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I am interested in mapping the pre-war (WWII) border between Poland and Germany.

Is there any data available in a public resource? Can anyone describe waypoints along the border in terms of modern day cities and towns, or better yet longitude and latitude data for the frontier?

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Please keep in mind that Poland also had a border with occupied Czechoslovakia, and I believe that is another thing to be taken into account (Germans actually attacked from this direction too). I can't really tell you if you should count Czechoslovakia as part of Germany (at least some part of it was formally joined to it on the basis of the Munich Treaty) or as another, though occupied country, but still this is something to be considered. – Paweł Dyda Oct 11 '11 at 21:18
Fantastic new resource for historical maps: oldmapsonline.org Came up with a 1922 map of Poland. – Paul Hutton Mar 8 '12 at 21:33
@PaulHutton Thanks :) Looks like a nice resource. – RedBlueThing Mar 8 '12 at 21:42
up vote 20 down vote accepted

The pre WWII border between Poland and Germany was defined in the Treaty of Versailles, more specifically Part II, Article 27, point 7:

From the point defined above to a point to be fixed on the ground about 2 kilometres east of Lorzendorf: the frontier as it will be fixed in accordance with Article 88 of the present Treaty; thence in a northerly direction to the point where the administrative boundary of Posnania crosses the river Bartsch: a line to be fixed on the ground leaving the following places in Poland: Skorischau, Reichthal, Trembatschau, Kunzendorf, Schleise, Gross Koscl, Schreibersdorf, Rippin, Furstlich-Niefken, Pawelau, Tscheschen, Konradau, Johallnisdorf, Modzenowe, Bogdaj, and in Germany: Lorzendorf, Kaulwitz, Glausche, Dalbersdorf, Reesewitz, Stradam, Gross Wartenberg, Kraschen, Neu Mittelwalde, Domaslawitz, Wedelsdorf, Tscheschen Hammer; thence the administrative boundary of Posnania northwestwards to the point where it cuts the Rawitsch-Herrnstadt railway; thence to the point where the administrative boundary of Posnania cuts the Reisen-Tschirnau road: a line to be fixed on the ground passing west of Triebusch and Gabel and east of Saborwitz; thence the administrative boundary of Posnania to its junction with the eastern administrative boundary of the Kreis of Fraustadt; thence in a north-westerly direction to a point to be chosen on the road between the villages of Unruhstadt and Kopnitz: a line to be fixed on the ground passing west of Geyersdorf, Brenno, Fehlen, Altkloster, Klebel, and east of Ulbersdorf, Buchwald, Ilgen,Weine, Lupitze, Schwenten: thence in a northerly direction to the northernmost point of Lake Chlop: a line to be fixed on the ground following the median line of the lakes; the town and the station of Bentschen however (including the junction of the lines Schwiebus-Bentschen and Zullichau-Bentschen) remaining in Polish territory; thence in a north-easterly direction to the point of junction of the boundaries of the Kreise of Schwerin, Birnbaum, and Meseritz: a line to be fixed on the ground passing east of Betsche; thence in a northerly direction the boundary separating the Kreise of Schwerin and Birnbaum, then in an easterly direction the northern boundary of Posnania to the point where it cuts the river Netze; thence upstream to its confluence with the Kaddow: the course of the Netze; thence upstream to a point to be chosen about 6 kilometres southeast of Schneidemuhl: the course of the Kuddow; thence north-eastwards to the most southern point of the reentant of the northern boundary of Posnania about 5 kilometres west of Stahren: a line to be fixed on the ground leaving the SchneidemuhlKonitz railway in this area entirely in German territory; thence the boundary of Posnania north-eastwards to the point of the salient it makes about 15 kilometres east of Flatow; thence north-eastwards to the point where the river Kamionka meets the southern boundary of the Kreis of Konitz about 3 kilometres north-east of Grunau: a line to be fixed on the ground leaving the following places to Poland: Jasdrowo, Gr. Lutau, Kl. Lutau, Wittkau, and to Germany: Gr. Butzig, Cziskowo, Battrow, Bock, Grunau; thence in a northerly direction the boundary between the Kreise of Konitz and Schlochau to the point where this boundary cuts the river Brahe; thence to a point on the boundary of Pomerania 15 kilometres east of Rummelsburg: a line to be fixed on the ground leaving the following places in Poland: Konarzin, Kelpin, Adl. Briesen, and in Germany: Sampohl, Neuguth, Steinfort, Gr . Peterkau; then the boundary of Pomerania in an easterly direction to its junction with the boundary between the Kreise of Konitz and Schlochau; thence northwards the boundary between Pomerania and West Prussia to the point on the river Rheda about 3 kilometres northwest of Gohra where that river is joined by a tributary from the north-west; thence to a point to be selected in the bend of the Piasnitz river about 1 1/2 kilometres north-west of Warschkau: a line to be fixed on the ground; thence this river downstream, then the median line of Lake Zarnowitz, then the old boundary of West Prussia to the Baltic Sea.

Ref: http://avalon.law.yale.edu/imt/partii.asp#art27

As you see the border is only defined approximately with an accuracy about a km or so, but that should be good enough for most mapping exercises. Another good resource is Wikipedia, which also points out a minor change in 1921.

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Nice, extensive answer there. Wow. – canadiancreed Oct 11 '11 at 21:24
@lennart-regebro Thanks. Just what I was looking for :) – RedBlueThing Oct 12 '11 at 1:52
Would be great to see this on a map. – user202 Nov 22 '12 at 15:42
The borders of Poland changed after that - they had a war with Russia that they won, which might have gained territory. They also grabbed a bit of Czechoslovakia in 1938 and had a border dispute with Lithuania that same year that changed the border. – Oldcat Feb 27 '15 at 0:28
Keep in mind that there were actually two borders between Poland and Germany. East Prussia was an exclave and had its own border with Poland and Lithuania. This region stretched from Lithuania to Gdansk. Apparently, the southern border was never well defined. upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/54/… – Kevin Keane Mar 16 '15 at 8:15

Unfortunately I don't have a resource that would have lat/long for the Polish borders pre-wwii, but I did find a detailed map that shows multiple towns that could help map to their present day locations. It's for Poland and the Baltics, but it does seem to have decent detail along the Polish/German border. Let me know if this helps at all.

enter image description here

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Thanks @canadiancreed. This is a useful resource and I will certainly use it. – RedBlueThing Oct 12 '11 at 1:52

Interwar borders of Poland can be found on wikipedia:

Poland between 1920 and 1939

The map in canadiancreed's answer is a map of Poland between Brest-Litovsk and Versalles treaties in 1918 (treaties ending WWI) and treaty of Riga in 1920 (treaty after the war between Soviet Russia nad Poland). Poles managed to defeat soviets in 1920 (see Warsaw battle, or miracle at Vistula), and expanded their territory with what is now Western Ukraine and Western Belarus.

More info about the whole mess on wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Poland_(1918–1939)

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In order to understand the pre-war Polish-German boundary, it is worth noting that six (or five and a half) provinces were taken from Germany and given to Poland after the war.

These provinces included Silesia, Opole, Lower Silesia, and Lubuscz in the west. That is, their EASTERN boundaries had formed the German-Polish boundary before the war (as part of Germany), while their WESTERN boundaries formed the German-Polish boundary after the war (as part of Poland).

The other two formerly German provinces were Pomerania, and West Pomeria. Pomerania was the southern half of the former German East Prussia, and its eastern boundary formed the dividing line with Prussia (Germany) to the WEST and Poland to the East.

MOST of the former Western Pomerania belonged to Germany before the war (except for a 60-mile wide "Polish Corridor" to Gdynia, to give that country an outlet to the sea). ALL of it now belongs to Poland.

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It is worth to add, that these provinces does belongs to Poland in its early history (11-13 century). – Sławosz Jul 18 '12 at 7:20

There was a good National Geographic Map published in 1958 that clearly marked the prewar boundary between Germany and Poland, as well as one published in 1944: http://shop.nationalgeographic.com/ngs/product/maps/wall-maps/classic-maps/1938-39-germany-and-its-approaches-map?npd&npd&; http://games.maps.com/map.aspx?pid=15851

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