Polish claims on Wilno/Vilnius

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Polish claims on Wilno/Vilnius

Post by RCW Mark » 07 Jun 2008 02:47

Partzinak: the trouble is that the justification the Poles had for claiming the large chunks of what we now consider Belarus, Ukraine and Lithuania is that they had been historically ruled by Poles for very long periods. As a result the nobility of those places was largely Polish, along with a fair chunk of the population.

I don't have a great deal of sympathy with some of the Polish claims in 1919/1920, because they changed their story to suit themselves. In Poznan they claimed that because the majority of the population was Polish that this over-rode the claim of the minority German nobility and culture. In Galicia they claimed the exact reverse: that the historically Polish culture over-rode the fact that the bulk of the population were Ukranian. Gdansk/Danzig was claimed as Polish (though they didn't win this one) because it was vital to the nation's survival despite being solidly German, but Vilnius was taken in defiance of everyone despite it being crucial to Lithuania's economic and political survival.

Regardless of the strength of the arguments though, one cannot make sense of the various claims and counter-claims in 1919 and 1920 if one shuts ones ears to previous history.

Sometimes history has to be considered. Sometimes -- such as some of Hitler's justifications for conquest -- you even have to take into account totally bogus history in order to explain why people felt and behaved as they did.

Today's settled state of the borders of Poland is a result only of Stalin's over-riding of history by the bulk shifting of populations. (But similar issues still exist in Kalingrad, Moldova, the Ukraine and Georgia's borders. History takes a lot of shifting.)

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Re: what were the reasons for the Russian/Polish war revolution?

Post by henryk » 07 Jun 2008 19:40

RCW Mark said:
Partzinak: the trouble is that the justification the Poles had for claiming the large chunks of what we now consider Belarus, Ukraine and Lithuania is that they had been historically ruled by Poles for very long periods. As a result the nobility of those places was largely Polish, along with a fair chunk of the population.

I don't have a great deal of sympathy with some of the Polish claims in 1919/1920, because they changed their story to suit themselves. In Poznan they claimed that because the majority of the population was Polish that this over-rode the claim of the minority German nobility and culture. In Galicia they claimed the exact reverse: that the historically Polish culture over-rode the fact that the bulk of the population were Ukranian. Gdansk/Danzig was claimed as Polish (though they didn't win this one) because it was vital to the nation's survival despite being solidly German, but Vilnius was taken in defiance of everyone despite it being crucial to Lithuania's economic and political survival.
The Wilno/Vilnius area claimed by Poland was overwhelmingly ethnic Polish. I think RCW Mark means East Galicia, as in total Galicia was overwhelmingly ethnic Polish. In East Galicia, the urban area were overwhelmingly ethnic Polish. Excluding one province East Galicia was about one half ethnic Polish and one half ethnic Ukrainian.
I repeat the statistics I have given previously to RCW Mark:
From:Polish Encyclopaedia: Volume II: Territory and Population ofPoland
Original: Published by the Committee For the Polish Encyclopaedia Publications at Fribourg And Geneva (Switzerland), Printed by ATAR Ltd, Geneva, 1924
Reprint: Publications of the Polish National Committee Of America, Reprint Edition by Arno Press, 1972
The 1916 census carried out by Germany gives for the District of Wilno And Troki:
Wilno City: Polish: 50.2%, Lithuanians: 2.6%, Jews: 43.5% of total 140,840
Wilno Suburbs: Polish: 89.8%, Lithuanians: 4.3%, Jews: 4.3% of total 63,076
District: Polish: 55.0%, Lithuanians: 24.7%, Jews: 17.3% of total 478,779
1909 Russian Census (% orthodox not given below):
Wilno City: Polish: 37.8%, Lithuanians & others: 4.7%, of total 205,250
Wilno Suburbs: Polish: 71.4%, Lithuanians & others: 7.2%, of total 236,029
Province of Wilno: Polish: 47.1%, Lithuanians & others: 13.6%, of total 1,815,215
1920 Polish Census: Wilno City & District: 25.9% non-Polish of total 279,952

Abstracted from:
http://www.usindexlist.de/keyword/Galic ... ral_Europe).php#Population_of_the_Eastern_Galicia_in_1931
Locality-------------------------Polish Total %----------Ukrainian Total %
Southeast Poland--------------2,007,215 39.7%-------2,650,997 52.5% (East Galicia)
Lwow City------------------------ 198,212 63.5%----------35,137 11.3%
Lwow Voivodship-----------------885,926 44.9%---------903,984 45.8%
Tarnopol Voivodship-------------789,114 49.3%---------728,135 45.5%
Stanislawow Voivodship---------332,175 22.4%--------1,018,878 68.8%
(excluding Stanis. Voi.)---------1,675,040 45.2%--------1,632,119 44.1%

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Re: what were the reasons for the Russian/Polish war revolution?

Post by RCW Mark » 08 Jun 2008 00:16

No-one seriously disputes Wilno city and immediate surrounds was Polish Henryk. The problem was that the Poles annexed much more than just Vilnius and its surrounds -- a region dominately Lithuanian. (Intriguing that you still can't bring yourself to call it Vilnius --how would you react to me using the term Warschau?)
1909 Russian Census (% orthodox not given below):
Based on religion, not race, so a Catholic Lithuanian got counted as a Pole. Thus the figures it gives for Lithuanians (14%) are ludicrous. Why was it even called Lithuania if it is mostly Polish?
The 1916 census carried out by Germany
Carried out in war-time, by a regime with a point to prove? Worth next to nothing. It's figures for Lithuanians in Lithuania are even more bogus. 5%? Really?
1920 Polish Census: Wilno City & District: 25.9% non-Polish of total 279,952
There was no 1920 "Census", so stop pretending there was. There was a heavily fixed plebiscite, under Polish auspices, which is not the same thing at all, especially when so many of the Lithuanian voters were excluded. (The vote was for or against separation from independent Poland, not a count by race: if 25% or more of the population was Jewish, which it was, then the "Census" actually records zero Lithuanians in Vilnius!)

For those who want to see why this Polish-biased fakery -- with bogus "censuses" -- still being trotted out after all these years is not what it looks, I refer you to "The Great Powers, Lithuania and the Vilna question, 1920 - 1928" by A E Senn. He is slightly pro-Lithuanian, sure, but is not up to "fixing" statistics to prove his point.

Think about the consequences of your numbers. Are you genuinely asking us to believe that the centre of Lithuania -- so central that it is the Capital -- was less than a quarter Lithuanian? When Stalin redrew the lines in 1945 how did he ever find enough people to put in Lithuania if it was almost entirely Polish?

It is also interesting to bear in mind Poland's behaviour in 1920. Pilsudski, born in Vilnius/Wilno, wanted a separate and allied Lithuania, where Vilnius would not have been in Poland proper. When that didn't happen, he arranged a bogus "mutiny" and the conquest of the city. Even then it was formally kept separate from Poland for a while. Why did he do all this if he genuinely knew that he was in the right all along?

Now I expect a storm of self-righteous indignity that the Poles could ever do anything wrong. I will not reply to it, not because I don't have answers, but because I get sick of perpetually battling the lies. Don't believe their "census" numbers -- they quote equally dodgy ones for Galicia too -- hunt down the actually basis for these counts themselves if you are interested.

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Re: what were the reasons for the Russian/Polish war revolution?

Post by henryk » 08 Jun 2008 20:58

Part 1: split to enable multiple quotes:
RCW Mark said:
No-one seriously disputes Wilno city and immediate surrounds was Polish Henryk. The problem was that the Poles annexed much more than just Vilnius and its surrounds -- a region definitely Lithuanian. (Intriguing that you still can't bring yourself to call it Vilnius --how would you react to me using the term Warschau?)
I said Wilno/Vilnius, for those not familiar with the Polish name. It is as logical for a Pole to say Wilno for Vilnius as a Frenchman to say Londres for London.
Based on religion, not race, so a Catholic Lithuanian got counted as a Pole. Thus the figures it gives for Lithuanians (14%) are ludicrous. Why was it even called Lithuania if it is mostly Polish?
The census counted the Catholic Lithuanians separately from the Catholic Poles. See the original data below. Lithuania was mainly Lithuanian; only the Wilno area was predominantly Polish.
Henryk said: The 1916 census carried out by Germany.
Carried out in war-time, by a regime with a point to prove? Worth next to nothing. It's figures for Lithuanians in Lithuania are even more bogus. 5%? Really?
Your opinion. Where is your quantitative data? Actually the German census showed more Lithuanians than the Russian. See original below.

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Re: what were the reasons for the Russian/Polish war revolution?

Post by henryk » 08 Jun 2008 21:03

Part 2;
RCW Mark said:
Henryk said: 1920 Polish Census: Wilno City & District: 25.9% non-Polish of total 279,952.
There was no 1920 "Census", so stop pretending there was. There was a heavily fixed plebiscite, under Polish auspices, which is not the same thing at all, especially when so many of the Lithuanian voters were excluded. (The vote was for or against separation from independent Poland, not a count by race: if 25% or more of the population was Jewish, which it was, then the "Census" actually records zero Lithuanians in Vilnius!)
The data does not differ much from the Russian and German.
For those who want to see why this Polish-biased fakery -- with bogus "censuses" -- still being trotted out after all these years is not what it looks, I refer you to "The Great Powers, Lithuania and the Vilna question, 1920 - 1928" by A E Senn. He is slightly pro-Lithuanian, sure, but is not up to "fixing" statistics to prove his point.
Another RCM Mark opinion without substantiation. So what are your statistics?
Think about the consequences of your numbers. Are you genuinely asking us to believe that the centre of Lithuania -- so central that it is the Capital -- was less than a quarter Lithuanian? When Stalin redrew the lines in 1945 how did he ever find enough people to put in Lithuania if it was almost entirely Polish?
Vilnius is on the south. It is not central. There was a population exchange: Poles to Poland and Lithuanians to Lithuania.
It is also interesting to bear in mind Poland's behaviour in 1920. Pilsudski, born in Vilnius/Wilno, wanted a separate and allied Lithuania, where Vilnius would not have been in Poland proper. When that didn't happen, he arranged a bogus "mutiny" and the conquest of the city. Even then it was formally kept separate from Poland for a while. Why did he do all this if he genuinely knew that he was in the right all along?
Action was for world opinion, to achieve a Polish Wilno within Poland.

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Re: what were the reasons for the Russian/Polish war revolution?

Post by henryk » 08 Jun 2008 21:13

Part 3:
RCW Mark said:
Now I expect a storm of self-righteous indignity that the Poles could ever do anything wrong. I will not reply to it, not because I don't have answers, but because I get sick of perpetually battling the lies. Don't believe their "census" numbers -- they quote equally dodgy ones for Galicia too -- hunt down the actually basis for these counts themselves if you are interested.
I have presented data from Russian, German and Polish sources for Wilno, all in agreement. Again where is your contradictory data?
I am still looking for Austrian census data for Galicia. Where is your data to backup your opinion.
The Polish action on Wilno/Vinius was unfortunate. A jointly governed territory would have been a better solution. But there was no choice. Poland could not give a Polish city to Lithuania.
From:
Polish Encyclopaedia: Volume II: Territory and Population ofPoland
Original: Published by the Committee For the Polish Encyclopaedia Publications at Fribourg And Geneva (Switzerland), Printed by ATAR Ltd, Geneva, 1924
Reprint: Publications of the Polish National Committee Of America, Reprint Edition by Arno Press, 1972
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Part4

Post by henryk » 08 Jun 2008 21:35

Part 4:
From:
Polish Encyclopaedia: Volume II: Territory and Population of Poland
Original: Published by the Committee For the Polish Encyclopaedia Publications at Fribourg And Geneva (Switzerland), Printed by ATAR Ltd, Geneva, 1924
Reprint: Publications of the Polish National Committee Of America, Reprint Edition by Arno Press, 1972
There were many Lithuanians in what is now northeast Poland.
Also some data for Galicia as a whole, and Prussia.
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Re: Polish claims on Wilno/Vilnius

Post by Peter K » 26 Oct 2008 20:53

Structure of population of the Second Republic of Poland according to native languages of inhabitants:

Native languages of citizens in voivodeships of Poland in 1931 - according to national census from 1931:

Image

Eastern Voivodeships of Poland (taken back from Poland by USSR in 1945):

Wileńskie Voivodeship (capital city - Wilno):

60% - Polish
23% - Belarusian
8% - Yiddish
3% - Russian
6% - Other or not given (including Lithuanian - less than 1%)

Lwowskie Voivodeship (capital city - Lwów):

58% - Polish
34% - Ukrainian
8% - Yiddish

Nowogrodzkie Voivodeship (capital city - Nowogródek):

53% - Polish
39% - Belarusian
7% - Yiddish
1% - Russian

Tarnopolskie Voivodeship (capital city - Tarnopol):

49% - Polish
46% - Ukrainian
5% - Yiddish

Poleskie Voivodeship (capital city - Brześć):

14% - Polish
10% - Yiddish
5% - Ukrainian
6% - Belarusian
2% - Russian
63% - Other or not given (the vast majority is "Local")

Stanisławowskie Voivodeship (capital city – Stanisławów):

69% - Ukrainian
23% - Polish
7% - Yiddish
1% - German

Wołyńskie Voivodeship (capital city – Łuck):

68% - Ukrainian
17% - Polish
10% - Yiddish
2% - German
1% - Russian
2% - Other or not given
Last edited by Peter K on 27 Oct 2008 12:23, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Polish claims on Wilno/Vilnius

Post by Peter K » 26 Oct 2008 21:00

Some archival videos about Wilno:

1919 - Poles capturing back Wilno:

http://pl.youtube.com/watch?v=8AXzSBtau0E

1936 - German document about Wilno:

http://pl.youtube.com/watch?v=5VYuHvlgBR4

1938 - end of Polish-Lithuanian conflict - establishing diplomatic contacts with Lithuania, opening the Polish-Lithuanian border, Polish Army parade in Wilno (from 1:13):

http://pl.youtube.com/watch?v=uxuqbkb1CEc

1944 - Red Army seizes Wilno from the German hands - American (or British ?) video - nothing is said about Polish Home Army forces (over 4500 soldiers with 2 AT guns and several mortars) which attacked Germans in Wilno before the Soviets (on 7th of July) and untill 13th of July liberated the city together with the Red Army (Polish casualties in Wilno: few hundreds wounded, dead and missing).

http://pl.youtube.com/watch?v=06g7Ylm_c ... re=related

Polish liberation of Wilno by Home Army forces - 1944 - also Polish-Jewish Home Army soldiers took part in liberation of Wilno in 1944 (they can be seen in 1:22 - this is one of Jewish units of Polish Wilno district's Home Army forces):

http://pl.youtube.com/watch?v=Dv9hT1-YL ... re=related

And a little bit off-topic:

Pre - War Warsaw:

http://pl.youtube.com/watch?v=AqvfMJjJ8 ... re=related

3rd of May 1939 - Warsaw in colour:

http://pl.youtube.com/watch?v=nc_5DEHYc ... re=related

Trading district: Jewish-Polish district - in Warsaw - 3rd of May of 1939 (in colour):

http://pl.youtube.com/watch?v=3aFwtPt8i ... re=related

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Re: Polish claims on Wilno/Vilnius

Post by Peter K » 27 Oct 2008 12:19

And - by the way - as my friend from Belarus told me, modern-day Lithuanians are in fact not descendants of Medieval Lithuanians but they are descendants of Samogitians. Modern-day Belarussians and Poles (of course not all of them, only parts) are real descendants of Medieval Lithuanians.

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Re: Polish claims on Wilno/Vilnius

Post by Peter K » 27 Oct 2008 12:29

In Poznan they claimed that because the majority of the population was Polish that this over-rode the claim of the minority German nobility and culture.
In 1919 Germany didn’t allow to return of the Greater Poland to Poland – Greater Poles had to free themselves by military actions - in Greater Poland Uprising.

Posen Province in 1910 was inhabited by 1290,800 Poles (67,4% - mistake?) and 807,000 Germans (38,4% - mistake?) – according to M. Broszat "Zweihundert Jahre deutsche Polenpolitik."

Together it gives 105,8% so something is wrong with this Broszat’s data - wrong with numbers or with per-cents.

Some Polish sources – for example A. Kramski “Niemcy w poznańskim wobec polityki germanizacyjnej”, 1976, or M. Staniewicz “Niemcy w Polsce a odbudowa państwa polskiego”, 1968 – give quite different numbers.

In 1905 there were more Germans than Poles only in 9 districts of the province, in 4 districts ratio was around fifty / fifty, and in 27 districts where there were more Poles.

In 1895 Germans were majority in 21 of 131 cities of Greater Poland, including one of two biggest cities (Poznan – Posen and Bydgoszcz – Bromberg) – in Bromberg (Poles in 1910 were 20,7% of all citizens of Bromberg, while in Poznan in 1910 Poles were majority – 67%).
the minority German nobility and culture
Any examples of the German nobility and culture in Poznań ???

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Re: Polish claims on Wilno/Vilnius

Post by Qvist » 16 Feb 2009 22:15

Based on religion, not race, so a Catholic Lithuanian got counted as a Pole. Thus the figures it gives for Lithuanians (14%) are ludicrous. Why was it even called Lithuania if it is mostly Polish?
Practically all Lithuanians were and remain catholics, so that would make little sense. A more fundamental problem is that Wilno district, unless administrative divisions were radically different than they are today, is really only the city and its immeditae environs. The other district mentioned - Troki - is, I assume, the Lithuanian Trakai? If so, this illustrates the narrow extent of "Vilnius district" - Trakai is a 20-minute drive from downtown Vilnius. The area annexed by Poland on the other was much, much larger than this - essentially the eastern third of present-day Lithuania, which even today has a strongly rural character (and hence a much greater preponderance of Lithuanian population).

Domen:
Native languages of citizens in voivodeships of Poland in 1931 - according to national census from 1931:
Do you seriously believe that less than 1% of the population in this whole area - almost 1/3 of present Lithuania - was Lithuanian? When did all the Lithuanians, who today constitute the vast majority of the population in this area, turn up? 1945? Considering that the coastal region was predominantly German and that hundreds of thousands of Lithuanians left the country in 1944, Kaunas must have been one hell of a Lithuanian metropolis to have contained these hordes of future settlers, whose mighty migration appears to have passed unrecorded by history. :)
And - by the way - as my friend from Belarus told me, modern-day Lithuanians are in fact not descendants of Medieval Lithuanians but they are descendants of Samogitians. Modern-day Belarussians and Poles (of course not all of them, only parts) are real descendants of Medieval Lithuanians.
Yes well, I also have belorussian friends and have heard the same ridiculous story. The Belarussians, seemingly in earnest, actually appear to think that the whole Lithuanian empire thing was actually a belarussian phenomenon, the only conceivable explanation for which is that new countries with no independent history will go to any lengths to acquire one. Maybe your friend should consider how reasonable it is to believe that all the actual Lithuanians turned slavic, while their whole language and identity was sort of picked up by someone else.

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Re: Polish claims on Wilno/Vilnius

Post by henryk » 18 Feb 2009 20:55

Qvist
You mystify me. This thread and others present overwhelming neutral evidence that Poles did have a substantial majority population in the Wilno/Vilnius region, and the Lithuanians a small minority. Despite massive deportations after WWII, the latest Lithuanian censuses show a large number of Poles. From a previous message:
RCW Mark said:
Based on religion, not race, so a Catholic Lithuanian got counted as a Pole. Thus the figures it gives for Lithuanians (14%) are ludicrous. Why was it even called Lithuania if it is mostly Polish?
Henryk said:
The census counted the Catholic Lithuanians separately from the Catholic Poles. See the original data below. Lithuania was mainly Lithuanian; only the Wilno area was predominantly Polish.
Qvist said:
A more fundamental problem is that Wilno district, unless administrative divisions were radically different than they are today, is really only the city and its immeditae environs. The other district mentioned - Troki - is, I assume, the Lithuanian Trakai? If so, this illustrates the narrow extent of "Vilnius district" - Trakai is a 20-minute drive from downtown Vilnius. The area annexed by Poland on the other was much, much larger than this - essentially the eastern third of present-day Lithuania, which even today has a strongly rural character (and hence a much greater preponderance of Lithuanian population).
Yes, you are right. The Polish province woj Wilenskie encompassed a much larger territory. So only the Wilno/Vilnius data is meaningful. However only 10% of present Lithuania, not 33%, contains the annexed Wilno/Vilnius region. In the map I have overlapped Woj Wilenskie and present day Lithuania and Belarus.
I will repeat the census data: the Neutral 1897 Russian, the Neutral 1916 German, the neutral 1942 German-Lithuanian, and the 2001 Lithuanian:
From http://tripatlas.com/Ethnic%20history%2 ... %20Vilnius
City of Vilna 1897'
Jews (40.0%) / Poles (30.1%) / Russians (20.9%) / Belarusians (4.3%) / Lithuanians (2.1%) / Germans (1.4%) / Tatars (0.5%) / Ukrainians (0.3%) / Other (0.4%) /Total / Source: 1897 Russian census
Vilna Governorate 1897'
Belarusians (56.1%) / Lithuanians (17.6%) / Jews (12.7%) / Poles (8.2%) / Russians (4.9%) / Germans (0.2%) / Tatars (0.1%) / Ukrainians (0.1%) / Other (0.1%) / Total 1591207 /Source: 1897 Russian census[1]
1897 the first Russian Empire Census was held. The territory covered by the tables included large parts of today's Belarus, that is the voblasts of Hrodna, Vitebsk and Minsk. Its results are currently criticised with respect to the issue of ethnic composition, because the ethnicity was defined by language spoken. In many cases the reported language of choice was defined by general background (education, occupation), rather than ethnicity. Some results are also thought as skewed due to the facts that pidgin speakers were assigned to nationalities arbitrarily and the Russian military garrisons were counted in as permanent inhabitants of the area. Some historians point out the fact that the Russification policies and persecution of ethnic minorities in Russia were added to the notion to subscribe Belarusians, Lithuanians, Ukrainians and Poles to the category of Russians[2][3].
'City of Wilna 1916'
Poles (50.2%) / Jews (43.5%) / Lithuanians (2.6%) / Russians (1.5%) / Other (2.2%) / Total 140,800
Source: 1916 German census[4]
'Occupied Lithuania 1916'
Poles (58.0%) / Lithuanians (18.5%) / Jews (14.7%) / Belarusians (6.4%) / Russians (1.2%) / Other (1.2%)
Total /Source: 1916 German census
As a result of World War I, almost all of the territory encompassing the present borders of modern Lithuania and Poland were occupied by the German Army. On March 9, 1916, the German military authorities organised a census to determine the ethnic composition of their newly-conquered territories. This census is currently the only census organised before 1991 that is accepted by both Polish and Lithuanian historians. However, many Belarusian historians note that the Belarusian minority is not noted among the inhabitants of the city.
A similar census was organised for all of the territory of German-occupied Lithuania and the northern border of the territory was more or less correspondent to that of present-day Lithuania, however it's southern border was expanded greatly and ended near Brest-Litovsk, and included the city of Białystok (see Southern Lithuania).
'City of Wilna 1942
'Poles 87,855 (41.89%) / Jews 58,263 (27.78%) / Russians 4,090 (1.95%) / Belarusians 5,348 (2.55%) / Lithuanians 51,111 (24.37%) / Germans 524 (0.25%) / Other 2,538 (1.21%) / Total 209,729 /Source: 1942 German census[9]
'Wilna-Gebiet 1942
'Lithuanians 324,234 (43.44%) / Poles 315,042 (42.20%) / Belarusians 81,257 (10.89%) / Russians 22,792 (3.05%)
Others 3,109 (0.42%) / Total 746,434 / Source: 1942 German census
After the outbreak of the German-Soviet War in 1941, the area of former Central Lithuania was quickly seized by the Wehrmacht. On May 27, 1942 a new census was organised by the German authorities and the local Lithuanian collaborators. The details of the methodology used are unknown and the results of the census are commonly believed to be an outcome of the racial theories and beliefs of those who organised the census rather than the actual ethnic and national composition of the area. Among the most notable features is a complete lack of data on the Jewish inhabitants of the area (see Paneriai for explanation) and a much lowered number of Poles, as compared to all the earlier censuses[10][11].
'Vilnius city municipality 2001
'Lithuanians (59.16%) 318,510 / Poles (19.40%) 104,446 / Russians (14.43%) 77,698 / Belarusians (4.19%) 22,555
Ukrainians 7,159 / Other 8,042 Not indicated 15,494 / Total (100%) 553,904 Source: 2001 Lithuanian census[13]
'Vilnius district municipality 2001
'Poles (62.57%) / Lithuanians (22.87%) / Russians (8.56%) / Belarusians (4.4%) / Others (1.6%)
Total 88,600 / Source: 2001 Lithuanian census
So Qvist. Are the Lithuanians lying about the number of Poles in present day Vilnius? Where did they come from, if they are not the ancesters of Poles that always lived there?
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Re: Polish claims on Wilno/Vilnius

Post by Qvist » 18 Feb 2009 22:11

Hello Henryk

1. How do you manage to square your own map with the claim that this area amounts to 10% of present-day Lithuania? Even with the naked eye it is obvious that we are talking about a fourth or a third of the present territory.
2. 550,000 people in Vilnius City and 88,000 people in Vilnius District?
3. According to the German 1942 census, there were more Lithuanians than Poles in the region.
4. The different census data contradict each other so vastly that it is obvious that very different criteria and/or geographical divisions must have been used.
5. I have no problem accepting as plausible the notion that Vilnius city had few Lithuanians in, say, the late 19th century. But the large and mostly rural region annexed by Poland is a quite different matter. And census data that claim that there was only a minuscule proportion of Lithuanians in this region at any time are quite simply obviously not credible. Again, where did all the Lithuanians that populate the area today come from? Vilnius is one thing, but somehow I find it hard to believe that people trekked en masse from central Lithuania in the late 40s in order to populate the dilapidated villages of Ignalina or Moletai...

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Re: Polish claims on Wilno/Vilnius

Post by henryk » 19 Feb 2009 21:17

Qvist
1. Sorry. I should have made it clear. The red line is the present boundary between Lithuania and Belarus. Thus only the land of Wielenskie west of the red line is in Lithuania.
2. There Vilnius District is that outside Vinius.
3. German census: Not in the city. In the Gebiet,they are about equal. But I don't know what territory is included in the Gebiet.
4. True, other than the city itself.
5. Polonization of the Lithuanians was a long process, starting in the 16th century, and continuing into the 20th. Thus much of the population were Polish speaking ethnic Lithuanians. Examples, the Polish heros Pilsudski and Kosciuszko are of Polonized Lithuanian origin. From the Lithuanian paper: http://www.lituanus.org/1981_3/81_3_05.htm
Quite naturally, the magnates and large landowners accepted the Polish customs and language first. Many of the lesser gentry and townspeople continued speaking Lithuanian until the 18th century during which, except in Samogitia, they gradually switched to Polish. Thus, by the 19th century, Polish was clearly established as the language of public life and social prestige in Lithuania.1
To some extent, Polonization was also the result of demographic changes. In southwestern Lithuania, the influx of Polish elements, though limited, must have had some effect on the native Lithuanian populace. In the early 1840s, a number of Polish peasants came to Augustów province; although most stayed in the predominantly Polish southern half of the province, some reportedly penetrated the Sejny area and a few settled in the northernmost Marijampolė district.6 In 1861, the Sejny district reported an influx of Polish craftsmen.7 In eastern Lithuania, the traditional westward expansion of the Slavic languages (Polish and Belorussian primarily) continued in the 19th century.8 Thus, even while Lithuanian nationalism grew and matured in the 19th century, the ethnographically Lithuanian living space continued to shrink.
The process was reversed to a major extent in the second half of the 19th century in most of Lithuania. But not in the Wilno/Vilnius region, as the capital, where polonization proceeded furthest, and where many ethnic Poles settled. The process is similar to the change of the language in Ireland to English. However the Protestant English could not ethnicize the Catholic Irish, as could the Catholic Poles with the Catholic Lithuanians, for which the Catholic Church was a major influence. The Protestant Lithuanians living to the west were more immune.

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