Completed projects

BKGE | Projects | Publishing houses in Breslau/Wroclaw 1800-1945

A cooperative German-Polish Project to research the general representative nature and effect of a border region.

The significance of the Silesian capital city Breslau (Wroclaw) for publishing in modern time has, until recently, generally been underestimated. Without a doubt, the publishing houses contributed markedly to the cultural profile of the city, but also to the whole of Silesia.

Old Breslau was characterised by its extensive Polish population, but also by its significant Jewish community and its close vicinity to Poland and the Czech state. In 1870, Breslau was the sixth largest publishing location in the German Empire (after Berlin, Leipzig, Stuttgart, Munich and Dresden). Although there were certainly long-established printing works, publishers and bookshops in other Silesian cities, their range of influence was definitely extremely limited, primarily as a result of the restricted local readership and buyers.

However, in Breslau the civil service, scientific fields and commercial industry were steadily establishing a sound footing, so that by the year 1906, effectively a fifth of the population worked in these areas, bringing with them a larger readership with money to spend.


Field of Research

Within the context of a preparatory DFG (German Research Foundation) sponsored German-Polish workshop (2009), the significance of the publishing activities in Breslau was established. However, in this process, it was also identified, that the whole are of publishing in the city between 1800 and 1945 hat effectively never been researched. This was in marked contrast with the research-history of books and printing in Silesia in the early modern period.


German-Polish Project

This was the starting-point for the research project to be conducted by specialists from Germany and Poland under the professional leadership of Siegfried Lokatis (University of Leipzig), Urszula Bonter (University of Breslau/Wrocław) and Detlef Haberland (BKGE)

In the current phase of the project, leading publishers such as Hirt, Trewendt, Korn, Marcus, Priebatsch and Schottlaender, as well as the National Socialist district publisher for Silesia, are being examined as examples of the publishing industry. Personnel structures, program design and planning, sales and reception are also the central focus of this research. Over and above these research areas, is the exploration of the networking by the Breslau publishing industry, which included more than 300 publishers, with publishers in Poland and in Bohemia/Czechoslovakia.

The current individual areas of analysis and investigation are based extensively on materials from the German and Polish archives that have been hitherto unknown or have not previously been analysed. Consequently, there is an additional specific emphasis within this project on the development and collation of these resources.



  • Urszula Bonter, Detlef Haberland: Publishing houses in Breslau Wroclaw 1800-1945. A cooperative German-Polish Project to research the general representative nature and effect of a border region. In: BKGE Yearbook 18/2010, P. 177-240 (Contributions from Monika Estermann, Łukasz Bieniasz, Urszula Bonter, Leszek Dziemianko, Tomasz Majewski, Krzysztof Å»arski).
  • Detlef Haberland (Ed.) in cooperation with Tünde Katona: Book- and Knowledge-Transfer in Central Eastern and South-Eastern Europe in the Early Modern Times. Papers presented the Conference at the University Szeged of 25-28 April, 2006. Munich 2007 (The Papers Volume 34).
  • Detlef Haberland in cooperation with Weronika Karlak and Bernhard Kwoka: Annotated Bibliography on the Book Trade in Silesia to 1800. Munich 2010 (The Papers Volume 39).
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