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Neo-gothic City Hall
Neo-gothic City Hall
Coat of arms of Lębork
Coat of arms
Miasto z Europejską klasą
European style town
Lębork is located in Pomeranian Voivodeship
Lębork is located in Poland
Coordinates: 54°33′N 17°45′E / 54.550°N 17.750°E / 54.550; 17.750
Country Poland
Voivodeship Pomeranian
CountyLębork County
GminaLębork (urban gmina)
Town rights1341
 • MayorWitold Namyślak
 • Total17.86 km2 (6.90 sq mi)
Highest elevation
46 m (151 ft)
Lowest elevation
17 m (56 ft)
 • Total35,069
 • Density2,000/km2 (5,100/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+2 (CEST)
Postal code
84–300 to 84–310
Area code(s)+48 59
Car platesGLE

Lębork ([ˈlɛmbɔrk]; Kashubian: Lãbòrg; German: Lauenburg in Pommern is a town of 37,000 people on the Łeba and Okalica rivers in the Gdańsk Pomerania region in northwestern Poland. Lębork is also the capital of Lębork County in Pomeranian Voivodeship since 1999, formerly the Słupsk Voivodeship (1975–1998) and Gdańsk Voivodeship (1945-1975).


14th century Ordensburg castle built by the Teutonic Knights

The town was founded on the site of a previous Polish settlement named Łebno, later Germanised to Lewin and then Lewinburg by the invading Teutonic Knights[1][2] In 1341 Dietrich von Altenburg, Grand Master of the Teutonic Knights, granted 100 Hufen (similar to hides) to Rutcher von Emmerich for the foundation of a town named Lewinburg (Lauenburg) with Kulm rights,[3] presumably to secure the territory around Stolp (Słupsk).[4] East of the original city the Teutonic Order completed the Ordensburg castle in 1363. The castle was partly razed after the 1410 Battle of Grunwald (Tannenberg) in 1410. In 1440 the town joined the Prussian Confederation. The population of Lauenburg was composed in large part of Kashubians, later Slovincians.

In 1454 after the outbreak of the Thirteen Years' War, troops from Danzig (Gdańsk) occupied Lauenburg and Bütow (Bytów); the following year they were turned over to Eric II, Duke of Pomerania, to form an alliance.[3] Because Lauenburg remained loyal to the Prussian Confederation and not the Teutonic Order, King Casimir IV Jagiellon of Poland granted the town three nearby villages.[3] Troops from the Polish-allied city of Gdańsk (Danzig) reoccupied Lauenburg in 1459 when the mayor, Lorenz Senftopf, entered into negotiations with the Teutonic Knights. Eric replaced the Danzigers with Teutonic Knights the following year, however, when he switched sides during the war. Although the Teutonic Knights were ultimately defeated in the Thirteen Years' War, Lauenburg and Bütow passed to Eric and his Pomeranian successors as the Lauenburg and Bütow Land according to the 1466 Second Peace of Thorn.

14th century Church of St. James
Part of the medieval city walls

The Protestant Reformation was introduced in Lauenburg soon after 1519.[3] The territory passed to King Władysław IV Vasa of Poland after the 1637 death of Bogislaw XIV, Duke of Pomerania. The Counter-Reformation was largely ineffective in the Lutheran town. Lauenburg was occupied by Swedes in the Northern Wars. To gain an ally against Sweden during The Deluge, King John II Casimir of Poland gave the Lauenburg and Bütow Land to Margrave Frederick William of Brandenburg-Prussia as a hereditary fiefdom in the 1657 Treaty of Bromberg. The Swedish troops burnt Lauenburg before their retreat in 1658, destroying seventy houses and the town hall.[3] Frederick William released the town from tax duties for five years to aid in its rebuilding. Lauenburg suffered a second fire in 1682.

Lauenburg became a territory of the Kingdom of Prussia in 1701. The 1773 Treaty of Warsaw granted full sovereignty over the territory to Prussia after the First Partition of Poland. The Lauenburg and Bütow Land, renamed Lauenburg-Bütowscher Kreis, was first included in West Prussia, but was transferred to Prussian Pomerania in 1777. In 1816 after the Napoleonic Wars, Lauenburg was included in Regierungsbezirk Köslin within the Province of Pomerania.

Staromiejska Street, one of the most prominent promenades in the town

When the Lauenburg-Bütowscher Kreis was divided in 1846, Lauenburg became the capital of Landkreis Lauenburg i. Pom., a district of Prussia. Lauenburg began to develop as an industrial center after its 1852 connection to the Prussian Eastern Railway to Danzig and Stettin (Szczecin).[3] In 1866, the Masonic Lodge was formed, whose membership was in the main made up of the elite entrepreneurial class. The building survives to this day. The town became part of the German Empire in 1871 during the unification of Germany. Chancellor Otto Fürst von Bismarck (1815–1898) was made an honorary citizen in 1874.

After most of former West Prussia was granted to the Second Polish Republic as the Polish Corridor after World War I, many German migrants resettled in and around Lauenburg.[5] Under the leadership of Willy Fruggel a Hochschule for teacher education was established in the city in 1933.[5] The football club SV Sturm Lauenburg played within Gauliga Pommern.

During World War II, Lauenburg was the location of the Nazi concentration camp Lauenburg, a subcamp of Stutthof. The city was occupied without resistance by the Soviet Red Army on 10 March 1945. Most of the Altstadt burned in the subsequent Soviet rampage, although the Gothic Church of St. James and the Teutonic castle survived.[5] During this time about 600 people committed suicide.[6]

As Lębork, the town was placed under Polish administration in accordance with the post-war Potsdam Agreement. Germans remaining in the town were either immediately expelled or were allowed to voluntarily leave in the 1950s. New Polish citizens, some of them from Poland's eastern lands annexed after the war by the Soviet Union, took the place of the previous German inhabitants of the town.

Railway stations in the city include Lębork and Lębork Nowy Świat.



The climate in this area has mild differences between highs and lows, and there is adequate rainfall year-round. The Köppen Climate Classification subtype for this climate is "Cfb". (Marine West Coast Climate/Oceanic climate).[7]


Before the end of World War II the (then German) population of Lauenburg was predominantly composed of Protestants.

Number of inhabitants in years
  • 1782: 1,482, incl. 36 Jews.[8]
  • 1794: 1,432, incl. 29 Jews.[8]
  • 1812: 1,548, incl. 48 Catholics and 47 Jews[8]
  • 1831: 2,621, incl. 181 Catholics and 147 Jews.[8]
  • 1843: 3,779, incl. 222 Catholics and 262 Jews.[8]
  • 1861: 5,310, incl. 305 Catholics and 259 Jews.[8]
  • 1900: 10,442, incl. 1,151 Catholics and 276 Jews.[9]
  • 1910: 13,916
  • 1925: 17,161, incl. 1,850 Catholics, 290 Jews and 300 others.[10]
  • 1933: 18,962
  • 1939: 19,108[5]
  • 1960: 21,200
  • 1970: 25,100
  • 1975: 26,600
  • 1980: 29,200
  • 1990: 34,300
  • 1995: 36,300
  • 1998: 37,000
  • 2004: 35,154
  • 2005: 35,000

Notable residents[edit]

Edward Sapir, 1910
Anna Fotyga, 2007

International relations[edit]

Lębork is twinned with:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Slavia occidentalis: Tomy 46–47 1991, page 371.
  2. ^ Słownik etymologiczny miast i gmin PRL Stanisław Rospond – 1984
  3. ^ a b c d e f Schmidt, 229
  4. ^ Schmidt, p. 228
  5. ^ a b c d Schmidt, 230
  6. ^ Lakotta, Beate (2005-03-05). "Tief vergraben, nicht dran rühren" (in German). SPON. Retrieved 2010-08-16.
  7. ^ Climate Summary for Lebork, Poland
  8. ^ a b c d e f Kratz, p. 250
  9. ^ Meyers Konversations-Lexikon. 6th edition, vol. 12, Leipzig and Vienna 1908, p. 241 (in German).
  10. ^ Der Große Brockhaus. 15th edition, vol. 11, Leipzig 1932, p. 170 (in German).
  11. ^ IMDb Database retrieved 8 November 2018


  • Schmidt, Roderich (1996). Handbuch der historischen Stätten Deutschlands, Band 12, Mecklenburg/Pommern. Stuttgart: Alfred Kröner Verlag. p. 388. ISBN 3-520-31501-7. (in German)
  • Gustav Kratz: Die Städte der Provinz Pommern – Abriss ihrer Geschichte, zumeist nach Urkunden (The towns of the Province of Pomerania – Sketch of their history, mostly according to historical records). Berlin 1865 (reprinted in 2010 by Kessinger Publishing, ISBN 1-161-12969-3), pp. 247–251 (in German, online)

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 54°33′N 17°45′E / 54.550°N 17.750°E / 54.550; 17.750