Prudnik [ˈprudɲik] (listen) (Czech: Prudník, German: Neustadt in Oberschlesien, Latin: Prudnicium, Silesian: Prudńik) is a town in Poland, located in the southern part of Opole Voivodeship near the border with the Czech Republic. It is the administrative seat of Prudnik County and Gmina Prudnik. Its population numbers 21,368 inhabitants (2016). Since 2015, Prudnik is a member of the Cittaslow International.
Historic Town Hall on the Market Square
Prudnik – spotkajmy się (Polish "Prudnik – let's meet")
|• Mayor||Grzegorz Zawiślak|
|• Total||20.48 km2 (7.91 sq mi)|
|Elevation||265 m (869 ft)|
|• Density||1,000/km2 (2,700/sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC+1 (CET)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC+2 (CEST)|
The town was founded in the 1250s, and was historically part of the Polish-ruled Duchy of Opole, and afterwards was located within the Habsburg Monarchy, Poland, Habsburg Monarchy again, Prussia, Germany, and eventually Poland again. It was once an important industrial hub known for its shoe-making traditions and more recently towel making by the ZPB "Frotex" Company, one of the largest towel manufacturers in Europe. The town also possesses numerous architectural monuments and historic buildings such as the Main Town Hall and "Wok's Tower" (Wieża Woka) from the 14th-century.
Prudnik is located in the historic Silesia (Upper Silesia) region at the confluence of the Prudnik river and its Złoty Potok tributary. The city is situated on the border of Opawskie Mountains and the Głubczyce Plateau (a part of the Silesian Lowlands). Prudnik and Vrbno pod Pradědem are headquarters of the Euroregion Praděd.
The name "Prudnik" was created after Polish word prąd (flow, stream, Czech: proud, Silesian: prund) and, like nearby Prężyna, means a river with a fast stream. In the Middle Ages, the city's name was writted with a letter u, which was Czech counterpart of ą (1262 Pruthenos, 1331 Prudnik). Since 17th century, the name Prudnik was used along with Neustadt.
The town's German name was also written in its Latin form Neostadium. Sometimes its Polish and Czech translations were used (Nowe Miasto, Nové Město). The town's older name also had its Latin form (Prudnicium). The town was also called Polnisch Neustadt ("Polish New Town"), but in 1708 it got replaced with Königliche Stadt Neustadt ("Royal Town New Town"). Its Polish counterpart Nowe Miasto Królewskie was used in a Polish document published in 1750 by Frederick the Great.
In the 19th century, the city's name was changed to Neustadt in Oberschlesien ("New Town in Upper Silesia"), while the Slavic name Prudnik was still used by its Polish inhabitants, which was mentioned in Upper Silesia's topographical description from 1865: "Der ursprünglische Stadtname „Prudnik" ist noch jetz bei den polnischen Landbewohnern üblich". In the alphabetic list of cities of Silesia published by Johann Knie in Wrocław in 1830, Polish name Prudnik was used along with German Neustadt ("Prudnik, polnische Benennung der Kreistadt Neustadt").
In Polish, the city name has masculine grammatical gender.
The first human traces in the present town area are dated to the Neolithic times. In 1259 the Czech knight Wok of Rosenberg founded in the defensive bend of the Prudnik river a castle, and his son Jindřich obtained the city rights in 1279. In 1337 it became a part of the Duchy of Opole, and remained under the rule of local Polish dukes of the Piast dynasty until the dissolution of the duchy in 1532, when it was incorporated into the Austrian-ruled Bohemian (Czech) Crown. It was located on a trade route between Wrocław and Vienna.
Early modern eraEdit
In 1562, the Austrian-ruled Duchy of Opole and Racibórz passed a resolution that obligated Jews to sell their houses, pay their debts, and leave the duchy in a year. On the basis of this resolution, in 1564, Jews were ordered to leave Prudnik, but Krzysztof Prószkowski, who leased the land there, let them stay until 1570. The town was captured and plundered by the Swedes in 1632, during the Thirty Years' War. In 1645 along with Opole and Racibórz it returned to Poland under the House of Vasa, and in 1666 it fell to Austria again.
In 1742 the town was incorporated into Prussia. During the Seven Years' War it was the scene of a bloody surprise attack upon the Prussians as they were marching out of the city. The London Gazette of 25 March 1760 reported "General Laudohn, who had set out from his Quarters on 14th with Palfy's Regiment of Cuirassiers, Lowenstein's Dragoons, 500 Hussars of Nadaski, 500 of Kalnocki, 2000 Croats and 14 Companies of Grenadiers, marched all Night with a View to surprise our Troops at Neustadt. The latter were scarce out of the Gates, when they were surrounded by those of the Enemy. General Jacquemin was posted with the Regiment of Lowenstein near Buchelsdorff on the road to Steinau, General Laudohn followed with the Regiment of Palfy and 2000 Croats, supported by 14 Companies of Grenadiers; a thousand of their Hussars were upon our right flank, the advanced Guard of which consisted of 100 Men under Capt. Blumenthal of the Regiment of Manteuffel. Capt Zitzewitz commanded the Rear Guard, consisting of the same number; and the rest of the aforesaid regiment, with a Squadron of Dragoons of Bareith under Capt. Chambaud, followed with the Baggage. General Laudohn summoned out Troops twice, by Sound of Trumpet, to lay down their Arms; which they not complying with, he ordered all his Cavalry to advance: Whereupon General Jacquemin fell upon the advance Guard, while General Laudohn himself attacked the Rear, and the Hussars, in Platoons, flanked the Baggage. The Captains Blumenthal and Zittzwitz formed their small Force in a Kind of Square, from whence they kept a continual fire. The enemy's Cavalry nevertheless advanced six Times on a Gallop, to within ten Paces of our Troops; but perceiving many fall on their Side, among whom were several Officers, they retreated in great Disorder... The Loss of the Austrians however greatly exceeds ours; they buried above 300 Men, in different Places, and sent 500 Wounded to Neustadt. Besides which we have taken 25 Prisoners, amongst whom are several Officers. We had 35 men killed, and four Officers and 65 private Men wounded, in Manteuffel's Regiment, as also one Lieutenant, with three Dragoons in Bareich's... The Officers, taken Prisoners, by our Troops, commend highly the Bravery of the Regiment of Manteuffel upon this Occasion."
In the subsequent years, the area developed into a significant centre of handcraft, in particular cloth production and shoe-making. In the 19th century, the surrounding factories continued the local tradition of handicraft. The indigenous Polish population was subject to Germanisation policies. Due to the lack of Polish schools, local Poles sent their children to schools in so-called Congress Poland in the Russian Partition of Poland. Local Polish activist, publicist and teacher Filip Robota, was investigated by the local Prussian administration and police for writing about this practice in the Gazeta Toruńska, a major Polish newspaper in the Prussian Partition of Poland.
Interbellum and World War IIEdit
Prudnik remained part of Germany after Poland regained independence in 1918, however, Polish organizations still operated in the town in the interbellum, including the Union of Poles in Germany and the Polish-Catholic School Society. In a secret Sicherheitsdienst report from 1934, Prudnik was named one of the main centers of the Polish movement in western Upper Silesia. Nazi Germany increasingly persecuted local Polish activists since 1937, and carried out mass arrests in August and September 1939. On 7 September 1938, Prudnik was visited by Adolf Hitler along with Hermann Göring, Heinrich Himmler, Gerd von Rundstedt, Erhard Milch, Hans-Jürgen Stumpff, Josef Wagner and Hellmut Körner.
During World War II the Germans established four forced labour camps and four working units for British and Soviet prisoners of war. On 26 September 1944, a sub-camp of Auschwitz in Prudnik / Neustadt O.S' was founded in the Schlesische Feinweberei AG textile mill (now ZPB "Frotex"). Neustadt was a stopping place on a death march during final months of World War II, for prisoners-of-war transferred by the Nazis from all over Europe to stalags built in occupied Poland. About 30,000 Allied PoWs were force-marched westward across Poland, Czechoslovakia and Germany in winter conditions, lasting about four months from January to April 1945. The Red Army captured Neustadt on 18 March 1945.
In modern PolandEdit
After the end of the Second World War in 1945, Neustadt was transferred from Germany to Poland according to the Potsdam Conference, and given its original Polish name of Prądnik. The remaining German population was expelled and replaced by Polish settlers and refugees transferred from the Kresy in the former Polish eastern territories annexed by the Soviet Union. The city's name was changed to Prudnik in 1946.
Prudnik is a town rich in historic architecture from various periods. Among its sights are:
- medieval Wok's Tower (Wieża Woka), a remnant of the castle
- preserved parts of the medieval town walls with the Lower Gate (Brama Dolna) and the Katowska and Mała towers which are part of the local historical museum (Muzeum Ziemi Prudnickiej)
- Baroque-Classicist Prudnik Town Hall
- Baroque St. Michael's Church
- Baroque Saints Peter and Paul Church
- Park Miejski ("Town Park") with the Diana statue, a monument to local Polish activists fallen in the Silesian Uprisings and murdered in Nazi concentration camps, a monument commemorating the 1000th anniversary of the founding of the Polish State, etc.
- Prudnik Culture Centre (Prudnicki Ośrodek Kultury)
- public Town Bath (Łaźnia Miejska)
- St. Joseph Church
- World War II memorials, including a memorial to Polish children and youth, heroes and victims of the war at the Plac Szarych Szeregów ("Gray Ranks Square"), a monument to Polish soldiers fighting on various war fronts for Poland's freedom at the Plac Wolności ("Freedom Square"), and two mass graves of prisoners of the Nazi German Auschwitz concentration camp, murdered in the town in 1945
- Baroque Marian column and Saint John of Nepomuk statue
- Publiczne Przedszkole nr 1 (5 Mickiewicza Street)
- Zespół Szkolno-Przedszkolny nr 2 (12 Szkolna Street)
- Publiczne Przedszkole nr 3 (69 Piastowska Street)
- Publiczne Przedszkole nr 4 (9 Mickiewicza Street)
- Publiczne Przedszkole Specjalne nr 5 (1 Młyńska Street)
- Publiczne Przedszkole nr 6 (9a Podgórna Street)
- Publiczne Przedszkole nr 8 (1 Ogrodowa Street)
- Niepubliczne Przedszkole "Skrzat" (66 Grunwaldzka Street)
- Publiczna Szkoła Podstawowa nr 1 (9 Podgórna Street)
- Zespół Szkolno-Przedszkolny nr 2 (12 Szkolna Street)
- Publiczna Szkoła Podstawowa nr 3 (12 Szkolna Street)
- Publiczna Szkoła Podstawowa nr 4 (2 Dąbrowskiego Street)
- Publiczna Szkoła Podstawowa Specjalna nr 5 (1 Młyńska Street)
- Publiczne Gimnazjum nr 1 (1 Armii Krajowej Street)
- Publiczne Gimnazjum nr 2 (2 Dąbrowskiego Street)
- Publiczne Gimnazjum Specjalne nr 3 (1 Młyńska Street)
- I Liceum Ogólnokształcące (2 Gimnazjalna Street)
- II Liceum Ogólnokształcące (55 Kościuszki Street)
- Liceum Ogólnokształcące dla dorosłych (5 Podgórna Street)
- Zespół Szkół Medycznych (Medical School) (26 Piastowska Street)
- Zespół Szkół Rolniczych (76 Kościuszki Street)
- Zespół Szkół Zawodowych (5 Podgórna Street)
- Państwowa Szkoła Muzyczna I st. (36 Traugutta Street)
- Szkoła policealna dla dorosłych (26 Piastowska Street)
- Saint Michael the Archangel parish (Plac Farny 2)
- God's Mercy parish (35 Skowrońskiego Street)
- God's Mercy church (35 Skowrońskiego Street)
- Zbór Syloe (40A Kolejowa Street)
- zbór Prudnik (Kingdom Hall, 22A Piastowska Street)
- Cmentarz Komunalny (19 Kościuszki Street)
- Jewish cemetery (40 Kolejowa Street)
- Football pitch (Kolejowa 7)
- Football pitch (Włoska 10)
- Sports Hall OSiR Prudnik
- Orlik 2012 field
- Summer swimming pool
The biggest corporations in Prudnik were Zakłady Przemysłu Bawełnianego "Frotex", which got closed in 2014 and Prudnickie Zakłady Obuwia "Primus", which got closed in 2007.
Currently, the major industrial plants in Prudnik are:
- Steinpol Central Services (furniture industry)
- Spółdzielnia "Pionier" (auto parts industry)
- Artech Polska (printing cartridges industry)
- Okręgowa Spółdzielnia Mleczarska (food industry)
- Henniges Automotive (auto parts industry)
Born in PrudnikEdit
- Matthäus Apelles von Löwenstern (1594–1648), psalmist, musician and statesman
- Karl Dziatzko (1842–1903), scholar
- Eugen Fraenkel (1853–1925), pathologist and bacteriologist
- Max Pinkus (1857–1934), industrialist and a bibliophile
- Otto von Garnier (1858–1947), German General of the Cavalry during World War I
- Wilhelm Siegmund Frei (1885–1943), dermatologist
- Ludwig Hardt (1886–1947), actor
- Felice Bauer (1887–1960), fiancée of Franz Kafka
- Dietrich von Choltitz (1894–1966), German General, the last commander of Nazi-occupied Paris
- Hellmuth Reymann (1892–1988), officer in the German Army during World War II
- Kurt Wintgens (1894–1916), German World War I pilot
- Bernd Scholz (1911–1969), composer
- Jan Góra (1948–2015), youth activist
- Tadeusz Madziarczyk (born 1961), politician
- Maria Koc (born 1964), politician
- Aleksandra Konieczna (born 1965), actress
- Jarosław Wasik (born 1971), singer-songwriter
- Peter Peschel (born 1972), football player
- Krzysztof Szafrański (born 1972), racing cyclist
- Lukasz Gadowski (born 1977), entrepreneur and investor
- Michał "Z.B.U.K.U" Buczek (born 1992), rapper
- Samuel Fränkel (1801–1881), industrialist
- Filip Robota (1841–1902), local Polish activist, publisher and teacher
- Stefan Wyszyński (1901–1981), archbishop
- Franz Augsberger (1905–1945), SS commander
- Harry Thürk (1927–2005), writer
- Stanisław Szozda (1950–2013), Olympic cyclist
- Krzysztof Pieczyński (born 1957), actor
- Lukas Klemenz (born 1995), association football player
Twin towns – sister citiesEdit
- "Population. Size and structure and vital statistics in Poland by territorial divison in 2019. As of 30th June". stat.gov.pl. Statistics Poland. 15 October 2019. Retrieved 14 February 2020.
- "Cittaslow – O Cittaslow". cittaslowpolska.pl. Retrieved 17 February 2019.
- "Prudnik – 10 atrakcji, które warto zwiedzić i zobaczyć. Zabytki. Przewodnik". podrozebezosci.pl. Retrieved 1 September 2018.
- "EUREGIO PL-CZ". www.euroregions.org. Retrieved 17 February 2019.
- Triest, Felix (1865). Topographisches handbuch von Oberschliesen. Breslau. p. 1044.
- "Słownik geograficzny Królestwa Polskiego i innych krajów słowiańskich, Tom IX – wynik wyszukiwania – DIR". dir.icm.edu.pl. Retrieved 17 February 2019.
- "Prudnik – Cittaslow International". www.cittaslow.org. Retrieved 1 September 2018.
- Knie, Johann (1830). Alpabetisch-statistisch-topographische Uebersicht aller Dörfer, Flecken, Städte und andern Orte der Königl. Preus. Provinz Schlesien... Breslau.
- "Zarządzenie Ministrów: Administracji Publicznej i Ziem Odzyskanych z dnia 7 maja 1946 r. o przywróceniu i ustaleniu urzędowych nazw miejscowości". prawo.sejm.gov.pl. Retrieved 17 February 2019.
- Weltzel, Augustyn (2005). Historia miasta Prudnika na Górnym Śląsku. Opole: Wydawnictwo MS.
- "Prudnik". Encyklopedia PWN (in Polish). Retrieved 19 March 2020.
- Walerjański, Dariusz. Z dziejów Żydów na Górnym Śląsku do 1812 roku.
- The London Magazine, Or, Gentleman's Monthly Intelligencer. R. Baldwin. 1760.
- "Filip Robota". Urząd Miejski w Białej (in Polish). Retrieved 19 March 2020.
- Sebastian Rosenbaum, Mirosław Węcki Nadzorować, interweniować, karać. Nazistowski obóz władzy wobec Kościoła katolickiego (1934–1944). Wybór dokumentów, IPN, Katowice, 2010, p. 60 (in Polish)
- Mirosław Cygański, Hitlerowskie prześladowania przywódców i aktywu Związków Polaków w Niemczech w latach 1939 - 1945, "Przegląd Zachodni", nr 4, 1984, p. 24, 32-34 (in Polish)
- "Wizyta Hitlera w Prudniku. Regiopedia, Opolskie, encyklopedia regionów". 14 July 2018. Archived from the original on 14 July 2018. Retrieved 8 December 2018.
- "ul. Dworcowa, Prudnik – zdjęcia". polska-org.pl. Retrieved 8 December 2018.
- "Auschwitz-Birkenau – Neustadt".
- "The Long March". Stalag VIIIB 344 Lamsdorf. Retrieved 2 June 2018.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Prudnik.|
|Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Prudnik.|
- Municipal website
- Parafia pw. Miłosierdzia Bożego
- Jewish Community in Prudnik on Virtual Shtetl
- Opolskie – photogallery