From Prussian Estate to Polish Farm: The Transformation of Rural Communities in Poland’s New Western Territories, 1944-1956


Dissertation Fellowships in East European Studies


History Department


This dissertation analyzes the transformation of Prussian estates into Polish farms in the territories accorded to Poland after Nazi Germany’s defeat in 1945. This transformation involved the forcible resettlement of millions of Poles and Germans and the drastic conversion of vast stretches of land from noble estates to family farms operating in a communist economy. It follows estates and their surrounding villages from the expulsion of the Prussian owners and German locals and the subsequent resettlement of the land by Poles, to the Communists’ failed attempt at collectivizing large farms in the early 1950s. It combines case studies of former Prussian estates with analysis of official Polish government documents, newspapers, and unpublished memoirs.