After World War II, many of those who retained their German language and customs were forcibly expelled by the Russians and the Poles, with the loss of all their property.Tsarina Catherine II was a German, born in Stettin in Pomerania, now Szczecin in Poland.Moving to Russia gave German immigrants political rights that they would not have possessed in their own lands.Religious minorities found these terms very agreeable, particularly Mennonites from the Vistula River valley.Eventually, Prussia acquired most of the Vistula's watershed, and the central portion of then-Poland became South Prussia.Its existence was brief - 1793 to 1806, but by its end many German settlers had established Protestant agricultural settlements within its earlier borders.From already-Prussian Silesia to the southwest some German Roman Catholics also entered the region.
Through wars and the partitions of Poland, Prussia acquired an increasing amount of northern, western, and central Polish territory.
After Napoleon's defeat in 1815, however, the Duchy was divided.
The western Posen region again became part of Prussia, while what is now central Poland became the Russian client-state Congress Poland.
By 2002, the population fell by half to roughly one million.
597,212 Germans were enumerated in Russia (2002 Russian census), making Germans the fifth largest ethnic group in that country.She proclaimed open immigration for foreigners wishing to live in the Russian Empire on July 22, 1763, marking the beginning of a much larger presence for Germans in the Empire.