period, commencing with the independence of Poland till the issue of
first definitive stamps by the Polish Ministry of Post & Telegraph,
forms without doubt the most interesting part of Polish Postal History.
generally accepted date of the independence of Poland, after World War
1, is the 11th November 1918. This date, however, really only applies
the central part of Poland occupied by Germany (General-Gouvernement
The area occupied by Austria was freed on 29th October 1918. The
area was held by the Germans till 27th December 1918 and the Pomorze
till 10th February 1919.
Polish Liquidation Commission, comprising of most of the Polish
parties in Galicia, was formed on the 28th October 1918 in Krakow. They
declared themselves as an independent government for the whole of
including Silesian Cieszyn and the Ukrainian part of Galicia. Within
days of their formation they were in control of Krakow, but beyond
they had little or no control. The real power lay in the hands of local
committees. Despite the formation of a government in Warsaw, which had
the support of much of the country, the Polish Liquidation Commission
itself independent till the 31st December 1918.
the 19th October 1918 a Ukrainian Constitutional Assembly took place in
Lwow and proclaimed an independent Ukrainian nation. With the help of
remnants of the Austrian army still remaining in Eastern Galicia they
control of all Galicia east of the river San on the 1st November 1918.
This independence was short lived, on the 22nd November 1918 Lwow was
by the Polish army and the rest of Eastern Galicia came under Polish
Republic of Tarnobrzeg (Republika Tarnobrzeska) was declared at a mass
meeting of some 30,000 people in the town of Tarnobrzeg on the 6th
1918. It only gained local support from the surrounding towns of
Niszko, Sandomierz and Janow. Again this was short lived.
POLISH GOVERNMENT IN LUBLIN
the 7th November 1918 a Provisional Government of the Polish Peoples
was formed in Lublin, this gained support from most of the country and
was to form the basis of a the new government of Poland.
POST OFFICE IN 1918
the departure of the Austrian army and Austrian administrators the Post
Offices were left in the hands of Polish employees who continued to
normally. Since there was no Ministry of Post there were no stamps
supplied, so existing Austrian stamps continued to be used. The
known instruction on this subject is dated the 5th November 1918 which
stated that existing stamps were to be used and existing regulation
to be followed. This instruction, from the Director of Post &
in Lublin, was for the area which had previously been under Austrian
Polish Ministry of Post & Telegraph in Warsaw came into being on
18th November 1918.
the 12th January 1919 the Director of Post & Telegraph in Lwow
an instruction that as from the 20th January 1919 Austrian stamps would
cease to be valid in Galicia - this did not apply to officially
stamps. This instruction was, however, not rigorously observed in every
Post Office and unoverprinted Austrian stamps continued to be used for
of the provisional overprints which were supplied to Post Offices were
often inadequate and soon run out. The recommended method of payment
the counter proved unpopular as it caused long queues in some Post
are several reason for stamps being overprinted rather than being used
Because of a patriotic reawakening. The Polish people, after over 120
now free and independent, were loath to see the continuing use of a
occupying power and were demanding Polish stamps. The postal
being unable to produce Polish stamps attempted to show that the stamps
were Polish by the use of an appropriate overprint.
The new government had issued instruction for the removal of all
emblems etc of the previously occupying powers. At the very least this
instruction had some influence to overprint stamps of the occupying
The economic factor was important, it was cheaper and quicker to
than to produce new stamps,
The philatelic factor was an influence for some of the overprints. In a
few instances speculators were instrumental in producing overprints by
producing the hand stamps and acquiring stocks from other parts of the
Austro-Hungarian Empire, where they were in plentiful supply.
overprints, on Austrian stamps, are known from the following:
Bielsko, Czermin, Dziedzice, Mielec, Myslenice, Przemysl, Rozwadow,
Swiatniki Gorne and Tarnow.
overprints, on German stamps, are known from the following:
Kujawski, Blonie, Brzeziny, Ciechocinek, Grodzisk, Izbica, Kalisz,
Konin, Leczyca, Lowicz, Lukow, Makow, Ostroleka, Ostrow Mazowiecka,
Poddebice, Plonsk, Pultusk, Sieradz, Skierniewice, Wloclawek and