Breslau

Probably if you've been in town long enough you've heard the name Breslau mentioned and wondered what the hell he, she or it is? Ask any Germans however and they will be less puzzled, as Breslau was, until quite recently, one of the foremost cities in Prussia, the powerful Germanic state that bossed Europe until the end of the Second World War. And whereas today the majority of Europeans are happy to use the Polish name of Wroclaw, there are many west of the German-Polish border who still refer to this Silesian town by the pre-war title of Breslau.

Perhaps this is unsurprising if you consider that, whereas Wroclaw was governed first by the Polish Piast kings in the 10th century, from the 13th century onwards the city was populated predominantly by Germans. It was German settlers at this time that helped to rebuild the city after it had been sacked by the Mongols and to turn it into a thriving commercial centre. In the centuries that followed Wroclaw prospered under both the Bohemians and the Austrians, before, in 1741, Frederick the Great II took hold of the city and officially changed the its name to Breslau (the Germanic name however had been in use long before that). The next 200 years saw the city increasingly Germanised, although it was only in the years directly following the Nazis seizure of power in 1933 that this was done with aggressive intent. By 1938 the entire Polish community had been forced out of the city, along with two thirds of the Jews.

The city gained a new and bloody chapter in its turbulent history during the events of World War II, when Breslau became the last stronghold of the Third Reich in the struggle against the Soviet forces. Dubbed 'Festung Breslau' ('Breslau Fortress') by Hitler it was the scene of a brutal siege lasting 14 weeks and that cost the lives of 170,000 civilians, 6,000 German troops and 7,000 Russian troops. Finally the city capitulated (the last to do so, four days after Berlin) on May 6th 1945 in a state of absolute ruin. An estimated 70% of the city was destroyed. Those German civilians that hadn't been killed or evacuated were left at the mercy of the Red Army, for whom 'liberating' the city went hand-in-hand with drunken marauding, rape and pillage.

In the aftermath of the World War II, Stalin (who held the trump cards in the post-war negotiations) effectively shifted the whole of Poland west so as to include formerly Polish cities like Wilno (now Vilnius) and Lwow into the Soviet Union - granting Poland formerly German cities like Breslau as means of recompense. As a result the remainder of the German population of Breslau was evicted and forced to relocate within Germany's newly drawn frontiers. In their place arrived thousands of Poles from what is now the Ukrainian town of Lviv (which was previously the Polish town of Lwow). Naturally Breslau was given back its Polish name, Wroclaw.

Confused? Well so were the new settlers. Forcibly uprooted from their own town of Lwow, the shell-shocked Poles found themselves in a ruined German city, that they were now being told to call home sweet home. No wonder they didn't take to it straight away - not only did the German signs, road names, monuments and inscriptions evoke painful memories of their times under Nazi occupation, but the private possessions left behind in the houses were a constant reminder of the fact that they were living in a city that had been 'stolen' from another people.

In the years that followed Wroclaw underwent major surgery - both physical and mental. Great effort was made to propagate the myth of Wroclaw as a Polish city that has at last been returned from the hands of the dastardly Nazis to its rightful owners (a far from complete picture of the town's mixed heritage and colourful history). Much money was invested too, firstly in 'de-Germanising' the city with the removal of all German writings and inscriptions, and secondly in the restoration of the splendid 13th century buildings destroyed in the war, so that the bruised and battered city could hold its head high once more and embrace the future as a beautifully-restored Polish town.

However, underneath today's smiling and dynamic city lurk the shadows of history's wrongs. Questions raised about the unfair treatment of German civilians by the Polish after the war have undermined the moral high ground that many Poles like to take about their role in history and their perception of themselves as perpetual victims of foreign aggression. Perhaps that is why these days the Wroclawians genially welcome back the Germans as tourists looking to trace their former homes or those of their forefathers. They keep their consciences clean with the argument that whereas wrongs were done to many innocent Germans, much worse was done by the Germans to the Poles; and they remind themselves that they too were forcibly and unwillingly uprooted from their homes in Lwow, and by this reasoning they hope both to find empathy from their evicted counterparts, and more importantly to justify their abduction of the city. This last idea is something of a romanticised truth however - part of the Polish government's post-war propaganda was designed to assuage Polish guilt about the tenure of their new property. Only about 20% of the post-war population of Wroclaw arrived from Lwow and the surrounding area of the Kresy, with many more settlers in fact coming from Warsaw and Poznan.

Despite all the complications of its contentious past, or perhaps because of them, Wroclaw is a relaxed and forward-looking city that is keen to brush the cobwebs of history under the carpet. And let's face it, no one is keener to join them than the Germans, who more than any nation would like to encourage a 'forgive and forget' policy towards the events of the 20th century. This mutual acceptance of guilt serves the city of Wroclaw well. The Poles don't bring up the Germans' atrocities during the War, and in return the Germans don't ask for their city back. But whereas both parties would openly agree that they must be prepared to move on, the reality is less clearly defined. The fact is that you can forgive, but you can never forget - which is why Wroclaw today is full of German tourists hoping to find some small trace of the Breslau that they left behind.

If you are one of our German readers then you may find the following link useful for tracing Breslau's and her peoples' history: www.Breslau-Wroclaw.de

We also recommend YourRootsInPoland.com for tracing the history of your Polish family with their team of experts and access to deep records.

Comments

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Keith W Bentley
United States

I am looking for the family of a August Johann Albert of Breslau. August was part of the 4th Schlesisches Inf. Regt. 157 and died in WW1 If anyone might have ANY leads - it would be greatly appreciated. keithwbentley@gmail.com

Reply Sep 29th, 2019
Joseph Bredau

My family, Bredau, has been said to have it's lineage to Breslau, Germany. My Great grandfather came to the USA in the mid 1800's and raised his family in Detroit. I know little of the entire history, but intend to look further in our historical ties to Breslau if it is true. Would a trip to Breslau (Wroclaw) be worth the time, effort and cost? Any input is appreciated.

Reply Sep 14th, 2019
Editor

A trip to Wrocław would be a pleasure for you, it's a beautiful city. However, in order to uncover the truth about your families history, we recommend getting in touch with YourRootsInPoland.com as they specialise in just that and could save you a lot of time and money.

Reply Sep 16th, 2019
kris
France

My family name is Smigielski. I know that was originated in XV century by combination of von Oppeln bei Loebau/Bninski from Bnin commitment which was spinning for the good while on the border of Lower Silesia and Greater Poland provinces during the town of Schmiegel (Smigiel) was established as a result. I wonder if any one has knowledge about what happen with Oppeln-Smigielski descendants (paternal line) after they where forced out of Smigiel?

Reply Jul 27th, 2019
Editor

contact YourRootsInPoland.com :)

Reply Sep 16th, 2019
Lord Peter toone

My grandfather was very wealthy and had several properties in Hamburg, which was destroyed during the war. I often wondered what happened to the land in which they were once built on

Reply Jul 10th, 2019
Selestine Sarah Overholser
United States

My grandmother Helga Duchscherer was born in Wroclaw when it was called Breslau, Germany in 1927. Her mother was murder by the Nazi and her father was forced into labor. Any info is much appreciated!

Reply Jul 8th, 2019
Editor

Contact YourRootsInPoland.com :)

Reply Sep 16th, 2019
Stacey
United States

My mother Susanne was born in Breslau in 1929. Her father Karl was a powerplant worker and mother was a housewife. They fled just as the Russians invaded. My mother said she went to St. Salvatorkirche church which was destroyed during the war. The family name was Storek. It is very hard to do family history research on them.

Reply Jun 29th, 2019
Editor

Hi Stacey, as i'm encouraging everyone looking for info - contact YourRootsInPoland.com, they specialise in finding this information.

Reply Sep 16th, 2019
Ann
United States

My mother was born in Breslau, Germany Jan. 23, 1929. My mother also told me that they had lost everything during the war. Is there anyway that I can find out about any relatives decease or living. Their last name was Machunze. How does one go about searching since the city of Breslau was completely bombed? What about assets?

Reply Feb 3rd, 2019
petra
Australia

If you have the opportunity to visit Wraclaw (Breslau) I would suggest it also Breslau was very heavily bombed some areas survived, you can visit tourist office Orbis where you can get maps with the old German names which can help in your search.,assets of people who had some they could claim compensation some years ago in Germany, do not know if still applicable. needs proofing. of assets..Visited Breslau years ago and amazing what you can find.

Reply Feb 7th, 2019
Helen Lutz
United States

My mother’s family moved from Breslau before she was born. She was born in 1896. She called it Presslau. Her sisters were born there but the moved to America before she was born. She had a 3 year old sister, Maria buried there. Her last name was Moranz. Would love more information.

Reply Oct 28th, 2018
Derek/Ozzy

The presslau comes from preslar/Presley yes Elvis..he is German decent

Reply Aug 4th, 2019
Robert M Hellen
United States

So glad my grandmother left Breslau in 1884 at age 9 or I , none of my cousins would have been born. What a turbulent history that fine city had over the millennium(s)! Fur schimmel! (sp?) as she would have said.

Reply Sep 15th, 2018
Henri-Isaac Hermann LEWY

I was born in Breslau 14.12.1927

Reply Jul 8th, 2018
Philip Gaertner

Hi, My grandfather was born in Breslau. Do you know how I can find out the Polish name of the street? The German name was Am Grossen Wehr?

Reply Oct 24th, 2018
Homer Brookshire
United States

My mother was in Breslau during most of the war. She was evacuated by the Luftwaffe just after Easter. I've researched Breslau and found " Breslauer Adreßbücher – Breslau Address Books" and city maps from the 1930s and early 1940s on the internet. I bought maps on eBay. The address books will confirm your grandfather's address and occupation. Old German street maps will lead you to the current location. Google maps will then let you view the buildings...

Reply Jan 5th, 2019
wayne lewan
Australia

my father zbigniew lewandowski was a polish forced labourer near breslau 1944 before being moved to muhldor sub camp of dachau

Reply May 19th, 2018
victor lee Burks
Australia

My grandmother name and details are as follows Martha Anna Augusta Biener, born 15 November, 1876 in Breslau, Silesia, Prussia. She last lived in Corning California, but, married and raised a family in San Francisco, where I was born.. I was wondering if I have any relatives still in Wroclaw? If so, how can I search for any relatives present or/and in the past?

Reply May 3rd, 2018
Petra
Australia

Victor, if you scroll down on this site you will find address of registry office in Wroclaw where you could find out more informations, Petra -me- and Polonus gave same address for searching family history, hope you have luck, I live in the state of s.a. where do you live?

Reply May 28th, 2018
Reverend Robert West
United Kingdom

The Polish name for Breslau before the war was in deed what it is now, Wroclaw, and the German name is still, today, what is was back then, Breslau: it is like us English calling Rome, Rome, and not the way the Italians do it, Roma.

Reply Feb 19th, 2018
Alistair
United Kingdom

I was born in London 1950. My father had fought at Stalingrad and came from Upper Silesia. I have never met my relatives in Germany but feel a terrible wish to. I am sure that there are many that have lost contact. My name is Hajok. How do I find relatives?

Reply Feb 6th, 2018
Dr. Clifford C. Schall
United States

Had Schall relatives (German) in both Rostock and Breslau prior to WW2. No trace of them now, would appreciate any information.

Reply Dec 30th, 2017
Jan Lunder
Norway

Hi! I´m writing on behalf of Karin-Bianca Edelgard Sibylle Schall Lie Vatne, who lives in Norway. She is daughter of Max Schall of Breslau (Quarry-manager), adress Kaiser Wilhelmsstrasse Breslau, now Wroclaw. Karins sister Edelgarde is also living in Oslo. You can write to Karin at: Kvieveien 1 - 3148 Hvasser - Norway. Karin is of course informed of my reply to you. Sincerely Jan Lunder

Reply Apr 27th, 2018
alexandra
South Africa

My father Klaus Schulz was born in Breslau in 1939 ,his mother was Hildegard Bernet-Schulz .My grandfather was an architect in Breslau ,surname Schulz,I am looking for information ,in 1945 my grandfather was sent to a concentration camp ,my grandmother escaped as a refugee to Pfulligen ,Reutlingen she also had a brother who lived in Gunsenhausen ,surname Bernet and his daughters married name was Regele ,I was born in Tubingen and lived with my grandmother till the age of 4 years ,my father and mother immigrated to South Africa as he was also an Architect in 1968 ,My grandmother died in Gunsenhausen and my father died very young ,I am trying to locate anyone or family who would have known them ,my grandfather also died in the concentration camp

Reply Dec 26th, 2017
Eva
Poland

I was born in 1951 near Landsberg, went to high school in Landsberg and studied in Breslau before leaving for UK in 1974. I agree with you that the propaganda was very strong and we were taught at school that it was a recovered Polish city. Now I am interested to know the truth, and I appreciated reading your article. Thank you. I live in Switzerland.

Reply Dec 11th, 2017
Polonus
United States

For all those seeking documents related to birth , death , etc. go to Urzad Stanu Cywilnego , Wroclaw.... address is :..........Urząd Stanu Cywilnego - Registry Office, Ulica Pawła Włodkowica 20/22, 50-001 Wrocław, Poland. Good luck, Polonus.

Reply Oct 3rd, 2017
Eric Kochman
Panama

My father was born in Breslau in 1922, they left in 1938 . he was jewish. I wonder if i could find birth records or any other information regarding my family.

Reply Sep 8th, 2017
Tam Goodkind
United Kingdom

My father was born in 1921. He was Werner Engel also Jewish. Did you know him? I’m his daughter.

Reply Jun 11th, 2018
Stephen
Australia

Thanks for this info and site. I am searching for info on Schmeigrode (Zmigrodek) where distant distant grandparent came from. Would any one your readers have suggestions, books, articles etc. Is anyone have family from here?

Reply Sep 2nd, 2017
Anthony Morrow
United Kingdom

My mother was born in Breslau in 1929 and even though I have travelled all over Poland I have never been to Breslau, but I have decided that next year I must go and see where my mother was born.

Reply Aug 29th, 2017
Gail Rose
United Kingdom

My mother was born in Breslau in 1925 and this year i went to see her home city . I had the most wonderful time and intend going back and take my daughter with me . You really must go and see this city

Reply Sep 10th, 2017
Beverly
United States

My mother was also born there in 1929. Last name is Adam!

Reply Oct 9th, 2018
Armando Lara-Cuevas
United States

I have a "Grand Father" clock which was made sometime I believe between 1900-1940. The name plate inside the clock shows it was made by Reinhold Assmann, Urmachermstr, Bismarckstr. 24. Breslau 10. I will be in Poland for the first time in September 2017 and will be traveling by train from Warsaw to Prague. If possible I would like to locate the location where the clock was made and determine if the Assmann family still lives at Bismarckstr 24.

Reply Aug 10th, 2017
petra
Australia

Armando, you are pushing your luck if you think the Assmann family could still be living at Bismarkstr.24,you might be able to get a city map of Breslau at a tourist office with German and polish names and from that you might find this place if it was not bombed just before war ended.Still enjoy your visit to Wraclaw - Breslau it is a beautiful town, good luck in your search,

Reply Aug 22nd, 2017
Ralf Assmann
Germany

Hallo Ich heiße Assmann und mein Vater stammt aus Wroclaw. Er heißt Wolfgang und wurde damals vertrieben.

Reply Mar 30th, 2018
Armando Lara-Cuevas
United States

I found the review most informative and have posted a question below

Reply Aug 10th, 2017
Sieglinde Fretz (ms)
Germany

I was born in Breslau in 1940. We remained in the city until early 1946 because my grandfather was tri-lingual and was useful to the Polish officials as a translator. Luckily we left for Northern Germany before the Iron Curtain came down later that year. I would love to locate my birth certificate but don't know if it survived. Does anyone have any contact info?

Reply Jul 15th, 2017
petra
Australia

Sieglinde, I was born in Breslau too in 1942, I found my birth certificate at URZAD MIEJSKI WROCLAWIA URZAD STANU CYWILNEGO ul.WLOAKOWLCA 20/22 5072 WROCLAW happily received a copy of the German original for a small fee. Hope you are "erfolgreich"

Reply Aug 22nd, 2017
Miguel
Spain

I am doing an informal investigations about the German/Polish past of the are of Breslau. Can I ask what three languages were those spoken at that times? Thanks!

Reply Mar 26th, 2018
Petra
Australia

Miguel, when you mentioned the past do you mean the time before the 2nd war? Breslau being in Germany then so I guess one of the language was definitely German

Reply May 28th, 2018
Derek/ Ozzy

I am a Gierth and the famous Osborn..my cousins are Petra Susan and deceased Heidi

Reply Aug 4th, 2019
Debra Erkson
United States

This was really interesting. I believe that Breslau or in surrounding area is where my Mothers side is from. There are docs that talk about Silesia and also Hermsdorf - not sure but their family name is Roenisch - they were meat cutters. How would I go about finding more on this area to see if they were here? All who would know that I could ask are now gone. :(

Reply Jul 6th, 2017
Kris
France

Hermsdorf could be a small village called now Jarkowice, below Kolbenkamm which is the most eastern part of Riesengebirge.

Reply Jul 27th, 2019
Debra Erkson
United States

thank you Kris! I just chanced to come back here and I have a "recent" reply! I am so excited. So do you know where I maybe could find birth records or names of those that may still live in that area? I will be looking up Jarkowice!

Reply Aug 1st, 2019
Ge4orge Somerville
United Kingdom

my other was born in Brealau in 19-19, but I didn't read anything about all the Jews the Nazi's took and murdered, lucky for her, she got out and came to the U K in 19-39

Reply Jun 30th, 2017
Terrence Alleg
United States

Originally from Lindenhurst,New York. Founded by mr Schlier from Breslau Silesia in the late 19th century as Thr City of Breslau,The name was changed to Lindenhurst about 1900.

Reply May 1st, 2017
Terrence Alleg
United States

Interesting .Very informative, part of history I was not aware of.

Reply May 1st, 2017
max werner
Germany

I was born in Breslau in 1940 and I believe in 1944 my mother and I became fluchtlinge and relocated to Munich. My father was killed in this war. This was the worst of times for my mother. Munich was pretty much bombed out. I thought this article was objective and insightful.

Reply Apr 26th, 2017
Kristin
United States

My great great grandfather left Breslau in the early 1900's; however, several of his siblings remained. We have letters from his sister describing the turmoil after WW II. She talked about having her "papers" including her birth certificate taken from the Polish government and being forced to leave Breslau. She referred to herself as a refuge. She talks about losing all her families money when forced to leave. In one letter, she blames the "crazy, little Bohemian, Adolf Hitler" and reminds another brother about an argument they had in 1936 about the Nazi's. I assumed she was not a supporter. My question is this - my grandfather had copies of her letters. It does not say where she lived after she left Breslau. I was always told she lived in Eastern Germany. Does anyone know where many of the German residents of Breslau went? I read that most went to the Allied sectors, but she was caught behind the "iron curtain." She was 61 in 1945, so it has crossed my mind that she was not forced to leave immediately because of her age. No one left of that generation or my grandfather's to answer the questions.

Reply Apr 3rd, 2017
Dan
United States

I am curious about the timeline of the letters. Were any letters from after being forced to leave Breslau? Do you know for sure if she made it to her new destination and setup a new home? If she did, it seems like you could find regular German records of her. They could be church, genealogy or government ones. Unfortunately, German civilians of all ages faced so much violence and inhuman conditions. It is a horrible story that not many know about. Her being 61 didn't give her any breaks since she spoke German. I don't know the answer to where many of them went after the war. You should share your grandmother's stories some how. It would be great for people to know how it was. You should read the read the book "Uprooted" by Gregor Thum, it might provide you some answers for Germans who lived in Wroclaw after the war.

Reply Apr 22nd, 2017
Tish
Canada

My birth Mother was born in Breslau in 1937 I am trying to find further information as none was given. I have little to go on first and last name. Any help on accurately where to acquire /inquire information would be great.

Reply Mar 25th, 2017
susan
United States

My great-grandparents were from Breslau and they died in the camps in the early 1940s. My grandfather was able to escape by hiding in Vilnus for years. I have letters from them to my grandfather and had them translated. It's horrifying to read how they were one day living a "regular" life to then living in a labor camp then rounded up to be exterminated. I cannot find out any information on what happened to them. Poof! Just like that your family disappears. If anyone knows of a way to find out information on their disappearance, I'd love to know. The American-Holocaust Museum tried for me, but could not find anything. Very sad indeed.

Reply Oct 22nd, 2016
Derek/Ozzy

My Dad was Werner deitmar Gierth/Osborn..my cousins are Petra Susan and deceased Heidi

Reply Aug 4th, 2019
Polonus
United States

paai from Netherlands, please educate us and list all those "polish lies" and "polish propaganda", if you care ? There is no Breslau anymore and never will be. It was for hundreds of years and Germans , Poles, Czechs and others lived there in harmony. Wroclaw is the city that has a very rich multinational origins and "roots" not only exclusively German . The cleansing was ethnic , not genetic, and it was forced and done by the Russians and was based on the post-war treaties. The ethnic cleansing is horrendous crime , period.

Reply Oct 13th, 2016
paai
Netherlands

I am sorry (but not really surprised) to see a lot of polish propaganda and lies on this site. Genetic cleansing was wrong, is wrong and will remain wrong, no matter who does it and why. I hope that Breslau will find its german roots again and will be proud of both its polish and german history.

Reply Aug 28th, 2016
Reverend Robert West
United Kingdom

I spoke to the leader of the NPD a few years ago and he told that about 15% of the population of Breslau was still German.

Reply Feb 19th, 2018
susi Vinen
Australia

This is very interesting to me. My mother who just died was born in Breslau in 1920 and is one of the people who had to leave all their belongings behind. Our ancestors names are PROSKAUER and WINTER. I tried to find out somethings about my grandfather's ancestors before my mother died to no avail. His name was Artur Bruno Proskauer and he was a a chemist. I plan to travel to this city and retrace my mother's childhood if it is possible.

Reply Aug 21st, 2016
petra
Australia

of course you should go and visit Wraclaw (Breslau) very interesting to do family research,Orbis tourist office might be of some help, also go to the university, the archive room, there are many books there with names and addresses of Germans up to as I remember to 1944 or so, some of the staff speak English also the Catholic or evangelical church might have some informations, you need lots of time for your research, am sure you will find some history, good luck

Reply Sep 11th, 2016
Derek/Ozzy

My grandfather was your Bruno a k.a. Ose Bruno (Osbourne)

Reply Aug 4th, 2019
LaVerne Dierschke Knezek
United States

My paternal great grandfather, Joseph Franz Dierschke was born in Endersdorf, Breaslau, Silesia, on Sept, 14, 1836. He married Pauline Seidel on Nov. 10, 1863 in Breaslau. She was born in Grottkau on Nov. 9, 1841. They landed in Galveston, Texas, on Nov. 6, 1867. I know nothing about any of their relatives left behind and cannot seem to find anything. Can anybody give me clues on further searching? Thanks.

Reply Jul 1st, 2016
Guest

Interesting. My husband's maternal great grandfather lived in Breslau in the 30s--his name was Josef Seidel. He died in the Shoah in 1940. Josef Seidel's daughter was my husband's grandmother--lived in Breslau My husband's grandfather (also living in Breslau in the 30s) died in Auschwitz. We are also searching for more info.

Reply Jan 27th, 2019
Steven
Australia

Thank you for the comments. I am tracing a distant relative who was born I believe born in Schmeigrode (a typing error had Lehmiegrode but I could not locate a village of this name in the municipality of Breaslau) I now believe it is the village called Schmeigrode)! Would u be able to derect me to a site of a map of this municipality listing towns and villages in the time of 1811-1837 when they immigrated to Australia. Many thanks for reading and help u can give Steve Oh sorry for the length!

Reply Jun 10th, 2016
Ted
France

She probably was born in "Lehmgruben" a village which is part of Breslau since the early 1920's. My Grandma used to live in this place before WWII and was relocated from there to Strasbourg in the end of 1944.

Reply Apr 28th, 2017
Polonus from United States
United States

Who wrote this article and what was it's purpose ? Identify yourself by name ! Otherwise sign it with the sign of swastika ! This is the most stupid, naïve, ignorant , idiotic article ever written on the subject of the city of Breslau/Wroclaw. Somewhere else , in other article someone on this site "Local Life" wrote that Wroclaw is a "small city", small ? at 640 thousand ? as compared to what ? New York, Tokyo or Mexico City ? The idiotic, shallow statements in this article are too numerous to argue, but as an example, why don't you as the background to the article, mention the fact that when the Poles from the East came to the city , they found 75% of the buildings in ruins, 100 kilometers of sewers blown up, and no electricity and water ? Like they had time and energy to chase all those Germans remaining there, equally terrified and exhausted by war ? The Germans were expelled , they no longer belonged and were not welcome there, period ! They left in the organized manner, since the war was over and they did not have to duck their own soldiers killing them for trying to escape. Now it's Wroclaw and will stay this way for the next thousand years ! Now here I am a little emotional and maybe not rational? No problem. If you want objective, informative articles related to the subject, go to Wikipedia and read "Generalplan Ost", "Lebensraum", "Drang nach Osten", "History of German settlement in Central and Eastern Europe", "Devastation of Europe after WWII" and many, many others on the history of Germany, Poland and Europe in general. Then you will understand why the outcome of the war and the lot of countless cities and villages couldn't be any different than it was at the end. That's just for the beginner's and relatively easy reading. I was born in Wroclaw in January , 1947 and I am 3/4 German. I can attest to the carnage and destruction that the Germans inflicted on the city as the ruins were still visible well into the sixties. Yes, the Germans, because by establishing the Festung Breslau they signed the death certificate for that city. From the comments I've red , there are still a few Nazis coming around to play the "blame game" as if the Poles were equally guilty of the "war crimes". Nonsense ! No comparison ! Show me the proof of any Polish crimes, not a "hearsay". To all the Nazis out there, please come to Wroclaw and see for yourself how fantastic job the Polish nation did in rebuilding that city, maybe it was yours at those times? do not be afraid, they do not check under your arms anymore for the swastika tattoos ! Poles are ready there to welcome you and forgive you. To all those emotionally connected to this city, come as tourists but do not expect to find any traces of the past , such as streets, buildings, plazas, monuments, whatever, they do not exist ! A few old buildings that survived here and there mean nothing. There is now a new, fantastic Polish city named Wroclaw, very worthy of your visit and attention ! Anyway, in conclusion, the undeniable fact remains that all the German Kaisers, Caesars, Chancellors, Kings, you name it, are turning in their graves as their last dictator, "emperor" Adolf Hitler squandered the German progress of the last thousand years and by loosing that war , helped to reset the German territory to it's prehistoric borders ? Not mentioning the fact that now the Germans have to work really hard for the next few hundred years to repair their reputation ? And now, can we all get along in peace ? :) :) :) :) !

Reply May 6th, 2016
Charlotte
United States

You offer some good resources Polonus, thank you. I was talking with a friend who said it was difficult to trace her family history because her mother came from a city that no longer exists. The way I understood the point of the article was to offer a link to the lost history. There are many people like my friend who would like to know more of their history.. Your anger towards the one who destroyed the city of Breslau and indeed created such devastation for millions and generations to come is shared by those who comment here, I am sure, but it seems like it's a human trait to want to feel connected to a past as well as a present.

Reply Feb 11th, 2018
Anna
Poland

I wondered the name Breslau and thats how I found this article. I didnt know much about the history of Wroclaw untill I read this article. Very interesting! I wanna visit soon.

Reply Apr 5th, 2016
Priebatsch
Israel

I am interested to find a translation which helps to explore what is today's name of the prewar German street name. F.i what is the reichspraesidentenplatz platz called naw adays

Reply Mar 25th, 2016
Caroline McCasland
United States

I enjoyed reading this article, as it concerns my heritage, and it was written in a way that doesn't form a prejudice for either the Germans or Polish people. My mother and her family were among the Germans who were expelled from their home. My mother was 20 years old at the time, and she didn't speak of what happened in much detail, as it was very difficult. Neither my mother, or any of her children, myself included, ever returned to or visited her homeland again. My mother passed away in 2007 in the United States, without ever seeing her German family again, but for one niece, who paid her a visit in the states. I would have loved to go there to walk among the places of my mother's childhood, but there is to much turmoil going on today in Europe, to take a chance to travel there. Thank you for the fairness to all parties in this article.

Reply Mar 24th, 2016
Gail
United Kingdom

Loved reading all the memories

Reply Jun 10th, 2017
Gail Rose

I went in August 2017 to see my mothers birthplace and was such a wonderful exsperiance . She too a the age of 20 became a displaced person but was a red cross nurse and came her . She was so homesick but never went back .

Reply Jan 23rd, 2018
Richard
United Kingdom

Good article. Father was from Breslau but he was more than happy to call it Wroclaw. He visited the city only once more before he died and was overwhelmed with the welcome received from the Poles. He said it didn't matter who it belonged to as long as it was open for anyone to visit. I've been back many times, even learned some Polish (difficult language) much to the amusement and delight of the locals.

Reply Feb 12th, 2016
Margaret
Australia

What a load of rubbish!!!! How dare anyone talks about "guilt"" that polish my feel in face of germans atrocities!!!!! The only true comment where you are right is you can forgive but never forget! !!!

Reply Feb 7th, 2016
Susan
United States

The Russians did just as much damage to this area as the Germans. My family lived through it. The Russians and Poles took all of my family's possessions and sent them packing.

Reply Oct 22nd, 2016
Angela Baker
United Kingdom

I am hoping for some help locating any family I may have from my Grandfather's side of the family. His name at birth was Paul Fritz Manfred Pohla, registered on his birth certificate as from Breslau. He remained in Scotland after his capture I believe in the 2nd world war. His papers state he was a mechanic although I'm led to believe he was part of the aircraft team, possibly captured during the war. He was born in 1921 and died in 1957 here in Glasgow. I would love any help, WW2 records are closed at present while they are digitally recorded.

Reply Oct 4th, 2015
Kerry
United States

Hello All - my maternal Grandmother, her four siblings and mother were born in Breslau (she was born in 1923). We had a family history that went back well into the 1700s and likely much earlier. They escaped by train on February 13th, 1945 to Dresden, where their train stopped twice. The second stop was in a suburb, and the train could go no further. Then they set out on foot and walked following along the rail tracks to Bavaria, and just after the city began getting bombed. They ultimately left for Canada and the US in the early 1950s. She passed away in 2001. I have spent most of the summer collecting all of her stories about Breslau and their escape (as I was laid off from my job). I had been meaning to do this for many years, and now seemed like as good a time as any. I can't tell you how hard it has been, and how time consuming it has been. I have always considered myself an armature historian, so getting to the truth is very important to me. Information on this subject often times is very difficult to find, or I found is only partially accurate, or has misinformation of which the origins lie in both the communist Russian and Polish governments from the year just after the war (of which a small amount appears repeated above). Always cross reference your sources, and always be suspect when there is no author, publication or dates referenced. It is also very hard in that if you want a sense of the city as your German-Polish-Czech-Jewish ancestors experienced the city, everything is now in Polish. I had to recreate a big chunk of the city, in German, so I could begin to understand it the way my family had understood the city. The current tourist sites can only go so far in doing that for obvious reasons. I have found a number of ways to use the internet to translate information, and to sort out history. I have found, regarding some aspects of that history, that you will have to search for, and read several accounts, reconcile those accounts to your own family history, and then you might begin to see a more accurate picture. If your attempts at fining more "accuracy" lead you to additional discoveries, then you must be doing something right. It is not easy. It is very time consuming. It is tremendously rewarding. It is amazing what I have turned up, and the family members for which I have been able to reconnect with. As time permits, I would be happy to share anything I have learned about Breslau for those who had family living there from the late 1800s to 1945. I still have a great deal to learn, so I hope others can also help me advance my knowledge. There is no question the city, and culture were real gems in Europe. Good luck! My email address is: lothartime@yahoo.com

Reply Sep 14th, 2015
Gregor luttrell
United States

My grandmother was from Breslau and came to America in 1924. Her family remained in Breslau and after the 2nd WW moved west. Her mother , who ran a stall selling eggs and some dairy in the narket, was in a nursing home and was killed, her brother was also killed in t h e war. She had two sisters and a brother that survived the war and resettlement in the west germany. I recently learned more of their flight and live during the war in breslau. Previously when I visited the cousins had not spoken if their life then. It is truly a testament of survival those that survived.

Reply Sep 7th, 2015
Tracey Jackson
United Kingdom

My father was born in Breslau (now deceased).in 1926 ,his name was Erwin Kuntke .He never liked to talk about his life in Germany ,all we know is most of his family were killed and he was taken into Hitlers youth,was taken prisoner of war here and stayed and married my mum.Iwould love to know more but dont know where to start.Any ideas?

Reply Aug 9th, 2015
Angela Baker
United Kingdom

Hi Tracey, I wondered where in the UK your family are based. I'm Glasgow, my grandfaher was also from Breslau, born 1921, a POW, here and stayed after marrying my Gran. Did you ever find any information?

Reply Oct 4th, 2015
Gail Rose
United Kingdom

My mum was born in Breslau in 1925 . She became a displaced person when Breslau was taken . At the time she was a nurse and ended up on a boat to England . Sadly i lost my mum in 2007 , but in August my brother and i are going to Poland to see her homeland . Luckly i have all my mums papers so i hope to find out where

Reply Jun 10th, 2017
Fred-Christian Gabrielsen
Norway

Thank you so much for this information. I know almost nothing about my fathers history. He was born in Breslau 16 July 1920 (Passport information). Is there any way to find birth records etc. from that period? Maybe at shot in the dark but my fathers name was Josef Michael Jedrzejczyc (he might changed the spelling - I don't know) And his mother name was Sofia Sonka. All I know is that they moved to another place in Germany before the war. My father came to Norway during the war and he never returned to his family. I wonder if I can have living cousins in Germany. Appreciate any help. Thank you :-)

Reply Jul 6th, 2015
Lukas
Hungary

It's sad that i can read here so many lies probably by yours ignorance of history. We can read here in coments "1000 years german culture in Vratislavia" so WHO founded Archidioecesis Wratislaviensis ,WHY this diocese belonged to Polish Archidiocese in Gniezno for 800 years, WHY were there so many Polish dukes?? It's the fact that history of Vratislavia is largely german but you can't forget about Poles and Czechs because they created this city. It's funny when people wrote here that "Young Poles were being taught that Breslau had always been polish property and the Germans merely occupied the region for over 1000 years" NONSENSE! PS Don't blame Poles that they received this land because it wasn't their decision, their home was on east in Lwow,Wilno... Breslau could be german if germany didnt choose in democratically elected Adolf Hitler..

Reply May 18th, 2015
Werner Hoppe
Germany

Interested in finding out how many Hoppe and Neumann famylies lived in Breslau - 1940. I was born in Breslau, 1934 - left in Dec. 1944 - ended up in Perg, Austria, train travel out of our hands - emmigrated to USA 1953 - drafted in 1954 thru 1956 send back to Germany with US Army - returned to to SLC, Utah. Thank you for all the Breslau postings. I visited with my 2 sons in 2012. We were impressed with the rebuilding, especially around the Rathaus. It was a great trip - hoping to return. All friendly receptions. We enjoyed our contacts at hotels, restaurants, stores and sightseeing tours. We hope to return. I seem to have overheard conversations of a survey choosing the Polish or German language to be spoken. The vote was close. Now that was interesting. Interestingly - all I wanted to know how was to find a specific group of perhaps - Hoppes and Neumans and find some relatives.

Reply Mar 25th, 2015
Bianca Becker

It's a bit late for a reply but I just found your message. My great-grandfather was Albert Martin Hoppe, born 1904 in Breslau. I've done a bit research and found out that he must have had a sister (Frieda Marie Hoppe *1903) and another brother (Martin Joseph Hoppe *1905). Their father was called Albert Hoppe (*1874) and the mother was a Mathila Böse.

Reply Mar 25th, 2018
Derek/Ozzy

My grandfather was albert/Artur Bruno Gierth/Hope( Devil's Hop yard Connecticut U.S.) and Oma was Frieda Theilin Lillian Bose was my mother a.k.a. famous Osborn

Reply Aug 4th, 2019
petra
Australia

Volker Bradley you can go to Wroclaw Archivum, Archives,there are German "tagesbuecher" up tp 1942 I think, with names and addresses of people who lived there, maps of Breslau in Polish and German are available in the tourist office, hope you find your parents address

Reply Feb 16th, 2015
Rosel
United States

My husband and I will be traveling to Poland in May as both of us have roots in Poland and my father was born in the Reichenbach area outside of Breslau. I recently ordered a book about Silesia that is like a photo album of over 1000 photos which made my 89 year old father very happy as he was not able to travel around his own country because of the WAR. If you study the history of eastern Europe prior to WWII, boundaries kept changing due to constant wars between the kings over centuries and then Silesia was given to what is now Poland after WWII. There has always been war but Hitler's Reich that invaded what was Poland at the time was devastating to all people. Breslau does not really belong to any one culture of people even though it is now part of Poland. We the people are at the mercy of our governments and military. I am so thankful that I can now travel to countries that were devastated by the war but even worse by communism ...the enemy of freedom. I will be happy to share my photos with my parents who were refugees of the war. Happy Travels

Reply Jan 12th, 2015
Kristi
United States

My Great-Great Grandparents were born in Breslau. Thank you for clarifying the transition to Wroclaw. I recently found their U.S petition for Naturalization on Ancestor.com.....this explains quite a bit. Thank you

Reply Jan 6th, 2015
Klaus Hilse
South Africa

My father was born in Breslau in 1916 and left in 1938 to live in South West Africa (now Namibia). His parents ended up somewhere near München towards the end of the war. We never met any of his relatives. It was very interesting to read about Breslau.

Reply Nov 28th, 2014
gerard
Argentina

Hi Klaus. My father also was born in Breslau and left in 1938 to live in Argentina. May we can contact :) ckitesurfer@gmail.com

Reply Dec 26th, 2014
Delores Rocks Humphrey
United States

Is there any way of finding records from the late 1800's when it was Germany, or were they destroyed when it became a Polish city? My dad was born there in 1892 or 1893. Through Ancestry.com, I found passenger ship records (BULGARIA) from 1901 when they left Germany for Canada but would love to find other family records. My great grandparents & other relatives stayed in Germany & know nothing of them. The surname was ROKS on the passenger list, but maybe it was changed to ROCKS in Canada.

Reply Nov 10th, 2014
Renee
United States

Delores, I am also looking for records dating back to 1700's. Breslau. Did you find a place that could help you out with information? please let me know.

Reply Feb 11th, 2018
Janet
United States

Breslau was German for centuries. It should return to Germany

Reply Nov 9th, 2014
petra
Australia

the thought of returning Breslau to Germany is wishful thinking inreality it would mean another war and we certainly had enough of this

Reply Nov 13th, 2014
gerard
Argentina

I agree Janet. ckitesurfer@gmail.com

Reply Dec 26th, 2014
caroline lewin
United Kingdom

my grand father and grandmother lived there, before the war, they had a stud farm,and was great art collector he managed to flee before the war, was wondering if anyone knew him or my family im sure I have cousins somewhere I will visit Breslau soon ,

Reply Nov 9th, 2014
caroline lewin
United Kingdom

very interesting article as my relations came from there

Reply Nov 9th, 2014
Judith Skilang
United States

If anyone knows anything about marriage records please let me know. My Great Grandparents, Johann Muschell (Musiol) and Ide Pude were married in Breslau in the late 1800's. Thanks

Reply Oct 4th, 2014
Judith Skilang
United States

It was a very informative article. I have been trying to do ancestry on my fathers family, so I clicked on the link. Unfortunately, I do not speak German. If there is a way to get such information, please email me at the following address. Thanks Judy Skilang

Reply Oct 4th, 2014

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