I. Beuthen in old times until 1862
§ 1 German Setllement and
§ 2 Governmental stuctures under Slavic rule
§ 3 Formation of the Polish kingdom / It's inhabitants
§ 4 Silesian duchies
§ 5 Christianity, Germanization
§ 6 The Dukes of Beuthen until 1289
§ 7 The oldest news of Beuthen
§ 8 Name and construction of the old town
§ 9 The legal statute of Beuthen
§ 10 Beuthen until 1369
§ 11 Beuthen until 1476
§ 12 Beuthen until 1526
§ 13 Medieval mining in Beuthen
§ 14 Church and school
§ 15 The development of public law under the Habsburg
§ 16 Beuthen as pawn of the Hohenzollern. Georg the Pious
§ 17 Beuthen as pawn of the Hohenzollern. Georg Friedrich
§ 18 Change of ownership - The Henckels
§ 19 Beuthen until the establishmant of local rule
§ 20 Beuthen under local rule until 1741
§ 21 The religious situation during Habsburg rule
§ 22 Beuthen until the end of the 18th century
§ 23 Revival of the mining industry
§ 24 Beuthen in the 19th century until 1862
II. Beuthen in the last 40 years
§ 25 General facts, city
§ 26 Traffic
§ 27 Churches, schools and public offices
§ 28 Science and art
§ 29 Welfare and health care
back to the
I. Beuthen in old times until 1862.
§ 1. German settlement and Slavic tribes.
The Germanic tribes, originally settling and area reaching as far east
as southern Russia, were displaced during the great population
movements and were replaced by Slavs. Two independent tribes settled in
what is today Upper Silesia : the Opoloni and the Golensizi.
§ 2. Governmental structures under Slavic rule. The Slavic "state" did not have a common chief, rather it was organized into Zupes, each of which was lead by a Zupan. He was judge, priest and warrior in one, his capital was a castle, lying in the centre of the Zupe. The Zupe was divided into Opoles and these in turn into villages, although the latter did not have any legal status. The members of the Opole were required to care for public order and peace.§ 3. Formation of the Polish Kingdom. It's inhabitants. The attacks by foreign forces forced the Western Slavs to form a more coherent public order. Several kingdom, varying in size, were founded, only to disappear again; only the Polish kingdom survived. It was ruled by the Knäs, which had all state power invested in him and who owned all rights, provided he did not sell them.
§ 4. Silesian
For a long time Silesia was disputed between Bohemia and Poland,
until Boleslaw III (1102-1138) finally conquered it for Poland.
On the time following, Poland was divided several times, in such a way,
that the Sub-dukes had to swear allegiance to the Grand duke of Poland,
at least were supposed to do so. Silesia had two dukes, Boleslaus the
Long, owner of Glogau, Liegnitz, Breslau and Oppeln, and his brother
Mesko, owner of Ratibor and Teschen. This Mesko was subsequently
also given the
areas of Beuthen and Auschwitz by his uncle Kasimir, including the
areas of Pless, Zator and Ziewierz. After the death of his brother he
was also able to conquer Oppeln,
§ 5. Christianity, Germanization.
Originally the Poles were heathens. Christianity was introduced in
Silesia and Poland from Bohemia. The Polish church became independent
from the German one through the foundation of archdiocese of Gnesen.
The diocese Breslau, whose first bishop Johannes is appointed in the
year 1000, slowly severed it's links with Gnesen and finally became
independent. Upper Silesia still belonged to the diocese of Cracow back
In the 12th century the German settlement of Silesia began. Upper Silesia wasn't directly affected as much as other areas by this settlement, but it did lead to the transformation of existing Polish settlements from Polish to German law. Other legal rules remained and were later influenced by Bohemian law.
§ 6. The Dukes of Beuthen until 1289.
The loose association that Silesia had with Poland, became more and
more brittle; finnally leading to a complete sovereignty of the Dukes.
Therefore the great-grandson of Mesko, Duke Kasimir II, was able,
without any possible objection by the Polish side, to give his land to
the King of Bohemia as fiefdom on January 10, 1289.
But this duchy no longer not encompassed all of the old lands. Kasimir had divided the land amongst himself and his 3 brothers, himself retaining control of Beuthen (including Tost and Peiskretscham).
§ 7. The oldest news of Beuthen.
The first news of the City of Beuthen dates from the year 1136. On the
of July of that year Pope Innocent II. confirms the ownership of the
property of the Archbishop Jakob of Gnesen, under which is "the town
of Chorzow located near Beuthen". From the way Beuthen is noted here
can infer that the town must already have gained considerable
importance by that time. In the following period is seems to have been
the centre of the local silver mining industry.
Furthermore we learn that in 1201 the St. Margaret Church, owned by the St. Vincent seminary of Breslau, exsisted already. About 50 years later we find the first news on the Church of St. Mary. The market rights and the taxes on two inns belong to the abbot of Tryniec.
Apart from the notation referred to above there is a second reference to Beuthen during that time, in form of coins that were coined in Beuthen in the late 13th century. The mining industry was probably the reason for Beuthen becoming a city under German law. This happened in 1254 under Duke Wladislaw, after the city had been fortified. It is probably at this time that a large influx of Germans began. The city area consisted of 140 Flemish Hufen.
§ 8. Name and construction of the old town. The name "Beuthen", which in similar form also appears outside of Silesia in Saxony and Thüringen, means nothing more than "permanent settlement". It is very possibly that the first settlements were constructed around the hill on which the St. Margaret church stands today. It was only after Beuthen had already grown considerably, that a permanent market was constructed on the much larger hill further north, which is the town centre today. Duke Kasimir II was the first to take up residence here. Nothing remains of his castle, which was probably made of wood; not even the site of the castle is known today.§ 9. The legal statute of Beuthen. The city was built of ducal property. The citizens had to pay interest to the Duke, in addition to several sales- and production taxes. They had the right to organize the market trade and to administer the city's assets. A ducal steward collected the taxes and passed judgement in the name of the duke. The steward was the person that had founded the city with permission of the duke. The position of steward was passed on from father to son. Nonetheless, over time, Beuthen managed to acquire many of the ducal rights. The Castellan of Beuthen, also frequently mentioned, has nothing to do with the city (vide § 3)
§ 10. Beuthen until 1369.
who died in 1312, had already passed on his duchy to his son during his
lifetime. But we also find his brother Ziemowit being noted. Possibly
both reigned together for a period of time and then divided the land.
In connection with the legal statute of Beuthen it is import to know
that Wladislaw was given the cities of Cosel, Beuthen, Tost,
Peiskretscham and Slawenzitz by King Johann of Bohemia in 1327, and
that the Polish King Casimir III expressly ceded all rights he had on
Silesia. The sons of Wladislaw : Kasimir III and Boleslaw divided the
land amongst themselves, so that the prior gained control of Cosel, the
latter received Beuthen. After Kasimir's death Oppeln was given to
his brother. Under his reign the conjunction with the Bohemian crown
completed/finalized. That was is 1355, during the time that Karl IV
ruled over Bohemia.
After Boleslaw's death there was a dispute over who should receive which part of the inheritance. Finally Karl IV. was able to settle the dispute by recognizing only Kasimir of Teschen and Konrad of Oels as legal heirs. The final partition took place in 1358 : Cosel was given to Konrad, Tost and Peiskretscham to Premislaw, the son of Kasimir of Teschen. Beuthen remained the property of Boleslaw's widow for the time being. When she resigned, the dispute over Beuthen started anew. It was settled by a division of the city, the northern part was given to Oels, the southern part of Teschen; even the ducal castle was divided. Several of the butcheries and bakeries etc. were torn down and rebuilt elsewhere, since both princes wanted to own exactly the same amount. The suburbs belonging to the Beuthen, the mines and all other sources of income were split in the same manner.
§ 11. Beuthen until 1476.
The partition lasted until 1475. The Dukes of Oels, that also ruled
Beuthen, were : Konrad II.
until 1403, Konrad III. until 1412; after that his sons Konrad the
Elder White and Konrad der Kanther together until the death of the
latter in 1439. He was succeeded by his two sons Konrad
the Black and Konrad the Younger White, who were finally able to
capture their uncle. They divided Oels and their part of Beuthen in
a way that Beuthen was now owned by Konrad the Black. After his death
in 1471 Beuthen went back to Konrad the Younger White. King Matt
Matthew of Hungary forced him to give up his ownership, but he
continued to rule
as royal governor.
In the Teschen part Premislaw was succeeded by Boleslaw I. in 1410, who had been to Beuthen frequently. After his death in 1431 the brother divided the property once again, Teschen and the part of Beuthen went to the older son Wenzel. He was succeed by his brother Premislaw, who, like Konrad the Younger White has to cede his land to Kind Matthew of Hungary.
During that time Beuthen's inhabitants went through a time of severe suffering. The pillaging of the Hussites, the quarrels of the piastic Dukes, and finally the wars between Bohemia, Hungary and Poland took their toll on the land. Under Wenzel, which was constantly in need of cash, all rights and privileges were sold and the area of the duchy was reduced substantially : Ziewierz was sold to Poland.
§ 12. Beuthen until 1526. Thus,
the end of the 15th century the Duchy of Beuthen and with it all of
Silesia had changed hands, it was now, of course only until 1490, owned
by Hungary. After King Matthias Corvinus' death Bohemia's King
Wladislaw regained control of Silesia.
Matthias had pawned Beuthen with all it's villages, people, rights and income, to Jan Zierotin for 8000 hungarian Guilders. The latter was able to pay off old debts and acquired several new rights and villages, but was nevertheless glad to sell Beuthen to Duke Hans of Oppeln in 1498. Whilst his predecessors often seem to have disregarded the privileges of the city, Hans took care not to do so. It is noted that the city centre is burnt down almost completely in 1526. It is also noted that the Grand master of the Teutonic Order, Albrecht of Prussia, came to Beuthen in 1536 to negotiate with his brother Georg the Pious of Ansbach and his brother-in-law, the Duke of Liegnitz, the contract by which the Prussian Order was to become a worldly state.
§ 13. Medieval mining in Beuthen.
The fate of Beuthen is closely interwoven with that of the mines and of
industrial production. Even today Beuthen's fate depends on the
thriving of these industries.
The old silver mines in Chorzow have already been noted above (§ 7). From around the middle of the 13th century we have a document which seems to point towards the existence of lead mining in the surroundings of Beuthen. In any case, lead mining was quite common during that time. In the above mentioned division document of 1369, the mines in Hinterhuben (?), as well as those of Bobrek, Miechowitz, Polnisch-Piekar and Bobrownik are divided between Premislaw of Teschen and Konrad of Oels. The types of metal noted are gold, silver, zinc, copper and iron, although it is not certain that all of these were actually being mined.
It was during this time that the renowned Beuthen Priest Murder took place. An old document in the Breslau St. Vincent Monastery tells the following tale: The demon Szarlen had driven the inhabitants of Beuthen to drown their priest in 1363. The demon, which wanted to drive their souls to Hell, appeared in human form and requested payment of 10 % of the mining revenue. In return he offered do work for them. The people agreed and for many years they had great success with the mines. But soon they changed their mind and evaded the payments to the demon, rather paying them to the church. But when they saw that the church was now also well-off, just as the demon had been before, the envied the church as well. They now started working without paying the church it's share. But the revenge of the demon soon caught up with them. He told them to leave the mines, as he was preparing to, with permission of the Holy Virgin Mary, flood the mines with water, as punishment for the fraud they had committed against the parish of St. Mary's. According the Stenzel, published in Cod. dipl. Siles. XX 55 - Steinbuck, these were large massed of water that stopped all mining for lead, silver and zinc in Scharley. In the chronical by Stenzel the water was taken to be the punishment for the murder of the priest. This murder had taken place during the partition of Beuthen between Teschen and Oels, when the citizens had given refuge to the monks from St. Margaret, enemies of the priest of St. Mary's.
At the end of the fourteenth century we learn of the first iron foundry that was built in Upper Silesia; although the foundry did not lie with the city limits of Beuthen but rather in Althammer, Kreis Pless. In addition we learn of iron works in the villages Blazniowitz, Pohlom and Kochlowitz. Later the iron works in Bogutschütz are noted. The ore of these foundries was probably produced to a large extent by the iron ore mine in Bobrownik.
The mining laws were taken, as were those of most Silesian mining town, from those of Iglau (Moravia).
With the start of the sixteenth century the mines began to disappear. The reason for this was not the depletion of the mines but rather the inefficiency of the mines and foundries. The mines had become deeper, therefore the water management was more difficult. The miners used so-called "Rosskünste", which were water scooping devices run on horse power. The operating costs rose constantly. On top came a decrease in ore production and a lack of well educated miners. This lead to the closure of mines and as a result to a decline of the city of Beuthen, which over time became a small, unseemly town. Even the fish trade that was apparently quite substantial at the end of the 15th century was not able to stop the decline.
§ 14 Church and school. About the first
notation of St. Margaret's Church see above in § 7. Furthermore
there was a Minorite monastery in Beuthen, which, according to an old,
unsubstantiated record of 1258, supposedly was founded by Bohemian
monks. The first documented notation of the church is on April 14,
1292, when the abbot of Breslau's Abbey of St. Vincent resided there.
The origins of the Hospital of the Holy Sprit in the Krakauer Strasse
also go back to the 13th century. In a document from the year 1299,
Kasimir of Bohemia cedes all rights and taxes that the inhabitants of
Beuthen have to pay him to the Lords of Miechow respectively to their
monastery in Chorzow. Only thievery remains under his jurisdiction, the
are to go toward the up-keeping of the hospital. In the following years
the duke cedes Chorzow to the monastery, on the condition that it [the
monastery] is to be moved to the Krakauer Vorstadt in Beuthen.
There is only very limited news on the school system. It is certain that the schools will have been founded at the same time as the monasteries. The already frequently noted Duke Casimir seems to have acted to this effect. In any case, it is noted that in 1284 his sons had a teacher named Dominikus; and that the priest Engelbrecht left his parish for a limited time to study canon law. In 1408 the headmaster of the schools was called Gregor, and twenty years later, when a new priest is appointed, the pupils sing the Tedeum.
§ 15. The development of public law
under the Habsburg. The middle ages as such were a time, in
which the power was became less and less centralized. On the
one hand Silesia was being divided into ever smaller entities, and on
the other hand the local dukes lost more and more of their power due to
the sale of rights and privileges, thus ultimately becoming oblivious.
With the start of 16th century the process of decentralizaion ended
Corvinus had already made Silesia a somewhat unified entity. The
Habsburg, namely Ferdinand I., undertook to found an new and strong
They sought to create order in the fields : judiciary, taxes, police organization, in the mining industry, in trade and traffic, in the coinage, i.e. in all economically important fields.. The church was again required to pay public taxes, and the rights of the Silesian princes and the nobility were exactly described. But it is to be emphasized that in 16th century the princes and the nobility were readily willing to accept this re-organization. However, this changed with the beginning of the 30-years-war. There had already been attempts to limit the rights of the nobility earlier - although these attempts had been of no avail -, but after the war the Habsburg had both the right and the power to limit the noble privileges. They now had this right due to the fact that the nobles, by revolting against their lord, had broken their promise of loyalty, and they had gained the power, because the war had ended with a Habsburg victory.. Thus the absolute rule of the Habsburg Kings manifested itself in Silesia, too. But we cannot say that this absolutism was equally beneficial for Silesia as it had been for Brandenburg with their brandenburgish princes: the 100 years after the Peace of Westphalia produced not only a century of stagnation of Silesia, but rather a century of decline.
§ 16. Beuthen as pawn of the
Georg the Pious. The Bohemian King Wladislaw was succeeded by his
Ludwig II, who in turn fell in the Battle of
Mohacz in 1526 after a ten-year reign. His possessions were now passed
on to his
Ferdinand I., from the house of Habsburg, the brother of the German
emperor Karl V. However, still under the reign of Ludwig II., their
was an important change for Beuthen as it changed hands from the Duke
Hans of Oppeln into the possession of the Markgrave Georg the Pious
from the older Frankish line of the Hohenzollern.. Georg had already
acquired the Principality of Jägerndorf. But since Ferdinand I.
was weary of these new possessions, Georg and Hans of Oppeln ruled
jointly. After acquiring the pawnship of Oppeln and Ratibor, Georg
ruled on his own. It was Georg's intention to revive the mining
industry, namely silver and lead mining. Right at the start of his
reign, Tarnowitz received new privileges and on November 8, 1528 it's
first mining charter, valid for the entire county of Beuthen. On
December 13, 1528 the first invoices were issued for mines in Tarnowitz.
As we have already stated, the decline of the city of Beuthen had already begun at this point. One of the more significant reasons for this was the rise of Tarnowitz. Gramer calculates the number of houses to have been 170, thus the population will hardly have exceeded 1000. Nevertheless the city was strong enough to buy the village Groß Dombrowka in 1538, albeit that this village was quite derelict. There were disputes on this matter between Markgrave Georg and Beuthen, which were settled through mediation by the Polish king.
§ 17. Beuthen as pawn of the
Hohenzollern. Georg Friedrich. When Georg died in 1543, his
Friedrich was only 5 years old, and thus his cousin Markgrave Albrecht
reigned for him. When the latter was placed under Reichsacht (ban) for
his opposition to the Treaty of Passau, Ferdinand I. himself took
control for a short time.
During the reign of Georg Friedrich we come across news of several desasters that affected the city, of fires and cricket plagues, of the black plague and war; but we also come across news that new trades organizations are founded. Furthermore Ferdinand tried, although unsuccessfully, to take the mining rights from the Markgrave, which, as he maintained, were not included in the pawn. But this had only very limited affect on Beuthen, as all of it's mines had already been closed by 1580. But nonetheless Beuthen cannot have been completely insignificant, as the negotiations on the Austro-Polish Peace take place here in 1589.
§ 18. Change of ownership - The Henckels.
Georg Friedrich died on April 26, 1603, without descendants. He had
transferred ownership of Jägerndorf to the subsequent
Prince-elector of Brandenburg Joachim Friedrich in 1595. With respect
Beuthen, which the Kaiser wanted to redeem with the sum of 8000
guilders, he advised Johann Friedrich to try to gain inheritable
ownership of the land. But Kaiser Rudolf II. did not give his
permission, rather he wanted to redeem the county. But as he was
constantly short of cash, he was not able to follow through with his
plan. Thus Johann Friedrich took possession of the land, but without
being able to gain inheritable rights. Now the other Silesian nobles
called again for the emperor to redeem the county, which therefore
to order the sale of Beuthen. Johann Friedrich sold the land to his
second son Johann Georg, which had the oaths of allegiance sworn in
1608. It was only after the death of Rudolf II. that his successor
Matthias pursued the redemption with greater eagerness, driven by
requests by Baron Lazarus I. von Henckel, which had loaned substantial
sums of money to the Habsburg. Against payment of 45,000 Reichstaler
the redemption was to be finalized on February 9, 1619. But as the
Bohemian Uprising broke out, Johann sided with the Winter King and
after the same had lost the Battle of the White Mountains and was
banned, the countries of Beuthen and Oderberg were given to Lazarus I
Baron Henckel von Donnersmarck as pawn.
§ 19. Beuthen until the establishment
of local rule The Henckel were originally from the town of
in the Zips Cominat in Hungary and take their name Donnersmark
from this village (=Donnerstagsmarkt).
Their ancestral father is Peter Henckel, which is noted in 1378 and
supposedly stems from the family of the Thurzow of Bethlenfalva
They acquired great wealth; Lazarus in particular added quite a bit to
family fortune. He acquired Beuthen, as has been stated above, at first
as pawn, it was his son Lazarus II that gained full control of the
property rights in 1629. The oath of allegiance was sworn on January
28, 1672, by which Lazarus gave his word not to restrict the
privileges of the clergy and the cities.
The city was affected by the 30-years-war, the Mansfeldish troops went down hard on the city, later also the troops of Torstenson. But there were also several plundering raids by Polish nobles. All in all the records show that this time was dire and the wealth of the city had vanished.
Lazarus II. Henckel von Donnersmark was a mild lord. He paid the fines, that his subjects were ordered to pay for supporting the Swedes during the war, out of his own pocket. But he nevertheless did not lack energy and earnesty. He had suffered quite a bit himself during the war and the Kaiser was not able to pay back the money he owed him. Because of this he was elevated to the Reichsgrafenstand in 1661 by Leopold II.. When he died in 1665, his son Gabriel received the county of Beuthen, Georg Friedrich received Tarnowitz with Neudeck and the third son Elias got Oderberg. After Gabriel's death in 1666 Beuthen was divided in such a way, that the southern half with Kochlowitz went to Elias, the northern part with Beuthen went to Georg Friedrich. After the death of the latter it was divided amongst his two sons. Leo Ferdinand took control of Beuthen and bought back the southern part including Kochlowitz from his nephew. He is the founder of the Siemianowitz Line of the Henckel. The second son, Karl Maximillian, received Neudeck-Tarnowitz.
During the second half of the 17th century, Beuthen was often affected by the wars in eastern Europe, so that the wounds inflicted by the 30-years-war could not heal. During this time there were many complaints about the undisciplined and immoral actions of the citizens of Beuthen. Furthermore there were disputes between Count Leo Ferdinand with the nobles of the county of Beuthen as well as with the clergy, which were only resolved after lengthy negotiations.
It should also be noted, that during this time the Polish king John Sobieski, heading for Vienna, passed through Piekar. It was here that he converted to the Catholic faith, in the same way as Kurfürst August of Saxony, which was elected King of Poland in 1697, did.
§ 21. The religious situation during
Habsburg rule. The teachings of Luther seem to have reached
Upper Silesia very early. Markgrave Georg the Pious was a follower of
the new belief and had constructed a protestant church in Tarnowitz
during the early years of his reign. Under the reign of Georg Friedrich
the majority of the population was protestant. The Minorite monks seem
to have left their monastery in 1564. The first secure news of the
employment of a protestant preacher dates from the year 1569. The new
belief spread to the surrounding villages also, becoming the
predomination belief in many villages, in others there were church
services for both denominations. As a result of the 30-years-war there
was a turn of events, in 1632 a Catholic mass was once again held in
parish church. That the reconstitution of Catholicism wasn't as
stringent in Beuthen as in other parts of Silesia was due to the
rule of Lazarus II von Henckel. When a royal commission came to Beuthen
1631, admonishing the count to allow only Catholic inhabitants to live
in the city, and also to employ only Catholic officers, the Count
replied that he as count was not to rule over the conscience of men.
Nevertheless over 20 protestant families decided to leave the town. But several families did remain, so that in 1653 the Superior Office again ordered that all preachers and their employees were either to convert or to leave.
After the 30-years-war the Jewish community of Beuthen grew stronger. The counts needed, as elsewhere, money; those who had earlier been against further settlement now promoted it.
The medieval schools continued to exist in the 16th century also, a fact known to us from several documents. Georg Friedrich even issued a school regulation. But after the 30-years-war his interest in the matter seems to have faded.
§ 22. Beuthen until the end of the
18th century. Beuthen wasn't affected by the First Silesian
As a result of the Peace of Breslau (1742) it came under Prussian rule,
and the Standesherr Karl Josef became First President of the newly
founded Oberamts-government in Oppeln. But he doesn't seem to have
worthy of royal trust, as the post was passed on to his son Franz
Ludwig during his lifetime. When the latter died in 1768 he was
succeeded by his brother Lazarus.
On January 21, 1744 he city of Beuthen consisted of 173 inhabited private homes, 8 uninhabited homes and 29 empty plots; the situation in the suburbs was similar. 10 years later the city had 1134 inhabitants. Very slowly the town began to grow; in 1783 there were 1628 inhabitants, in 1794 only 1534. Possibly this decline is a result of the deployment of a Husar military unit, which had been stationed here, but hunger and inflation may also have contributed. In the year 1783 Frederick the Great gave 2620 Thalers to the city, to promote the settlement of wool- and flax weavers is larger numbers, as well has the foundation of carpenter workshops. The Minorite monastery and the corresponding church were re- and newly constructed respectively.. All in all, even though there were a few signs of development, the city must have been a rather dire sight back then.
§ 24. Beuthen in the 19th century,
until 1862. The begin of the 19th century was also a very bad
period for Beuthen;: especially the time of the Napoleonic wars was
horrible. In February of 1807 a hoard of Poles under the leadership of
Prince Sulkowsky arrived, supposedly as allies of the French; Beuthen
and other town were pillaged, the inhabitants robbed and mistreated.
Even though this time passed fairly quickly, the French remained longer
and pillaged the land more thoroughly. The prince of a Zentner wheat
rose to 94 Mark. It took years for the city to repay the war debts.
After the Peace of Tilsit the reconstitution of the Prussian state
began, closely linked to the names Stein, Hardenberg and Scharnhorst.
In 1808 the Städteordnung was passed, by which the city got the
right of self rule. Ever since the citizens had the right to elect the
city council which in turn elects the Magistrat, the body of executive
councillors. This body, lead by the mayor, has to have approval of the
city council for all it's actions.
In order to pay for huge war costs, monasteries and church foundations were nationalized in Prussia, in Beuthen this affected the Minorite monastery, a building that Friedrich Wilhelm III. had given to the city as a gift. The Napoleonic Wars themselves brought large numbers of Russian troops to the city, as well as a typhoid epidemic, especially amongst wounded soldiers.
In the following peace time, the city grew considerably. Also, it's appearance took at turn for the better, the old city walls were torn down, the Ring (market) was paved etc.
But there were also disasters : the cholera epidemic in 1831, which re-appeared several times, and several large fires. There was food price inflation and there were illnesses (a typhoid epidemic in 1848). But on the other hand the city was not affected by the revolutions of 1848, there were only limited demonstrations for a couple of days.
The population continued to grow, so that in 1851 the parish of Königshütte was founded. In 1857 the city became the seat of the royal county court, in 1869 gas-fired lanterns were installed.
II. Beuthen in last 40 years.
§ 25. General facts, city administration.
June of the year 1866 brought considerable excitement, as an Austrian
invasion was deemed imminent. Endless groups of refugees from the
Myslowitz and Nikolai areas passed though the town with all their
belongings, even the judicial till was brought to Oppeln. Near
Auschwitz there was a small skirmish, with several dead and about 70
wounded, but victory after victory on Bohemian ground lead to a greater
peace of mind amongst the citizens. The year 1870 brought a substantial
amount of captured officers to Beuthen, which were housed with local
After the war the city prospered quickly due to the boom of mining and industry, non withstanding several back drops. The big "crash" of 18734 was the worst. The years 1890 and 1891 also were low points in the industrial development of the area. Several time large strikes threatened the peace of the citizens. Nevertheless the population grew constantly and quickly since 1880 as the following table shows :
Naturally the fastest growing population segment was the working
class, which found jobs in the new mines and foundries, which started
to enclose the city. On city land new streets were built, e.g the
Gerichtsstrasse, in 1884/86 the new Dyngos- and the
Gräupnerstrasse. In the last few years the Paniower Feld and the
Kleinfeld are being developed.
In the same way that the population of the city grew, so did those of the other towns of the industrial area. Thus, in the year 1873 the old Kreis Beuthen was divided into four new ones : Beuthen, Tarnowitz, Kattowitz and Zabrze. After Beuthen had surpassed the level of 25,000 inhabitants in 1885 it gained the right to form it's own Stadtkreis and thus ceded from the Landkreis on April 1, 1890. On this occasion it also took up it's historic coat of arms, which shows a half golden Upper Silesian eagle on the right side and a miner on the left. The Landkreis Beuthen (1900 : 138,000 inhabitants), from which later Königshütte also ceded to form it's own Stadtkreis, stretched from Deutsch Piekar to Schwientochlowitz, from Rokittnitz to Groß Dombrowka. The Kreis constructed it's own splendid administration building in Rossberg on the Städtische Aue (renamed Moltkeplatz in 1902). But Beuthen continues to form a single electoral district with Königshütte and Tarnowitz, which sends one representative to the Reichstag, while, together with Königshütte, Kattowitz, Tarnowitz and Zabrze, it is represented in the Prussian parliament by two delegates. In 1867 a judicially educated mayor was elected for the first time : First Mayor Erbs, he was succeeded by First Mayor Küper in 1869 and in 1883 by, later Supreme Mayor Dr. Brünning. When the population surpassed the 50,000 level in the year 1900, the number of city councillors war increased from 42 to 48, while the number of Magistrat continues to be made up of 12 members : The Supreme Mayor, the Vice Mayor, 2 salaried and 8 honorary members. The continued increase of administrative duties required that in 1900, after the old town hall built by Baurat Jakisch in renaissance style in 1877/79, a new Kreishaus (town hall) be acquired, to which location the meeting of the city council were subsequently relocated.
§ 26. Traffic The
development of the traffic infrastructure didn't always keep up with
city growth. The city council made a big mistake in 1845 by preventing
the prolongation of the Königshütte-Schwientochlowitz Upper
Silesian railroad to Beuthen, to prevent competition for local
wagoneers. As a result the inhabitants were forced to use the station
in Morgenroth, 7 km away, built in 1859 during the construction of the
Tarnowitz-Karf-Morgenroth railroad. The station in Karf had only very
adverse connections. In 1868 the Rechte Oder-Ufer-Eisenbahn was built
from Breslau via Kreuzburg to Tarnowitz and prolonged in 1869 via
Scharley and Beuthen to Kattowitz. On April 1, 1872 Karf was connected
to the city by rail track. In October 1872 the line
Gleiwitz-Beuthen-Schiwentochlowitz was opened, in the mid 1870s also
the line Beuthen-Peiskretscham-Oppeln.
The Oberschlesiche Bahnhof was opened on July 15, 1874, later reconstructed and enlarged by a lobby, as this station now had to handle the entire passenger traffic as the Rechte-Oder-Ufer railroad was closed for passengers. Today there are tracks going into 6 directions from Beuthen, as there are more fast trains running, so the that provincial capital Oppeln can now be reached in just under 3, the Land-capital in approximately 9 hours. In the year 1900 65,000 passengers departed from here, 2.1 million tons of goods were loaded. The postal traffic has risen similarly. After the German postal service was housed by the Villa Just in the Gymnasialstraße from 1874 to 1885 (now girl's school), it now has it's own building in the Bahnhofstraße, yet again becoming increasingly to small, as the current mail traffic now consists of ca. 3.6. million letters, 240,000 parcels and ca. 21 Million Mark in money orders, in addition to uncounted numbers of newspapers, telegraphs and telephones conversations (introduced in 1890), etc. The Reichsbanknebenstelle (division of the German Federal Bank) now has it's own building in Beuthen too; it's annual turnover is 500 Million Mark. Furthermore Beuthen is the seat of the Pringsheim division of the public Upper Silesian narrow-gauge railroad (1859), whose track often run parallel to the main railroad's, connecting the mines and works of the industrial district with total track length of 129 km. The city is also the seat of the administration of the Upper Silesian cable car, founded in 1892, which, originally being steam powered, has switched to electrical power a couple of years ago. First the line Gleiwitz-Königshütte-Beuthen-Deutsch Piekar was built, to be followed by many others to Zabrze, Ruda, Morgenroth, Lipine, Kattowitz and Myslowitz, so that travel to these towns had been greatly facilitated. Hopefully the lines from Beuthen to Miechowitz and Städtisch Dombrowa will be built soon.
The Gräflich Schaffgotsch'sche Verwaltung also has it's head office in our town.
§ 27. Churches, schools and public
offices As the population grew the need to split the large
Beuthen parish into small entities arose, so that Godullahütte,
Orzegow and Lagiewnik were separated. In the end even the city parish
had to be split into 2 separate parishes. Therefore, in 1882, the
construction of the new church ad Sanctam Trinitatem began, designed by
Baurat Jackisch in noble gothic style. The church was consecrated on
June 16, 1886. This parish, to which the original parish church of St.
Margaret (built in 1880) and the Begräbniskirche (1881) on the
Piekarerstrasse belong, comprised the western part of the city,
Städtisch Dombrowa, Städtisch Karf and Schomberg, where a new
church is already being built., which the older parish ad Sanctum
Mariae, to which the hospital-church of Heiliggiest and the Hyacinth
church of Rossberg belong, comprises the eastern part of the city,
Rossberg and Städtisch Scharley and a part of Birkenhain. The
district of Schwarzwald belonged to the parish of Eintrachthütte.
- The local Jewish community, one of the oldest in the industrial area,
built a larger synagogue in old moorish style in 1869.
After the city officials had for the first time considered building a practical high school in 1849, and after there had been extensive discussions on the subject in the 1850s, the plan was finally dropped in favour of a Gymnasium (lyceum, high school) which was opened on April 29, 1867 and soon grew considerably. In the summer of 1870 it moved into it's present building, designed by Baurat Jackisch, and came under public control on April 1, 1889. It became the largest Gymnasium in the province (600 pupils), in part due to the establishment of a episcopal seminary. The latter moved from the Blotnitzastraße to a more spacious house in 1900.
But the old plans for a practical high school gained new friends in the 1890s and lead to the establishment of the Public Catholic Practical School on May 1, 1897, which now has 320 pupils and is being transformed into a superior practical school. On January 8, 1903 the institution moved into it's new splendid home, constructed by Stadtbaurat Brugger according to the newest trends in architecture, with references to the baroque style. In addition there is a private high school in existence since 1890.
There are two girls high schools : the catholic "Höhere Töchterschule", which, originally founded in 1879 as a private school, is administered by the "Arme Schulschwestern de notre Dame" and has approximately 500 pupils; as well as the Simultane Höhere Töchterschule, founded in 1878, with ca. 250 pupils.
The elementary school sector has shown considerable growth. Public schools had at total of :
In the latter year there were 125 teachers
employed, of which 10 were Protestant and 6 Jewish.
(1902 : 134 teachers, of which 34 female).
Additionally there is the Städtische Fortbildungsschule, which was attended by 236 students in 1871; now that attendance is mandatory this figure has risen to 912, with 3 departments divided into 13 elementary classes, 12 drawing classed and 4 business classed. Since 1901 there is also a Fortbildungsschule for girls run by the Gewerbeverein.
Thus is was necessary for a large number of school buildings to be built : in 1871 the Catholic elementary school in the Langenstrasse next to Protestant church, in 1872 the building for the Jewish school (run by the city since 1870) in the Dyngosstrasse, in 1875 the school building in the Hospitalstrasse, in 1877 the remodelling of Protestant church. In 1880 the school building on the corner Dyngos/Goystrasse, in 1806 the construction of the school in the Breitenstrasse. Planned for this year are new school building in the northwest with 32 classes, since for a considerable time classes have had to been held in private homes. - The entire school system is overlooked by two Kreis-school inspectors.
Other offices - As a result of the re-organization of the judiciary, Beuthen has become the seat of a provincial court, which is presided over by a president and 6 directors, and which is now the same size as the Breslau provincial court; furthermore the seat of an important county court. As a result the existing court building had be expanded. Attached is a large jail.
There are also : a 3-chamber business court (1893) and a mining court with 2 chambers rule on disputes between employers and employees; in addition there are several trade courts. Two mining offices : Beuthen-south and Beuthen-east overlook the mining industry. A Kreis doctor and a Kreis-Land Border veterinary officer overlook the sanitary laws. In addition there is a Business- and a Kreis-building inspection office, two railroad inspection offices, a land registry office, a gauge, a taxation office, a border police post, a district police post. After the stationing of the 2nd Battalion of the 1st Posen infantry division on April 11, 1881 the city once again has a military camp, and has therefore constructed a military hospital in 1883, a large barracks in 1890, which now houses the 3rd battalion of the 1st Upper Silesian infantry division No. 22 Keith.
§ 28. Science and art. There are
no scientific societies of any significance in Beuthen, likewise there
large libraries. The city archive is as yet largely unorganized. But on
the other hand, local offices and the schools have specialized
and since 1800 there is a public library, which has not been able to
flourish due to a lack of funds. Also, the many clubs, be that
business-, denominational or other clubs, strive to educate their
members through lectures and demonstrations. A nice mineralogical
collection looked after by the Berg- und Hüttenmännischer
Verein is located in the town hall. - In the artistic field not much
has been achieved; the strains of city live, the abundance of business
and enterprise make a peaceful, quite enjoyment of life impossible.
Proportionally the best looked after is music, with a number of
music- and song groups. Also, the town has it's own city band. But an
important step was taken with the foundation of a theatre- and concert
hall company, for which the Magistrat set aside a free plot of 50 ar
and a loan of 300,000 Mark for the construction of a banquet hall and
theatre. The theatrical and musical performances, which have taken
place there since October 1901, are an attraction for all art-loving
people of the city and the surrounding area. - There are not many
monuments in the city. Beside the buildings already mentioned, most of
them from the 19th century, it has, apart from the gothic church of St.
Mary's, constructed in the 13th and 16th century, no old monuments. The
monument commemorating the war of 1870/71 (constructed 1873), a sitting
lion modelled after a design by Rauch cannot really be considered.
It is thus all the more welcome that an old church which can look back on a history of several centuries, formerly standing in Mikultschütz and designated to be torn down, was bought by the Magistrat and moved to the city park in 1901. This wooden church is an example of the architecture found from the Bukovina to the nordic kingdoms, which is especially well developed in the norwegian church in Wang in the Riesengebirge.
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