Tarnopol Voivodeship

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Tarnopol Voivodeship
Województwo tarnopolskie
Voivodeship of Poland


Coat of arms of Tarnopol

Coat of arms

Location of Tarnopol
Tarnopol Voivodeship (red) on the map of Second Polish Republic
Capital Tarnopol
Government Voivodeship
 -  1921-1923 Karol Olpiński
 -  1937-1939 Tomasz Malicki
Historical era Interwar period
 -  Established 23 December 1920
 -  Soviet invasion 17 September 1939
 -  1921 16,240 km2 (6,270 sq mi)
 -  1939 16,533 km2 (6,383 sq mi)
 -  1921 1,428,520 
Density 88 /km2  (227.8 /sq mi)
 -  1931 1,600,400 
Political subdivisions 17 powiats, 35 towns
Today part of Ukraine

Tarnopol Voivodeship (Polish: Województwo tarnopolskie) was an administrative region of interwar Poland (1918–1939) with an area of 16,500 km² and provincial capital in Tarnopol. The voivodeship was divided into 17 districts (powiaty). At the end of World War II, at the insistence of Joseph Stalin during the Tehran Conference of 1943 without any Polish representation whatsoever, the borders of Poland were redrawn by the Allies. The Polish population was forcibly resettled after the defeat of Nazi Germany 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[edit]

During the German-Soviet invasion of Poland in accordance with the secret protocol of Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, the Soviet forces allied with Nazi Germany invaded eastern Poland on September 17, 1939. As the bulk of the Polish Army was concentrated in the west fighting the Germans (see also: Polish September Campaign), the Soviets met with limited resistance and their troops quickly moved westward. Tarnopol was occupied as early as September 18, 1939 without any substantial opposition from the Poles, and remained in Soviet hands till Operation Barbarossa.[1]

In the years 1942–44 Tarnopol Voivodeship was one of the target areas of the Volhynian genocide extending south from the neighboring Wołyń province, with summary massacres of Poles in 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.[2]


The capital of Tarnopol Voivodeship was Tarnopol (now Ternopil, Ukraine). After the rebirth of Poland, according to Polish census of 1921, the province was inhabited by 1,428,520 people, with population density at 88 persons per km². Half of the regional population was Polish, and around 45% Ukrainian in villages and the countryside. In 1931 the population grew to 1,600,400 and the density to 97 persons per km2 Jews constituted 44% of the diverse multicultural makeup of Tarnopol.[3]

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.


Tarnopol Voivodeship until September 17, 1939
Administrative division, 1938

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.

Administrative subdivisions[edit]

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).

The Tarnopol Voivodeship consisted of 17 powiats (counties):

  1. Borszczów Powiat (1067 km²),
  2. Brody Powiat Herb Pilawa.jpg (1125 km²)
  3. Brzeżany Powiat (1135 km²)
  4. Buczacz Powiat (1208 km²)
  5. Czortków Powiat Rola herb.svg (734 km²)
  6. Kamionka Strumiłowa Powiat (1000 km²)
  7. Kopyczyńce Powiat (841 km²)
  8. Podhajce Powiat Podhajce COA.png (1018 km²)
  9. Przemyślany Powiat (927 km²)
  10. Radziechów Powiat (1022 km²)
  11. Skałat Powiat Skalat COA IRP.png (876 km²)
  12. Tarnopol Powiat Ternopilgerb.jpg (1231 km²)
  13. Trembowla Powiat (789 km²)
  14. Zaleszczyki Powiat Zaleszczyki coa XVIIIw.png (684 km²)
  15. Zbaraż Powiat (740 km²)
  16. Zborów Powiat (941 km²)
  17. Zloczów Powiat (1195 km²)

Railroads and industry[edit]

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

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Kresy.co.uk - History of Podolia and Tarnopol.
  2. ^ Adam Kruczek, Ukraińcy chcą stawiać memoriały ku chwale UPA, Nasz Dziennik February 5, 2009, Nr 30 (3351). (Polish)
  3. ^ Central Statistical Office (Poland), Drugi Powszechny Spis Ludności. Woj.tarnopolskie, 1931. PDF file, 21.09 MB. The complete text of the Polish census of 1931 for the Tarnopol Voivodeship, page 59 (select, drop-down menu). Wikimedia Commons.
  • Genealogy of Halychyna and Eastern Galicia - Results of the 1931 census according to HalGal.com
  • Maly rocznik statystyczny 1939, Nakladem Glownego Urzedu Statystycznego, Warszawa 1939 (Concise Statistical Year-Book of Poland, Warsaw 1939).

Coordinates: 49°33′01″N 25°35′55″E / 49.550298°N 25.598627°E / 49.550298; 25.598627