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Maczków. A Polish enclave in North Germany

The town of Haren, initially known as Lwów, and later as Maczków, 1945.
The town of Haren, initially known as Lwów, and later as Maczków, 1945.
Poles in Emsland


The north-western part of Germany, known as the Emsland, was captured by Stanisław Maczek's First Tank Division, and after the war ended the region was allotted to the British occupation zone. Since the area was under Polish administration for a while, it was also known as the "Polish Occupation Zone in Germany". It extended over 6,500 square kilometres to include the districts of Aschendorf, Meppen and Lingen as well as the counties of Bentheim, Bensbrück and Cloppenburg with all their villages.

Thousands of Poles, most of whom were liberated from concentration camps and POW camps, were living in the area occupied by General Maczek and his troops. Another large group consisted of former forced labourers. The Poles soon referred to these people as "dipisi", a nickname derived from the abbreviation of the English term "Displaced Persons" (DPs), the term used by aid organisations and the occupying powers in Germany. The first definition of the term in November 1944 was that of:

"... civilians who are outside their state for reasons of war; those who want to return or find a new home but are unable to do so without outside help" (Lembeck, p. 38).

In mid-May 1945, General Henry Crerar, commander of the Second Canadian Corps (at whose side the First Polish Tank Division had fought, suggested to the commander-in-chief of the British occupying forces, Gen. Bernard Montgomery, the idea of setting up a Polish enclave in a part of the Emsland. Montgomery accepted this proposal and the Prime Minister of Great Britain, Winston Churchil, gave the order to establish an occupation corps of Polish soldiers.

According to estimates by the Polish historian Jan Rydel, around 40,000 DPs and prisoners of war from various nations were present in Emsland in August 1945. That said, after the Russian prisoners of war and the interned Italian soldiers had returned home the majority of these were Polish. In November 1945, the proportion of foreigners in Lower Saxony, to which the Emsland belonged, is said to have been around 6%.

The conglomeration of thousands of people, who were often in a wretched state of health and had great material needs, caused many problems. To make room for the newcomers, the houses belonging to the Germans were vacated. In Emsland, these measures were initiated on 19. May 1945, when the mayor of Haren, Hermann Wichers, received the order to evacuate his town.

Mediathek Sorted

Mediathek
  • Haren renamed Lwów, then Maczków, 1945.

    Haren renamed Lwów

    Haren renamed Lwów, then Maczków, 1945.
  • Haren as Lwów, 1945.

    Haren as Lwów

    Haren as Lwów, 1945.
  • The Polish 1st Armoured Division - General Stanisław Maczek - in Germany, 1945.

    The Polish 1st Armoured Division

    The Polish 1st Armoured Division - General Stanisław Maczek - in Germany, 1945.
  • The Polish 1st Armoured Division - General Stanisław Maczek - in Germany, 1945.

    The Polish 1st Armoured Division

    The Polish 1st Armoured Division - General Stanisław Maczek - in Germany, 1945.
  • The Polish 1st Armoured Division - General Stanisław Maczek - in Germany, 1945.

    The Polish 1st Armoured Division

    The Polish 1st Armoured Division - General Stanisław Maczek - in Germany, 1945.
  • The Polish 1st Armoured Division - General Stanisław Maczek - in Maczków on the street "Kopernika", 1945 r.

    The Polish 1st Armoured Division in Maczków

    The Polish 1st Armoured Division - General Stanisław Maczek - in Maczków on the street "Kopernika", 1945 r.
  • The Polish 1st Armoured Division in Maczków

    The Polish 1st Armoured Division in Maczków

    The Polish 1st Armoured Division in Maczków, 1945
  • The Polish 1st Armoured Division in the surroundings of Maczków, 1945

    The Polish 1st Armoured Division in the surroundings of Maczków

    The Polish 1st Armoured Division in the surroundings of Maczków, 1945
  • Polish flag on the tower in Maczków (?), 1945

    Polish flag on the tower in Maczków (?)

    Polish flag on the tower in Maczków (?), 1945
  • General Bór-Komorowski visits Maczków, 1945

    General Bór-Komorowski visits Maczków

    General Bór-Komorowski visits Maczków, 1945
  • General Bór-Komorowski visits Maczków, 1945.

    General Bór-Komorowski visits Maczków

    General Bór-Komorowski visits Maczków, 1945.
  • General Bór-Komorowski visits Maczków, 1945

    General Bór-Komorowski visits Maczków

    General Bór-Komorowski visits Maczków, 1945
  • General Bór-Komorowski and General Maczek

    General Bór-Komorowski and General Maczek

    General Bór-Komorowski visits Maczków with General Maczek (on the left), 1945.
  • General Bór-Komorowski visits Maczków, 1945

    General Bór-Komorowski visits Maczków

    General Bór-Komorowski visits Maczków, 1945
  • General Bór-Komorowski visits Maczków with General Maczek (on the right), 1945

    General Bór-Komorowski visits Maczków with General Maczek

    General Bór-Komorowski visits Maczków with General Maczek (on the right), 1945
  • General Bór-Komorowski visits Maczków with General Maczek (on the right), 1945

    General Bór-Komorowski visits Maczków with General Maczek

    General Bór-Komorowski visits Maczków with General Maczek (on the right), 1945
  • The hospital in Maczków, 1945

    The hospital in Maczków

    The hospital in Maczków, 1945
  • Maczków with Polish flags, 1945

    Maczków with Polish flags

    Maczków with Polish flags, 1945
  • The clockmaker's factory in Maczków

    The clockmaker's factory in Maczków

    The clockmaker's factory in Maczków, 1945
  • Association of Polish Technicians in Maczków

    Association of Polish Technicians in Maczków

    Association of Polish Technicians in Maczków, 1945
  • Polish municipal council in Maczków

    Polish municipal council in Maczków

    Polish municipal council in Maczków, 1945.
  • Economic office of the municipal council

    Economic office of the municipal council

    Economic office of the municipal council, 1945
  • Culture and education office of the municipal council

    Culture and education office of the municipal council

    Culture and education office of the municipal council, 1945
  • Public vocational school in Maczków

    Public vocational school in Maczków

    Public vocational school in Maczków, 1945
  • Polish women from the Oberlangen camp

    Polish women from the Oberlangen camp

    Polish women from the Oberlangen camp (Emsland) in Maczków, 1945
  • A Polish soldier monitors Germans at work

    A Polish soldier monitors Germans at work

    A Polish soldier monitors Germans at work in the camp Oberlangen near Maczków, 1945.
  • A Polish soldier with literature

    A Polish soldier with literature

    A Polish soldier in the liberated prisoner of war camp in Oberlangen near Maczków with borrowed literature from the library, 1945
  • Nurses of the Polish hospital in Maczków, 1945

    Nurses of the Polish hospital in Maczków

    Nurses of the Polish hospital in Maczków, 1945
  • Artykuł Tadeusza Nowakowskiego „Pożegnanie Maczkowa“

    Artykuł Tadeusza Nowakowskiego „Pożegnanie Maczkowa“ w „Orle Białym“ z 28. Czerwca 1947 r.
  • Soldiers from the I. Tank Division marching through Maczków, 1945

    Soldiers from the I. Tank Division marching through Maczków

    Soldiers from the I. Tank Division marching through Maczków, 1945
  • The certificate of appointment of Dr. Zygmunt Gałecki to the post of Mayor of the town of Maczków, 23rd July 1945

    The certificate of appointment of Dr. Zygmunt Gałecki to the post of Mayor of the town of Maczków

    The certificate of appointment of Dr. Zygmunt Gałecki to the post of Mayor of the town of Maczków, 23rd July 1945
  • Dr. Zygmunt Gałecki, the first mayor of the town of Maczków, 1945

    Dr. Zygmunt Gałecki, the first mayor of the town of Maczków

    Dr. Zygmunt Gałecki, the first mayor of the town of Maczków, 1945
  • Poles in Maczków

    Poles in Maczków

    Poles in Maczków, 1945
  • Polish women from the Oberlangen camp (Emsland) in Maczków

    Polish women from the Oberlangen camp (Emsland) in Maczków

    Polish women from the Oberlangen camp (Emsland) in Maczków, 1945
  • Young Polish women in Maczków, 1945

    Young Polish women in Maczków

    Young Polish women in Maczków, 1945
  • Poles in Maczków

    Poles in Maczków

    Poles in Maczków, 1945
  • Poles in Maczków

    Poles in Maczków

    Poles in Maczków, 1945
  • Poles in Maczków, winter 1945/1946

    Poles in Maczków, winter 1945/1946

    Poles in Maczków, winter 1945/1946
  • A Pole in Maczków, 1945

    A Pole in Maczków

    A Pole in Maczków, 1945
  • Poles in Maczków

    Poles in Maczków

    Poles in Maczków, 1945
  • St. Martins Church in Maczków

    St. Martins Church in Maczków

    St. Martins Church in Maczków during the time it was in the pastoral care of Polish clergy (today: St. Martinus in Haren), 1945
  • A wedding ceremony for around 100 Polish couples

    A wedding ceremony for around 100 Polish couples

    A wedding ceremony for around 100 Polish couples in St Martins Church, Maczków, 1945
  • A Polish bridal couple in front of St. Martins Church in Maczków

    A Polish bridal couple in front of St. Martins Church in Maczków

    A Polish bridal couple in front of St. Martins Church in Maczków, 1945
  • Heiratsurkunde aus Maczków (Haren an der Ems) von Janina Maćkowska und Henryk Kacała

    Heiratsurkunde aus Maczków (Haren an der Ems) von Janina Maćkowska und Henryk Kacała

    Heiratsurkunde aus Maczków (Haren an der Ems) von Janina Maćkowska und Henryk Kacała, ausgestellt am 27. Juni 1946
  • Young Polish women in Maczków

    Young Polish women in Maczków

    Young Polish women in Maczków, 1945
  • A canteen and cultural space in Maczków

    A canteen and cultural space in Maczków

    A canteen and cultural space in Maczków, 1945
  • Maczków, 1945

    Maczków, 1945

    Maczków, 1945
  • A Pole in Maczków, 1945

    A Pole in Maczków, 1945

    A Pole in Maczków, 1945
  • Poles in Maczków, 1945

    Poles in Maczków, 1945

    Poles in Maczków, 1945
  • Polish Boy Scouts marching through Maczków

    Polish Boy Scouts marching through Maczków

    Polish Boy Scouts marching through Maczków, 1946
  • An address given by General Klemens Rudnicki

    An address given by General Klemens Rudnicki

    An address given by General Klemens Rudnicki (Commander of the I. Polish Tank Division from May 1945) in Maczków, 1945
  • The I. Tank Division in Maczków

    The I. Tank Division in Maczków

    The I. Tank Division in Maczków, 1945
  • An UNRRA vehicle in Maczków

    An UNRRA vehicle in Maczków

    An UNRRA vehicle in Maczków, 1945
  • Students from the Polish school in Maczków

    Students from the Polish school in Maczków

    Students from the Polish school in Maczków, 1945
  • Students from the Polish school in Maczków

    Students from the Polish school in Maczków

    Students from the Polish school in Maczków, 1945
  • Students from the Polish school in Maczków

    Students from the Polish school in Maczków

    Students from the Polish school in Maczków, 1945
  • A visit to the Polish school in Maczków

    A visit to the Polish school in Maczków

    A visit to the Polish school in Maczków, 1945
  • The symbol of the “Związek Automobilistów Polskich na Obczyźnie” (The Association of Polish Car Drivers in Exile)

    The symbol of the “Związek Automobilistów Polskich na Obczyźnie” (The Association of Polish Car Drivers in Exile)

    The symbol of the “Związek Automobilistów Polskich na Obczyźnie” (The Association of Polish Car Drivers in Exile) in Maczków, 1946
  • Teachers and driving-lesson students during their professional training in Maczków

    Teachers and driving-lesson students during their professional training in Maczków

    Teachers and driving-lesson students during their professional training in Maczków, 1945
  • Teachers and driving-lesson students during their professional training in Maczków

    Teachers and driving-lesson students during their professional training in Maczków

    Teachers and driving-lesson students during their professional training in Maczków, 1945
  • Driving-lesson students during their professional training in Maczków

    Driving-lesson students during their professional training in Maczków

    Driving-lesson students during their professional training in Maczków, 1945
  • Driving-lesson students during their professional training in Maczków

    Driving-lesson students during their professional training in Maczków

    Driving-lesson students during their professional training in Maczków, 1945
  • Driving-lesson students during their professional training in Maczków

    Driving-lesson students during their professional training in Maczków

    Driving-lesson students during their professional training in Maczków, 1945
  • Driving-lesson students during their professional training in Maczków

    Driving-lesson students during their professional training in Maczków

    Driving-lesson students during their professional training in Maczków, 1945
  • Car school workshop in Maczków

    Car school workshop in Maczków

    Car school workshop in Maczków, 1945
  • Car school workshop in Maczków

    Car school workshop in Maczków

    Car school workshop in Maczków, 1945
  • Car school workshop in Maczków

    Car school workshop in Maczków

    Car school workshop in Maczków, 1945
  • The driving school workshop in Maczków

    The driving school workshop in Maczków

    The driving school workshop in Maczków, 1945
  • Driver training in Maczków

    Driver training in Maczków

    Driver training in Maczków, 1945
  • An UNRRA questionnaire on transport back home

    An UNRRA questionnaire on transport back home

    An UNRRA questionnaire on transport back home, May 1946
  • Poles leaving Maczków

    Poles leaving Maczków

    Poles leaving Maczków, 1948
  • Poles leaving Maczków

    Poles leaving Maczków

    Poles leaving Maczków, 1948
  • Poles leaving Maczków

    Poles leaving Maczków

    Poles leaving Maczków, 1948
  • A letter of gratitude written by Polish members of the municipal administration in Maczków to Paul Rousseau, the Head of UNRRA in Maczków, 25th September 1946

    A letter of gratitude written by Polish members of the municipal administration in Maczków to Paul Rousseau

    A letter of gratitude written by Polish members of the municipal administration in Maczków to Paul Rousseau, the Head of UNRRA in Maczków, 25th September 1946
  • Members of the Polish “Armia Krajowa“ (Home Army) in Maczków, 1946

    Members of the Polish “Armia Krajowa“ (Home Army) in Maczków, 1946

    Members of the Polish “Armia Krajowa“ (Home Army) in Maczków, 1946
  • Poles in Maczków

    Poles in Maczków

    Poles in Maczków, 1946
  • The teaching staff at the Polish primary school in Maczków

    The teaching staff at the Polish primary school in Maczków

    The teaching staff at the Polish primary school in Maczków, 1946
  • The teaching staff at the Polish secondary school and lyceum in Maczków (rear side)

    The teaching staff at the Polish secondary school and lyceum in Maczków

    The teaching staff at the Polish secondary school and lyceum in Maczków (middle row, third from the right: the headmaster, Nowakowski), 15th March 1946
  • The teaching staff at the Polish secondary school and lyceum in Maczków (rear side)

    The teaching staff at the Polish secondary school and lyceum in Maczków (rear side)

    The teaching staff at the Polish secondary school and lyceum in Maczków (rear side), 15th March 1946
  • Program wieczoru satyrycznego „Wielkie Pranie w Maczkowie“

    Program wieczoru satyrycznego „Wielkie Pranie w Maczkowie“ z Archiwum Aleksandry Sękowskiej, 1946 r.
  • A jokey poem “Klasa II a Liceum w Maczkowie”

    A jokey poem “Klasa II a Liceum w Maczkowie”

    A jokey poem “Klasa II a Liceum w Maczkowie” (Class II A and the lyceum in Maczków), November 1945
  • Śpiewnik pieśni z Maczkowa z Archiwum Aleksandry Sękowskiej

    Śpiewnik pieśni z Maczkowa z Archiwum Aleksandry Sękowskiej, 1988 r.
  • Jednodniówka maturzystek i maturzystów z polskiego liceum w Maczkowie

    Jednodniówka maturzystek i maturzystów z polskiego liceum w Maczkowie z Archiwum Aleksandry Sękowskiej, 25, listopad 1946 r.
  • „Dziennik Informacyjny” z Maczkowa z Archiwum Aleksandry Sękowskiej

    „Dziennik Informacyjny” z Maczkowa z Archiwum Aleksandry Sękowskiej, 4. czerwiec 1946 r.
  • A picture made in Maczków, signature bottom right: “M.K.”

    A picture made in Maczków, signature bottom right: “M.K.”

    A picture made in Maczków, signature bottom right: “M.K. Maczków 1946”, oil on wood, 44 x 70 cm
  • A poster issued by the education and culture office

    A poster issued by the education and culture office

    A poster issued by the education and culture office: An invitation to a concert given by a German orchestra, hand print on cardboard, 1946, 52,5 x 64 cm
  • A school student's identity card for the Polish secondary school and lyceum in Maczków

    A school student's identity card for the Polish secondary school and lyceum in Maczków

    A school student's identity card for the Polish secondary school and lyceum in Maczków, containing the signature of the headmaster, Tadeusz Nowakowski, issued to Norbert Gawroński on 24th October 1945
  • Norbert Gawroński, self-portrait, made in Maczków

    Norbert Gawroński, self-portrait, made in Maczków

    Norbert Gawroński, self-portrait, made in Maczków, 6th January 1947, pastel on paper, 29,5 x 21 cm
  • Declaration of commitment for voluntary entry into the “Polish Resettlement Corps”

    Declaration of commitment for voluntary entry into the “Polish Resettlement Corps”

    Declaration of commitment for voluntary entry into the “Polish Resettlement Corps”, signed by Norbert Gawroński before being transferred from Maczków to Great Britain, 24th February 1947
  • Poles in Maczków

    Poles in Maczków

    Poles in Maczków, 1946/1947 (from the archive belonging to Norbert Gawroński)
  • Hochwasser in Maczków, 1946

    Hochwasser in Maczków, 1946

    Hochwasser in Maczków, 1946
  • Hochwasser in Maczków, 1946

    Hochwasser in Maczków, 1946

    Hochwasser in Maczków, 1946
  • Hochwasser in Maczków, 1946

    Hochwasser in Maczków, 1946

    Hochwasser in Maczków, 1946
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