Legnica is a city inhabited by 99,000 people in the Polish voivodeship of Lower Silesia. The city is located in the west of the country not far from the capital of the voivodeship, Wroclaw. Legnica was part of the Prussian province of Silesia till 1945.
Silesia (Polish: Śląsk, Czech: Slezsko) is a historical landscape, which today is mainly located in the extreme southwest of Poland, but in parts also on the territory of Germany and the Czech Republic. By far the most significant river is the Oder. To the south, Silesia is bordered mainly by the Sudeten and Beskid mountain ranges. Today, almost 8 million people live in Silesia. The largest cities in the region are Wrocław, Opole and Katowice. Before 1945, most of the region was part of Prussia for two hundred years, and before the Silesian Wars (from 1740) it was part of the Habsburg Empire for almost as many years. Silesia is classified into Upper and Lower Silesia.
Wrocław is the capital of the Lower Silesia Voivodeship (Polish: dolnośląskie), which is located in western Poland. It is inhabited by nearly 640,000 people and is the fourth largest city in Poland. Wroclaw is located on the Odra River.
Warsaw is the capital of Poland and with almost 1.8 million inhabitants also the largest city in the country. It is located in the Mazovian Voivodeship on Poland's longest river, the Vistula. Warsaw first became the capital of the Polish-Lithuanian noble republic at the end of the 16th century, replacing Krakow, which had previously been the Polish capital. During the partitions of Poland-Lithuania, Warsaw was occupied several times and finally became part of the Prussian province of South Prussia for eleven years. From 1807 to 1815 the city was the capital of the Duchy of Warsaw, a short-lived Napoleonic satellite state; in the annexation of the Kingdom of Poland under Russian suzerainty (the so-called Congress Poland). It was not until the establishment of the Second Polish Republic after the end of World War I that Warsaw was again the capital of an independent Polish state.
At the beginning of World War II, Warsaw was conquered and occupied by the Wehrmacht only after intense fighting and a siege lasting several weeks. Even then, a five-digit number of inhabitants were killed and parts of the city, known not least for its numerous baroque palaces and parks, were already severely damaged. In the course of the subsequent oppression, persecution and murder of the Polish and Jewish population, by far the largest Jewish ghetto under German occupation was established in the form of the Warsaw Ghetto, which served as a collection camp for several hundred thousand people from the city, the surrounding area and even occupied foreign countries, and was also the starting point for deportation to labor and extermination camps.
As a result of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising from April 18, 1943 and its suppression in early May 1943, the ghetto area was systematically destroyed and its last inhabitants deported and murdered. This was followed in the summer of 1944 by the Warsaw Uprising against the German occupation, which lasted two months and resulted in the deaths of almost two hundred thousand Poles, and after its suppression the rest of Warsaw was also systematically destroyed by German units.
In the post-war period, many historic buildings and downtown areas, including the Warsaw Royal Castle and the Old Town, were rebuilt - a process that continues to this day.
Kaliningrad is a city in today's Russia. It is located in the Kaliningrad oblast, a Russian exclave between Lithuania and Poland. Kaliningrad, formerly Königsberg, belonged to Prussia for several centuries and was the northeasternmost major city.
Riga is the capital of Latvia and, with almost 630,000 inhabitants, by far the largest city in the country. It is located in the southwest of the historical landscape of Livonia near the mouth of the river Daugava in the Gulf of Riga. Historically, Riga was an important trading and Hanseatic city with a largely German-speaking population, whose political supremacy changed repeatedly. Until the end of the Middle Ages, it was mainly ecclesiastical rulers (Archbishopric of Riga, Teutonic Order) who claimed the city and the surrounding area for themselves. After a short period of Polish-Lithuanian rule, the city became part of Sweden in 1621. Just a century later, Riga became part of the Russian Empire and here became the capital of the Baltic governorate of Livonia. Only in 1918 Riga became the capital of an independent Latvian state.