The Settlement of German colonists in Galicia

In the course of the 1st Partition of Poland in 1772 Galicia became part of the Austrian empire. However it would take more than a decade before the Austrian system of colonization reached its maturity here.

Due to rural German colonization in the Middle Ages, under German law, Galicia was already well developed and comparatively densely populated. Therefore there existed no extensive areas for a new agricultural colonization. The government had only crown lands available taken over from the Polish kings, Jesuit lands (the order was dissolved in 1772) and monastery lands confiscated by Joseph II in 1782.

The Emperor Joseph II, Maria Theresa’s son enacted the Patent of Toleration on October 13th, 1781, followed on September 21st, 1782 by the „Settlement-Patent which assured complete and comprehensive freedom of conscience and religion. This allowed Protestant settlement in the Catholic areas of the state. In the period 1782 – 1785, according to settlement record in Vienna, 3,216 German families with a total of 14,669 persons, mainly originating from the Palatinate, moved to Galicia. (Angabe nach den Wiener Ansiedlungslisten, Ausschnitt aus der original settlement list  vom 27.06.1784).

Under the reign of the Emperor Franz II in 1802 - 1805 a further colonization took place, during which a further 629 families from the western part of Germany and a further 603 families from Austria immigrated to Galicia.

In addition between 1811 and 1848 colonization from Bohemia and from the Egerland took place, with about 400 families settled in 22 villages in the Carpathians and the immediate vicinity.

In principle Austrian authorities aimed to create settlements of colonists of the same religious denomination. Therefore about 90 out of 163 German Villages in Galicia were of exclusively Protestant faith, about 50 Roman Catholic, only the rest were of mixed religious denomination.

Exclusively German settlements were called colonies, but only few of the German settlements formed individual villages. Most of them were added to old existing Polish or Ruthenian villages. When single families or smaller groups of German were integrated into existing Slavic villages, it was called an Einsiedlung.



Further information:(in English)

- the back-story of the emigration of Galicia from south-west-Germany

- Emigration to Galicia from the south-west-German region

- 150 years of modern German settlement in Galicia, terminating with the relocation in 1939

- what happened to the galician germans and their settlements.

Historical abstract  (English ) by Hans Christian Heinz



More information about German settlements in Galicia (in German language)

Ansiedlung, Dörfer und Gehöfte in Galizien

Häuser, Bewirtschaftung der Bauernhöfe. ev. und kath. Siedlungen in Galizien 

Häusler und Handwerker in Galizien

Die katholischen Siedlungen in Galizien

Die Namensgebung der deutschen Kolonien in Galizien

Religionszugehörigkeiten in den deutschen Orten

Schulwesen und Gemeindeverwaltung in Galizien


Galician Cities 1838- 1905 - historical reports taken from old encyclopedias

(in German language)

Brody, Drohobycz, Halicz (Halitsch), Kolomea (Kolomyja), Lemberg (Lwow), Stanislau (Stanislawow)


Resettlement of the Galician Germans 1939/1941

"Background and facts about the resettlement   of the Galician Germans as well as of others German ethnic groups in eastern Europe to the newly founded German Reichsgaue" - by Prof. Dr. Erich Mueller

Rudolf Unterschuetz