Wołyń Voivodeship (1921–1939)

Wołyń Voivodeship or Volhynian Voivodeship (Polish: "Województwo Wołyńskie", Latin: "Palatinatus Volhynensis") was an administrative unit of interwar Poland (1918-1939). It ceased to exist in September of 1939, following German and Soviet aggression on Poland (see: Invasion of Poland)


Its capital was Łuck, Volhynia (now: Lutsk in Ukraine). It consisted of 11 powiats (counties), 22 towns and only 103 villages. In 1921 was inhabited by 1 437 569 people, and the population density was only 47.5 persons per sq. km. Around 68% of population was Ukrainian, 17% - Polish, Jews (mainly in towns) - made around 10%. There were also German (2.3%) and Czech (1.5%) settlers, who arrived in the 19th century. In 1931, the population grew to 2 085 600 and the density - to 58 persons per sq. km.

The religion practised in the area was primarily Eastern Orthodox Christian (69.8%). There were also Roman Catholics (15.7%) as well as adherents of Judaism (10%), some Protestants (2.6%) and a few Tatars of the Islamic faith.

Location and area

Initially, Voivodeship’s area was 30 276 square kilometers (until 1930). In this year, Sarny county from Polesie Voivodeship was moved to Volhynian Voivodeship. The Sarny county's area was 5 478 km² and due to this change, region's area grew to 35 754 km² (which made it the second largest in the country). It was located in south-east part of the country, bordering Soviet Union to the east, Lublin Voivodeship to the west, Polesie Voivodeship to the north, Lwów Voivodeship and Tarnopol Voivodeship to the south. Landscape was flat and hilly in parts. In the north, there was a flat strip of land called the Volhynian Polesie, which spread for some 200 kilometers from the Western Bug river to the Polish-Soviet border. South was more hilly, especially extreme south-east, around the historical town of Krzemieniec, which is located in the Gologory mountains. Main rivers - the Styr, the Horyń, the Słucz.

Cities and counties

Its capital was Luck, with population of around 35 600 (as for 1931). Other important centers of the voivodeship were: Równe (in 1931 pop. 42 000), Kowel (pop. 29 100), Włodzimierz Wołyński (pop. 26 000), Krzemieniec (pop. 22 000), Dubno (pop. 15 3000, Ostróg (pop. 13 400) and Zdołbunów (pop. 10 200).


- "Dubno county" (area 3 275 km², pop. 226 700),

- "Horochów county" (area 1757 km², pop. 122 100),

- "Kostopol county" (area 3496 km², pop. 159 600),

- "Kowel" county (area 5682 km², pop. 255 100),

- "Krzemieniec county" (area 2790 km², pop. 243 000),

- "Luboml county" "" (area 2 054 km², pop. 85 500),

- "Łuck county" (area 4 767 km², pop. 290 800),

- "Równe county" (area 2898 km², pop. 252 800),

- "Sarny county", which in 1930 was moved from Polesie Voivodeship (area 5 478 km², pop. 181 300),

- "Włodzimierz Wołyński county" (area 2 208 km², pop. 150 400),

- "Zdołbunów county" (area 1 349 km², pop. 118 300).

Railroads and industry

Volhynian Voivodeship was located in the so-called Poland “B”, which meant that it was underdeveloped, with non-existing industry and it should be more accurate to call it Poland “C”. Large part of population, especially Ukrainian, was poor, with high level of illiteracy (in 1931 as much as 47.8% was illiterate, with the national average of 23.1%).

The situation was much better among Czechs and Germans, whose farms were highly efficient. Railroad network was scarce, with only few junctions - the most important one at Kowel, also at Zdolbunow, Rowne and Wlodzimierz. Total length of railroads within Voivodeship's boundaries was 1 211 kilometers, which was only 3.4 per 100 square kilometers. Forested was 23.7% of area (as for 1937).


*Stanisław Jan Krzakowski 14 March 1921 – 7 July 1921
*Tadeusz Łada 7 July 1921 – 12 August 1921 (acting)
*Stanisław Downarowicz 13 August 1921 – 19 August 1921
*Tadeusz Dworakowski 10 October 1921 – 15 March 1922 (acting)
*Mieczysław Mickiewicz 22 February 1922 – 1 February 1923
*Stanisław Srokowski 1 February 1923 – 29 August 1924
*Bolesław Olszewski 29 August 1924 – 4 February 1925
*Aleksander Dębski 4 February 1925 – 28 August 1926
*Władysław Mech 28 August 1926 – 9 July 1928
*Henryk Józewski 9 July 1928 – 29 December 1929
*Józef Śleszyński 13 January 1930 – 5 June 1930 (acting)
*Henryk Józewski 5 June 1930 – 13 April 1938
*Aleksander Hauke-Nowak 13 April 1938 – September 1939

eptember 1939 and its aftermath

On September 17, 1939, following German aggression on Poland and Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, Soviet forces invaded eastern Poland. As bulk of Polish Army was concentrated in the west, fighting Germans, the Soviets met with little resistance and their troops quickly moved westwards, occupying Voivodeship’s area with ease. In the years 1942-1944 Volhynia was the scene of several massacres.

Later, Voivodeship was incorporated into Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic. Now most part of the region is divided between the Rivne Oblast and Volyn Oblast of Ukraine.

ee also

*Ukraine’s current Volyn Oblast
*Massacres of Poles in Volhynia


* Maly rocznik statystyczny 1939, Nakladem Glownego Urzedu Statystycznego, Warszawa 1939 (Concise Statistical Year-Book of Poland, Warsaw 1939).

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