The Silesian Voivodship in the Second Polish Republic
The territories of Upper Silesia and Cieszyn Silesia, which were annexed to Poland in 1922, formed the Silesian Voivodship (province). It was the smallest administrative unit in the country, and also the only one consisting of areas of two states separated from Poland before the partitions. Given the plebiscite campaign, the division of the industrial district and a number of existing historical legal systems, this region saw the introduction of administrative solutions that were unseen in other parts of the country.
Already on 15 July 1920, the Legislative Seym of the Republic of Poland adopted a resolution (the so-called Organic Statute) granting autonomy to the future Silesian Voivodship. The essential institution of the region’s political system was the Silesian Parliament, with competences including the right of legislative initiative and approval of nationwide laws in the Voivodship. Other tasks also included running a police organisation operating under the name of the Silesian Voivodship Police. The decisions of the government in Warsaw were limited to military matters and foreign policy. The decisions of the Silesian Parliament were implemented by the Silesian Treasury, established on the basis of taxes, fees and business activity, and part of the funds were transferred to the country’s central budget.
Apart from the provisions protecting the autonomy, the legal separation of Upper Silesia was also influenced for 15 years by the Polish-German Convention (known as the Geneva Convention) signed on 15 May 1922 in Geneva. According to its provisions, separate regulations governed industrial activity, insurance, local border traffic and privileges concerning national minorities.
+ Karol Grzesik, Speaker of the Silesian Parliament in 1935–1939. Photograph by Czesław Datka (OWNED BY THE SILESIAN LIBRARY IN KATOWICE)
+ 10th Anniversary Commemorative Badge of the Silesian Voivodship Police (OWNED BY MUZEUM ŚLĄSKIE W KATOWICACH)
(NATIONAL DIGITAL ARCHIVES OF POLAND)
+ Outdoor mass held in front of the Silesian Parliament building to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Polish Women’s Society. Photograph by Czesław Datka (NATIONAL DIGITAL ARCHIVES OF POLAND)
+ Construction of the building of the Silesian Parliament and the Voivodship Office in Katowice (NATIONAL DIGITAL ARCHIVES OF POLAND)
+ Panorama of Katowice, mid-1930s (OWNED BY MUZEUM ŚLĄSKIE W KATOWICACH)
+ Janina Omańkowska was a journalist and Polish social activist in Upper Silesia. In 1922, she was elected to the Silesian Parliament. As the Senior Speaker, she chaired the inaugural session until the Speaker was elected. This is the first officially recorded instance in the world of a woman chairing a parliament session (OWNED BY MUZEUM ŚLĄSKIE W KATOWICACH)
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Projekt realizowany w ramach obchodów stulecia odzyskania niepodległości oraz odbudowy polskiej państwowości
Muzeum Śląskie w Katowicach jest instytucją kultury Samorządu Województwa Śląskiego współprowadzoną przez Ministerstwo Kultury i Dziedzictwa Narodowego
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PROJEKT REALIZOWANY W RAMACH OBCHODÓW STULECIA ODZYSKANIA NIEPODLEGŁOŚCI ORAZ ODBUDOWY POLSKIEJ PAŃSTWOWOŚCI
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