|Voivodeship of the Second Polish Republic|
Map of the Tarnopol Voivodship on the administrative map of Poland of 1938
|Years of existence||1920 to 1939|
|• Total||16,500 km2 (6,400 sq mi)|
|Major towns||Tarnopol, Brody, Brzeżany, Buczacz, Czortków|
|Ethnic composition||Poles (789,114 or 49.3%)
Ukrainians (728,135 or 45.5%)
Jews (78,932 or 4.9%)
Tarnopol Voivodeship (Polish: Województwo tarnopolskie; Ukrainian: Тернопільське воєводство, Ternopilske voievodstvo) was an administrative region of interwar Poland (1918–1939) with an area of 16,500 km² divided into 17 districts (powiaty), and its capital located in Tarnopol. At the end of World War II, at the insistence of Joseph Stalin during the Tehran Conference of 1943, Poland's borders were redrawn. The Polish population was forcibly resettled and the Tarnopol Voivodeship was incorporated into the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic. Since 1991, most of the region is located in the Ternopil Oblast in sovereign Ukraine.
September 1939 and its aftermath
On September 17, 1939, following German aggression on Poland (see also: Polish September Campaign) and in accordance with the secret protocol of Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, Soviet forces, allied with Nazi Germany, invaded eastern Poland. As the bulk of the Polish Army was concentrated in the west fighting Germans, the Soviets met with little resistance and their troops quickly moved westwards. Tarnopol was occupied as early as September 18, without any real opposition from the Poles, and remained in Soviet hands till Operation Barbarossa.
In the years 1942–1944 Tarnopol Voivodeship was one of the sites of Volhynian genocide spilling from neighboring Wołyń province, with summary massacres of Poles in literally hundreds of Tarnopol villages: i.e. Berezowica Mała (130), Łozowa (120), Ihrowica (90), Płotycza (43), etc. The slaughter of civilians, women and children alike, was conducted mostly by OUN-UPA bands of Ukrainian nationalists and lasted well into 1945, beyond the Soviet front.
The capital of Tarnopol Voivodeship was Tarnopol (now Ternopil, Ukraine). In 1921, it was inhabited by 1,428,520 people, and the population density was 88 persons per km². Half of the population was Polish, around 45% Ukrainians (mainly in the countryside, villages and smaller towns), and Jews (mainly in towns) made around 5%. In 1931 the population grew to 1,600,400 and the density to 97 persons per km2.
Religion was 60% Greek Catholic, 31% Roman Catholic, 9% Jewish. Ethnic Rusyn Greek Catholics and Polish-speaking secular Jews were in some cases classified as gentile Poles in the ethnic census, and not as Ukrainians or Polish Jews; this explains the difference between the religious and ethnic census numbers.
The Voivodeship's area was 16,533 square kilometers. It was located in south-eastern corner of Poland, bordering Soviet Union to the east, Lwów Voivodeship and Stanisławów Voivodeship to the west, Romania to the south and Volhynian Voivodeship to the north. The landscape was hilly, with the Podole upland covering large part of the Voivodeship. In the north-west there is the Gologory range, with the Kamula (473 meters above sea level) as the highest peak (however, the Kamula was located some 5 kilometers behind the Voivodeship's borderline, in the Lwów Voivodeship). South of the Voivodeship was known for its wineries and peach orchards.
The Dniester and the Seret were the main rivers. Border with the Soviet Union was marked by the Zbrucz river, along its whole course. Border of the Voivodeship (and at the same time - of Poland) with Romania was marked by the Dniester. The south-easternmost place was the famous Polish stronghold Okopy Swietej Trojcy (Ramparts of the Hole Trinity), which for some time was protecting Poland from the invasions of the Turks and the Tartars.
The Tarnopol Voivodeship consisted of 17 powiats (counties), 35 towns and 1087 villages. Its capital was also its largest city, with population of some 34,000 (as for 1931). Other important municipal centers of the voivodeship were: Czortkow (pop. 19,000), Brody (pop. 16,400), Zloczow (pop. 13,000), Brzeżany (pop. 12,000) and Buczacz (pop. 11,000).
- Borszczów Powiat (1067 km²),
- Brody Powiat (1125 km²)
- Brzeżany Powiat (1135 km²)
- Buczacz Powiat (1208 km²)
- Czortków Powiat (734 km²)
- Kamionka Strumiłowa Powiat (1000 km²)
- Kopyczyńce Powiat (841 km²)
- Podhajce Powiat (1018 km²)
- Przemyślany Powiat (927 km²)
- Radziechów Powiat (1022 km²)
- Skałat Powiat (876 km²)
- Tarnopol Powiat (1231 km²)
- Trembowla Powiat (789 km²)
- Zaleszczyki Powiat (684 km²)
- Zbaraż Powiat (740 km²)
- Zborów Powiat (941 km²)
- Zloczów Powiat (1195 km²)
Railroads and industry
Tarnopol Voivodeship was located in the so-called Poland "B", which meant that it was underdeveloped, with scarce industry. However, agricultural production was good, due to moderate climate and rich, fertile black soil common in these areas of Europe. Southern part was popular among tourists, with the main center in Zaleszczyki - a border-town, located on the Dniestr, where one could spot unique in Poland grapewines. Railroad network was better developed in the south, with numerous local connections. Major rail junctions were: Tarnopol, Krasne, Kopczynce. On January 1, 1938, total length of railroads within Voivodeship's boundaries was 931 kilometers (5.6 km. per 100 km²)
- Karol Olpiński 23 April 1921 – 23 January 1923
- Lucjan Zawistowski 24 February 1923 – 16 February 1927
- Mikołaj Kwaśniewski 16 February 1927 – 28 November 1928 (acting till 28 December 1927)
- Kazimierz Moszyński 28 November 1928 – 10 October 1933
- Artur Maruszewski 21 October 1933 – 15 January 1935 (acting till 6 March 1934)
- Kazimierz Gintowt-Dziewiałtowski 19 January 1935 – 15 July 1936 (acting )
- Alfred Biłyk 15 July 1936 – 16 April 1937
- Tomasz Malicki 16 April 1937 – 17 September 1939
- (Polish) Adam Kruczek, Nasz Dziennik February 5, 2009, Nr 30 (3351)