|Gmina||Żywiec (urban gmina)|
|• Mayor||Antoni Paweł Szlagor|
|• Total||50.57 km2 (19.53 sq mi)|
|Highest elevation||400 m (1,300 ft)|
|Lowest elevation||344 m (1,129 ft)|
|• Density||630/km2 (1,600/sq mi)|
|Time zone||CET (UTC+1)|
|• Summer (DST)||CEST (UTC+2)|
|Postal code||34-300 to 34-330|
Żywiec // (Polish pronunciation: [ˈʐɨvjɛt͡s]; German: Saybusch) is a town in south-central Poland with 32,242 inhabitants (Nov. 2007). Between 1975 and 1998, it was located within the Bielsko-Biała Voivodeship, but has since become part of the Silesian Voivodeship.
Before Poland independence
Żywiec was first documented in the 14th century, following the construction of the Old Castle in the mid-14th century. The castle has undergone several restorations and boasts a number of styles of architecture and decoration, including Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque. Żywiec's Old Castle is encompassed by a 260,000 square metre landscape park, which was established initially in the 17th century.
From 1315 the town belonged to the Duchy of Oświęcim, held by the Upper Silesian dukes of Teschen and finally purchased to the Polish Crown in 1457. In 1624 it was acquired by Constance of Austria, queen consort of the Polish king Sigismund III Vasa. During the Deluge, Żywiec was plundered and destroyed by Swedish troops in 1656. From 1672 it was a possession the Polish cancellor (Kanclerz) Jan Wielopolski.
The Church of the Holy Cross was built towards the end of the 14th century, and expanded twice, once in 1679 and again in 1690. In the 18th century, a Baroque church was later constructed on the site and still stands today. A second noteworthy church, the Cathedral of the Virgin Mary's Birth, was constructed and expanded during the first half of the 15th century, before being renovated in Baroque fashion after a fire in 1711.
Upon the First Partition of Poland in 1772, Żywiec became part of the Austrian Kingdom of Galicia. In 1810 it was purchased by Prince Albert of Saxony, son of King Augustus III of Poland and again ruled with the neighbouring Silesian Duchy of Teschen. When he died in 1822, his estates fell to Archduke Charles from the Austrian House of Habsburg-Lorraine. The town also houses the Żywiec Brewery, established by Charles' son Archduke Albert in 1852, and purchased by Heineken International in the 1990s. A museum was founded at the site in 2006.
Second World War
Following the 1939 Invasion of Poland, Żywiec was occupied by Nazi Germany. The last Habsburg owner Archduke Karl Albrecht of Austria refused to sign the German Volksliste, whereafter he was ousted and arrested.
Between September and December 1940, the Nazi authorities deported 17,413–20,000 Polish inhabitants from around Żywiec county in the so-called Action Saybusch conducted by Wehrmacht and Gestapo. The expelled Poles were taken to the General Government (German: Generalgouvernement, Polish: Generalne Gubernatorstwo), a different region within Poland under German military occupation. The incident formed part of the Nazis' efforts, led by Reich Minister Dr. Alfred Rosenberg and his deputy Dr. Alfred Meyer, to develop the Occupied Eastern Territories for settlement by German migrants.
- Tomasz Adamek
- Wilhelm Brasse
- Archduke Charles Stephen of Austria
- Agata Wróbel
- Tomasz Jodłowiec
- Tadeusz Wrona
The town of Żywiec is twinned with:
- Unterhaching, Germany
- Riom, France
- Čadca, Slovakia
- Adur, Sussex, England (encompassing Shoreham-by-Sea, Lancing, Sompting, and Southwick)
- Gödöllő, Hungary
- Liptovský Mikuláš, Slovakia
- Szczytno, Poland
- Jewish Community in Żywiec on Virtual Shtetl
- "Żywiec". Retrieved 2010-02-05.
- "Heineken International". Retrieved 2010-02-05.
- Mirosław Sikora (20 September 2011). "Saybusch Aktion - jak Hitler budował raj dla swoich chłopów". OBEP Institute of National Remembrance, Katowice (in Polish). Redakcja Fronda.pl. Retrieved May 5, 2012.
- Etlin, R. A., John. Art, culture, and media under the Third Reich. Chicago: Chicago University Press, 2003.
- "Internetowy Serwis Miejski". zywiec.pl. 2008-06-20. Retrieved 2011-06-03.