Opoczno S.A.

Opoczno S.A. or ZPC Opoczno, known in Polish as the Zespół Zakładów Płytek Ceramicznych Opoczno, is the largest producer of ceramic tiles in Poland. For almost half a century the foundry enjoyed a monopoly status in the local market.[2] Established in the town of Opoczno originally in the mid 19th century, it became the first and largest ceramic tiles manufacturer already in Congress Poland under the Russian partition.[3]

Opoczno S.A.
IndustryTile manufacture
PredecessorDziewulski i Lange
Founded1886
FounderJózef and Władysław Lange with Jan Dziewulski
Headquarters,
Poland
Key people
Krzysztof Henryk Taler, president [1]
Number of employees
2,500

HistoryEdit

The company was formed by brothers Józef and Władysław Lange with businessman Jan Dziewulski.[4] Under the name of Dziewulski i Lange it began producing tiles in 1886. After World War II the foundry was nationalized by the communists and renamed in 1950 as ZPC Opoczno.[5] The Revolutions of 1989 and the fall of totalitarianism in Eastern Europe brought dramatic changes – with introduction of the free market economy – prompting further structural changes. Opoczno S.A. was privatized on September 5, 2000. At present, the majority of shares in the ownership of the company belong to foreign investors.[2][3][6]

Opoczno foundry has a staff of 2,500 and in part, the shares of its capital stock are still owned by the state according to Wprost weekly.[7] The Opoczno S.A. Group shareholders used to include: Credit Suisse First Boston Ceramic Partners (Poland) Sarl – 50.2%, the State Treasury – 39.1%, and Opoczno employees – 10.7%.[8] The Sarl consortium sold its shares to Cersanit S.A. (pl) according to Bankier.pl magazine.[9]

Company history and the Treblinka findingsEdit

The original Dziewulski & Lange factory of Opoczno received recognition[10] in relation to history of the Holocaust in occupied Poland.[3][10] The tiles stamped with the D✡L logo were unearthed in 2010 on the grounds of the former Treblinka extermination camp. An archaeological team performing excavations, led by Caroline Sturdy Colls of Staffordshire, explained that the evidence is of paramount importance, because the gas chambers at Treblinka were the only brick structure in the camp. The old Opoczno tiles provided the first physical proof for their existence. Survivor Jankiel Wiernik wrote in his Holocaust memoir before the end of war that the floors which he helped build, were made of such tiles. The discovery of ceramic bathroom tiles became the subject of the 2014 documentary Treblinka: Hitler's Killing Machine by the Smithsonian Channel.[11][12]

 
One of the tiles found during the archaeological dig, providing the first physical evidence for the existence of the gas chambers at Treblinka

The tiles from Opoczno found at Treblinka were erroneously perceived as featuring a Star of David.[13] Further analysis by Polish scientists led to the discovery of the true origins of the star identified as the historic trademark of the company which made the Treblinka tiles. The theory of the Star of David was therefore put to rest.[10][13][14] Even though all Treblinka tiles display a logo, it is not known what the meaning of the star might have been. Lange is not a Slavic surname. Once established, the logo remained in use during the interwar period. The foundry survived the 1939 invasion of Poland and remained in private hands until 1949. During the darkest years of Stalinism in Poland it was appropriated by the state and renamed.[10] Only after the Treblinka discovery, the star became the subject of intense scrutiny; described as the mullet of six points, pierced ( ) similar to a Star of David. Archeological assessments published by Staffordshire in the period following the Smithsonian documentary no longer identified the logo as Jewish in origin, an issue of central importance previously.[11][13]

Treblinka extermination camp built by Nazi Germany in occupied Poland during World War II operated between July 23, 1942, and October 19, 1943, as part of Operation Reinhard, the most deadly phase of the Final Solution. During this time, between 700,000 and 900,000[15] Polish Jews were killed in its gas chambers disguised as shower-rooms complete with ceramic bathroom tiles.[16] More victims were gassed at Treblinka than at any other Nazi extermination camp apart from Auschwitz.[17]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Info Veriti, Business report: Opoczno I Sp. z o.o., Opoczno. Global Information Network 2014.
  2. ^ a b Opoczno S.A. dzisiaj Eksporterzy - Baza Danych Producentów. 2015 Polishexport.info.
  3. ^ a b c Paweł Budziński, Towarzystwo Akcyjne Dziewulski i Lange the article published in Tygodnik Opoczyński (TOP) weekly by engineer Paweł Budziński. Quote in translation: "... the old logo of the company, showing between the big letters D and L the Six-Arm Star in a circle with the dot in the middle – because of the similarity to the Star of David – is sometimes wrongfully associated today with the Jewish memorabilia instead of the Opoczno factory." — Dr of Eng. Paweł Budziński. Original: "... dawne logo firmy przedstawiające umieszczoną pomiędzy dużymi literami D i L sześcioramienną gwiazdę w okręgu z kropką pośrodku, ze względu na podobieństwo do Gwiazdy Dawida bywa dziś niesłusznie kojarzone z pamiątkami po Żydach zamiast z opoczyńską fabryką." The author states that the logo association with religious practices is wrong (niesłuszne). He does not elaborate on it. Budziński does not say, not even suggests in his article, the original meaning of the logo. The tiles are stamped with what appears to be the Star of David, but that is also a charge in coat armory.
  4. ^ Official website, Opoczno, since 1883. 125 Years of Tradition. Brief history. Retrieved July 9, 2015.
  5. ^ Waldemar Oszczęda, "Jak to z opoczyńskimi „skarbami“ było." Archived 2010-04-03 at the Wayback Machine Opoczno.Republika.pl, 2015. Source: B./Wł. Baranowski, J. Koloński, Katalog zabytków budownictwa przemysłowego w Polsce, PAN, 1970.
  6. ^ gieldowe.pl/others
  7. ^ Rafał Boruc, "Kopalnia ceramiki. Opoczno." Newsmagazine Wprost, No. 24/1999 (863).
  8. ^ First-class technologies. New tile production plant at OPOCZNO S.A. – Poland. Company profile. Retrieved July 9, 2015.
  9. ^ Credit Suisse First Boston Ceramic Partners Poland Sarl w likwidacji o zbyciu wszystkich posiadanych przez siebie akcji. Bankier.pl magazine. Retrieved July 9, 2015.
  10. ^ a b c d Katarzyna Markusz, Odkrycie w Treblince (The discovery at Treblinka). Jewish.org.pl, 2007 Poland.
  11. ^ a b Boyle, Alan (29 March 2014). "Archaeologists Delicately Dig Up Nazi Death Camp Secrets at Treblinka". NBC. Retrieved 11 July 2015.
  12. ^ Smithsonian Channel (2014). "Treblinka: Hitler's Killing Machine". SmithsonianChannel.com. Retrieved 11 July 2015.
  13. ^ a b c Dr Caroline Sturdy Colls, Preliminary Results of the Survey at Treblinka II (the extermination camp). The Centre of Archaeology, Staffordshire University's Faculty of Computing, Engineering and Sciences. University website concerning the archeological dig at Treblinka correctly identifies Dziewulski i Lange as the manufacturer of the tiles found by the Coll's team.
  14. ^ Wiadomosci.Dziennik.pl, Sensacyjne odkrycia archeologów w Treblince, galeria (Sensational discoveries by archeologists). Quote in translation from Dziennik.pl: The most interesting find of the archeologists were the tiles used in the building of the old gas chambers. Two tiles were found. It has been known since several days that the tiles came from the ceramics factory Dziewulski i Lange of Opoczno. Edward Kopówka, who is probably the world's leading expert on Treblinka, said the following: 'Although the tiles display a Star of David they were produced by a Polish factory, later taken over by a German Volksdeutsche." Polish original: "Najciekawsze odkrycie archeologów to kafelki, którymi wykończone były tzw. stare komory gazowe. Znaleziono dwie płytki. Od kilku dni wiadomo, że pochodzą one z fabryki ceramicznej Dziewulski i Lange z Opoczna. 'Mimo, że na płytkach widnieje gwiazda Dawida wyprodukowała je firma polska przejęta później przez niemieckiego volksdeutscha' – poinformował Edward Kopówka." Retrieved July 9, 2015.
  15. ^ Roca, Xavier (2010). "Comparative Efficacy of the Extermination Methods in Auschwitz and Operation Reinhard" (PDF). Equip Revista HMiC (Història Moderna i Contemporània). University of Barcelona. 8. p. 204 (4/15 in current document).
  16. ^ Huttenbach, Henry R. (1991). "The Romani Porajmos: The Nazi Genocide of Europe's Gypsies". Nationalities Papers: The Journal of Nationalism and Ethnicity. Routledge: 380–381. doi:10.1080/00905999108408209.
  17. ^ Berenbaum, Michael. "Treblinka". Encyclopædia Britannica. Chicago: Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.