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[Page 15]


2. The town and the annexation of the first neighborhoods

Translated by Lance Ackerfeld


Annexation of areas in the proximity – Ostra Górka a miners settlement – Radocha in the delta between the Brynica and Black Przemsza Rivers – from “Pustkowie Radocha” (“Radocha Wilderness”) to Radocha as a chemical industrial center – Środula a collection of inns over the Przemsza – chemical industries in Środula – the Środula Ghetto for Jews in the Nazi period – Pogoń, pursuit after the Hungarian Legion – in the past a village on the outskirts of Mysłowice – two Pogońs – one [belonging to] Sielce and one [belonging to] Gzichów – a new Sosnowiec suburb – Sielce as an ancient place – having privileges from Kazimierz the Great – frequent exchanges of the masters of Sielce – a palace and excursion garden in Sielce – Sielce as a “Little Jerusalem” according to the Jews – the first Sosnowiec Jews from Sielce.


Thanks to the proximity of the village of Sosnowiec to the industrial towns of Katowice, Mysłowice, Bytom, Gliwice and others, the village became an industrial and commercial settlement and an important road junction. The industrial activities that took place in the region of the village caused the place to begin annexing areas within its proximity, such as: Pogoń, Środula, Radocha, Szczynice, and later on Sielce, Gzichów, Miłowice and Małobądz. The area belonged to the heirs of Kramsta, Graf [earl] Renard, and several factory owners from overseas, and only a small portion of it was held by Polish farmers. We will hereby review the villages and settlements that were engulfed by small and poor Sosnowiec and constituted the beginnings of Greater Sosnowiec.

Ostra Górka. The origins of Ostra Górka begin at the end of the 18th century. It was a settlement of tar workers, that numbered no more than two shoddy huts, with a farm belonging to the Gzichów estate in the Będzin district.


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Sos016.gif [40 KB] - Map of Sosnowiec and its suburbs
Map of Sosnowiec and its suburbs that were annexed to the city,
with the Black Przemsza and the Brynica Rivers in its center


After a coalmine was opened in it in 1822, the place developed in a short time to a settlement inhabited by miners, which became part of Sosnowiec. From the railway station in Sosnowiec the road led almost directly over the face of the town to Ostra Górka, and from there on through Radocha to Modrzejów next to the banks of the Brynica and Black Przemsza Rivers. Along almost all the road there were coalmines dug, and it was dangerous to go along there.

Radocha. This settlement sprouted in the forest on the banks of the Brynica River, on the road between Sosnowiec and Modrzejów, in the Będzin district. The place formerly belonged to Miłowice. In the list of properties of Miłowice there was information that in the delta between the Brynica and Przemsza Rivers there were two grasslands belonging to Pasternik and Riwarka. In 1646 there were only five huts on the north-west side of the settlement. In 1827 there were 4 houses and 22 residents in this settlement. By 1845 the place was called “Pustkowie Radocha” (“Radocha wilderness”). From the first half of the 17th century there is only one name as a resident of Radocha. At the beginning of the 19th century an inn stood here belonging to Jan Wolni.


[Page 17]


In 1896 the “Radocha” chemical plant was founded here with a stock capital of 70,000 rubles, headed by a Jewish manager by the name of Zaks. The output in 1900 reached 300 wagons of wax, paraffin, stearin and paraffin candles, and also chemical products like: antichlor, wax products for floors, wax for boot makers, anointing oil, wine and lemon vinegars, nitrate, ozokerite, sugar oil, cleansing salts.

Środula. Środula had existed as early as 1645 as an inn settlement that was located on the left bank of the Przemsza [River] on the side of the road from Będzin over Sielce to Mysłowice. Apart from the inn there were two huts belonging to Albert Jancowa and Sebastian Pajcak. A farm that was later founded here existed till 1880. In the second half of the 19th century a settlement was founded that was purchased by the “von Kramsta Society of mountain coalmines”, which leased it to Majerhold. Near the settlement, on the banks of the Przemsza [River], a couple of huts stood called by the name of “Środula”. In 1667 there was information about the Migdlaka family that settled in Środulka.

In 1883 a chemical factory called “Gzichów” that was founded by the “Mainz Society for the chemical industry in Frankfurt on the River Main”. The factory employed 95 laborers and produced sulphuric acid, hydrochloric acid, acetic acid and calcium chloride. In the year 1900 there was still a chemical factory belonging to Gutman and associates. Środula was situated next to the Warsaw-Vienna railway line (about 3 kilometers from Sosnowiec) and there was a railway station for the loading of merchandise on this line, two lime furnaces, and a limestone quarry. In the past it was an inn settlement. During the Nazi-German regime, Sosnowiec Jews were placed in Środula, after they evacuated the Christian residents and transferred them to Jewish residential houses in the town.

Pogoń. In the past it was known by the name of Pogońia. Its origins were with the construction of the first wooden fortress on a hill in Będzin during the period of Boleslav the Shy, at the beginning of the 13th century. The place was the same kind of settlement, whose residents were obliged to carry out certain activities for the prince, master of the palace and they would only submit to him.

The Pogoń farmers carried out tasks of princely or royal envoys, who in earlier times were called Pogońia, and thus the settlement was called. The assumption, that the name Pogoń is related to obligation to pursue various kinds of criminals does not withstand scrutiny, since this obligation is called “szlad” (szlad – obligation to pursue after a criminal; the farmers of the settlement pursued a criminal calling out “szlades” till they reached the borders of a neighboring settlement, to whom they passed on the task of pursuit) and in the 12th century were related to the burden or public declaration to which all of the settlements were bound.

We find the first instance of the name of the settlement in 1345 with Naruszewicz, whose book on the history of the Polish people (volume 5, pages 138-139). He states: “…and these royal knights chasing after these dispersed robbers (Czechs), and destroyed them after two battles. Since one legion was comprised of Hungarians that went to Lviv and harmed the enemy in the village of Biala, and the second went and pursued after those who went in the direction of Olkusz, surrounded them in the village of Pogońia and dispersed them”.

At the end of the 14th century the village lost its adverse attributes, and by virtue of grants was transferred to the Kowacz family ruled by the Waz household. During the same period it was granted German rights with 7 tracts of farm land and one tract belonging to estate owners. The town head received the placement of two tracts with income from an inn. Thus the Polish historian J. Dlugosz speaks about this in his book, that Pogońia as a village in the periphery of Miłowice. It had 7 tracts; and also it leadership of the village was located there. In around1440 Stephen Kowacz of the Waz household was known to be the owner of the village. Following Kowacz someone from the Siminski family was the owner of the village, in about 1599. Whilst in the years 1636-1670 the supervision of Pogoń was by the large Jarocki family. We find proof of this in birth certificates from Będzin, which included the names of Barbara, Katrina, Jadwiga and Jan Jarocki from Pogoń. There is also a document (in the Mysłowice archives) affirming that members of the Jarocki were the owners of the Pogoń estates.

There is also proof that at the end of the 17th century and the beginning of the 18th century there were two Pogońias. Lists of the assets of Gzichów from the beginning of the 19th century also mention a Gzichów Pogońia in and also a Sielce Pogoń, each with special farms and courtyards. The first courtyard stood in the region of the present blocks of dormitories near Sucha Road, and the second – near the peripheral entrance of Pogoń. In 1875 Gzichów Pogoń numbered 29 houses, a farm and 331 residents, whilst that Sielce Pogoń numbered 49 homes, a farm and 1088 residents. Before World War II amongst the residents of Pogoń there were still those that remembered the two farms.

In the past two quite large pools existed in Pogoń, next to which a mill stood. It was still possible to see such a pool in 1858. The mill ceased to operate about 1830. There was even an old inn in Pogoń, and in 1839 a tenant still lived there. As mentioned previously Pogoń was part of the Mysłowice outskirts, and after 1819 was annexed to the Czeladź outskirts. In 1902 Pogoń was already an industrial settlement in the Będzin district, considered as a neighborhood of the new Mysłowice and numbered 1500 souls. Jews also settled in Pogoń, in the beginning a few, which expanded over time became a respectable society, and about this is described in the following.

Sielce. In the 14th century this settlement was known by the name of Sedlic and Siedlic, and in the 15th century by the names Siedlce and Siedlice. After various name changes the name Sielce remained. This ancient place on the lofty river banks, when there was a lack of other transport a number of roads were found in it, where Sielce had pegged itself of the left bank of the Black Przemsza River. Being that in the 16th century there was a fighters' settlement here, which was described in Dlugosz's book, one can conclude, that the settlement belonged to a type of senators' villages, which were settled in previous times by fighters or combat soldiers.

Up until 1361 Sielce was the property of Abram Maguszyc. He carried out an exchange with the famous Otton from Pielce with authorization of Kardos Sielce for 'Witanowicz' (achieving peace), and this change was approved by Kazimierz the Great. At the request of Otton, Kazimierz the Great granted Sielce Magdeburg Rights.


[Page 18]


However these rights did not receive, apparently, legal status, since in the Royal Krakow archives the following information is found: “Elizabeth the Eldest. Queen of Hungarian and Poland, approves a letter of the Starosta of Krakow Sandiboginsza, according to which Otton from Pielce exchanged with Piotr Szfaran, the Krakow agricultural minister, in the Sielce and Klimontów estate and a fourth of the patronage of the church in Mysłowice, in exchange for a half a field of 50 cubits in Pielgrzymowice and 700 grivans [?]. Apart from this the queen transferred the aforementioned villages from Polish law, to German law, Krakow, on the Holy Wiaczeslaw Day, 1379”.

From this document we conclude, that in 1379 Sielce was established as an acquisition of Piotr Szafran from Pieskowa Skała. On the same page of the document we find further information which says: “Jadwiga the Eldest, Queen of Poland approves the sale of Sielce and Klimontów in the Krakow district to Piotr Szafran, together with Pogoń in the Cieszyn district and so on. Krakow, year 1386”. After that Sielce was transferred in 1386 to the sons of the sister of Archbishop Bodzentyn, Wiesław and Piotr who were Mysłowice masters. In about 1440 was already find Sielce in the hands of Jarocki. At the end of the 16th century the master of the village was Valenti Minor. Following him members of the Przybyslawski family lived here, as testified by a marble plaque above the gate of the palace.


Sos018.jpg [40 KB] - The Schoena Palace (Chemiczna)
The Schoena Palace (Chemiczna)
near the 1st of May Street, in which was located
the district court in Sosnowiec


From the beginning of 1706 the masters of Siwelce were from the families of: Modrzejów, Zigoborski, Zilinski, Stojowski, Schimmelpfennig, Ludwig Anhalt von Peles, Graf Stolberg and Ernigroda, Graf Jan Renard: and from 1902 – the French mining and iron foundry companies. The village was settled on 15 tracts of land, and it had an inn with a field the income from which went to a certain pastor from Mysłowice.

From earliest times a palace stood here with the title “A chronicle for study and science” from the year 1835 as follows: “It is built in a square shape on deep marshy and muddy ground the access to it is difficult. Wild forest thickets and unusually high trees surround its circumference. Certainly it was once fortified, because water filled trenches and a bridge could not serve anything but a single purpose. In all corners of the palace and in its center towers rise up, and on the southern side there was also a prayer room with a quite high tower, in which a bell is still hanging. In the surrounding walls firing hatches are rent, and below the entire palace is a dry and exceptional basement, with many hiding places and tunnels for secretly escaping from the fortress. The effects of time, the attacks by enemies, and above all – fires, destroyed much of the palace. The ancient beautiful decoration, the sculpture and the other artistic works arouse amazement and wonder of its visitors. The older generation say that the fortress in Sielce was built by the German Templars, who founded their settlement here safe from attacks, and they carried out their worshiping in the prayer room. It is also assumed they left behind underground dungeons near the gate as a memento.

The palace was partially built by Ludwig Fürst von Anhalt-Köthen, who lived in it. The present palace does not at all resemble the ancient palace. The towers were taken down, the decorations disappeared, the prayer rooms haven't be in use for years, and instead of prayers that took place there for hundreds of years – now there is the scratching of clerks' pens.

In the direction of the Przemsza River there is an excursions garden. Years ago it fulfilled the task of a public excursions garden and on the entrance gate the inscription “Garden open to the public” is displayed (this was during the Tsarist regime). In the period of independent Poland the garden was locked with seven locks. On south-eastern side of the palace, on a hill of rocks a grave carved in rock was still prominent in 1858, in which General Schimmelpfennig, a Sielce lord together with his grandson. The hill also received the name of the grave “Schimmelpfennig Hill” which was retained till 1870.

The beginning of mines on Sielce land was from the year 1840. After Sielce was transferred in 1858 to Graf Renard, the “Fanny” mine was founded that was administered in the beginning in the quarry system. In 1884 a stocks company by the name of “Graf Renard” was founded. Instead of the old quarry mine a new quarry mine was founded known today by the name “Renard”. In 1902 Sielce was transferred together with the mine to French hands by the name of “The Huta Bankowa industrial group companies” belonging to Huta Bankowa, Reden, the Graf Renard company and Metallurgical plants in Radom.

In 1881 the Prussian company “The combined Kaniges Und Lora Huta” established an iron foundry in Sielce, today known by the name “Huta Katarina”. In the beginning the plant dealt only in rolling iron, and later built two large furnaces, a tempering factory with two furnaces of the “Martin” type, an iron factory with 14 smaller furnaces and three steam hammers, and began rolling flat iron, shaped and sheets, pipe rolling, iron casting, and they founded a factory for screws, nails and so forth.


[Page 19]


Sos019a.jpg [20 KB] - The Sielecki Castel
Sos019b.jpg [19 KB] - The Sielecki Park in its new layout
The Sielecki Castel – a view from the park The Sielecki Park in its new layout






Sos019c.jpg [40 KB] - The coffee shop in the garden near Zeromskiego Street
The coffee shop in the garden near Zeromskiego Street
a meeting place for the Jewish political parties



[Page 20]


In 1900 the output of the foundry reached 3,548,853 puds[1]. Later on Huta Katarina was transferred to a Modrzejów mining and foundry company.

In 1827 Sielce numbered 33 houses and 229 souls. In 1889 Sielce was a village with a farm located near the Black Przemsza [River], in which there were 29 houses, 365 souls, and the land was agricultural; in the farm there were 11 houses and 70 souls; in the mill there was a single house in which there were 18 souls; in the industrial settlement – two houses and 8 souls. In 1902 Sielce was already part of Sosnowiec and the population rose to 20,000 souls.

Jews settled in Sielce and they had stores. Siecle was known as “Little Jerusalem” by the Jews, since religious Jews settled there as early as 1870 and amongst them: Cwika Kalisz, Szmul Mosze Jungster, Ruwen Laudon (who was a homeowner in Sosnowiec and maintained a special teacher for his children), Michael Londner, Nachum Szarf, Hendel Jungster, Szmaja Szajer (bootmaker). The shochets [religious slaughterers) at the time were Motel Cwajgenhaft and Alter Wysznic, and members of the Chevrat Kaddisha [Burial society]: Lajbisz Rederman amongst the town leaders and Icchak Zaks. Berisz Szelzer (a man from Sielce) served as a prayer leader in “Tiferet Shlomo” in Radomsk during the High Holy days and Slichot [special prayers recited in the weeks preceding Yom Kippur], and in his lyrical voice and very emotional prayers caused all that heard him to tremble. Several Jews had family names according to where they lived and in various places in Zagłębie (Chaim Sielcer in Modrzejów) it was possible to meet up with Jews whose family name was “Sielcer”.

The population census in Poland of 1897 was carried out by the Russian authorities counted the Jews in various settlements in the Zagłębie region and even publicized their figures, but we couldn't find the number of Jews in Sielce and Pogoń.

Jewish families were already settled at the beginning of the 19th century in Pogoń, Wygwizdów, Old Sosnowiec, Ostra Górka, Miłowice, that were later annexed to the Sosnowiec town. Around the villages that were mentioned were coal mines, iron foundries and small factories that drew to them Jewish families looking for a livelihood and managed more or less comfortably in that place.


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  1. Pud – A Russian weight unit = 16.3 kilograms. Return


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