Poles and Jews in Vilnius region 1939–1941

Andrzej Żbikowski


The historical events in the Vilnius region in the years 1939–1941 unfolded a bit differently than in the rest of the North-East Polish Borderlands. Polish population here was much larger, and the Lithuanians’ claims to these lands were merely historical. Soviet troops entered the city on September 19 and remained there until 27 October 1939. Jews constituted about one third of the Vilnius population reaching nearly 200,000, the rest of which consisted of Poles and only a few thousands of Lithuanians. During the occupation of Lithuania, Polish-Jewish relations ran relatively smoothly with the exception of the tragic incidents in Vilnius between 28 and 31 October 1939. Under Lithuanian rule, the position of Poles became even worse than under the Soviets, since the Lithuanians, like their predecessors, favoured the Jewish population.


Jews; Poles; Vilnius; Soviets; Refugees

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ISSN 1392-0588 (Print)

ISSN 2335-8769 (Online)