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Silesia facts for kids

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     Austrian Silesia,before 1740 Prussian annexation     Prussian Silesia, 1871     Oder riverBasemap shows modern national borders.
     Austrian Silesia,
before 1740 Prussian annexation
     Prussian Silesia, 1871     Oder riverBasemap shows modern national borders.
 • Total 40,000 km2 (20,000 sq mi)
 • Total c. 8,000,000
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 • Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)

Silesia (Polish: Śląsk; German: Schlesien; Latin: Silesia; Silesian: Ślůnsk) is a historical region of Poland. Between 17421945, it was the eastern part of Germany and was a Prussian province. In 1945, all of Poland country was occupied by the Soviet Red Army. In the following years, the occupant enacted laws that in effect chased away the remaining all of owners (communism).


Silesia is along the upper and middle Oder River, upper Vistula River, and along the Sudetes mountains and the Carpathian Mountains.

The highest point of Silesia is the Śnieżka - in the Sudetes mountains.

Administrative region of Breslau, 1914


The largest cities of Silesia (Population of 1939):

Name Population
Wrocław 630,041
Katowice 127,044 (1931)
Zabrze 126,211
Gliwice 117,323
Chorzów 102,349 (1931)
Bytom 100,891
Zgorzelec 93,823
Legnica 83,701
Walbrzych 64,072
Opole 52,992
Racibórz 50,000

Other Cities are: Brzeg, Boleslawiec, Kozle, Zabkowice Slaskie, Klodzko, Głogów, Strzelce Opolskie, Zielona Gora, Zlotoryja, Jelenia Gora, Glubczyce, Nysa, Swidnica, Trzebnica

Famous people

There are many famous people who were born in Silesia:

  • Writers, poets and playwrights like Andreas Gryphius, Martin Opitz, Fürst von Pückler-Muskau, Carl Hauptmann, Gerhart Hauptmann (Nobel Prize in Literature, 1912), Joseph Freiherr von Eichendorff, Gustav Freytag
  • Members of the German Resistance such as Peter Graf Yorck von Wartenburg, Helmuth James Graf von Moltke,
  • Military officers such as Manfred von Richthofen, Erwin von Witzleben
  • Painters like Adolph von Menzel
  • Philosophers like Jakob Böhme
  • Actors like Dieter Hildebrandt, Victor de Kowa, Ludwig M. Lommel, Wolfgang Neuss, Willy Fritsch, Hanna Schygulla, Georg Thomalla
  • Politicians like Paul Löbe (SPD), Klaus Töpfer (CDU), Manfred Kanther (CDU), Ferdinand Lassalle, Erich Mende (FDP)
  • Scientists like Hans G. Dehmelt (Nobel Prize in Physics, 1989), Paul Ehrlich (Nobel Prize in Medicine, 1908), Friedrich Bergius (Nobel Prize in Chemistry, 1931), Max Born (Nobel Prize in Physics, 1954), Fritz Haber (Nobel Prize in Chemistry, 1918), Reinhard Selten (Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, 1994), Konrad Bloch (Nobel Prize in Medicine, 1964), Bernhard Grzimek, Johannes Winkler, Maria Goeppert-Mayer (Nobel Prize in Physics, 1963), Kurt Alder (Nobel Prize in Chemistry, 1950), Otto Stern (Nobel Prize in Physics, 1943)
  • Builder and architects like Carl Gotthard Langhans
  • Musicians like Katja Ebstein, Roy Etzel, Michael Jary


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