The Mazurs or Masurs ( _pl. Mazurzy) are a sub-ethnic group in the Masovian and Warmian-Masurian Voivodeships in Poland. Mazurs from Masovia are known as Masovians ( _pl. Mazowszanie; _de. Masowier). Some of them moved to Prussia especially during and after Reformation and in the 1800s Masuria region of East Prussia was named after these Protestant Masurians ( _pl. Mazurzy; _de. Masuren).

The name of the sub-ethnic group is derived from the Lekhitic tribe of Masovians who gave their name to the land of Masovia in Poland.


In the Middle Ages, the inhabitants of the northern Duchy of Masovia were called "Mazury" in Polish. Between the 15th and 17th centuries, settlers from northern Masovia moved to southern territories of Duchy of Prussia and later Kingdom of Prussia, the land of the Old Prussians following their conquest by the Teutonic Knights.

Because of the influx of Masovians into the southern lakeland of the Duchy of Prussia, the area started to be known as "Masuria". During the Protestant Reformation, Masurians, like most inhabitants of Ducal Prussia, became Lutheran Protestants, while the neighboring Masovians remained Roman Catholic. The small minority of Protestant Masovians in the south emigrated into Prussian Masuria. Masuria became part of the Kingdom of Prussia in 1701 and the Prussian-led German Empire in 1871.

Beginning in the 1870s, Imperial German officials restricted the usage of languages other than German in Prussia's eastern provinces. [Clark, p. 580] The German authorities undertook several measures to Germanise the Masurians or separate them culturally from neighboring Poles by creating a separate identity. [Becoming German: Lessons from the Past for the Present" Brian McCook in Leitkultur and Nationalstolz-Tabu -German Phenomena? Bonn, April 2002Alexander von Humboldt Foundation pages 33-42] Many Masurians emigrated to the Ruhr Area, especially to Gelsenkirchen.

Support for Germany was strong amongst the Masurians during World War I. [Clark, p. 608] In 1920, the East Prussian plebiscite was held to determine the new border between the Second Polish Republic and German East Prussia. Although a small group of Masurians did vote for Poland, the vast majority (97.9%) opted to remain in Prussia. [ [| Rocznik statystyki Rzczypospolitej Polskiej/Annuaire statistique de la République Polonaise 1 (1920/22), Teil 2, Warszawa 1923, S. 358.] ]

Support for the Nazi Party was high in Masuria, especially in elections in 1932 and 1933. [Clark, p. 640] Nazi political rallies were organized in Polish during the campaigning. [Clark, p. 640] Several Masurian towns and villages had their original Slavic or sometimes Baltic Prussian names changed to new German names by Nazi Germany in 1938. Along with German-speaking East Prussians, many Masurians fled to western Germany as the Soviet Red Army approached East Prussia in 1945 during World War II. The post-war Potsdam Conference placed Masuria under Polish administration. After 1956 most Masurians who had remained in Poland immigrated to West Germany, due to economical and political reasons.

The Masurians have been studied by the sociologist Andrzej Sakson.

ee also

* Warmiak
* Lietuvininks
* Kursenieki
* Mazurka



*cite book|last=Clark|first=Christopher|authorlink=Christopher Clark|title=Iron Kingdom: The Rise and Downfall of Prussia 1600–1947|year=2006|publisher=Belknap Press of Harvard|location=Cambridge|pages=776|isbn=067402385-4
*German|Masuren (Volk)|11 September 2006

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