Embossed town seal

of Chrzanów from 1575

A HISTORY OF CHRZANÓW

 

PRIOR TO 1809

The beginning of Chrzanów is murky and it is impossible to establish reliable date of the foundation of the town. On the site of the town a stronghold must have existed. This must have been raised to the rank of a castellany (an administrative-defence centre) during the process of the formation of the Polish State. It seems probable that the stronghold was named after its founder, a legendary Chrzan (such a hypothesis is not excluded by Jan Pęckowski in his book "Chrzanów, miasto powiatowe w województwie krakowskiem" from 1934). The earliest documents corroborate the existence of Chrzanów castellany in the Duchy of Cracow from the late 12th c. Around 1178 Chrzanów castellany was annexed to Silesia (Duchy of Opole-Bytom) by order of Duke Casimir II the Just. In the second half of the 13th c., however, it was reunited with the Duchy of Cracow. Since that time, until the final partition of the Kingdom of Poland in 1795, Chrzanów remained part of Cracow Country. The surviving documents preserve the names of two castellans of Chrzanów: Dobiesław (1258) and Sulisław (1268). In 1241 the wooden stronghold of Chrzanów was put to the torch by Mongol hordes invading Poland from the east. The town of Chrzanów was built according to the Magdeburg Law in the mid-14th c. under the reign of King Casimir III the Great, however, nothing proves that it was surrounded by defence walls. It is believed that Chrzanów was an open town. The local church was mentioned for the first time in documents in the tax-register of Peter's Pence, 1325-1328. The church and the parish of Chrzanów already existed then, meaning that they had to have existed earlier, probably already in the 13th c. In the Liber beneficiorum (15th c.) the mediaeval chronicler Długosz mentioned briefly: "The town of Chrzanów has a stone church". Since the time of its construction in the 14th c. until 1640 the town was the property of the Ligęza family of the Półkozic coat of arms. The first owner of Chrzanów of the Ligęza family was Jan (probably from c. 1386 to 1419), Castellan and Voivode of Łęczyca, confidant of King Ladislas II Jagiełło, commander of the 32nd company of the Polish Army in the Battle of Grunwald (1410) and signatory of the act of Polish-Lithuanian Union of Horodło in 1413. Following his death Chrzanów passed to his son Jan (until 1458) and then to Jan's sister Elżbieta. From 1470 Chrzanów became property of Stanisław Ligęza (until 1483), and then until 1516 it passed to Piotr Ligęza. From 1516 to 1557 Chrzanów was owned by Piotr's son, also Piotr. After him the town was inherited by Mikołaj Spytek Ligęza (until 1616).

FAMOUS VISITORS TO CHRZANÓW AND CHRZANÓW COUNTY

 

KING OF POLAND (1386-1434) and GRAND DUKE OF LITHUANIA LADISLAS II JAGIEŁŁO (*1352,+1434 Gródek near Lwów, buried in the Royal Wawel Basilica in Cracow), following the Battle of Grunwald (1410) the King sent the most prominent Teutonic POWs to be kept at Tenczyn Castle (east of Chrzanów). The King's sojourn at Tenczyn Castle was immortalised in Józef Elsner's (Chopin's teacher) opera, "Jagiełło at Tenczyn".

 

BISHOP OF CRACOW, CARDINAL ZBIGNIEW OLEŚNICKI (*1389,+1455 in Sandomierz), visited the Castle of Lipowiec near Chrzanów in 1430.

 

QUEEN OF POLAND BONA SFORZA (*1494 Vigevano Castle near Pavia,+1557 Bari, buried in the Basilica of St Nicholas in Bari), Princess of Milan, second wife of King Sigismund I the Old of Poland, married per procura in Naples on 6th December 1517 (during the ceremony the person of the Polish king was represented by Castellan of Kalisz Stanisław Ostroróg and the couple was wed by Rev. Jan Konarski assisted by six Italian bishops). The Queen and her over 300 person strong cortège set out for a passage to Poland going from Naples to Bari, then by ship to Rijeka, and from there on land via Ljubljana, Celje, Maribor, Graz, Wiener Neustadt, Vienna and Olomouc towards the boundary of Poland. The first town within the then boundaries of the Kingdom of Poland where the Queen stopped at was Oświęcim. The following day, 12th April 1518, Queen Bona had entered Chrzanów Country travelling from Oświęcim to Tenczyn Castle, where she spent the night. The owner of the castle, Andrzej Tęczyński, rode out of the castle with a cortège of his courtiers to welcome the Queen. A feast was thrown that night at the castle in Queen's honour. The following day Queen Bona had set out towards Cracow, where on 18th April 1518, she was wed in person to the King of Poland, Sigismund I the Old, and duly crowned.

 

AUTHOR MIKOŁAJ REJ (*1505 Żurawno near Halicz,+1569 Rejowiec), who spent his youth at the court of Andrzej Tęczyński and POET JAN KOCHANOWSKI (*1530 Sycyna,+1584 Lublin, buried in Zwoleń Church), both stayed at Tenczyn Castle east of Chrzanów.

The Ligęza times were an auspicious period for the town. Main activities of the residents were: trade, crafts and agriculture. Trade was furthered by the favourable situation of the town on the main roads from Silesia to Cracow and from Cracow to Oświęcim and beyond to Moravia, and by the 1500 Privilege issued by Piotr Ligęza. The document settled relations between Chrzanów's burghers and the owners of the town. The Privilege of Piotr Ligęza of Bobrek guaranteed, among others, that:

-The citizens of Chrzanów and their descendants cannot be summoned in any legal matters by court officials to Bobrek Castle (except when the lord of the castle is present), but in need court officials must come to Chrzanów and there they must judge over legal matters together with the Mayor and town councillors,

-The citizens of Chrzanów are not to pay taxes on beer, malt, grain and honey imported for the town's own use,

-Salt and lead exporters pay the owner of Chrzanów 1 penny per a cart of salt and 4 pence for 24 hundredweights of lead,

The citizens of Chrzanów have the right to free firewood and wood for construction from designated wooded areas, and the right to use of designated pastures. For the latter right they are obliged, however, for a two-day labour on the meadows and one-day labour with harvest per annum,

-The citizens of Chrzanów are allowed to collect honey in the owner's woods against a fee of 1 penny,

-The citizens of Chrzanów have the right to free passage through the bridge over the Vistula, but when needed they are obliged to help in repairing the bridge,

-Chrzanów receives the right to a fair on the Day of St Nicholas and fairs on all feast days in the winter and the right to sell foreign beer and mead,

The citizens of Chrzanów are obliged to pay the following taxes per annum: the town tax of 15 times 48 pence, the house, bath and garden tax of 1 penny, the shoemaker tax of 2 pence (or 1 pair shoes), the potter tax of 1 penny (or 12 pieces of pottery), the butcher tax of 3 pence, the brewer tax of 6 pence, the alcohol-distiller tax of 3 pence, and on the top of this the burghers are obliged to help as best as they can in any military expeditions.

Attributes of everyday life

 of Chrzanovians in 18th century

To this very day the town has kept its mediaeval town-planning configuration typical of towns built according to the Law of Magdeburg, with a centrally located square market place and the adjoining parallel running streets. In mid-15th c. Chrzanów had c. 430 residents and in the 17th c. some 650. At least from the early 15th c. a parish school existed by Chrzanów's Church of St Nicholas. It was the centre of primary education for local youth until the 19th century. In the beginning the school taught first of all religious singing, Latin, catechism, writing and reading and probably also arithmetic. Jews started to settle down in Chrzanów from 1590. In 1765 Chrzanów had 327 Jewish residents which made 1/4 of all residents of the town. In the 16th c., through the good offices of the Ligęzas, King Sigismund II Augustus bestowed a new privilege on the town, allowing for four extra fairs. Various guilds were active in the town: weavers' (manufacturing Bernardine woolen cloth, quite popular in the past), tailors', shoemakers', smiths', butchers' and others. Ancient Chrzanów's speciality was trading cattle, as here was a customs house for exports of cattle to Silesia and ore trade which was mined and smelted by Chrzanów's burghers. In the past a special unit of weight existed, employed in the lead trade, and known as centenarius ponderis gravis Chrzanoviensis, or a Chrzanovian hundredweight.

 

In 1640, following Anna Ligęza's death, Chrzanów was taken over by Andrzej Samuel Dembiński. The last owner of Chrzanów of the Ligęza family, Mikołaj Spytek, was seriously indebted to Dembiński and therefore was forced to transfer his Chrzanów estate to him in 1617 under one condition, however: Anna Ligęza would remain a lifelong resident and the titular lady of the estate. When Dembiński passed away in 1649 Chrzanów was inherited by his granddaughter Katarzyna née Komorowska, primo voto Grudzińska, secundo voto Łącka. Following her death in 1675, the Chrzanów estate passed to her relatives, the Stadnicki family, who owned Chrzanów until 1731 when Teresa Stadnicka married Józef Kanty Ossoliński and brought Chrzanów as her dowry. In 1654 King John II Casimir bestowed upon Chrzanów the privilege of holding extra fairs and in 1781 a similar privilege was bestowed on the town by King Stanislas II Augustus. The second half of the 17th c. was a particularly hard period for Chrzanów. As a result of wars waged at the time the town was looted on several occasions by the Swedes (1655-1657), the Austrians who fought against them (1657), by Transylvanian troops of Prince George Rákóczi and by Polish troops as well. The extent of devastation suffered by the town was corroborated by representatives of the local administration in testimony before the City Council of Cracow. From it we learn that out of 119 houses (in 1668), only 76 were still standing and: "the rest is laid in ruins and run to weeds". Losses were accounted to 36% of the overall housing in Chrzanów. To make things worse natural disasters also fell on the town. One of the pages of Chrzanów's weaving register from c. 1678 preserved an example of burgher poetry. Its subject is a powerful tempest which in those times raged over Chrzanów:

 

For sins God Almighty punishes the nations

Sending wars, plagues, fire and water tribulations,

He feeds his creatures with bread,

Then takes it away for we are so bad.

A dreary southerly cloud covered the heavens with all its might,

And made of a bright day a dark night.

Down poured horrible thunder with lightning,

The earth was quaking and it was frightening.

Then ghastly hailstorm for two hours lashed

What terrible news, all crops were smashed.

 

In 1658 Court Marshal Jerzy Lubomirski issued a proclamation to the military, in which he imposed under severe penalty, neither to station in, nor to plunder Chrzanów and surrounding villages being the property of Katarzyna Grudzińska, because of her family's services to the native land. During the Great Northern War (1700-1721) Chrzanów was plundered and put to the torch by Swedish troops of King Charles XII. Fires which destroyed most of wooden houses, caused the depopulation and final decline of the town. In the 1713 register the number of houses destroyed and vacated was given: "In Market Sq. out of 26 houses - 11 devastated, in Zakościelna St - 12, in Garncarska St - 5, in Kościelecka St - 11, in Krzyska St - 33. Altogether 62".

A plaque commemorating the visit of

King John III Sobieski at Lipowiec Castle

Furthermore twice, in 1726 and in 1748, the Church of St Nicholas burnt down. The new owner of the town, Józef Kanty Ossoliński, founded in 1763 a special commission to salvage the town. The work of the commission made it possible for Chrzanów to rise from its collapse caused by wars and to regulate the situation of the ever growing Jewish community (the Jewish cemetery and a synagogue were built then). Józef Kanty Ossoliński had a stone manor house built for himself in the town in place of an earlier wooden structure. The last owner of Chrzanów of the Ossoliński family, Józef Salezy, wasted his father's fortune which he inherited in 1780. At his death in 1789 his debt was so huge that after a couple of years when his Chrzanów estate remained under supervision of various stewards, it was decided to auction it off in 1804. During the Polish-Russian war which broke out in 1792, Chrzanów was occupied by Russian troops (1792-1793) which committed numerous acts of violence and plunder on the residents of Chrzanów. Russian occupation was followed by Prussian one (1793-1795), which was not much different (the Prussians stole, among others, the furniture of Chrzanów's manor house). When the Polish uprising broke out in 1794 Chrzanovians, still keeping in mind their ordeal under foreign occupation, rushed to volunteer to fight against the invaders, which they were thanked for by the leader of the uprising Tadeusz Kościuszko in his Połaniec Manifesto. In 1795, following the fall of the uprising and the third partition of Poland-Lithuania, Chrzanów was annexed to the Olkusz District of West Galicia in the Habsburg Empire (before this Chrzanów was part of Cracow County in Cracow Province). The number of residents did not exceed 2000 then. Chrzanów remained under Austrian rule until 1809. Austrian rule of that period limited the local government and obliged the residents to denounce other residents who had deserted the Austrian military and volunteered in Napoleon's army (or more precisely to Dąbrowski's Polish Legions in Italy: a desertion of a Chrzanów resident St. Baran was registered in Austrian documents with a remark "who fled to the Polish Army"), and later returned to Galicia. The following disposition in this matter was issued in Polish in 1801 at Olkusz by Austrian governor of the district, a Mr Schotek:

 

It is possible that many soldiers serving with the Dąbrowski Legions, being part of the French Army, and coming from Galicia, will seek to come back home to their families. Because they had turned against their righteous ruler and fought in the armies of his enemy, cannot therefore on any account be admitted to rights which other good subjects of his imperial and royal majesty enjoy, and cannot be protected by such laws. [...] As imperial and royal customs houses received orders that not a single such arrival be allowed into the country but turn him back at once at the frontier. [...]. All estates, magistrates, authorities, town councils and in general all citizens and residents in the name of the high country chairman's office are strictly obliged to follow this disposition, as those who will be found guilty of giving any help to such Galicians to return to the country and to stay here, will be punished severely without any mercy, so let everyone keep misfortune at bay by not breaking this disposition.

 

FAMOUS VISITORS TO CHRZANÓW AND CHRZANÓW COUNTY

KING OF POLAND (1674-1696) JOHN III SOBIESKI (*1629 Olesko Castle near Lwów, +1696 Wilanów, buried in the Royal Wawel Basilica in Cracow), on 17th August 1683, en route to relieve the Siege of Vienna, he stopped at Lipowiec Castle near Chrzanów. The King's sojourn at Lipowiec was commemorated in a memorial plaque at Lipowiec Castle. The King visited Chrzanów Country frequently. In the woods near Paczółtowice, still in 1914, was a stone with an inscription reading: John III. On that very stone the King used to rest when he was fox-hunting in the surrounding woods.

 

BISHOP OF CRACOW ANDRZEJ STANISŁAW ZAŁUSKI (*1695,+1758), founder in 1747 (with his brother) of the famous Załuski Library in Warsaw. He was Grand Chancellor of the Kingdom of Poland and a champion of the Enlightenment in Poland. He stayed in Chrzanów in 1748 in connection with a bishop's visitation.

 

 KING OF POLAND (1764-1795) STANISLAS II AUGUSTUS PONIATOWSKI (*1732 Wołczyn in Polesie,+1798 St Petersburg, buried in St John's Basilica in Warsaw), travelled Chrzanów Country in the summer of 1787. The King visited, among others, Poręba-Żegoty, where he was the guest of Count Aleksander Szembek, who on account of King's sojourn, had to pawn his Trzebinia estate. The King also visited Alwernia, Czerna, Krzeszowice, Nowa Góra and Tenczyn. Historian who had accompanied the King at his journey described the royal visit to the ruins of Tenczyn Castle in such words:

Abode of an extinct family, now in its enormous ruins, serves as an evidence of evanescence of all things human. His Majesty enjoyed the elevated location of the sight and from it numerous views of mountains, valleys and many villages.

At the village of Paczółtowice once grew historic lime-trees under which King Stanislas Augustus had a rest en route from Cracow to Warsaw.

 

PRIMATE OF POLAND, PRINCE CARDINAL MICHAŁ PONIATOWSKI (*1736,+1794), brother of King Stanislas Augustus. In 1783 he stayed in Chrzanów in connection with a bishop's visitation.

 

ZYGMUNT VOGEL (*1764 Wołczyn in Polesie,+1826 Warsaw), COURT PAINTER AND ILLUSTRATOR of King Stanislas Augustus Poniatowski. In 1787, as part of the royal programme of documenting the most important historic sights of Poland-Lithuania he was commissioned by the King to make pictures of historic buildings of Krzeszowice, Tenczyn, Alwernia, Czerna and Lipowiec.

 

GERMAN POET JOHANN WOLFGANG VON GOETHE (*1749 Frankfurt am Main,+1832 Weimar, buried in the Ducal Mausoleum at the Historischer Friedhof in Weimar) in 1790 during his passage to Cracow he spent a night at Krzeszowice.

 

GENERAL JAN HENRYK DĄBROWSKI (*1755 Pierzchowiec,+1818 Winnogóra), the creator of the Polish Legions in Italy. In 1809 he stayed at the spa in Krzeszowice.

Chrzanów on a 1792 map of Cracow Province

1809-1846

In the period 1795-1809 Chrzanów was a part of Austrian Galicia. In 1809, as a result of the war between Austria and the Duchy of Warsaw, West Galicia (now Radom, Kielce, Lublin, Siedlce and a part of the Cracow region north of the Vistula) was annexed to the Duchy of Warsaw and Chrzanów became a town in Krzeszowice County of the Cracow Department (1810-1815). During this period ownership of the town also changed. From 1804 to 1822 Chrzanów estate was owned by Duke Albert Casimir of Saxe-Cieszyn, son of the late King of Poland, Augustus III of Saxony.

 

Following the fall of Napoleon, a treaty among Austria, Prussia and Russia is concluded during the Congress of Vienna resulting in creation of the Free City of Cracow on 3rd May 1815. Chrzanów and the surrounding areas are annexed to the newly created state which is formally independent but in practice fairly dependent on Austria, Prussia and Russia. Its total area was 1030 sq. km. with the population of 95,000. Chrzanów had (in 1838) 4078 residents: 2009 of the Roman-Catholic and 2069 of the Jewish faith. The supreme authority of the Free City was the Governing Senate of the Free City of Cracow. In this period Chrzanów experienced great prosperity in general and economically in particular. Thanks to its location on main trade routes and also in the area where the boundaries of Austria, Prussia and Russia met, the Free City of Cracow and Chrzanów became - in modern language - a tax-free area - a Polish San Marino and a paradise for tradesmen and smugglers alike. The Congress of Vienna bestowed a number of privileges upon the Free City which had a very beneficial influence on country's economy (no import or export tax etc.). Apart from this the small country concluded profitable trade treaties with the Kingdom of Poland (which was under Russian rule at the time) and other countries, which undoubtedly had a positive influence on the rising living standards of its citizens. Cracow received the right to mint its own coins, but since the Free City remained in monetary union with the Kingdom of Poland, it did not resort to this right until 1835 and used Polish coins instead.

In 1835 to protest against the removal of the Polish White Eagle from coins of the Russian-occupied Kingdom of Poland, the Senate of Cracow decided to strike its own coinage, the Cracovian złoty, which remained in circulation for several years after the Free City was occupied and annexed by Austria in 1846. The period of the Free City of Cracow was a time of prosperity and rapid development for Chrzanów and its residents. In this period ownership of Chrzanów estate changed again. The former owner, Duke Albert Casimir of Saxe-Cieszyn, bequeathed the town to Archduke Charles Louis of Austria (1822), who in turn sold it to the Cracovian Senator and MP from Chrzanów Jan Mieroszewski. In 1856 Mieroszewski decided to sell his Chrzanów estate to a group of Wrocław entrepreneurs, Kuznitzki, Loewenfeld, Silbergleit, one of whom, Emanuel Loewenfeld, soon became the sole owner. The Loewenfeld family and their descendants were the last owners of the Chrzanów estate until 1939 (in theory until 1945). In the period of the Free City of Cracow the Chrzanów parish school was reformed and became a primary school. In the school year 1819/20 it was frequented by 108 pupils: 89 boys and 19 girls. Among the pupils were 21 Jews. In 1835 a branch of Cracow's St Anne's Secondary School was opened under the name Szkoła Wydziałowa. From 1835 three schools existed in Chrzanów: a Christian primary school, a Jewish primary school and the Szkoła Wydziałowa. The following subjects were taught at the Szkoła Wydziałowa: religion, morality, Polish, Latin, German, history, geography, arithmetic, calligraphy and drawing. The Senate of the Free City of Cracow introduced universal compulsory education for all children which spread education among residents of Chrzanów in an unprecedented way.

 

In this period the town received a new police station consisting of 4-5 policemen. It was headed from 1844 by Commissioner Józef Tuszyński. A post office of the Free City was also opened in Chrzanów (1834). The mail between Chrzanów and Cracow was delivered twice a week. The post office in Chrzanów displayed the coat-of-arms of the Free City with a post horn beneath it. The first head of Chrzanów post office was the Bailiff of the town Adam Janowski. In November 1816 a direct postal connection between Cracow and Mysłowice in then Prussian Silesia was opened, including on its route Chrzanów and Jaworzno. The former route between Cracow and Prussia ran via territory of the Kingdom of Poland (Olkusz and Sławków). In the years 1835-1838 the Construction Office of the Free City of Cracow carried out areal measurements in Chrzanów and worked out a plan of development and modernization of the town which was supposed to be launched making Chrzanów a modern and attractive place to live. The plan by Cracovian architects included creating of a number of new, wide streets lined with trees (Lipowiecka, Browarniana, Trzebińska, Senatorska, Mieroszewska, etc.) and widening and modernizing the existing ones. Chrzanów was to be developed towards the Chechło River. These plans were thwarted by oncoming political developments, including the breaking of the trade convention by Russia in 1843 and the occupation of the Free City by Austria in 1846. Remarkably, a small section of the plan had been carried out in the final years of the 19th c.: on the site of a southwards avenue planned in 1835, the picturesque Henry Avenue was created.

FAMOUS VISITORS TO CHRZANÓW AND CHRZANÓW COUNTY

 

WRITER AND PUBLICIST JULIAN URSYN NIEMCEWICZ (*1758 Skoki in Polesie,+1841 Paris) in 1811 he visited Krzeszowice.

 

 CZAR OF RUSSIA (1801-1825) and KING OF POLAND (1815-1825) ALEXANDER I (*1777 St Petersburg, +1825 Taganrog, buried in St Peter and Paul's Cathedral in St Petersburg), in 1823 he visited Chrzanów invited by the then owners of the town, the Counts Mieroszewskis.

 

GENERAL JÓZEF CHŁOPICKI (*1771 Kapustyn in Volhynia,+1854 Krzeszowice), Supreme Commander of the Polish Army and dictator during the November Uprising 1830-31. After quelling the uprising the Russians exiled General Chłopicki to the Free City of Cracow. He visited his friend Count Adam Potocki in Krzeszowice on a number of occasions. The General died in 1854 in Krzeszowice. He was buried in a chapel of the local cemetery.

 

ETHNOGRAPHER AND COMPOSER OSKAR KOLBERG (*1814 Przysucha,+1890 Cracow), member of the Academy of Learning; he visited the Castle of Młoszowa near Trzebinia.

 

PROF. JULIAN DUNAJEWSKI (*1824 Stanisławów,+1907 Cracow), Austrian Treasury Minister, Galician MP and professor of Lwów and Cracow universities; he visited the Castle of Młoszowa near Trzebinia.

 

PAINTER JAN MATEJKO (*1830 Cracow,+1893 ibid., buried in the Rakowicki Cemetery in Cracow), he visited the spa in Krzeszowice on a number of occassions and also the Potocki Palace where he was commissioned to paint.

Duke Albert Casimir Wettin of Cieszyn-Saxony - the owner of Chrzanów estate, 1804-1822

A passport of a citizen of the Free City of Cracow. Such documents were possessed by Chrzanovians travelling abroad

Chrzanów's location on the map of the Republic of Cracow.

Below: a map of Chrzanów, 1835

FAMOUS VISITORS TO CHRZANÓW AND CHRZANÓW COUNTY

 

ST RAFAŁ JÓZEF KALINOWSKI (*1835 Wilno/Vilnius,+1907 Wadowice, buried in Czerna Monastery), insurgent of the January Uprising (1863-64), canonised in 1991. He was the prior of Czerna Monastery near Krzeszowice. He visited Trzebina on a number of occasions.

 

NOVELIST ELIZA ORZESZKOWA (*1841 Miłkowszczyzna near Grodno,+1910 Grodno, buried at the parish cemetery in Grodno). She was the author of the novel "On the Niemen". She visited the spa of Krzeszowice.

 

NOBEL PRIZE WINNER IN LITERATURE, HENRYK SIENKIEWICZ (*1846 Wola Okrzejska,+1916 Vevey, Switzerland, buried in St John's Basilica in Warsaw), in 1885, 1888 and in 1890 he was travelling through the County of Chrzanów passing through Trzebinia, Chrzanów and Szczakowa. At Szczakowa Sienkiewicz encountered problems at crossing the Austrian boundary due to lacking the required documents. Wife of Count Adam Potocki of Krzeszowice, who happened to travel the same route, intervened with the authorities making it possible for Sienkiewicz to cross the boundary. In 1908 Sienkiewicz spent holidays in the village of Rudawa near Krzeszowice at the villa of a writer Antonina Domańska.

 

WRITER ANTONINA DOMAŃSKA (*1853,+1917), author of historical novels for youngsters (e.g. "King Sigismund's Pages", "The Yellow Slippers"); she lived at Rudawa near Krzeszowice where her husband, neurologist Professor Stanisław Domański, had a villa.

The good fortune of Chrzanów and the Free City of Cracow was broken by the outbreak of the November Uprising in the Kingdom of Poland in 1830, then the outbreak of a cholera epidemic in the summer of 1831 and finally by the Russian occupation from September to December 1831. Although Chrzanovian volunteers enrolled the army of the Kingdom of Poland, the Free City of Cracow remained neutral in Polish-Russian conflict. Following the collapse of the Polish uprising The Free City gave sanctuary to many refugees and became a magnet attracting all sorts of conspirators which only inflamed the tense international situation in relation to Austria, Prussia and Russia. The situation had deteriorated so much that the Russians occupied Cracow for 4 months in 1831 and in 1836 the Austrians, Prussians and Russians carried out a temporary occupation of the entire territory of the Free City. Again in 1838-1840 Austrian troops occupied the little state. In 1835 Austria and Russia concluded a secret convention allowing annexation of the Free City to Austria in case of any turmoil. An opportunity for such an action arrived eleven years later. In 1846 a revolt, inspired by agitators from the Kingdom of Poland and the émigré circles, broke out in Cracow. Outside Cracow Austrian troops were engaged in skirmishes in Chrzanów, Jaworzno and Krzeszowice. In Chrzanów in February 1846 a 15-troop squad commanded by the owner of Kwaczała estate, Józef Patelski, victoriously attacked Austrian troops forcing them to withdraw. The revolt was doomed, however, as revolutionary forces were unable to match superior number of Austrian, Prussian and Russian troops. The Free City had no army of its own, except a tiny defence force, and many of its citizens were ambivalent towards the revolt. The ill-prepared and spontaneous revolt - which is rather quite typical for such enterprises in Polish history - brought no good to the Polish cause, but presented to Austria a heaven-sent opportunity to annex the tiny state, which duly happened in 1846. The Free City was occupied by the Austrian general Deym and annexed to the Kingdom of Galicia as the Grand Duchy of Cracow. In such a manner Chrzanów was brought back under Austrian rule. In December 1846 the British Foreign Secretary Lord Palmerston dispatched the following cable instructions to his ambassador in Vienna on the occasion of British protest against the annexation of the Free City of Cracow (which included Chrzanów as well):

 

My Lord,

In addition to the arguments which your Excellency has been instructed to urge against the proposed destruction of the independence of the State of Cracow, and against its annexation to the Empire of Austria, I have to instruct your Excellency to point out to the Austrian Government that such a measure would not only be unjustified by any proved necessity, and a violation of the Treaty of Vienna, but that it would also be productive of much injury to the commerce of Europe, and specifically would be very detrimental to the commercial interests of Great Britain; and it must be manifest to the Austrian Government, that a sense of the injury which would thus be inflicted upon the material interests of this country, would tend to increase the disapprobation which would be felt by the British nation at what would be considered by them an act unjust in itself, and at variance with the stipulations of treaties.

Attributes of everyday life of Chrzanovians in the Duchy of Warsaw and the Free City of Cracow

1846-1918

In September 1846 Chrzanów with the entire Free City of Cracow was annexed to the Austrian Kingdom of Galicia. The town was a part of the newly created Grand Duchy of Cracow within Galicia and remained as such until 1918. In 1853/54 Galicia was divided into counties (powiaty) and Chrzanów became a seat of a county.

 

Following the annexation of Chrzanów to Austria, important economic changes occurred in the region. The annexation of the Free City of Cracow to Austria had a negative impact on the country's economy and the living standard of its residents. Long lasting economic ties to foreign countries and to the Kingdom of Poland in particular were broken. On these ties Chrzanów and the Free City had buit their welfare. Following the introduction of high taxes on all imported and exported goods by both Russia and Austria and hindrances in the issue of passports, the Chrzanów trade with the Kingdom of Poland and other countries was entirely extinguished. The forcible introduction of Austrian currency, the florin, in place of the Cracovian złoty, was based on unfavorable exchange rates established by Vienna and caused much confusion. All these occurrences caused prices to rise while wages plummeted and universal impoverishment followed. The new Austrian administration, which had replaced the former Cracovian, added greatly to the stagnation of the region through increased bureaucracy and artificial difficulties for the residents.

 

 

 

 

CHRZANÓW AT THE TURN OF THE CENTURIES

 

-Market Sq. with the church of St Nicholas and the Baliś House

(2nd on the right from the belfry)

 

-Dworska St. (Mickiewicza) seen

from the park

 

-Northern part of Henry Avenue

In 1847 the first part of the railway running through Chrzanów County was built: from Cracow to Silesia with railway stations in Krzeszowice, Trzebinia and Szczakowa (now Jaworzno-Szczakowa). In 1856 another section was built joining Cracow with Vienna and this one ran through Chrzanów. In 1900 a railway from Chrzanów to Jaworzno was opened (it was dismantled in the final years of the 20th c.). In 1852 a zinc and lead ore mine "Matilda" was opened in the outskirts of the town. Chrzanów entered the age of rapid industrialization. With it the number of residents grew. In 1870 the town had 6,323 inhabitants, in 1890: 7,712, in 1900: 10,000 and in 1910: 11,572. The January Uprising 1863-64 in the Kingdom of Poland met with a response in nearby Chrzanów County. As several years earlier during the Hungarian war of independence of 1848-49, numerous residents of the town and the county volunteered to struggle against Russia. Among them were Antoni Andrysik and Piotr Łączka-Łączyński, who are buried in Chrzanów parish cemetery.

 

In 1882 Chrzanów received its first bank, the Towarzystwo Zaliczkowe (Credit Society) which in 1895 received a handsome headquarters on the newly constructed Henry Avenue (Aleja Henryka). Henry Avenue was built in 1893 following a purchase of land situated between modern Henry Avenue and Oświęcimska St. from the Loewenfeld family. This initiated dynamic development of the town in S-W direction and intensive urbanization of the neighbourhood continued in the interwar period. Henry Avenue became the town's visiting card, as the picturesque street included a number of public buildings (incl. the County Building) and many private houses as well. Construction of Henry Avenue caused gradual relocation of the town's centre from the Market Sq. and its surroundings towards Henry Avenue. Already in 1868-1870 Chrzanów was partially furnished with street lights, at first kerosene lamps, later petrol lamps. In 1893 the town got its own watering cart to sprinkle the streets. Electricity was introduced to Chrzanów as late as 1912. At first it was intended to construct a power station in the town, but finally a contract with the power plant in Siersza was signed for power supplies to Chrzanów. In 1897 the Sokół Gymnastics Society started its activities in Chrzanów, like in most towns throughout Galicia. In 1910 the society received its own building. In 1911 Chrzanów Secondary School was founded (the first school-leaving exams took place in 1919), and in 1912 the Riflemen's Association started military training of the local youth.

CHRZANÓW AT THE TURN OF THE CENTURIES

 

-North-eastern corner of the Market Square

 

-The railway station seen from the present Fabryczna St.

FAMOUS VISITORS TO CHRZANÓW AND CHRZANÓW COUNTY

 

PAINTER FERDYNAND RUSZCZYC (*1870 Bohdanów near Oszmiana,+1936 ibid., buried in the cemetery in Bohdanów), in 1916 he visited the Castle of Lipowiec near Chrzanów. A souvenir of that visit is a water colour with a view of the castle, now in collection of the Chrzanów Museum.

 

MARSHAL JÓZEF PIŁSUDSKI (*1867 Zułów near Wilno/Vilnius,+1935 Warsaw, buried in the Royal Wawel Basilica in Cracow); in August 1914 when he was commander-in-chief of Polish Legions he visited Krzeszowice, the rallying point for Piłsudski's legionnaires. Volunteers from entire Galicia set out from Krzeszowice (the Monument to the Legionnaires at nearby Nawojowa Góra commemorates the event) towards the boundary of Russian-occupied Kingdom of Poland. In most history books, however, Oleandry in Cracow (another rallying point of Piłsudski's legionnaires) outshone the importance of Krzeszowice in those events.

 

In November 1914 Chrzanów witnessed the evacuation of the local government and residents of Cracow, who were passing westwards through the town in the face of the approaching Russian offensive. Fortunately Austrian troops managed to stop the Russian offensive and neither Cracow nor Chrzanów shared the sad lot of Lwów and did not experience the atrocities of Russian occupation. During the Great War 650 residents of Chrzanów County served with Piłsudski's Legions. The most prominent of them was Major Franciszek Grzybowski, who fell in 1919 fighting Ukrainians in East Galicia. He was buried in Lwów. In February 1918 following the conclusion of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk between the Central Powers and Russia, which resulted in annexation of the Chełm District of the Kingdom of Poland to Ukraine, a general strike was proclaimed in Chrzanów. One of the leaders was a POW (Polish Military Organization) member and later soldier of the 1st Legions Infantry Division, Sergeant Jan Baliś, who participated in launching of the general strike and removing Austrian national symbols from public buildings in Chrzanów. The fronts of the Great War fortunately never reached Chrzanów, but nevertheless many citizens of the town lost their lives fighting in the Austrian army, Piłsudski's Legions and in the Polish army during the Polish-Soviet war of 1919-1920. During Silesian uprisings Chrzanów County supported insurgents fighting for unification of Upper Silesia with Poland financially and organizationally. In November 1918 in the political upheaval caused by the breakdown of Austria-Hungary, Chrzanów was seized by rioting and anarchy caused by alien criminal elements. As a result, Jewish shops were looted. The County President appealed for help to the PKL (Polish Liquidation Committee) a temporary governmental body in Cracow. A citizens' committee created on 7th November 1918 led by Dr Janikowski and supported by local residents, swiftly put an end to rioting caused by criminal elements. However, four persons lost their lives and many shops were looted.

CHRZANÓW IN PUBLICATIONS

 

S. Orgelbrand's Encyclopaedia, Warsaw 1859/1868:

CHRZANÓW, a county town in West Galicia, on the Cracow-Vienna railway, has a distillery with a still-room, a flour mill, a sawmill, lead and ore mines, two 4-form schools, a poor house and 7.800 residents. Chrzanów County has area of 721,16 sq. km with pop. 79,000.

 

Józef Lepkowski, "A Review of Monuments of the Past in the Cracow Area", Warsaw 1863:

CHRZANÓW, a town de jure and de facto, registered as oppidum in the Boundary Decree by Jan of Tenczyn in 1527 and published for Cracow Bishopric - Chrzanów then, along with the village of Balin, was the property of Piotr Ligęza. On arrival in the town everyone will be struck by the ancient architecture of the houses surrounding the quadrilateral Market Square. These partly stone and partly wooden houses, mark out the style of wooden Renaissance. Their roofs meet abruptly at the gables, and the lower part of the houses are usually built of stones, with a small attic, wooden first floor and spacious arcades. These are the only surviving to this day features of these interesting buildings. Recently a fire broke out over there and I am not sure whether all these houses burnt down. The church in Chrzanów is built of stone and what we can see today was probably created in the 17th c., but the Liber Beneficiorum (or Church Inventory) in 1440 already mentions a stone church. The painting on the high altar: St Nicholas an early work by Jan Kornecki. On the left an obviously 17th c. painting: "Christ Carrying the Cross". On the altar by the choir: "St Anne" painted by Kornecki in 1825. Worthy of attention is a 17th c. painting: "The Transfiguration"; also a likeness of St Homobonus in Polish dress, holding a pair of tailor's scissors; finally "St Stanislas" on an altar of a side chapel. The monuments: in a chapel I found a big marble plaque on the tomb of Andrzej Samuel from Dembiany Dembiński, Castellan of Biecz. The place where the year of his death stood was damaged. But this monument was not made earlier than in the 17th c. The following villages belong to Chrzanów parish: Kąty and Góry Luszowskie.

Kościelec. Chrzanów is overlooked by a nearby tower of a stone church in Kościelec. According to the inventory the church was constructed in 1710 and rebuilt in 1845; it is, however, much older. In the middle of the church I found a monument that is a part of the pavement (2 ells 3 quarters 1 inch long - 1 1/2 ell and 2 inches broad). On it is a silhouette of the Ostoja coat-of-arms and - barely visible (in Gothic characters) an obliterated inscription:

Hic jacet nobilis Stiborius Balinsky sub anno millesimo 507 obiit - Orate pro eo.

This monument was formerly placed by the door under the choir. On the high altar there is a painting: "Jesus Taken Down from the Cross". At the sides are St Anthony and St Barbara, from 1848 with a miner's arms, two crossing axes. The following villages belong to Kościelec parish: Rozpontowa, Pogorzyce, Źrebce, Borowiec, Koźmin, Zakoleją, Bieda, Cezarówka, Luszowice. From the archives of Cracow Bishopric we learn that in 1490 Stefan Pogorski was the heir of Pogorzyce, Brzezie and Kościelec and he started a dispute with Cardinal Frederick by raiding his estate, the village of Jemielino. The Diet of Piotrków sentenced the daredevil to perpetual silence (perpetuum silentium) for the uproar he had caused.

Attributes of everyday life of Chrzanovians under Austrian rule, 1846-1918

CHRZANÓW IN PUBLICATIONS

 

The Geographical Dictionary of the Kingdom of Poland and Other Slavic Countries, Warsaw 1880-1914:

CHRZANÓW, (with Bereska, Kroczymiech, Ogiernia and Kuźnia), county town in Galicia, situated between 37°1', eastern longitude, and 50°2' northern latitude, it has 2271 morgen of land, 535 houses, 2981 men, 3117 women, together 6098 residents. Of these 2499 are Roman Catholic, 1 Greek Catholic, 7 non-Catholic and 3591 Mosaic. The seat of county authorities, county court, tax office, tax office guard, notary public, post and telegraph office, county council dept., police station, RC dean and parish office. Poor House founded in 1607 by the local lord and local Christian citizens in order to accommodate and support poor local residents of the Christian faith, it has the property worth of 19 472 zl. with a building and 34 morgen of land. The income of the institution in 1877 was 1821 zl. Primary school, 4 grades, and apart from it the girls' primary school, 4 grades. Alcohol distillery, American mill, sawmill, Winkler's calamine mine, Schoenfeld's iron mine. Ch. is situated on a plain at two roads, one of these runs from Cracow to Mysłowice, the other from Oświęcim to the border of the Kingdom of Poland; in the town there is a railway stop of the Northern Emperor Ferdinand Railway, some 4 kms from Trzebinia in direction of Oświęcim. There are many beautiful brick houses in Ch., most of these have only one floor; the town is none too clean. The town's property is 24 000 zl. worth, but simultaneously it is indebted at 16 000 zl. and town's income is meagre. The residents' income comes in small part from agriculture, in bigger part from industry, and the Mosaic residents' income comes from trade. There are 12 busy trade fairs in Ch. per annum; the neighbourhood of Prussian Silesia plays an important role in dynamics of trade and industry. The Catholic parish in Ch. belongs to Nowa Góra Deanery and has 3210 believers, it embraces Ch. and the villages of Katy and Góry Luszowskie. 6124 Jews reside within the parish. The Chrzanów estate includes villages of Balin Wielki and Balin Mały, Kąty, Libiąż, Jawor, Moczydło. The estate was purchased against the Buszcze estate from Archduke Karl, as successor of the Duke of Saxe-Cieszyn, by Wiktorya Janowa Mieroszowska née Kloze; in 1856 it was sold to Mr. Lobenfeld. Once the property of the dukes of Cieszyn. Chrzanów County has 3 towns, 81 rural communities and 29 estate communities, together 113 administrative units. Surface 12,5370 sq. miles. Population 66 174. Towns: C., Nowa Góra and Trzebinia. The neighbourhood of Ch. is a separate agricultural area known as "Chrzanowskie". In the realm of physiography Jensen wrote in 1836 about "The Plants Growing Near Chrzanów and by Besser Omitted".

 

(In the original text the names of the owners of Chrzanów estate: Mieroszewska and Loewenfeld were spelled erroneously and the given number of Jews living on the territory of Chrzanów parish is wrong. It should be 4124, instead of 6124)

 

Croatian Encyclopaedia (Hrvatska Enciklopedija), Osijek 1890:

CHRZANÓW, a county town in Galicia, on the Cracow-Vienna railway, pop. 7023, lead, zinc and coal mining.

CHRZANÓW, kot. grad u Galiciji na željeznici Krakov-Beč sa 7023 st., imade rudnike olova, košitra i kalamine.

 

Grand Encyclopaedia (La Grande Encyclopédie), Paris c. 1890/1900

CHRZANÓW. An Austrian town and the seat of a county of Galicia, W of Cracow; pop. 7,023. The town is situated on the Bogumin-Cracow railway.

CHRZANOW. Ville d'Autriche, ch. l. de cercle de la Galicie, à l'O. de Cracovie; 7.023 hab. Elle est située sur la ligne de chem. de fer Oderberg-Cracovie.

 

Otta's Scientific Dictionary (Ottův Slovník Naučný), Prague 1897:

CHRZANÓW, a county seat in Galicia, 44 kms NW of Cracow on the Bogumin-Cracow North Railway named after Emperor Ferdinand, the seat of the County Administration, local Court of Justice, has a post and telegraph office, coffee substitute factory, distilleries, a steam mill, lively trade and agriculture and pop. 7713 (1890) of which 1078 are Jews. Nearby lead, zinc and coal are mined. Area administered by the County is 721,63 sq kms divided into 84 municipalities with 195 parishes, 78,026 residents, the County has 47 municipalities with pop. 51.974 (1890).

CHRZANÓW, hl. m. okr. hejtm. v Haliči, 44 km zsz. od Krakova na žel. trati Bohumin-Krakov Sev. drahy cis. Ferdinanda, sidlo hejtmanstvi, okr. soudu, ma stan. pošt. a telegr., továrnu na kávové náhrazky, vinopalny, parni mlyn, cily obchod a zemedelstvi a 7713 ob. (1890), z nichz jest 1078 Židu. V okoli doluje se na olovo, cin a kemenne uhli. Hejtmanstvi má na 721.63 km2 v 84 obcich se 195 osadami 78.026 ob., okres v 47 obcich 51.974 ob. (1890)

 

An Illustrated Universal Encyclopaedia (Enciclopedia Universal Ilustrada), Barcelona c. 1914:

CHRZANÓW. Country or a county in Austrian Galicia. Area 715 sq kms and pop. 78,000. The capital is the town of the same name, situated near the German border; pop. 10,200. It is the seat of governor and the tribunal of first instance. It has coal mines, steam mills, vodka distilleries and dynamic trade. It is situated on the Vienna-Cracow railway.

CHRZANOW. Geog. División ó subdist. de Austria, prov. de Galitzia, dist. de Cracovia. Tiene 715 km2 y 78.000 h. Su cab. es la ciudad del mismo nombre, sit. en la frontera de Alemania; 10.200 h. Es residencia de un gobernador y de un Tribunal de primera instancia. Posee minas de plomo, molinos de vapor, destilerias de aguardiente y su comercio es activo. Est. en la l. f. de Ujena Cracovia.

An Illustrated Guide to Galicia (Illustrierter Führer durch Galizien), Vienna 1914:

CHRZANÓW, a town, distance from the railway station 1 km. Cab 1 crown. Hotel Mąsiorka, restaurant Węgiel. The seat of County Administration and Court of Justice. Population 13,000, mostly Jews. In the Market Sq. several Renaissance houses, constructed partly of stone and of wood. in the parish church several good paintings by Polish painter Jan Kordecki from 17th c. About 1 km away from Chrzanów is Kościelec, the estate of Count Antoni Wodzicki, with a beautiful palace and a splendid park.

Chrzanów, Stadt, Entfernung von Bahnhof 1 km, Droschke 1 K; Hotel Masiorka, Restaurant Wegiel. Sitz einer Bezirkshauptmannschaft und eines Bezirksgerichtes. Zählt 13.000 Einwohner, deren Mehrzal Israeliten sind. Auf dem Ringplatz eininge Häuser im Renaissancestil, halb gemauert, halb aus Holz. In der Pfarrkirche einige gute Bilder des polnischen Malers Johannes Kordecki aus dem XVII. Jahrhundert. Etwa 1 km von Chrzanów entfernt ist der Landsitz des Grafen Anton Wodzicki, Koscielec, mit schönem Schloß und prächtigem Park.

 

Salomonsen's Conversation Dictionary (Salomonsens Konversations Leksikon), Copenhagen 1916:

CHRZANÓW, a town in Galicia on the Vienna-Cracow railway, close to the boundary of Upper Silesia, it has (1910) pop. 11,528. Distillery and liqueur factory, agriculture, mining (zinc) and trade.

CHRZANÓV, by i Galizien, ved Wien-Krakov-Banen, nær Schlesiens Grænse, har (1910) 11.528 Indb., Brændevinsbrænderi og Likørfabrikation, Agerbrug, Bjergværksdrift (Bly) og Handel.

CHRZANOVIANS IN LWÓW - FOREVER
LWÓW,  THE CEMETERY OF THE DEFENDERS OF LWÓW (THE EAGLETS' CEMETERY)

Here rest at least four defenders of Lwów coming from Chrzanów Country. They fell fighting Ukrainian troops 1918-1919.

1. Jan Bogacz from Żarki, Private.

Killed in action on 28th January, 1919 in Lwów. Grave nr: IX/592.

 

2. Franciszek Grzybowski from Chrzanów, born: 9th March, 1894, Major.

Killed in action at Kozice on 18th February, 1919.

(It was not possible to establish the present location of Major Grzybowski's grave. According to data of the cemetery administration, Major Grzybowski's mortal remains buried in the grave nr VI/369 were translated to the grave nr I/20a. However, there is no grave at this location).

 

3. Karol Pieczara from Siersza, 20 years old, Private.

Killed in action at Pikułowice on 4th May, 1919. Grave nr: VI/375.

 

4. Józef Szczepaniak from Trzebinia, 18 years old, Private.

Killed in action at Sroki on 2nd December, 1918. Grave nr: X/711.

1918-1945

In the years 1919-1939 Chrzanów and Chrzanów County belonged to Cracow Province (Voivodeship) in the Second Polish Republic. In the interwar years further industrialization of the town followed. In the 1920s was founded the Stella ceramic works (c. 1928/29) and Fablok, the First Locomotive Factory in Poland (1920), where many residents found employment. Fablok was created on the ground of contract with the Polish government to deliver 1200 locomotives within a decade. In 1932 Fablok celebrated construction of the 500th locomotive. Apart from steam locomotives the factory manufactured narrow-gauge locomotives, snow-ploughs, electric locomotives, road rollers and even busses for the Polish State Railways. Among the most important foreign importers of locomotives from Chrzanów in this period were: Bulgaria (driving locomotives was a passion of the Bulgarian King Boris III), Latvia, French Morocco and others.

LEON BALIŚ: TO GIVE ONE'S BEST YEARS FOR FATHERLAND

Leon Baliś was born on 5th April 1898 in Chrzanów to Franciszek Baliś and Rozalia née Jodłowska, citizens of Chrzanów. He was early orphaned by his parents: his mother died when he was five, his father when he was 13. Since 1904 he attended primary school in Chrzanów. Following death of his father he was brought up in Karwina (Austrian Silesia) by his elder brother Tomasz, who run there a furniture shop and an upholstery workshop. In Karwina he graduated from a private three-year business school and worked as a apprentice upholster.  In June 1914 he had returned to Chrzanów where he took a job of upholstery assistant. He bacame a member of the Chrzanów section of Gymnastics Society „Sokół” (Falcon). On 30th August 1914, barely 16 years old, he had joined the Polish Legions, lying about his age to the military recruitment commission (he said he was 17), because he was afraid to be rejected as a minor. From Siersza, where the volunteers from Chrzanów and its vicinity had assembled, he went with other „Sokół” members of Chrzanów to Cracow, where he was assigned to the 8th company of the 2nd Infantry Regiment in the II Brigade of the Polish Legions. Since September 1914 he saw combat fighting the Russians in the Carpathian campaign in Eastern Galicia at Rafajłowa, Zielona, Nadwórna, Delatyn and Mołotków where on 1st November he sustained a leg injury. Until January 1915 he was  treated in military hospitals at Dombó and Szatmárnémeti in Hungarian Transcarpathia, and in Ljubljana (modern Slovenia). In October 1914 he was made lance corporal, in January 1915 corporal, in November 1917 master corporal and in March 1918 sergeant. In January 1915 he had reported at military rally point in Bustyaháza in Hungarian Transcarpathia, where he was released from military service as unfit for combat. After two months, however, he had reported for military service at Oświęcim and was sent to Piotrków in the Kingdom of Poland, where he was assigned a job of a military instructor in the 6th Infantry Regiment in Rozpacz near Kutno. Because of his wounds he was deemed unfit for combat and sent to work in a military hospital at Kamińsk and then in Kozienice (October 1915). In January 1916 he had reported to the command of the II Brigade and in February he was sent to the 2nd Infantry Regiment in Przemyśl, where he served until April 1916 when he fell ill again. Following his discharge from the Kozienice military hospital in August 1917 he was assigned to the 2nd Infantry Regiment. In the summer 1917, after the ”Oath crisis” and forcible drafting soldiers of the 2nd Regiment to the Austrian Army, he was assigned to the 2nd company of the 3rd Infantry Regiment of the Polish Auxiliary Corps, where he served until 15th February 1918. On that day his II Brigade crossed the Austro-Russian front during the Battle of Rarańcza (Bukovina) and remained on the Russian territory to be united with the 2nd Polish Corps in Russia in March. Following the Battle of Kaniów (11th May 1918) where he saw combat fighting in the 15th Riflemen Regiment, he was taken prisoner of war by Germans. He managed to flee, however, at nearby Mironówka, and until February 1919 he had remained in hiding in Humań in Ukraine. Then he returned to Galicia and found lodgings at 12, Topolowa St in Cracow. On 15th February 1919 he had joined the Polish Army and in April he was assigned a military instructor at the training camp in Przemyśl, then in May he was moved to the 23rd Infantry Regiment in Lublin, and later to the II Lublin Squadron, with which he took part in combat in the Polish-Soviet war 1919-1920. He participated in the offensive at the Słucz River and in the retreat from Żytomierz to Zamość, as well as the battles in Volhynia (Równe, Horyń, Słucz) and in Lublin Region in the summer of 1920 (Komarów, Łabunie, Tyszowce, Hrubieszów, Zamość). When the war ended he was non-commissioned officer in rank of staff-sergeant. He was demobilised in May 1921 at Ludwipol in Volhynia. In 1927 he was a co-founder of the Union of Legionnaires in Chrzanów and for a period of time he was the head of the Chrzanów unit of Riflemen’s Union and the commander of the local Citizen Guard. For his combat effort he was awarded the Austrial Silver Military Cross 2nd class, the Cross of the Second Brigade, the Cross of Kaniów the Cross of Volhynia, the Cross of Przemyśl Eaglets and the Independence Order with Swords (1937). He passed away on 18th July 1941 in Chrzanów, 43 years old. His burial on 20th July became a noteworthy patriotic gathering of half a thousand citizens of Chrzanów, including former legionnaires and combat comrades, who followed his coffin from the hospital to the church of St Nicholas. The burial had evoked anxiety of the German occupation authorities who fined the widow of the deceased for “leading the cortège”. The following day Germans severily prohibited any public Polish burials. Leon Baliś was interred in a humble grave in the parish cemetery in Chrzanów.

The interwar years was the period of dynamic urbanization. A number of public buildings were constructed then (the Józef Piłsudski County Hospital, the Józef Piłsudski Children's House, a new building of Chrzanów Secondary School etc.), a residential area between Henry Avenue and Oświęcimska St and housing estates at Kolonia Fabryczna and Rospontowa were constructed for the employees of Fablok works. Since 1926 the streets of Chrzanów were laid with cobblestone (starting with the Market Sq., Krakowska St and Mickiewicza St) and pavements were built, too. In 1933 the town received waterworks and sewage system. The County Hospital built in 1929-1933 for 150 patients, was one of the most prestigious enterprises of the period. It was constructed according to a design by Chrzanovian architect Stanisław Oszacki. On the western façade was an inscription which read: The Józef Piłsudski County Hospital. On the occasion of consecration of the hospital in its interior a memorial plaque was unveiled which read:

 

The Józef Piłsudski Hospital constructed 1929-1933 to celebrate Poland's Independence under the Presidency of Ignacy Mościcki, with the First Marshal of Poland Józef Piłsudski, Prime Minister Alexander Prystor, Home Secretary Bronisław Pieracki, Social Minister Dr Stefan Hubicki, Cracow Provincial President Dr Mikołaj Kwaśniewski, National Health Service President Dr Wilhelm Czarnocki. This living monument was raised by efforts of Chrzanów County and Town Councils and the NHS in Chrzanów. The committee included Chrzanów County President Dr Mieczysław Łęcki, NHS President Roman Loteczka, the chairman and the members: Dr Józef Batko, Feliks Bartosik, Mikołaj Bytomski, Adam Cieślikowski, Dr Tom. Dąbrowski, Jan Grzelewski, Pinkus Seifman, Dr Kazim. Woynarowski, Stef. Katański, Engineer Zdzisław Krudzielski, Wacław Raczkowski, Franc. Racek, Adam Sapieha. The management was under architect Stan. Oszacki, the construction was executed by architect Leon Willman.

THE INTERWAR CHRZANÓW

 

 

The new building of

Chrzanów's Secondary

School (now housing the Nr 1 Secondary School).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chrzanów, August 1934:

a 50 km cross-country run commemorating the 20th anniversary of Piłsudski's Legions. In the picture

the Libiąż team can be seen arriving at the winning post

in front of the County

Building on Henry Avenue

(from collection of Mr E. Kępiński).

 

 

 

 

 

 

The 1930s Marshal Piłsudski Children's House at Żwirko

and Wigura Square.

 

 

FAMOUS VISITORS TO CHRZANÓW AND CHRZANÓW COUNTY

 

POLAND'S PRESIDENT 1926-1939, PROF. IGNACY MOŚCICKI (*1867 Mierzanów near Ciechanów,+1946 Versoix in Switzerland, buried in St John's Basilica in Warsaw), in 1927 he visited the First Locomotive Factory in Poland, Fablok, in Chrzanów.

 

CARDINAL PRINCE ADAM STEFAN SAPIEHA (*1867 Krasiczyn,+1951 Cracow, buried in the Royal Wawel Basilica in Cracow). In 1930, in his capacity as metropolitan bishop of Cracow, he visited Balin near Chrzanów in connection with construction of a new church there.

 

REGENT OF HUNGARY (1920-1944) MIKLÓS HORTHY (*1868 Kenderes,+1957 Estoril/Portugal, buried in front of the Horthy Chapel in Kenderes/Hungary). In 1938 during his state visit to Poland he stopped at Chełmek to visit Bat'a shoe factory.

 

SOVIET DICTATOR JOSIF JUGHASHVILI aka STALIN (*1878 Gori in Georgia,+1953 Moscow, buried under the wall of Moscow's Kremlin). Before the outbreak of the Great War, this unknown (except to the Russian secret police, the Ohrana) revolutionary and informer of the Russian secret police, during his journey throughout Galicia happened to change trains at Trzebinia where, relying on his trust in the ideas of Pan-Slavism, addressed a waiter in a station canteen in Russian. As a result of such behaviour, the future most infamous war criminal of all times was served his meal just before his train was due to leave, which made him furious. Stalin made a terrible scene and swore aloud beyond belief. Later when talking with Lenin, he accused Galician Poles of treating him disrespectfully, Lenin advised him never to talk Russian in Poland due to exceptional animosity of Poles against all things Russian.

 

COUNT JAN SZEMBEK (*1881 Poręba-Żegoty near Chrzanów,+1945 Portugal), Polish Deputy Foreign Minister 1932-1939. He owned Młoszowa estate near Trzebinia. He most probably visited also Chrzanów on a number of occasions.

 

 COMPOSER KAROL SZYMANOWSKI (*1882 Tymoszówka in Ukraine,+1937 Lausanne in Switzerland, buried in the Vault of the Meritorious at the Church of St Stanislas at Skałka in Cracow). As early as before the outbreak of the Great War one of Poland's greatest composers had an opportunity to acquaint himself with the railway station in Trzebinia where many famous world travellers had to change trains en route to Vienna, Paris or Warsaw. And Szymanowski was not an exception.

 

POLISH LITERATURE HISTORIAN, PROF. STANISŁAW PIGOŃ (*1885 Kombornia near Krosno,+1968 Cracow), President of the Stefan Batory University in Wilno/Vilnius (1927-1928), after the Second World War he taught literature in Chrzanów's Technical School.

 

CHANCELLOR OF THE THIRD REICH (1933-1945) ADOLF HITLER (*1889 Braunau,+1945 Berlin), one of the most infamous war criminals in the history of mankind. During the Second World War he was a guest of Governor General of occupied Poland, Hans Frank, in his country house at Krzeszowice.

 

GOVERNOR GENERAL HANS FRANK (*1900 Karlsruhe,+1946 Nuremberg), Nazi war criminal, sentenced to death by the International War Crimes Tribunal at Nuremberg in 1946 for crimes against Humanity and hanged. He visited Krzeszowice on a number of occasions. During the Second World War he had a country retreat made for himself in the Potocki Palace. In 1940, on the occasion of remodelling of the confiscated Potocki Palace he hosted in Krzeszowice, among others, Goebbels and Goering.

 

POET AND ESSAYIST JULIAN PRZYBOŚ (*1901 Gwoźnica Dolna,+1970 Warsaw), from 1922 he worked as teacher in Chrzanów's St Staszic Secondary School.

 

PROFESSOR KAZIMIERZ WYKA (*1910 Krzeszowice,+1975 Cracow, buried at the Salvator Cemetery in Cracow). He was professor of Jagiellonian University in Cracow, literary critic, writer. He originated from Krzeszowice.

 

NOBEL PRIZE LAUREATE IN LITERATURE, CZESŁAW MIŁOSZ (*1911 Szetejnie in Lithuania,+2004 Cracow, buried in the Vault of the Meritorious at the Church of St Stanislas at Skałka in Cracow). In 1941 Miłosz visited Krzeszowice where, together with Jerzy Andrzejewski, he was hosted by Professor Kazimierz Wyka.

CHRZANÓW IN PUBLICATIONS

Trzaska, Evert and Michalski's Illustrated Encyclopaedia, Warsaw 1931:

CHRZANÓW, county seat in Cracow Province, pop. 11,500; locomotive and machine factory; nearby coal and calamine mines.

(population figures given here seem to be outdated. According to the 1931 census Chrzanów's population was 18,106 and such figure is given by Pęckowski in his 1934 monograph "Chrzanów miasto powiatowe w województwie krakowskiem")

 

Trzaska, Evert and Michalski's Illustrated Encyclopaedia, Warsaw 1937:

CHRZANÓW, county seat in Cracow Province, pop. 17,833; locomotive and machine factory; nearby coal and calamine mines.

 

A DONATION FOR THE RENOVATION OF WAWEL CASTLE

On the extern wall of the Wawel Catle in Cracow thirteen donor bricks are to be seen. These were founded in 1921-1923 by residents of Chrzanów County who donated generously for the renovation works of the ancient residence of Polish kings. At the entrance leading to the royal apartments among the plaques commemorating greatest benefactors of the Royal Castle is the one bearing the name of Henryk Loewenfeld of Chrzanów, who bequeathed a part of his art collection to Wawel Museum in 1924.

In the interwar period Chrzanów was enlarged by annexation of two suburban villages of Kościelec and Kąty. The population of the town in 1921 was 12.244 and according to the 1931 census: 18.106. In 1939 the number of residents was 22.000. Chrzanów had four seven-grade primary schools (The Adam Mickiewicz Boys' School nr 1 and The Maria Konopnicka Girls' School nr 2 - both schools had premises in the old school building at Mickiewicza St; The King Ladislas Jagiełło Boys' School nr 3 and The Queen Hedvig Girls' School nr 4 - both with premises in the new school building at Henry Avenue), a primary school in Kościelec, an industrial school (from 1906), the Stanisław Staszic Secondary School (from 1911) and a private female teachers' training college (from 1923). The Stanisław Konarski Boarding School for 40 pupils was opened at Henry Avenue. In 1921 the first permanent cinema was opened (Chrzanów's first cinema was founded by Franciszek Wacławek and operated from 1912 to 1913). In 1928 there were 3 cinema theatres in the town: the famous Zorza which existed until the final years of the 20th c., the Sokół and the Polonia. In 1937 a public library with a reading-room was opened. In 1938 the library had 700 books.

In the end of August 1939 one could clearly smell the nearing war in Chrzanów: in the town itself and around it anti-aircraft trenches were dug, observation posts were organized and general war preparations were going on. Since the first day of the war the town was flooded with refugees from Upper Silesia. In the morning of 3rd September Polish local government was evacuated from the town, as well as many residents. The following day, after a number of short skirmishes with the Polish troops, the town was occupied by German troops. The Chrzanów National Defence units, which were a part of the Kraków Army, were defeated in the Battle of Tomaszów Lubelski (17th-20th September 1939).

Attributes of everyday life of Chrzanovians in

the times of independent Poland, 1918-1939

Chrzanów, Krakowska Street: the 1937 Independence Day military parade (from collection of Mr E. Kępiński)

 

An ambulance purchased for the Polish Army by the Fablok works employees. Chrzanów, spring 1939 (ARB)

 

The Chrzanów fire brigade training on Market Square, 1931 (from collection of Mr E. Kępiński)

The first weeks of German occupation did not inflict any drastic changes upon the residents of Chrzanów. These were to follow up after annexation of Chrzanów directly to the Third Reich, although right from the start single acts of violence did occur, e.g. looting of shops and private homes, taking hostages and executing Jews and Poles (e.g. in nearby Trzebinia a group of ninety Jewish residents of Chrzanów returning home from war evacuation were apprehended by Germans and executed near the Salvatorian convent. In the beginning the local government was supervised by the Wehrmacht, which allowed opening of the offices of local administration, schools, banks, shops and other institutions. In October 1939 the Polish złoty was made obsolete as currency and replaced with the German mark (exchange rates were: 1 Reichsmark=2 złoties).

 

Drastic changes engulfed Chrzanów since November 1939 when the town with the western half of the county was annexed directly to the Third Reich. Chrzanów was made a county town in Katowice region of Upper Silesia. All public buildings belonging to Polish institutions, schools and factories were immediately taken over by German authorities. Chrzanów Secondary School was closed and its equipment (huge library of over 6000 volumes, collection of maps and special classroom equipment) was destroyed. The Germans also looted private property, in particular Jewish. In the first months of German occupation free sale of food was continued, giving priority to Germans. Later, as basic provisions became scarce, food rationing was introduced. It was administered by German mayor of Chrzanów. Living standards of the residents swiftly deteriorated in relation to the period before the war.

 

During the German occupation the Nazis destroyed or confiscated entire property of Chrzanów's Jews. In 1941 Nazi administration completed construction of strategically important junction of Mickiewicz Street (renamed Rathausstrasse) and Śląska Street (Kattowitzerstrasse) by prolonging the former through the park and demolishing the Ossoliński Manor House and cutting down many old trees. German terror did not spare the town and its residents. In 1940 German authorities began expropriating Polish families from better houses in the town. These were given to German officials, military, policemen and German settlers from Rumania, who showed particular greed and ruthlessness when it came to appropriating of Polish property. Jewish residents were resettled to the Ghetto. It was created in 1941 and was not surrounded by walls, like in other Polish towns, neverthless the Jews were not allowed to venture outside the Ghetto. In 1942 when the Germans started sending in Jews from neighbouring towns and villages, the situation of the residents in Chrzanów's Ghetto became dramatic. Within a couple of blocks almost 8.000 people were squeezed. The 1940 census reported of 19.088 inhabitants in Chrzanów. Polish schools existed in Chrzanów throughout the war but only on a very limited and basic level (primary schools). Secondary school in Chrzanów was closed for good on 30th September 1939 (Poles were not allowed to attend secondary schools or universities) and primary school buildings were to serve as German schools. All Polish pupils were squeezed in inadequate quarters in several venues around the town, including a small and old building at Główna St in Kościelec, where because of squalid conditions teaching was to be carried out in shifts to embrace all. In 1942 Jewish children were excluded by the Nazis from attending schools.

From 1942 Germans started exterminating Chrzanów's Jews by sending them to the death camp in Auschwitz-Birkenau. Deportation was preceded by total confiscation of Jewish property which was then dispatched to Germany, or destroyed. The last transport of Jews from Chrzanów to Birkenau was organized by the Germans in February 1943. In 1941 the old, historic part of the Jewish cemetery was demolished, and tombstones were used by Germans to pave the road constructed through the cemetery (now Podwale St). A historic tombstone of a Jewish physician, participating in the November Uprising (his name is unknown), featuring the White Eagle of the Duchy of Warsaw was destroyed then, too. The nazis confiscated church bells of St Nicholas's and St John's and dispatched them for melting in Germany. Chrzanów County was the area of partisan activity of the AK (Home Army), the AL (People's Army) and sporadically the BCh (Peasants' Battalions), primarily carrying out sabotage assaulting Nazi interests in the region (cutting down electric traction poles, derailing of German military trains etc.).

 

German authorities with particular pettiness started removing any Polish traces in the town. All public buildings had any signs written in Polish removed. Streets were renamed receiving new German names. Usually neutral street names were translated directly into German (e.g. ul. Oświęcimska - Auschwitzerstrasse), or were given similar names (e.g. ul. Śląska, or Silesian St, was renamed Kattowitzerstr., or Katowice St, as the street ran towards Upper Silesia and its capital the city of Katowice). Streets with patriotic Polish names were renamed at random (e.g. ul. Kościuszki, or Kosciusko St was renamed Gymnasiumstr., or Secondary School St, after the school which was situated there and which Germans closed down, which seems somewhat ironic). A beautiful relief featuring the White Eagle of Poland was removed from the façade of the Secondary School. The name of the First Locomotive Factory in Poland was at first literally translated to German, Erste Lokomotivfabrik in Polen, later the abbreviation Fablok (Fabryka Lokomotyw, or Locomotive Factory) was changed to Oberlok (Oberschlesische Lokomotivwerke, or Upper Silesian Locomotive Factory). As if this was not enough, in 1941 the town itself was renamed Krenau (which is more or less direct translation of its Polish name to German). In May 1940 the Gestapo carried out a series of arrests among Chrzanovian intelligentsia (c. 50 persons). Many of them were sent to concentration camps not to ever return home. In 1942-1944 numerous members of Polish resistance fell victim to Nazi terror (execution of the Stella factory workers in August 1944), but also people who had nothing to do with the resistance: e.g. in 1942 in a public execution at Świętokrzyska St Germans hanged 7 Jews caught at illegal bread-baking.

CHRZANÓW AT WAR

 

February 1943: the liquidation of the Chrzanów Ghetto

(ARB)

 

Chrzanów, winter 1941/42: Podwale St. (at the confluence with the Two Bridges) constructed by the Germans through the old Jewish cemetery. A fragment of the now non-existent cemetery wall can be seen here (stretching between the railway embankment and the road), as well as the cemetery house (from collection of Mr E. Kępiński)

 

A general view of Chrzanów from Kościelec, 1941 and the seal of German County Governor

 

 

THE FOREST MASSACRE

KHARKIV-PIATIKHATKY (UKRAINE), POLISH WAR CEMETERY

In the cemetery there are the graves of Polish officers who were murdered in 1940 on Stalin's order. At least four of them were born in Chrzanów County:

 

1. Karol Faltus, Second Lieutenant, born on 25th August, 1913 in Szczakowa.

 

2. Jan Gąsior, Lieutenant, born on 29th September, 1908 in Myślachowice.

 

3. Feliks Kamiński, Colonel, born on 17th April, 1886 in Jaworzno.

 

4. Karol Klich, Second Lieutenant, born on 21st September, 1911 in Trzebinia.

PASSER-BY GO, TELL POLAND

MONTE CASSINO (ITALY), POLISH WAR CEMETERY

In the cemetery there are graves of four soldiers from Chrzanów County who fell during the Battle of Monte Cassino in May 1944:

1. Władysław Baran, First Lieutenant, born: 16th August, 1910 r. in Byczyna,

killed in action on 17th May, 1944. Grave nr: III-E-16.

First Lieutenant Baran, commanding officer of a company, was mentioned in Melchior Wańkowicz's „Szkice spod Monte Cassino” (Wiedza Powszechna, Warsaw 1978, p. 110), where the author decribed the scene of his death.

 

2. Ernest Kazimierz Błaszczak, Second Lieutenant, born: 25th August, 1914 in Trzebinia,

killed in action on 1st May, 1944. Grave nr: I-C-9.

 

3. Zbigniew Bursa, Lance Corporal, born: 21st June, 1921 in Krzeszowice,

killed in action on 18th May, 1944. Grave nr: V-C-5.

 

4. Eugeniusz Łatak, Lance Corporal, born: 13th July, 1923 in Regulice,

killed in action on 17th May, 1944 r. Grave nr: VII-F-12.

1945-1989

German occupation was terminated on 24th January 1945 when Chrzanów was taken over by Soviet troops of the First Ukrainian Front. The fighting in the town and around it lasted from 19th to 24th January. In Chrzanów 109 Soviet soldiers fell as the result. The town escaped serious damage in this last chapter of its war history (about one-fourth of the town was damaged). The town population decreased by almost half, primarily because of the Holocaust victims (7897 persons). From 30th January 1945 the town was administered first by the Town Council and then by the Town National Council. Thanks to ruthless political methods local administration was soon seized by the local and incoming communists, although the communists themselves constituted a tiny fraction of the politically active residents of the town and the county (in the spring of 1945 only 900 members of the communist party were registered in the entire county, while their main opponents, the Polish Socialist Party had at the time 4500 members). The communists used particularly nasty methods fighting the local PSL members (Polish People's Party). A dirty campaign of terrorizing party members was initiated: people were arrested, accused of collaboration with the Nazis, kidnapped, murdered, their homes were shot at. The campaign of political terror was stirred up by the communists in the autumn of 1946 in anticipation of the parliamentary elections. Ruthless methods employed by the communists to obtain absolute power led in time to the suppression of political opposition but also provoked silent gestures of resistance like the profanation of the Soviet Army memorial plaque in the town park in 1946.

 

In the 1950s the communist régime, like the Nazi régime earlier, renamed a number of streets in Chrzanów, replacing most of patriotic names with those more Soviet-friendly (e.g. town's main street Henry Avenue was renamed Lenin Avenue etc.). The residents who were hostile or ambivalent towards the new system of political terror supported from Moscow were persecuted. This included the Catholic Church. In May 1946 following bloody suppression by communist secret police of a patriotic demonstration in Cracow in which students from Chrzanów also took part, a strike broke out in Chrzanovian schools. Pupils in Jaworzno also joined in. Patriotic Poles fighting during the war against the Nazis, now fell victim to communist repression, like a former AK (Home Army) soldier and law student, J. Jodłowiec, who was sentenced to two years in prison. Communist terror did not bypass even such apolitical organizations like the Chrzanovian choir ensemble the Żaby ("Frogs"), the oldest choir in the town dating back to 1916 (revived in 1945), following charges of harassment for its "backward" repertoire (meaning not supporting outrightly the communist régime. The choir used to sing Christmas carols during its concerts which was seen by the communists as a hostile act), its leader, Zygmunt Oczkowski, was arrested in 1948. Following his release from prison in Cracow he was forced to leave Chrzanów. The political thaw of 1956 made the communists leave the choir in relative peace and stop direct intimidation of its members.

In 1949 Chrzanów had almost 15.000 residents, in 1960: 20,000, in 1975: over 30,000 and in 1995: 53,000. After 1945 new enterprises were created in the town (e.g. a dairy, a cold storage plant, a slaughterhouse) and new residential areas (housing estates Północ - from 1961, Południe - from 1979, Trzebińska and so on) and cultural centres (e.g. County Cultural Centre, the construction of which was initiated in 1959, and Chrzanów Museum founded in 1960). The first postwar housing estates constructed in 1949-1955 (blocs of flats at Wojska Polskiego St and in Stella), which although following the principles of socialist realism, were created in the spirit of the town-garden and consisted of low buildings surrounded by greenery. Later housing estates were built of prefabricated concrete elements (in the 1970s and 1980s) and were rather dull settlements of uninspiring and sad architecture and a monument to the greyness of the period and total lack of originality. In 1950 the State County Archives were created with the purpose of collecting any documents about Chrzanów (unfortunately in the 1970s its collection was transferred to Katowice where it is still kept). In 1955 a sport and recreation centre was completed at the Chechło Reservoir and two years later the Fablok Cultural Centre. In 1962 Chrzanów received a new General Post Office headquarters in a building especially built for the purpose at Piłsudski St. In 1964 the town solemnly celebrated the 700th anniversary of its foundation. At that time a new bus station was built in Trzebińska St. But the official façade of various festivities was unable to conceal everyday difficulties which the residents had to face in their lives.

 

To the majority of inhabitants everyday problems included the meagre supply of food in the state shops. Although food regulation was abolished in 1950, it had to be reintroduced in the late 1970s (at first sugar and in the 1980s pretty much everything). The 1970s were marked by omnipresent queues in front of most shops (esp. butcher's shops) queuing sometime for days and nights (e.g. in front of the former furniture shop at 3. Maja St). In other areas the situation was not rosy either. To get a telephone and get connected to the telephone net usually took decades and was an especially complex process to complete. To many a telephone at home was a luxury beyond one's reach. In 1963 the number of telephone subscribers in Chrzanów was only 800. The communist régime boasted the "successes" which it had achieved, but the reality of everyday life was much less colourful. Following introduction of Martial Law in 1981 the overall situation plummeted to its record low. The town, plunged in dullness and apathy, displayed empty shop windows decorated with a few bottles of vinegar and the works of classics of Marxism-Leninism (like in the book shop in the former Lenin Avenue). In the 1970s Chrzanów had 4 cinema theatres ("Zorza", "Sztuka", "Fablok" and "Stella") and 7 primary schools: The Adam Mickiewicz Primary School nr 1 at Północ (from 1962), The Maria Konopnicka Primary School nr 2 at Szkolna St, The Marceli Nowotko primary School nr 3 (former Queen Hedvig School) at Henry Avenue (then Lenin Avenue), The Janek Krasicki Primary School nr 4 (now The Cardinal Wyszyński Primary School) in Stella, The General Świerczewski Primary School nr 5 at Fabryczna St (from 1963; now The Rev. Potaczało Primary School), The Julian Marchlewski Primary School nr 6 in Kościelec (now The Pope John Paul II Primary School, the new school building was completed in 1973) and The 30th Anniversary of Polish People's Republic School nr 7 at Zielona St (from 1974). Among other schools were: the special primary school at Paderewskiego St, the Music School at Śląska St, The Stanislaw Staszic Secondary School at Piłsudskiego St, evening secondary school, Kindergarten Pedagogical College and an ensemble of technical schools near Fablok Works. A branch of Cracow Polytechnic operated in the town, too.

Rynek Główny w latach 50. XX w. (fot. H. Hermanowicz).

 

 

Nowe bloki u zbiegu ulic Wojska Polskiego

 i ul. Grunwaldzkiej, 1962 r.

(z kolekcji p. E. Kępińskiego z Chrzanowa)

FAMOUS VISITORS TO CHRZANÓW AND CHRZANÓW COUNTY

 

 POPE JOHN PAUL II (*1920 Wadowice as KAROL WOJTYŁA,+2005 Rome, buried in St Peter's Basilica in Rome, the Vatican). In his capacity as metropolitan bishop of Cracow he stayed in Chrzanów County many times, e.g. in September 1978 shortly before his election as pope, he visited Chrzanów. Earlier he visited Chrzanów in 1965, 1966, 1968, 1974 and 1977. Karol Wojtyła also visited the following towns and villages of the County: Trzebinia (1938, 1950, 1955, 1958, 1963, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1971, 1973, 1974, 1976, 1977, 1978), Libiaz (1959, 1971, 1973, 1976), Płoki (1963, 1973, 1977), Alwernia (1966), Grojec, Podłęże (1968), Poręba-Żegoty (1968, 1977), Lgota (1973, 1975, 1977), Psary (1973), Mętków (1974), Żarki (1974, 1975, 1977), Babice, Balin, Bolęcin, Jankowice, Kwaczała, Myślachowice, Płaza, Rozkochów i Zagórze (1975).

 

POPE BENEDICT XVI (*1927 Marktl am Inn, Bavaria) on 28th May 2006 he was twice passing through Chrzanów on his way from Cracow to Oświęcim (Auschwitz) and returning back to Cracow's Airport Balice. In Chrzanów the Pope was cheered by crowds of Chrzanów's residents. The Holy Father travelled almost throughout the entire Chrzanów Country following the A4 motorway from Cracow to Chrzanów and farther on from Chrzanów via Libiąż and Bobrek towards Oświęcim.

 

ACTOR BOGUMIŁ KOBIELA (*1931,+1969, buried in the cemetery in Tenczynek), known for starring in such movies as "Bad Luck" ("Zezowate szczęście"), "Ashes and Diamonds" ("Popiół i diament"), or the unforgettable role of Monsieur Jourdain in a TV play "The Bourgeois Gentleman" ("Mieszczanin szlachcicem"). Bogumił Kobiela originated from Chrzanów Country and visited his native Tenczynek many times.

 

POPE FRANCIS (*1936 in Buenos Aires) on 29th July 2016 passed through Chrzanów returning from a visit to the German death camp at Auschwitz.

 

ACTRESS EWA KRZYŻEWSKA (*1939,+2003), granddaughter of Ludwik Nowakowski of Chrzanów, insurgent of the January Uprising. She starred in many Polish and foreign movies and is perhaps best known for her performance as barmaid Krysia with whom falls in love Maciek Chełmicki (starred by Zbigniew Cybulski) in Polish movie "Ashes and Diamonds". Ewa Krzyżewska spent her childhood and school years in Chrzanów. She died in Spain.

 

Chrzanów was also visited by a number of Polish artists who performed here e.g.: Hanka Bielicka, Stan Borys, Kazimierz Brusikiewicz, Ewa Demarczyk, Mariusz Dmochowski, Anna Dymna, Mieczysław Fogg, Alina Janowska, Maria Koterbska, Krzysztof Krawczyk, Czesław Niemen, Jerzy Połomski, Krystyna Prońko, Maryla Rodowicz, Irena Santor.

Spectacular ruins of the Starzeński Palace in Chrzanów-Kościelec, 1979 (ARB)

The 1970s architecture: The Sports Hall at Kusociński St.  (ARB)

In 1975, following an administrative reform abolishing counties (powiaty), Chrzanów ceased to be a county seat. Further the town was detached from its original Province of Cracow to which it had belonged since the restoration of Poland's independence after the Great War, and annexed to the Province of Katowice. The 1970s and the 1980s were the period of development of the town on the west side (housing estate between Oświęcimska St and Śląska St, 1978) and south-east side (the Południe housing estate, 1979-88 and blocs of flats on both sides of Trzebińska St from 1979). In 1970-71 a new town centre was constructed focusing around the Millennium Square (Plac Tysiąclecia) and the Victory and Liberty Monument, popularly known as The Eagle. In 1973 a new sports hall was completed and a railway station Chrzanów-Sródmieście (Downtown), situated in immediate proximity to the town centre than the central railway station. The new station was a small and rather provisional structure right from the start. Social tensions in 1980 did not bypass Chrzanów, and the episode which anticipated it was a demonstration by pupils of Chrzanów's Secondary School right before the May Day parade which was compulsory for all. Two pupils of the school spread anticommunist home-made leaflets throwing them from the upper storey over a crowd of pupils and teachers waiting in front of the school building. The incident took place several weeks before Solidarity movement was founded and Poland was engulfed in a wave of strikes in the summer of 1980. It was a forerunner of things to come.

SINCE 1989

Government transformation in 1989-1990 initiated a number of changes locally. In the very beginning the Town Council of Chrzanów decided to return to the old and traditional street names which most of residents had been attached to. Probably no native Chrzanovian ever called Świętokrzyska St (Holy Cross St) or Market Sq. by their official names imposed by communists: "Paris Commune St" and "Karl Marx Sq.". A project of restoring the original names to 22 streets came up in the City Council in 1990 and the name changes were made in June of the following year. In 1990 two other events took place in relation to the life of local Church: Cardinal Macharski consecrated a cross on the site of construction of a new church at the Południe housing estate and two months later he consecrated a newly constructed Church of Our Lady of the Rosary in Chrzanów’s centre.

 

In the 1990s further changes occurred in the town. In 1991 the Public Committee for Construction of the Indoor Swimming Pool was created, while Chrzanów was plugged into the nationwide automatic phone network receiving automatic phone connections with c. 180 towns and cities across the country. A project of dividing the town into new administrative units was introduced. It was to comprise the following units called housing estates: Śródmieście, Północ, Południe, Niepodległości, Kąty, Stara Huta, Borowiec-Rospontowa, Kościelec and Stella. Besides positive developments, a negative one also appeared caused by the overall economic situation of the country: unemployment. The regional Job centre registered 1,503 unemployed in 1990. This figure swelled to 2990 in the following year. In 1992 The Stanisław Staszic Secondary School celebrated its 80th anniversary. Other anniversaries were not forgotten either. In the Church of St Nicholas a memorial plaque was unveiled to the memory of the Home Army soldiers from the region who fought for free Poland during the Second World War and after its end. In the following year the city guard appeared in Chrzanów. Their task was to maintain order in the town.

 

In 1994 Chrzanów received its first university-level school, the High School of Business and Marketing. The first academic year was inaugurated in October 1994. Among noteworthy cultural events is the Dni Chrzanowa (literally: The Days of Chrzanów) a new public event to promote the town and its achievements. Apart from this in May 1995 Chrzanów played host to the Regional Philatelic and Numismatic Exhibition "Chrzanów Country'95". In 1996 the Chrzanów City Library celebrated its 60th anniversary. Beside cultural events 1996 brought new initiatives directly influencing quality of life of the residents: modernization of busy and congested Krakowska St started. Also renovation of the Regional Court building was initiated and the General Post Office at Piłsudski St was reopened following an extensive modernization of the building. A number of economic enterprises were carried out, as well. In October 1996 the Hydro Aluminium Extrusion Chrzanów was opened as the first company of this kind in Central Europe. It initially employed 50 persons with plans of enlargement by a further 150 employees. In later years other companies opened their branches in Chrzanów (incl. car equipment manufacturer Valeo). Numerous supermarkets were constructed as well, including: Tesco, Carrefour, Lidl, Biedronka and the shopping centre MAX. In result of the 1999 administrative reform, Chrzanów was brought back to Cracow Province (or Małopolska) and became again a county seat as it was almost 25 years earlier. In recent years the town's Market Square received an overhaul and through modernization it became a modern and attractive area in the very heart of the town. And in 2011 the town received a newly built modern library.

Chrzanów, the "Cabańska Fala" indoor swimming pool (ARB)

Chrzanów, the new edifice of the City Library (ARB)

Chrzanów, Market Sqare following its overhaul (ARB)