Next to an old trade route, the settlement of Moravská Chrastová was founded after 1200 by monks from a monastery in Litomyšl. It is first mentioned in a document from 1323.
The first written mention of Brněnec is to be found in the 1557 act of partition of the dominion of Swojanow. In 1892, workers carrying out improvements to the Bělá nad Svitavou road stumbled upon the remnants of prehistoric clay jars in the vicinity of the Nová Amerika ("New America") inn, one kilometre west of Brněnec. Systematic excavation on this site in 1893 unearthed further archaeological finds. A neighbouring hillside of crevices and caves, known as Jeskyně Čertovy, had already yielded traces of earlier settlements.
Until 1918, the village was part of the Austrian empire (Austria side after the compromise of 1867), in the Polička district, one of the 94 Bezirkshauptmannschaften in Bohemia. A post-office was opened in 1869.
With the construction of the railway from Prague to Brno (before 1850?), Brněnec received its own railway station on this main line. This encouraged numerous new industrial enterprises such as textile factories to develop around the dominant business of the Daubek mills.
In 1930, the municipality of Brněnec (including the then districts of Zářečí nad Svitavou, now part of the municipality of Březová nad Svitavou, and Podlesí counted 606 inhabitants, of whom 208 held German nationality. In 1939, as a result of German occupation and the ensuing retreat of Czech inhabitants, the total population had dropped to 490.
The municipality extended at that time only to the Bohemian right bank of the river Svitava. On the opposite Moravian bank was the independent village of Moravská Chrastová, which, together with its districts of Chrastová Lhota and Půlpecen (now part of the municipality of Chrastavec), had a total population in 1939 of 1,143 inhabitants and was therefore twice the size of Brněnec.
In 1944, Oskar Schindler relocated his Deutsche Emaillewarenfabrik (German Enamelware Factory), and the associated prison camp of 1,200 Jewish forced labourers, from Kraków to a munitions factory acquired by him in Brněnec. The Jewish workforce thus escaped transport to the extermination camps and was liberated on 10 May 1945, after the factory had been fully operational for seven months.
- See also list of subcamps of Gross Rosen.
There are 800 employment positions in Brněnec today.
The municipality of Brněnec is composed of the following districts (German names in parentheses):
- Brněnec (Brünnlitz)
- Chrastová Lhota (Ölhütten)
- Moravská Chrastová (Mährisch Chrostau)
- Podlesí (Unterwald)
Notable natives of Brněnec
- Oskar Schindler, WWII-era industrialist who saved 1,200 Jewish lives
- Die postalischen Abstempelungen auf den österreichischen Postwertzeichen-Ausgaben 1867, 1883 und 1890, Wilhelm KLEIN, 1967
- Much of the content of this article has been translated from the equivalent German-language Wikipedia article (retrieved 10 June, 2006)
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