The Chargé in Germany ( Kirk ) to the Secretary of State

No. 3120

Sir: In referring to the Department’s instruction No. 484 of January 2, 194035 with respect to reports on developments in Poland, I have the honor to submit herein information largely from official sources in regard to the geographical changes arising out of the fourth partition of Poland which took place in the fall of 1939 as a result of the invasion and occupation of the territory of the Republic of Poland by the armed forces of Germany, Slovakia and the Soviet Union.

It will be recalled that following the military collapse of the Polish state in September 1939 the entire country was occupied by the invading German and Soviet military forces and that, by an agreement between Berlin and Moscow,36 Poland was partitioned into two large areas called the “German area of interests” and the “Soviet area of interests.” The boundary between these two areas which may in time develop into one of the major geographical and political frontiers in Europe is still known in Germany as the “Frontier of German and [Page 219] Soviet interests.” Each of the two major parties to the partition agreement is supreme on its side of this frontier of interests and the Soviet Union by a treaty dated October 10, 1939,37 “returned” to Lithuania from its share of Polish territory the controversial city of Vilna and area surrounding it while Germany by a somewhat similar treaty with Slovakia dated March 21, 1940,38 made provision from its share for the “reincorporation into Slovakia of the territories taken over in 1920, 1924 and 1938 by the former Polish state”. Thus four countries, namely, the Soviet Union, Lithuania, Germany and Slovakia participated in the fourth partition of Poland.* Germany also as a result of the collapse of Poland reincorporated into the Reich the Free City of Danzig which subsequent to the World War had enjoyed a special status and was bound to Poland by treaty relations which, among other things, provided that foreign relations of the Free City be carried on through the Polish Government.39

The Embassy has collated in the following table official German data covering the partition of the Polish state and the reincorporation of the Free City of Danzig into the German Reich in order to make available to the Department the most detailed area and population statistics in the premises that can at the present time be obtained in Berlin:

Fourth Partition of Poland—1939 (area and population)

Geographical Unit Area in sq. klm. Population census 1931
Free City of Danzig 1,893 408,000
Former Polish Republic 389,437 32,143,000
German interests area, incl. 188,185 20,219,000
a) Annexed areas 91,974 9,627,000
b) General Gouvernement 96,625 10,565,000
c) Returned to Slovakia 586 27,000
Soviet interests area, incl. 201,252 11,924,000
a) Returned to Lithuania 6,704 426,000
[Page 220]

Thus the break-up of the Republic of Poland resulted in six major changes of a geographical character in Eastern Europe which can briefly be described as follows:

The Free City of Danzig with an area of 1,893 square kilometers and a population in 1931 of 408,000 was annexed outright to the German Reich.
The German territory lost to Poland as a result of the World War plus certain former Russian territory and some former Austrian territory with a total area of 91,974 square kilometers and a population in 1931 of 9,627,000 inhabitants was also annexed to the Reich. The chief cities in this area are Posen, Kattowitz, Lodz (now Litzmanstadt), Bromberg, Thorn and Sosnowitz.
The so-called General Government of Occupied Poland with an area of 96,625 square kilometers and a population in 1931 of 10,565,000 inhabitants was set up out of the remainder of the German interests area as a dependency of Germany. The chief cities of this area are Krakau,40 the capital, Warsaw, the former Polish capital, Radom, Lublin, Czentochowa41 and Kielce.
The former Austro-Hungarian territory (Czechoslovak) transferred by Germany to its dependency and ally Slovakia with an area of but 586 square kilometers and a population in 1931 of 27,000 inhabitants. There are no major cities in this district.
The former Imperial Russia territory plus extensive areas which in 1914 belonged to Austro-Hungary were annexed by the Soviet Union with an area of 194,548 square kilometers and a population in 1931 of 11,498,000 inhabitants. The chief cities in this area are Brest-Litovsk, Lwow, Tarnopol, Grodno, Bialystock,42 Luck and Boryslaw.
The Vilna area, including the city of that name, which was transferred from the Soviet interests area by the Soviet Government to Lithuania with an area of 6,704 square kilometers and a population of 426,000 inhabitants. Vilna is the chief city in this area.

Soviet area and population statistics vary somewhat from those given above presumably because the population data is based on Polish statistics of a date later than 1931. According to information supplied by the American Embassy at Moscow, the Soviet press customarily speaks of a population in the annexed area of around 13,000,000 inhabitants, and Molotov, in a speech on foreign policy made October 31, 1939,43 gave the following areas and populations for the Soviet share of partitioned Poland:

Western Ukraine:
  • Area: 88,000 square kilometers
  • Population: 8,000,000
Western White Russia:
  • Area: 108,000 square kilometers
  • Population: 4,800,000
Total in the Soviet area of interests:
  • Area: 196,000 square kilometers
  • Population: 12,800,000.

Polish sources at Warsaw have furnished privately to the Embassy the following additional population data which may be of interest:

Areas annexed to the Reich:
  • Population in 1931—9,687,000
  • Population in 1940—10,565,000
Areas annexed to the Soviet Union:
  • Population in 1931—11,924,000
  • Population in 1940—13,116,000
The General Government:
  • Population in 1931—10,600,000
  • Population in 1940—11,621,000
Slovak annexation:
  • Population in 1930—27,000
  • Population in 1940—29,000
Racial Poles:
  • Soviet interests area—5,200,000
  • German interests area—19,000,000
Jewish Population:
  • Soviet interests area—1,700,000
  • German interests area—1,300,000

Jewish circles in Warsaw have furnished privately to the Embassy the following population statistics regarding the General Government:

Population of the General Government in 1940:
  • Total—13,700,000
  • Jews—1,918,000
Refugee Jews entering the General Government:
  • From German area—300,000
  • From Soviet area—75,000
Jews emigrating from General Government:
  • To Soviet area—200,000
  • Abroad—10,000
Percentage of Jews in General Government:
  • In 1931—14%
  • In 1940—16.2%
Jewish Population in Important Cities in 1940:
  • Warsaw—420,000—32.3%
  • Krakow—84,056—27.6%
  • Lublin—50,878—39%
  • Radom—30,410—40.6%
  • Siedlce—21,496—60%

Ukrainian circles in Warsaw state that the population of the German area of interests includes some 350,000 Ukrainians and Ruthenians in the Lublin district and 356,700 Gorales, 225,479 Ukrainians, 64,000 Boikens, and 129,000 Lemkens in the Carpathian areas of the [Page 222] Krakau district. The above populations constitute the Slav minorities remaining in the German controlled General Government after the reciprocal repatriation of minorities had been carried out. These same sources state that in the Soviet area of interests nearly 7,500,000 Slavs of the above races are included.

It is pertinent to recall in connection with the above population data that there has been and still continues in Polish territory one of the greatest movements of population in modern history. The full facts about this movement and its effects on the population of the areas discussed in this despatch may not be known for an appreciable period following the conclusion of the present war. This movement likewise explains in part the conflicting population statistics now in circulation regarding partitioned Poland.44

. . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Respectfully yours,

A. Kirk
  1. Not printed.
  2. Boundary and friendship treaty between Germany and the Soviet Union signed at Moscow on September 28, 1939; for text, see Nazi-Soviet Relations, 1939–1941, p. 105; or Documents on German Foreign Policy, 1918–1945, Series D, Vol. viii, p. 164. For the supplementary protocol on the Polish boundary signed in Moscow on October 4, 1939, see ibid., p. 208, or Reichsgesetzblatt, 1940, Teil ii, No. 1 (January 5, 1940), p. 4.
  3. See telegram No. 50, October 11, 1939, from the Minister in Lithuania, and footnote 49, Foreign Relations, The Soviet Union, 1933–1939, p. 965.
  4. Reference is undoubtedly to the boundary treaty actually signed in Berlin on November 21, 1939; for text, see Documents on German Foreign Policy, 1918–1945, Series D, Vol. viii, p. 436.
  5. The Embassy plans to submit a series of reports covering the territorial changes arising out of the partition of Poland and the first report which dealt with the share of Slovakia was forwarded as despatch No. 3013 of July 20, 1940 [not printed]. Recent developments in the relations between the Soviet Union and Lithuania may result in time in the effective return to the Soviet Union of the former Polish territory ceded to that country but for the purposes of this report Lithuania will be regarded as still possessing an independent status. [Footnote in the original.]
  6. Convention between Poland and the Free City of Danzig, signed at Paris on November 9, 1920; for text, see League of Nations Treaty Series, Vol. vi, p. 189.
  7. Statistical data from the Reich Statistical Office, Berlin. [Footnote in the original.]
  8. Cracow.
  9. Czestochowa, Chenstokhov, Czenstochau.
  10. Bialystok, Belostok.
  11. See telegram No. 847, November 1, 1939, from the Ambassador in the Soviet Union, Foreign Relations, The Soviet Union, 1933–1939, p. 786.
  12. The Department of State expressed its appreciation for the valuable data contained in this despatch in its acknowledgment of September 17, 1940.