Left to right: Mickiewicz Square • Gliwice Radio Tower • |
Town Hall • Post Office • Main Train Station
|o Mayor||Adam Neumann|
|o City||133.88 km2 (51.69 sq mi)|
|Highest elevation||278 m (912 ft)|
|Lowest elevation||200 m (700 ft)|
(31 December 2019)
|o City||178,603 (19th)|
|o Density||1,330/km2 (3,400/sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC+1 (CET)|
|o Summer (DST)||UTC+2 (CEST)|
44-100 to 44-164
|Area code(s)||+48 32|
Gliwice [?l?i'v?it?s?] (German: Gleiwitz, Silesian: Glywicy) is a city in Upper Silesia, in southern Poland. The city is located in the Silesian Highlands, on the K?odnica river (a tributary of the Oder). It lies approximately 25 km west from Katowice, regional capital of the Silesian Voivodeship.
Gliwice is the westernmost city of the Upper Silesian metropolis, a conurbation of 1.9 million people, and is the third-largest city of this area, with 178,603 permanent residents as of 2019. It also lies within the larger Upper Silesian metropolitan area which has a population of about 5.3 million people and spans across most of eastern Upper Silesia, western Lesser Poland and the Moravian-Silesian Region in the Czech Republic. It is one of the major college towns in Poland, thanks to the Silesian University of Technology, which was founded in 1945 by academics of Lwów University of Technology. Over 20,000 people study in Gliwice. Gliwice is an important industrial center of Poland. Following an economic transformation in the 1990s, Gliwice shifted from steelworks and coal mining to automotive and machine industry.
Founded in the 13th century, Gliwice is one of the oldest settlements in Upper Silesia, with a preserved Old Town core. Gliwice's most historical structures include St Bartholomew's Church (15th century), Gliwice Castle and city walls (14th century), Armenian Church (originally a hospital, 15th century) and All Saints Old Town Church (15th century). Gliwice is also known for its Radio Tower, where Gleiwitz incident happened shortly before the outbreak of World War II and which is thought to be the world's tallest wooden construction, as well as Weichmann Textile House, one of the first buildings designed by world-renowned architect Erich Mendelsohn. Gliwice hosted the Junior Eurovision Song Contest 2019 which took place on 24 November 2019.
Gliwice was first mentioned as a town in 1276, however, it was granted town rights earlier by Duke W?adys?aw Opolski of the Piast dynasty. It was located on a trade route connecting Kraków and Wroc?aw and was part of various Piast-ruled duchies of fragmented Poland: Opole until 1281, Bytom until 1322, from 1322 to 1342 Gliwice was a capital of an eponymous duchy, afterwards again part of the Duchy of Bytom until 1354, later it was also ruled by other regional Polish Piast dukes until 1532, although in 1335 it fell under the suzerainty of the Bohemian Crown, passing with that crown under suzerainty of the Austrian Habsburgs in 1526.
According to 14th-century writers, the town seemed defensive in character, when under rule of Siemowit of Bytom. In the Middle Ages the city prospered mainly due to trade and crafts, especially brewing.
After the dissolution of the Duchy of Opole and Racibórz in 1532, it was incorporated as Gleiwitz into the Habsburg Monarchy. Because of the vast expenses incurred by the Habsburg Monarchy during their 16th century wars against the Ottoman Empire, Gleiwitz was leased to Friedrich Zettritz for the amount of 14,000 thalers. Although the original lease was for a duration of 18 years, it was renewed in 1580 for 10 years and in 1589 for an additional 18 years. The city was besieged or captured by various armies during the Thirty Years' War. In 1645 along with the Duchy of Opole and Racibórz it returned to Poland under the House of Vasa, and in 1666 it fell to Austria again. In 1683 Polish King John III Sobieski stopped in the city before the Battle of Vienna. In the 17th and 18th century, the city's economy switched from trading and brewing beer to clothmaking, which collapsed after the 18th-century Silesian Wars.
During the mid 18th century Silesian Wars, Gleiwitz was taken from the Habsburg Monarchy by the Kingdom of Prussia along with the majority of Silesia. After the end of the Napoleonic Wars, Gleiwitz was administered in the Prussian district of Tost-Gleiwitz within the Province of Silesia in 1816. The city was incorporated with Prussia into the German Empire in 1871 during the unification of Germany. In 1897 Gleiwitz became its own Stadtkreis, or urban district.
The first coke-fired blast furnace on the European continent was constructed in Gleiwitz in 1796 under the direction of John Baildon. Gleiwitz began to develop into a major city through industrialization during the 19th century. The town's ironworks fostered the growth of other industrial fields in the area. The city's population in 1875 was 14,156. However, during the late 19th century Gleiwitz had: 14 distilleries, 2 breweries, 5 mills, 7 brick factories, 3 sawmills, a shingle factory, 8 chalk factories and 2 glassworks.
Other features of the 19th century industrialized Gleiwitz were a gasworks, a furnace factory, a beer bottling company, and a plant for asphalt and paste. Economically, Gleiwitz opened several banks, Savings and loan associations, and bond centers. Its tram system was completed in 1892, while its theater was opened in 1899; until World War II, Gleiwitz' theatre featured actors from throughout Europe and was one of the most famous theatres in the whole of Germany. Despite Germanisation policies, the Poles established various Polish organizations, including the "Sokó?" Polish Gymnastic Society, and published local Polish newspapers.
According to the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica, Gleiwitz's population in 1905 was 61,324. By 1911 it had two Protestant and four Roman Catholic churches, a synagogue, a mining school, a convent, a hospital, two orphanages, and a barracks. Gleiwitz was the center of the mining industry of Upper Silesia. It possessed a royal foundry, with which were connected machine factories and boiler works. Other industrialized areas of the city had other foundries, meal mills, and factories producing wire, gas pipes, cement, and paper.
After the end of World War I, clashes between Poles and Germans occurred during the Polish insurrections in Silesia. Some ethnically Polish inhabitants of Upper Silesia wanted to incorporate the city into the Second Polish Republic, which just regained independence. On May 1, 1919 a Polish rally was held in Gliwice. Seeking a peaceful solution to the conflict, the League of Nations held a plebiscite on 20 March 1921 to determine which country the city should belong to. In Gleiwitz, 32,029 votes (78.7% of given votes) were for remaining in Germany, Poland received 8,558 (21.0%) votes, and 113 (0.3%) votes were declared invalid. The total voter turnout was listed as 97.0%. This prompted another insurrection by Poles. The League of Nations determined that three Silesian cities: Gleiwitz (Gliwice), Hindenburg (Zabrze) and Beuthen (Bytom) would remain in Germany, and the eastern part of Upper Silesia with its main city of Katowice (Kattowitz) would join restored Poland.
In the interbellum the city witnessed not only Anti-Polish, but also Anti-French incidents and violence by the Germans. In 1920, local Polish doctor and city councillor Wincenty Styczy?ski, protested against the German refusal to treat French soldiers stationed in the city. In January 1922, he himself treated French soldiers shot in the city. On April 9, 1922, 17 Frenchmen died in an explosion during the liquidation of a German militia weapons warehouse in the present-day So?nica district. Styczy?ski, who defended the rights of local Poles and protested against German acts of violence against Poles, was himself murdered by a German militant on April 18, 1922. Nevertheless, various Polish organizations and enterprises still operated in the city in the interbellum, including a local branch of the Union of Poles in Germany, Polish banks and a scout troop. On June 9, 1933 Gliwice was the site of the first conference of the Nazi anti-Polish organization Bund Deutscher Osten in Upper Silesia. In a secret Sicherheitsdienst report from 1934, Gliwice was named one of the main centers of the Polish movement in western Upper Silesia. Polish activists were increasingly persecuted since 1937.
An attack on a radio station in Gleiwitz on 31 August 1939, staged by the German secret police, served as a pretext, devised by Reinhard Heydrich under orders from Hitler, for Nazi Germany to invade Poland, which marked the start of the Second World War.
Shortly after the outbreak of World War II, on September 4, 1939, the Einsatzgruppe I entered the city to commit various atrocities against Poles. After the invasion of Poland, the assets of local Polish banks were confiscated by Germany. The Germans also formed a Kampfgruppe unit in the city. It was also the cremation site of many of around 750 Poles murdered in Katowice in September 1939.
During the war, the Germans operated a Nazi prison in the city, and established numerous forced labour camps, as well as five working parties of the Stalag VIII-B/344 prisoner of war camp. From July 1944 to January 1945, Gliwice was the location of four subcamps of the Auschwitz concentration camp. In the largest subcamp, whose prisoners were mainly Poles, Jews and Russians, nearly 100 either died of hunger, mistreatment and exhaustion or were murdered. During the evacuation of another subcamp, the Germans burned alive or shot 55 prisoners who were unable to walk. There are also two mass graves of the victims of the early 1945 death march from Auschwitz in the city, both commemorated with monuments.
On 24 January 1945, Gliwice was occupied by the Red Army as part of their Allied Occupation Zone. Under borders changes dictated by the Soviet Union at the Potsdam Conference, Gliwice fell inside Poland's new borders after Germany's defeat in the war. It was incorporated into Poland's Silesian Voivodeship on 18 March 1945, after almost 300 years of being outside of Polish rule.
The earliest population estimate of Gliwice from 1880, gives 1,159 people in 1750. The same source cites population to be 2,990 in 1810, 6,415 in 1838, and 10,923 in 1861. A census from 1858 reported the following ethnic makeup: 7,060 - German, 3,566 - Polish, 11 - Moravian, 1 - Czech. Since the Industrial Revolution, Gliwice saw rapid economic growth which fuelled fast population increase. In 1890 Gliwice had 19,667 inhabitants, and this number has increased over twofold over the next 10 years to 52,362 in 1900. Gliwice gained its status of a large city (Großstadt in German) in 1927, when population reached 102,452 people.
In 1945, with the approaching Red Army, a significant number of residents were either evacuated or fled the city at their own discretion. Following the Yalta Conference, Gliwice, along most of Silesia, was incorporated into communist Poland, and the remaining German population was expelled. Ethnic Poles, some of them themselves expelled from the Polish Kresy (which were incorporated into Soviet Union), started to settle down in Gliwice. Population estimates reached their pre-war levels in 1950, at 119,968 people. Gliwice's population peaked in 1988 at 223,403 inhabitants.
As of December 31, 2016, Gliwice's population stood at 182,156 people, a decrease of 1,236 over the previous year. Gliwice faces a continuous population decline since 1988, which is credited to very low birth rates (exceeded by death rates) and suburbanisation.
Historically, Gliwice was ethnically diverse, initially inhabited by Poles, later it had a German majority as a result of German colonization, with a significant autochthonous Polish minority. In the Upper Silesian Plebiscite in 1921, 78.9 percent of voters opted for Germany (however 15.1 percent of the vote in Gliwice was cast by non-residents, who are believed to overwhelmingly vote for Germany across the region). However, in 1945 most of Germans were expelled or fled themselves, and the city was repopulated with Poles, mostly displaced from former Eastern Poland, annexed by the Soviet Union. Many of these new inhabitants were academics from the Lwów Polytechnic who created the Silesian University of Technology.
According to the 2011 Polish Census, 93.7 percent of people in Gliwice claimed Polish nationality, with the biggest minorities being Silesians at 9.7 percent (18,169 people) and Germans at 1.3 percent (2,525). 0.3 percent declared another nationality, and the nationality of 2.1 percent of people could not be established. These numbers do not sum up to 100 percent as responders were allowed to choose up to two nationalities. Most-common languages used at home were: Polish (97.7 percent), Silesian (2.3 percent), German (0.7 percent) and English (0.4 percent).
Except for a short period immediately after Reformation, Gliwice has always had a Catholic majority, with sizeable Protestant and Jewish minorities. According to the population estimate in 1861, 7,476 people (68.4 percent) were Catholic, 1,555 (14.2 percent) Protestant, and 1,892 Jewish (17.3 percent, highest share in city history).
Currently, as of 2011 census, 84.7 percent of inhabitants claim they belong to a religion. The majority - 82.73 percent - belongs to the Catholic Church. This is significantly lower than the Polish average, which is 89.6 and 88.3 percent, respectively. According to the Catholic Church in Poland, weekly mass attendance in the Diocese of Gliwice is at 36.7 percent of obliged, on par with Polish average. Other larger denominations include Jehovah's Witnesses (0.56 percent or 1,044 adherents) and Protestants (0.37 percent or 701 adherents).
Gliwice is the seat of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Gliwice, which has 23 parish churches in the city. Gliwice is also the seat of the one of the three Armenian Church parishes in Poland (the other being in Warsaw and Gda?sk), which is subject to the Holy See directly. Other denominations present in the city include a Greek Catholic Church parish, an Evangelical Church of Augsburg Confession parish, a Methodist parish, 9 Jehovah Witnesses halls (including one offering English-language services), several evangelical churches, a Buddhist temple and a Jewish prayer house.
Gliwice's Jewish population reached its highest number in 1929 at approx. 2,200 people, and started to decline in the late 1930s, as NSDAP gained power in Germany. In 1933 there were 1,803 Jews in the city, and this number has dropped by half to 902 in 1939, most of them perished in the war. Between 1933 and 1937, Jews of Upper Silesia enjoyed somewhat less legal persecution compared to Jews in other parts of Germany, thanks to the Polish-German Treaty of Protection of Minorities' Rights in Upper Silesia. This regional exception was granted thanks to the Bernheim petition that Gliwice citizen Franz Bernheim filed against Nazi Germany in front of the League of Nations.
Only 25 Jews of the pre-war population lived through the war in the city, all of them being in mixed marriages with gentiles. Immediately after the war, Gliwice became a congregation point for Jews saved from The Holocaust, with population at around a 1,000 people in 1945. Since then, the number of Jews in Gliwice has started to decline as survivors moved to larger cities or emigrated to Israel, United States and other western counties. Currently, Gliwice's Jewish community is estimated at around 25 people and is part of the Katowice Jewish Religious Community.
Gliwice has one Jewish prayer house, where religious services are held every Sabbath and on holidays. It is located in the house that the Jewish Religious Community elected in 1905. Previously, Jews in Gliwice prayed in the New Synagogue which was destroyed by Nazis during the Kristallnacht in 1938.
Notable members of the Jewish community in Gliwice include:
Gliwice is a major applied science hub for the Upper Silesian Metropolitan Union. Gliwice is a seat of:
The Gliwice Canal (Kana? Gliwicki) links the harbour to the Oder River and thus to the waterway network across much of Germany and to the Baltic Sea. There is also an older K?odnica Canal (Kana? K?odnicki) which is no longer operational.
The city's President (i.e. Mayor) is Adam Neumann. He succeeded Zygmunt Frankiewicz who was mayor for 26 years (1993-2019) before being elected as a Polish Senator. Gliwice has 21 city districts, each of them with its own Rada Osiedlowa. They include, in alphabetical order: Bojków, Brzezinka, Czechowice, Kopernik, Ligota Zabrska, ?ab?dy, Obro?ców Pokoju, Ostropa, Politechnika, Sikornik, So?nica, Stare Gliwice, Szobiszowice, ?ródmie?cie, ?wirki I Wigury, Trynek, Wilcze Gard?o, Wojska Polskiego, Wójtowa Wie?, Zatorze, ?erniki.
Members of Parliament (Sejm) elected from Bytom/Gliwice/Zabrze constituency include: Brzezi?ski Jacek (PO), Ch?opek Aleksander (PiS), Ga?a?ewski Andrzej (PO), G?ogowski Tomasz (PO), Ka?mierczak Jan (PO), Martyniuk Wac?aw (LiD), Religa Zbigniew (PiS), Seku?a Miros?aw (PO), Szarama Wojciech (PiS), Szumilas Krystyna, (PO).