Górowo Iławeckie [ɡuˈrɔvɔ iwaˈvɛt͡skʲɛ] (German: Landsberg in Ostpreußen) or simply Górowo, is a town in northern Poland, located in the Bartoszyce County, Warmian-Masurian Voivodeship, with 4,068 inhabitants (2016). The town has a land area of 3.32 square kilometres (1.28 sq mi) and is the smallest municipality (gmina) in terms of geographical size in Poland.
|Gmina||Górowo Iławeckie (urban gmina)|
|• Total||3.32 km2 (1.28 sq mi)|
|• Density||1,200/km2 (3,200/sq mi)|
The town was founded by the Teutonic Knights commander of Balga, Heinrich von Muro, on February 5, 1335 at the crossroads of Balga-Heilsberg and Bartenstein-Mehlsack in the heart of the Old Prussian region of Natangia. It was largely destroyed in the wars of 1414 and 1456.
In 1440, the town was a founding member of the Prussian Confederation opposing the Teutonic Order. In 1454, King Casimir IV Jagiellon, at the request of the confederation, signed the act of incorporation of the region to the Kingdom of Poland, an event that sparked the Thirteen Years’ War (1454–1466). The townspeople recognized the Polish King as rightful ruler, hence the town became part of Poland. After the peace treaty signed in Toruń in 1466 it was part of the State of the Teutonic Order, although under Polish suzerainty as a fiefdom. After the battle of Grunwald and owing to the economic weakness following this defeat, the Teutonic Order was not able to pay off his debts to its mercenaries anymore, so the town was pawned to Nikolaus von Taubenheim in 1482. Throughout the centuries, the small town changed landlords, eventually the town was the property of the von Schwerin family from 1664 to 1808.
In 1710, 767 out of ca. 1000 inhabitants died of the plague.
The Napoleonic eraEdit
After the battle of Eylau in February 1807, French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte took lodging at the presbytery of the Lutheran church on 16./17.February 1807, just a few days after the Russian General Bagration. The church itself was used as a camp for Russian POWs captured at Eylau and at the earlier battle of Hoofe (Dworzno). 8000 wounded French soldiers were left in Landsberg. The town suffered from these battles and lost almost half of its inhabitants in the year 1807 due to hunger and disease following this war; in February and March 1807 alone, 400 inhabitants of the Landsberg region died. In 1809, the town counted only 1126 inhabitants and was closer to a village.
In 1811, parts of the Napoleonic Grande Armée marched through Landsberg on their way to Russia. About 40,000 French soldiers camped at the Landsberg area before marching on and had to be supplied with rations by the inhabitants.
In 1871 Landsberg became part of Germany. In 1898, it was connected to the railway-line, and in 1908, a municipal gas factory was established, which is today a technical museum.
In the beginning of World War I, Russian troops conquered the town for a few days in late August 1914. Owing to some shootings by German soldiers, the post office, one house, and several barns were burned down and seven civilians were executed. A railway bridge was blown up. German troops reconquered the town on September 2, 1914 without fighting.
In February 1945, the town and its periphery was the scene for fierce battles between the Wehrmacht and the Red Army, which finally conquered the town on February 2, 1945. As an important travel nexus, a large number of civilians trying to escape from East Prussia were captured here. On June 19, 1945, representatives of the Polish administration came to the town and took over administrative power from the Soviet commandant.
Following the Potsdam Conference, the town, having been settled by German-speakers for centuries was voided of its native population in 1946/47, to be resettled with Polish citizens new to the region. The town was renamed to obtain the proper Polish name of Górowo. Along with Poles, especially from the Polish areas annexed by the Soviet Union, a remarkable number of people of Ukraine nationality were settled by force in the area of Gorowo through Operation Vistula in 1947. Today a Ukrainian boarding school exists in Gorowo, and the former Lutheran church is used by the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church.
Twin towns — Sister citiesEdit
Górowo Iławeckie is twinned with:
- Horst Schulz, Preußisch Eylau - eine Kreisstadt in Ostpreußen, Lübeck 1998 (German)
- Horst Schulz, Der Kreis Preußisch Eylau, Verden 1983 (German)
- Miroslaw Mycio, Monografia Miasta Gorowo Ilaweckie, Gorowo 2001