Poland's old and new borders, 1945
Reception of Jews in Poland, by Jan Matejko, 1889
Map showing the different borders and territories of Poland and Germany during the 20th century, with the current areas of Germany and Poland in dark gray
Early-medieval Polish coins with Hebrew inscriptions
The Polish People's Republic in 1989
Destroyed Warsaw, January 1945
Casimir the Great and the Jews, by Wojciech Gerson, 1874
Poland's fate was heavily discussed at the Yalta Conference in February 1945. Joseph Stalin, whose Red Army occupied the entire country, presented several alternatives which granted Poland industrialized territories in the west whilst the Red Army simultaneously permanently annexed Polish territories in the east, resulting in Poland losing over 20% of its pre-war borders - areas primarily inhabited by ethnic Belarusians or Ukrainians. Soviet-backed Polish communists came to power and oversaw the country's entry into the Warsaw Pact in 1955.
The PKWN Manifesto, officially issued on 22 July 1944. In reality it was not finished until mid-August, after the Polish communist Moscow group was joined by the late-arriving Warsaw group, led by Gomułka and Bierut.
Casimir IV Jagiellon confirmed and extended Jewish charters in the second half of the 15th century
Border changes of Poland after World War II. The eastern territories (Kresy) were annexed by the Soviets. The western territories, referred to as the "Recovered Territories", were granted as war reparations. Despite the western lands being more industrialized, Poland lost 77,035 km2 (29,743 sq mi) and major cities like Lviv and Vilnius.
Postwar Polish communist propaganda poster depicting "The giant and the putrid reactionary midget", meaning the communist People's Army soldier and the pro-Western Home Army soldier, respectively
Sigismund II Augustus followed his father's tolerant policy and also granted autonomy to the Jews.
The 1970 Polish protests were put down by the Communist authorities and Citizens' Militia. The riots resulted in the deaths of 42 people and over 1,000 injured.
ORMO paramilitary police unit during street parade at the Victory Square, 9 June 1946, Warsaw
Number of Jews in Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth per voivodeship in 1764
Queues waiting to enter grocery stores in Warsaw and other Polish cities and towns were typical in the late 1980s. The availability of food and goods varied at times, and the most sought after basic item was toilet paper.
Logo of the Polish United Workers' Party
A Polish Jew in an engraving from 1703
The new Warszawa Centralna railway station in Warsaw had automatic doors and escalators. It was a flagship project during the 1970s economic boom and was dubbed the most modern station in Europe at the time of its completion in 1975.
The show trial of Captain Witold Pilecki, sentenced to death and executed May 1948
Late-Renaissance synagogue, Zamość, Poland, 1610–20
Lech Wałęsa co-founded and headed the Solidarity movement which toppled Communism. He later became the President of Poland.
The Palace of Culture and Science in Warsaw, initially called the Stalin's Palace, was a controversial gift from Soviet leader Joseph Stalin
Jacob Frank
The 1980 Gdańsk Shipyard Strike and subsequent Summer 1981 Hunger Demonstrations were instrumental in strengthening the Solidarity movement's influence.
Avenue of the Roses, Nowa Huta
Jewish dress in 17th (top) and 18th centuries
Logo of the Polish United Workers' Party
1951 East German stamp commemorative of the Treaty of Zgorzelec establishing the Oder–Neisse line as a "border of peace", featuring the presidents Wilhelm Pieck (GDR) and Bolesław Bierut (Poland)
Berek Joselewicz (1764–1809)
Władysław Gomułka and Leonid Brezhnev in East Berlin, 1967
Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński, Primate of Poland
Jewish merchants in 19th-century Warsaw
An abandoned State Agricultural Farm in south-eastern Poland. State farms were a form of collective farming created in 1949.
Władysław Gomułka
Map of Pale of Settlement, showing Jewish population densities
Łódź was Poland's largest city after the destruction of Warsaw during World War II. It was also a major industrial centre in Europe and served as the temporary capital due to its economic significance in the 1940s.
The Fourth Congress of the Polish United Workers' Party, held in 1963
Caricature of Russian Army assailant in 1906 Białystok pogrom
Female textile workers in a state-run factory, Łódź, 1950s
The Polski Fiat 125p, produced in Poland from the late 1960s, was based on technology purchased from Fiat
A Bundist demonstration, 1917
Supersam Warsaw, the first self-serve shopping centre in Poland, 1969
Standard-bearers of the 27 Tank Regiment, mid-1960s
Hasidic schoolchildren in Łódź, c. 1910s, during Partitions
Pewex, a chain of hard currency stores which sold unobtainable Western goods and items
Dziady, a theatrical event that spawned nationwide protests
Rabbi Baruch Steinberg before Warsaw Great Synagogue (1933), reading roll call of the fallen, organized by Union of Jewish Fighters for Polish Independence
Ration cards for sugar, 1977
Demonstrators in Gdynia carry the body of Zbigniew Godlewski, who was shot and killed during the protests of 1970
Warsaw Great Synagogue
Bar mleczny, a former milk bar in Gdynia. These canteens offered value meals to citizens throughout Communist Poland.
Edward Gierek
L. L. Zamenhof, creator of Esperanto
Trybuna Ludu (People's Tribune) was a government-sponsored newspaper and propaganda outlet
Queue line, a frequent scene at times of shortages of consumer goods in the 1970s and 1980s
Isaac Bashevis Singer (Polish: Izaak Zynger), achieved international acclaim as a classic Jewish writer and was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1978
Andrzej Wajda was a key figure in Polish cinematography during and after the fall of communism
Millions cheer Pope John Paul II in his first visit to Poland as pontiff in 1979
Shimon Peres, born in Poland as Szymon Perski, served as the ninth President of Israel between 2007 and 2014
Allegory of communist censorship, Poland, 1989. Newspapers visible are from all Eastern Bloc countries including East Germany, the Soviet Union and Czechoslovakia
Lech Wałęsa speaks during the strike at the Gdańsk Shipyard, August 1980
Student's book (indeks) of Jewish medical student Marek Szapiro at Warsaw University, with rectangular "ghetto benches" ("odd-numbered-benches") stamp
The 237-meter Palace of Culture and Science in Warsaw, constructed in 1955. At the time of its completion it was one of the tallest buildings in Europe
25th anniversary of Solidarity, summer 2005 in Gdańsk
Demonstration of Polish students demanding implementation of "ghetto benches" at Lwów Polytechnic (1937).
Smyk Department Store, 1960s
General Wojciech Jaruzelski led the People's Republic during its final decade and became one of the key players in the systemic transition of 1989–90
Graves of Jewish-Polish soldiers who died in 1939 September Campaign, Powązki Cemetery
Polish university students during lecture, 1964
Apartment block residences built in People's Poland loom over the urban landscape of the entire country. In the past administratively distributed for permanent use, after 1989 most were sold to residents at discounted prices.
Yiddish election notice for Soviet local government to the People's council of the Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic in Białystok, occupied Poland.
One of many schools constructed in central Warsaw in the 1960s
Adam Michnik, an influential leader in the transformation of Poland
Jewish-Polish soldier's grave, Monte Cassino, Italy
Jerzy Popiełuszko was a Roman Catholic priest who supported the anti-communist opposition. He was murdered by the Security Services "SB" of the Ministry of Internal Affairs.
Map of the Holocaust in Poland under German occupation.
A demographics graph illustrating population growth between 1900 and 2010. The highest birth rate was during the Second Polish Republic and consequently under the Polish People's Republic.
Starving Jewish children, Warsaw Ghetto
A typical socialist apartment building in Warsaw representing the style of functionalism, built due to the ever-growing population and high birth rate at the time
Jewish Ghettos in German-occupied Poland and Eastern Europe
Konstantin Rokossovsky, pictured in a Polish uniform, was Marshal of the Soviet Union and Marshal of Poland until being deposed during the Polish October in 1956.
Walling-off Świętokrzyska Street (seen from Marszałkowska Street on the "Aryan side")
Poland's old and new borders, 1945
Announcement of death penalty for Jews captured outside the Ghetto and for Poles helping Jews, November 1941
Janusz Korczak's orphanage
Ghetto fighters memorial in Warsaw built in 1948 by sculptor Nathan Rapoport
Deportation to Treblinka at the Umschlagplatz
The cover page of The Stroop Report with International Military Tribunal in Nuremberg markings.
34 Mordechaj Anielewicz Street, Warsaw, Poland
Freed prisoners of Gęsiówka and the Szare Szeregi fighters after the liberation of the camp in August 1944
The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising of 1943 saw the destruction of what remained of the Ghetto
Page from a register of several hundred Jewish survivors who returned to Oświęcim after the war; created by a local Jewish Committee in 1945. Most remained for only a brief period.
Chief Rabbi of Poland – Michael Schudrich
Lesko Synagogue, Poland
Reform Beit Warszawa Synagogue
2005 March of the Living
President of the Republic of Poland, Lech Kaczyński, at the groundbreaking ceremony for the Museum of the History of Polish Jews, 26 June 2007
"Shalom in Szeroka Street", the final concert of the 15th Jewish Festival

The history of Poland from 1945 to 1989 spans the period of communist rule imposed over Poland after the end of World War II.

- History of Poland (1945–1989)

Since the fall of communism in Poland, there has been a renewed interest in Jewish culture, featuring an annual Jewish Culture Festival, new study programs at Polish secondary schools and universities, and the opening of Warsaw's Museum of the History of Polish Jews.

- History of the Jews in Poland

Following the destruction of the Polish-Jewish population in the Holocaust, the flight and expulsion of Germans in the west, resettlement of Ukrainians in the east, and the expulsion and resettlement of Poles from the Eastern Borderlands (Kresy), Poland became for the first time in its history an ethnically homogeneous nation-state without prominent minorities.

- History of Poland (1945–1989)

In the post-war period, many of the approximately 200,000 Jewish survivors registered at Central Committee of Polish Jews or CKŻP (of whom 136,000 arrived from the Soviet Union) left the Polish People’s Republic for the nascent State of Israel, North America or South America.

- History of the Jews in Poland

During the Gierek era, Poland borrowed large sums from Western creditors in exchange for promise of social and economic reforms.

- Polish People's Republic

The experiences in and after World War II, wherein the large ethnic Polish population was decimated, its Jewish minority was annihilated by the Germans, the large German minority was forcibly expelled from the country at the end of the war, along with the loss of the eastern territories which had a significant population of Eastern Orthodox Belarusians and Ukrainians, led to Poland becoming more homogeneously Catholic than it had been.

- Polish People's Republic
Poland's old and new borders, 1945

3 related topics with Alpha



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Country in Central Europe.

Country in Central Europe.

A reconstruction of a Bronze Age, Lusatian culture settlement in Biskupin, 8th century BC
Poland under the rule of Mieszko I, whose acceptance of Christianity under the auspices of the Latin Church and the Baptism of Poland marked the beginning of statehood in 966.
Casimir III the Great is the only Polish king to receive the title of Great. He built extensively during his reign, and reformed the Polish army along with the country's legal code, 1333–70.
The Battle of Grunwald was fought against the German Order of Teutonic Knights, and resulted in a decisive victory for the Kingdom of Poland, 15 July 1410.
Wawel Castle in Kraków, seat of Polish kings from 1038 until the capital was moved to Warsaw in 1596.
King John III Sobieski defeated the Ottoman Turks at the Battle of Vienna on 12 September 1683.
Stanisław II Augustus, the last King of Poland, reigned from 1764 until his abdication on 25 November 1795.
The partitions of Poland, carried out by the Kingdom of Prussia (blue), the Russian Empire (brown), and the Austrian Habsburg Monarchy (green) in 1772, 1793 and 1795.
Chief of State Marshal Józef Piłsudski was a hero of the Polish independence campaign and the nation's premiere statesman from 1918 until his death on 12 May 1935.
Polish Army 7TP tanks on military manoeuvres shortly before the invasion of Poland in 1939
Pilots of the 303 Polish Fighter Squadron during the Battle of Britain, October 1940
Map of the Holocaust in German-occupied Poland with deportation routes and massacre sites. Major ghettos are marked with yellow stars. Nazi extermination camps are marked with white skulls in black squares. The border in 1941 between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union is marked in red.
At High Noon, 4 June 1989 — political poster featuring Gary Cooper to encourage votes for the Solidarity party in the 1989 elections
Flowers in front of the Presidential Palace following the death of Poland's top government officials in a plane crash on 10 April 2010
Topographic map of Poland
Morskie Oko alpine lake in the Tatra Mountains. Poland has one of the highest densities of lakes in the world.
The wisent, one of Poland's national animals, is commonly found at the ancient and UNESCO-protected Białowieża Forest.
The Sejm is the lower house of the parliament of Poland.
The Constitution of 3 May adopted in 1791 was the first modern constitution in Europe.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, located in Warsaw
Polish Air Force F-16s, a single-engine multirole fighter aircraft
A Mercedes-Benz Sprinter patrol van belonging to the Polish State Police Service (Policja)
The Old City of Zamość is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
PKP Intercity Pendolino at the Wrocław railway station
Physicist and chemist Maria Skłodowska-Curie was the first person to win two Nobel Prizes.
Nicolaus Copernicus, the 16th century Polish astronomer who formulated the heliocentric model of the solar system.
Population of Poland from 1900 to 2010 in millions of inhabitants
Dolina Jadwigi — a bilingual Polish-Kashubian road sign with the village name
John Paul II, born Karol Wojtyła, held the papacy between 1978-2005 and was the first Pole to become a Roman Catholic Pope.
Jagiellonian University in Kraków
The Polish White Eagle is Poland's enduring national and cultural symbol
All Saints' Day on 1 November is one of the most important public holidays in Poland.
Lady with an Ermine (1490) by Leonardo da Vinci. It symbolises Poland's cultural heritage and identity.
Selection of hearty traditional comfort food from Poland, including bigos, gołąbki, żurek, pierogi, placki ziemniaczane, and rye bread.
Traditional polonaise dresses, 1780–1785.
Andrzej Wajda, the recipient of an Honorary Oscar, the Palme d'Or, as well as Honorary Golden Lion and Golden Bear Awards.
Headquarters of the publicly funded national television network TVP in Warsaw
The Stadion Narodowy in Warsaw, home of the national football team, and one of the host stadiums of Euro 2012.
The Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth at its greatest extent in 1619

As a member of the Eastern Bloc in the global Cold War, the Polish People's Republic was a founding signatory of the Warsaw Pact.

In the wake of anti-communist movements in 1989, notably through the emergence and contributions of the Solidarity movement, the communist government was dissolved and Poland re-established itself as a democratic republic.

In 1264, the Statute of Kalisz introduced unprecedented autonomy for the Polish Jews, who came to Poland fleeing persecution elsewhere in Europe.


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Second-largest and one of the oldest cities in Poland.

Second-largest and one of the oldest cities in Poland.

Tomb of Casimir III the Great at Wawel Cathedral. Kraków was the capital of Poland from 1038 to 1596.
The Church of St. Adalbert is one of the oldest churches in the city, dating from the 11th century.
Woodcut of Kraków from the Nuremberg Chronicle, 1493
View of Kraków (Cracovia) near the end of the 16th-century
Tadeusz Kościuszko takes the oath of loyalty to the Polish nation in Kraków's market square (Rynek), 1794
Act of granting the constitution to the Free City of Krakow. After the Partitions of Poland, Kraków was independent city republic and the only piece of sovereign Polish territory between 1815 and 1846.
Flower vendors in Rynek. First autochrome in Poland, dated 1912
Kraków Ghetto, 1942—a German checkpoint during operation Aktion Krakau
Kraków's territorial growth from the late 18th to the 20th century
Camaldolese Hermit Monastery in Bielany
Convent of Norbertine Sisters in Kraków-Zwierzyniec and the Vistula River during the summer season
The Renaissance Cloth Hall (Sukiennice) in Main Market Square
The Kraków Barbican dating from around 1498 was once a fortified outpost of the inner medieval city.
Kanonicza Street, at the foot of the Wawel Castle
View of Kraków from St. Mary's Basilica in the Market Square
Palace of Art at Szczepański Square is an example of Art Nouveau architecture in central Kraków.
Basztowa Street, filled with some of the most unique historical buildings in all architectural styles; part of the Royal Route of Kraków
Pawilon Wyspiański 2000 is a rare example of Postmodern architecture present in Kraków's Old Town.
Planty Park, which surrounds Kraków's Old Town
A pavilion within the Planty Park during winter
The New Town Hall of Podgórze, which used to be a self-governing independent town until its incorporation into Kraków in 1915
Entrance to the Wielopolski Palace from 1560, the seat of Kraków's mayor, administration and city council
Matejko Square, featuring the Grunwald Monument at Kleparz, is one of the city's most important public spaces.
Socialist-realist district of Nowa Huta
The Center for Business Innovation office complex in Kraków
Unity Tower, one of the tallest buildings in the city
Bombardier city tram on Piłsudski Bridge
PKP Intercity train at the Main Railway Station
Wawel Cathedral, home to royal coronations and resting place of many national heroes; considered to be Poland's national sanctuary
Saint Anne's Church is the leading example of Baroque architecture in Poland.
Kraków University of Economics
Collegium Maius, Jagiellonian University's oldest building
Leonardo da Vinci's Lady with an Ermine, at the Czartoryski Museum
The National Museum in Kraków is one of Poland's finest galleries of art.
Kraków Congress Centre – the business and cultural flagship of the city
Kraków's renowned Juliusz Słowacki Theatre
Concert hall of the Kraków Philharmonic
Wisła Kraków Stadium
Tauron Arena Kraków
Cracovia Stadium
Wawel Castle
German concentration camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau
Wieliczka Salt Mine
Pieskowa Skała castle
Benedictine Tyniec Abbey

The city became an important cultural centre for Polish Jews, including both Zionist and Bundist groups.

After the war, under the Polish People's Republic (officially declared in 1952), the intellectual and academic community of Kraków came under complete political control.

From 1953, critical opinions in the Party were increasingly frequent, and the doctrine was given up in 1956 marking the end of Stalinism.

Katyn-Kharkov-Mednoye memorial in Świętokrzyskie Mountains, Poland

Katyn massacre

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Series of mass executions of nearly 22,000 Polish military officers and intelligentsia prisoners of war carried out by the Soviet Union, specifically the NKVD in April and May 1940.

Series of mass executions of nearly 22,000 Polish military officers and intelligentsia prisoners of war carried out by the Soviet Union, specifically the NKVD in April and May 1940.

Katyn-Kharkov-Mednoye memorial in Świętokrzyskie Mountains, Poland
Map of the sites related to the Katyn massacre
Soviet Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov signs the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact. Behind him: Ribbentrop and Stalin.
Polish POWs captured by the Red Army during the Soviet invasion of Poland
Memo from Beria to Stalin, proposing the execution of Polish officers
Aerial view of the Katyn massacre grave
Photo from 1943 exhumation of mass grave of Polish officers killed by NKVD in Katyń Forest
A mass grave at Katyn, 1943
Secretary of State of the Vichy regime Fernand de Brinon and others in Katyn at the graves of Mieczysław Smorawiński and Bronisław Bohatyrewicz, April 1943
Polish banknotes and epaulets recovered from mass graves
Katyn exhumation, 1943
British, Canadian, and American officers (POWs) brought by the Germans to view the exhumations
Lt. Col. John H. Van Vliet Jr communication on Katyn
Monument in Katowice, Poland, memorializing "Katyn, Kharkiv, Mednoye and other places of killing in the former USSR in 1940"
Ceremony of military upgrading of Katyn massacre victims, Piłsudski Square, Warsaw, 10 November 2007
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski laying wreaths at the Katyn massacre memorial complex, 11 April 2011

The Polish Army officer class was representative of the multi-ethnic Polish state; the murdered included ethnic Poles, Ukrainians, Belarusians, and Jews including the chief Rabbi of the Polish Army, Baruch Steinberg.

Katyn was a forbidden topic in post-war Poland.

Katyn remained a political taboo in the Polish People's Republic until the fall of the Eastern Bloc in 1989.