had 330 members, and in December 1925, 297 members. The party was not present in all of the province. The members were concentrated mainly in Western Pomerania+ and internally divided. Vahlen retired from the Gauleiter position in 1927 and was replaced by Walther von Corswandt+, a Pomeranian knight estate holder.Werner Buchholz, Pommern, Siedler, 1999, pp.491ff, ISBN 3-88680-272-8
Corswandt led the party from his estate in Kuntzow+. In the 1928 Reichstag+ elections, the Nazis got 1.5% of the votes in Pomerania. Party property was partially pawned. In 1929, the party gained 4.1% of the votes. Corswandt was fired after conflicts with the party's leadership and replaced with Wilhelm von Karpenstein+, one of the former students who formed the Pomeranian Nazi party in 1922 and since 1929 lawywer in Greifswald+. He moved the headquarters to Stettin and replaced many of the party officials predominantly with young radicals. In the Reichstag elections of September 14, 1930, the party gained a significant 24.3% of the Pomeranian votes and thus became the second strongest party, the strongest still being the DNVP, which however was internally divided in the early 1930s.
In the elections of July 1932, the Nazis gained 48% of the Pomeranian votes, while the DNVP dropped to 15.8%. In March 1933, the NSDAP gained 56.3%.
Immediately after their gain of power, the Nazis began arresting their opponents. In March 1933, 200 peopleWerner Buchholz, Pommern, Siedler, 1999, p.509, ISBN 3-88680-272-8 were arrested, this number rose to 600Werner Buchholz, Pommern, Siedler, 1999, p.500, ISBN 3-88680-272-8 during the following months. In Stettin-Bredow+, at the site of the bankrupt Vulcan+ shipyards, the Nazis set up a short-lived "wild" concentration camp from October 1933 to March 1934, where SA+ maltreated their victims. The Pomeranian SA in 1933 had grown to 100,000 members.
Oberpräsident von Halfern+ retired in 1933, and with him one third of the Landrat and Oberbürgermeister (mayor) officials.
Also in 1933, an election was held for a new provincial parliament, which then had a Nazi majority. Decrees were issued that shifted all issues formerly in responsibility of the parliament to the "Provinzialausschuß" commission, and furthermore, shifted the power to decide on these issues from the "Provinzialausschuß" to the "Oberpräsident" official, although he had to hear the "Provinzialrat" commission before. Once the power was shifted to the Oberpräsident with the Provinzialrat as an advisor, all organs of the "Provinzialverband" ("Provinziallandtag" (parliament), "Provinzialausschuß and all other commissions), the former self-administration of the province, were dissolved except for the downgraded Provinzialrat, which assembled about once a year without making use of its advisory rights. The "Landeshauptmann" position, the Provinzialverband's head, was not abolished. From 1933, Landeshauptmann would be a Nazi who was acting in line with the Oberpräsident. The law entered into force on April 1, 1934.
In 1934, many of the heads of the Pomeranian Nazi-movement were exchanged. SA leader Peter von Heydebreck+ was shot in Stadelheim+ near Munich+ due to his friendship to Röhm+. Gauleiter von Karpenstein+ was arrested for two years and banned from Pomerania due to conflicts with the NSDAP+ headquarters. His substitute, Franz Schwede-Coburg+, replaced most of Karpenstein's staff with Corswant's earlier staff, friends of him from Bavaria+, and SS+. From the 27 Kreisleiter+ officials, 23 were forced out of office by Schwede-Coburg, who became Gauleiter on July 21, and Oberpräsident on July 28, 1934.
In 1933, about 7,800 Jews lived in Pomerania, of which a third lived in Stettin. The other two thirds were living all over the province, Jewish communities numbering more than 200 people were in Stettin, Kolberg+, Lauenburg+, and Stolp+.Werner Buchholz, Pommern, Siedler, 1999, p.506 ISBN 3-88680-272-8
When the Nazis started to terrorize Jews, many emigrated. Twenty weeks after the Nazis seized power, the number of Jewish Pomeranians had already dropped by eight percent.
Besides the repressions Jews had to endure in all Nazi Germany+, including the destruction of the Pomeranian synagogues on November 9, 1938 (Reichskristallnacht+), all male Stettin Jews were deported to Oranienburg concentration camp+ after this event and kept there for several weeks.Werner Buchholz, Pommern, Siedler, 1999, p.510, ISBN 3-88680-272-8
On February 12 and 13, 1940, 1,000 to 1,300 Pomeranian Jews, regardless of sex, age and health, were deported from Stettin and Schneidemühl+ to the Lublin-Lipowa Reservation+, that had been set up following the Nisko Plan+ in occupied Poland. Among the deported were intermarried non-Jewish women. The deportation was carried out in an inhumane manner. Despite low temperatures, the carriages were not heated. No food had been allowed to be taken along. The property left behind was liquidated. Up to 300 people perished from the deportation itself. In the Lublin area under Kurt Engel+'s regime, the people were subjected to inhumane treatment, starvation and outright murder. Only a few survived the war.
Peter Simonstein Cullman+ in "History of the Jewish Community of Schneidemühl: 1641 to the Holocaust" and jewishgen.org+ say that the Jews of Schneidemühl were not "deported together with the more than 1,000 Jews of Stettin (who were subsequently sent to Piaski, near Lublin in Poland)", based on lack of evidence in the archives of Reichsvereinigung der Juden in Deutschland+ (cf. file 75 C Re1, No. 483, Bundesarchiv Berlin, and USHMM Archives: RG-14.003M; Acc. 1993.A.059).He concludes that "while the deportations of the Jews of Schneidemühl had indeed been planned by the Gestapo to coincide with the terrible events that occurred in Stettin – those actions were not carried out together. The deportations of all Jews from the Gau were primarily planned on orders of Franz Schwede-Coburg+, the notorious Gauleiter of Pomerania, in cahoots with several Nazi authorities of Schneidemühl. The Gauleiter’s personal goal was to be the first in the Reich to declare his Gau Judenrein – cleansed of Jews". He based his statement on doc. 795 of the Trial of Adolf Eichmann+.
According to Cullmann, the following events took place in Schneidemühl: "On February 15, 1940 an order had been issued by the Gestapo in Schneidemühl that the Jews of that town should get ready to be deported within a week, ostensibly to the Generalgouvernement in Eastern Poland. When Dr. Hildegard Böhme of the Reichsvereinigung had become aware of Gauleiter Schwede-Coburg’s plan – and fearing a repetition of the events on the scale of the Stettin deportations – her timely and tireless intervention on behalf of the Reichsvereinigung with the RSHA in Berlin resulted in a modification of the planned deportations of Schneidemühl’s Jews. The Stapo, the State police in Schneidemühl, however, played its own part in the planned round-up of the city’s Jews by giving in to the local Nazi Party cadre and to the orders of the city’s fanatic Mayor Friedrich Rogausch+, in concert with the Gauleiter. The latter two are known to have planned a Schneidemühl-Aktion as a revenge for the earlier interference by the Reichsvereinigung in the Stettin deportations. Thus on Wednesday, February 21, 1940 – merely one week after the Stettin deportations – one hundred and sixty Jews were arrested in Schneidemühl, while mass arrests of Jews took place concurrently within an 80 km radius of Schneidemühl, in the surrounding administrative districts of Köslin, Stettin and the former Grenzmark Posen-Westpreussen+, whereby three hundred and eighty-four Jews were seized by the Gestapo. In total 544 Jews were arrested during the entire Aktion in and around Schneidemühl. Those rounded up ranged from two-year-old children to ninety-year-old men. Surviving documents give a grim account of the subsequent Odyssey of those arrested. By then it had been decreed in Berlin that the victims of the round-up should not be sent to Poland but be kept within the so-called Altreich, i.e. within Germany's borders of 1937. Over the following eighteen months most of the arrested became ensnared in the Nazi's maw – on a journey of terminal despair. Only one young woman from Schneidemühl survived the hell of Auschwitz-Birkenau and the death marches of mid-January 1945."
Grzęda (1994) says that in 1910, according to German data, 10.500 Poles lived in the Stettin (Szczecin) area, and that in his view the number was most likely reduced. Fenske (1993) and Buchholz et al. (1999) say that in 1910, 7921 Poles lived steadily in the province; Skóra (2001) says that in 1925, according to German data, 5,914 Poles lived in the province (1,104 in the Stettin and 4,226 in the Köslin government regions), while the Polish consul "boldly assumed" that over 9000 Poles lived in the province. Wynot (1996) says that during the interwar era+, between 22,500 and 27,000 Poles lived "along the border of the Poznan/Pomorze region", the majority of whom were peasants, with a small number of shopkeepers and craftsmen.The Poles in Germany, 1919–1939 East European Quarterly, Summer, 1996 by Edward D. Wynot, Jr Whatever its actual size, the German Polish population was internally differentiated in terms of both geographical dispersal and socio-economic profile. By far most lived in areas that adjoined the Polish Republic. [...] The final group in this category lived along the border of the Poznan/Pomorze region (22,500–27,000), where, for the most part, they formed Polish islands surrounded by a German sea. The majority were peasants, with a smattering of small shopkeepers and craftsmen sprinkled among their midst and a colony of about 2,000 workers living in the port of Stettin/Szczecin." In addition, "a colony of about 2,000 workers" existed in Stettin
Repressions intensified after Adolf Hitler+ came to power and led to closing of the school. Members of Polish community who took part in cultural and political activities were persecuted and even murdered. In 1938 the head of Stettin’s Union of Poles unit Stanisław Borkowski was imprisoned in Oranienburg+. In 1939, all Polish organisations in Stettin were disbanded by the authorities. During the war, two teachers from Polish school: Golisz and Omieczyński were murdered.
Resistance groups formed in the economical centers, especially in Stettin+, from where most arrests were reported.
According to Kozłowski and Krzywicki (1988), around 56,000 Polish POWs were located in Pomerania after the invasion, and soon Germany stripped them of their status(against international law) turning them into forced labourers+;in April 1940 they were 82.417 of them in Pomerania, with the number reaching 116.330 Polish forced labourers in 1944 September
Because the invasion of Poland (and later the Soviet Union+) was a success and the battle front moved far more east (Blitzkrieg+), the province was not the site of battles in the first years of the war.
Since 1943, the province became a target of allied air raids. The first attack was launched against Stettin+ on April 21, 1943, and left 400 dead. On August 17/18, the British RAF+ launched an attack on Peenemünde+, where Wernher von Braun+ and his staff had developed and tested the world's first ballistic missile+s. In October, Anklam+ was a target. Throughout 1944 and early 1945, Stettin's industrial and residential areas were targets of air raids. Stralsund+ was a target in October 1944.Werner Buchholz, Pommern, Siedler, 1999, p.512, ISBN 3-88680-272-8
Despite these raids, the province was regarded "safe" compared to other areas of the Third Reich+, and thus became a shelter for evacuees primarily from hard hit Berlin and the West German industrial centers.
After the war had turned back on Germany, the Pomeranian Wall+ was renovated in the summer of 1944, and in the fall all men between sixteen and sixty years of age who had not yet been drafted were enrolled into Volkssturm+ units.
The fast advances of the Red Army during the East Pomeranian Offensive+ caught the civilian Farther Pomeranian population by surprise. The land route to the west was blocked since early March. Evacuation orders were issued not at all or much too late. The only way out of Farther Pomerania was via the ports of Stolpmünde+, from which 18,300 were evacuated, Rügenwalde+, from which 4,300 were evacuated, and Kolberg+, which had been declared fortress and from which before the end of the Battle of Kolberg some 70,000 were evacuated. Those left behind became victims of murder, war rape+, and plunder. On March 6, the USAF+ shelled Swinemünde+, where thousands of refugees were stranded, killing an estimated 25,000.Werner Buchholz, Pommern, Siedler, 1999, p.514, ISBN 3-88680-272-8
In Demmin, more than 1,000 people committed+mass suicides+ after the Red Army had conquered the town facing only modest resistance. Coroner lists show that most drowned in the nearby River Tollense+ and River Peene+, while others poisoned themselves. This was fueled by atrocities – rapes, pillage and executions – committed by Red Army soldiers after the Peene-bridge had been destroyed by retreating German troops. 80 percent of the town was destroyed in the first 3 days after its conquest.
In the first days of May, Wehrmacht+ abandoned Usedom+ and Wollin+ islands, and on May 5, the last German troops departed from Sassnitz+ on the island of Rügen+. Two days later, Wehrmacht surrendered unconditionally to the Red Army.
These parts of Pomerania were integrated into the Brandenburg-Prussia+n Province of Pomerania (1653-1815)+ already after the Thirty Years' War+. During the war, the noble House of Pomerania+ (''Griffins''), ruling the Duchy of Pomerania+ since the 1120s, went extinct in the male line with the death of Bogislaw XIV+ in 1637. Throughout the existence of the Griffin duchy, Brandenburg had claimed overlordship and was asserted of Pomerania inheritance in numerous treaties. Yet, Sweden+ had been one of the most important players in the war and as such, she was awarded some of her territorial gains in Pomerania after the war by the Peace of Westphalia, thwartening Brandenburg-Prussia's ambitions for inheritance of the whole former Duchy of Pomerania. This led to tensions between Brandenburg-Prussia and Sweden in Pomerania until Sweden lost her Western Pomerania+n possessions in 1720 (Stettin government region) and 1815 (Stralsund government region).
*urban districts (Stadtkreis):
** Stolp+: population 27.293 (1900); 50.377 (1939)
** Köslin+: split off Landkreis Köslin in 1923, population 33.479 (1939)
** Kolberg+: split off Landkreis Kolberg-Körlin in1920, population 36.617 (1939)
Stettin, the former ducal residence+, was made capital of the province and also was the administrative center of the Regierungsbezirk Stettin.
*urban districts (Stadtkreis):
** Greifswald+: until 1932 administered by Regierungsbezirk Stralsund, population 37.051 (1939)
** Stargard (Pommern)+: split off Landkreis Saatzig in 1901, population 39.760 (1939)
** Stettin+: population 210.702 (1900); 382.984 (1939)
** Stralsund+: until 1932 administered by Regierungsbezirk Stralsund, population 52.931 (1939)
The name New Western Pomerania+ (''Neuvorpommern'') stems from that era, to distinguish the Western Pomeranian areas south of the Peene River gained by Prussia in 1720 (Old Western Pomerania+ or ''Altvorpommern'') from the northern regions gained in 1815 and to replace the outdated term Principality of Rugia.
When merged into the province in 1815, Neuvorpommern was guaranteed her constitution to be left in place. The administration was led by the former Swedish general governour, prince Malte von Putbus+, until "Regierungsbezirk Stralsund" was officially created in 1818. Prussian law (''Allgemeines Preußisches Landrecht'' and ''Preußisches Stadtrecht'') was not enforced, and the Swedish jurisdiction with the court in Greifswald+ was left in place.Werner Buchholz, Pommern, Siedler, 1999, p.369, ISBN 3-88680-272-8
Regierungsbezirk Stralsund was fused into Regierungsbezirk Stettin in 1932.
*urban districts (Stadtkreis):
** Stralsund+: split off Landkreis Franzburg-Barth in 1874, population 31.076 (1900)
** Greifswald+: split off Landkreis Greifswald in 1913
The Posen-West Prussia government region (''Regierungsbezirk Grenzmark Posen-Westpreußen'') was created of the northern part (Schneidemühl government region) of the former Prussian province+Posen-West-Prussia+.
Following World War I, most of the Prussian provinces Posen+ and West Prussia+ became part of the Second Polish Republic+. The remainders of these provinces formed the province of Posen-West Prussia, combining small German-settled regions all along the new German-Polish border (''Grenzmark'' meaning ''border march''). In 1938, this province was dissolved and partitioned between Pomerania, Brandenburg+ and Silesia+. The Pomeranian share was extended by Landkreis Neustettin and Landkreis Dramburg, formally administered by Regierungsbezirk Stettin.
* 1818: The province with an estimated area of 540 (Prussian) square miles had a population of 630,000. The Prussian state official ("Staatsminister") von Beyme+ stated in his report, that the province was in a "low state of population and culture".
Until 1841, immigration to the province was higher than emigration. This trend reversed since 1850. However, the population grew further due to high birth rates.
* 1858: 1,125,000 people, 28% of whom lived in towns.
* 1871: 1,431,492 people, 68,7% of those lived in communities with less than 2,000 inhabitants.Werner Buchholz, Pommern, Siedler, 1999, p.448, ISBN 3-88680-272-8
* 1875: 1,445,852 people lived in the province, then with an area of 30,131 km2. Of those, 685,147 lived in Regierungsbezirk Stettin, and 554,201 in Regierungsbezirk Köslin.
* 1890: 1,520,889 people, 62,3% of those lived in communities with less than 2,000 inhabitants, and 7,6% in Stettin. Among them were 1,476,300 Protestants, 27,476 Catholics, 4,587 persons belonging to other Christian religious groups, 200 dissidents and 12,246 Jews; 1,519,397 were citizens of the German Empire+, 758 came from foreign territories attached to the empire, and 734 did not belong to any of these groups. With the exception of 10,666 persons composed of Poles, Kashubians and Masurians, all people of the Province used German as their native language.
Between 1871 and 1914, the prime characteristic of the province's demography was migration from the rural areas, first to urban centers ("Landflucht"), then to destinations in other German provinces and oversees (Ostflucht+). Despite the emigration during this time span, the population increased by 300,000 people.Jan M Piskorski, Pommern im Wandel der Zeit, p.262, ISBN 839061848
Between 1871 and 1880, 61,700 people emigrated to America.
Between 1881 and 1890, 132,100 people emigrated to America; 95,000 of these emigrated between 1881 and 1885.
Between 1891 and 1900, 56,700 people emigrated to America.
Between 1871 and 1895, 242,505 people emigrated from the province, primarily from 1880 to 1885 (95,000 emigrants).
Between 1880 and 1910, 426,000 more people emigrated than immigrated. Emigrants came primarily from rural areas, which they left for economic reasons; prime destinations were Ruhr area+ and Berlin (Ostflucht+).
Most people emigrated from Regierungsbezirk Köslin, where the population numbers of 1880 were only reached again in 1899.
The Province of Pomerania was one of the three provinces (the other two were West Prussia+ and Province of Posen+) responsible for most of the German emigrants who went oversees. Imperial Commissioners for emigration ("Reichskommissar für Auswanderung") organized emigration from Hamburg+, Bremen+, Stettin+, and Swinemünde+. Emigration to oversees ended in 1893, when in America the free availability of soil claims ended.Werner Buchholz, Pommern, Siedler, 1999, p.456, ISBN 3-88680-272-8
* 1905: Of 1,684,326 inhabitants 1,616,550 were Protestants, 50,206 Roman Catholics and 9660 Jews, (1900) 14,162 Polish speakers (at the West Prussia+n border) and 310 Kashubian+ speakers (at the Lakes Lebasee+ and Gardescher See+).
* 1907: 440,000 people born in the province lived in other areas of Germany.
* 1910: 1,716,921 inhabitants, 55,3% of those lived in communities with less than 2,000 inhabitants, and 13,7% in Stettin. Of those, the majority was Protestant (1,637,299; i.e. 95,36%), 56,298 were Roman Catholics (3,27%), less than one percent were Old Lutherans+ (primarily in the Cammin+ and Greifenberg+ counties), and 8862 were Jews (0,52%)
Polish seasonal workers were employed in Pomeranian agriculture since the 1890s, initially to replace the emigrants. In 1910, 7921 Poles lived steadily in the province. In 1912, 12,000 seasonal workers were employed in agriculture, in 1914 their number increased to 42,000.Werner Buchholz, Pommern, Siedler, 1999, pp.534,535, ISBN 3-88680-272-8
* 1919: On October 8, 1919, the province had 1,787,179 inhabitants. This population had increased by 160,000 in 1925.
On October 1, 1938, the bulk of the former Province of Posen-West Prussia+ was merged into the Province of Pomerania, adding an area of 5,787 km2 with a population of 251,000.Werner Buchholz, Pommern, Siedler, 1999, p.511, ISBN 3-88680-272-8
On October 15, Stettin's city limits were expanded to an area of 460 km2, housing 383,000 people.
During the Soviet conquest of Farther Pomerania+ and the subsequent expulsions of Germans+ until 1950, 498,000 people from the part of the province east of the Oder-Neisse line+ died, making up for 26,4% of the former population. Of the 498,000 dead, 375,000 were civilians, and 123,000 were Wehrmacht+ soldiers. Low estimates give a million expellees from the then Polish part of the province in 1945 and the following years. Only 7,100 km2 remained with Germany, about a fourth of the province's size before 1938 and a fifth of the size thereafter.
Province of Pomerania (1815–1945)+ The Province of Pomerania () was a province of the Kingdom of Prussia and the Free State of Prussia from 1815 until 1945. Afterwards, its territory became part of Allied-occupied Germany and Poland.