Coordinates: 50°59′N 18°13′E / 50.983°N 18.217°E / 50.983; 18.217
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Town hall
City park
Our Lady Help of Christians Church
Kluczbork monastery
Church of Christ Saviour
  • From top, left to right: Town Hall
  • City Park
  • Our Lady Help of Christians Church
  • Kluczbork monastery
  • Church of Christ Saviour
Flag of Kluczbork
Coat of arms of Kluczbork
Kluczbork is located in Poland
Coordinates: 50°59′N 18°13′E / 50.983°N 18.217°E / 50.983; 18.217
Established13th century
Town rights1252
 • MayorJarosław Kielar
 • Total12.35 km2 (4.77 sq mi)
190 m (620 ft)
 • Total23,554
 • Density1,952.3/km2 (5,056/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+2 (CEST)
Postal code
46–200, 46–203
Area code+48 77
Car platesOKL
National roads

Kluczbork [ˈklud͡ʐbɔrk] (German: Kreuzburg O.S., Silesian: Kluczborek) is a town in southern Poland with 23,554 inhabitants (2019), situated in the Opole Voivodeship. It is the capital of Kluczbork County and an important railroad junction.

In Kluczbork the major rail line from Katowice splits into two directions – westwards to Wrocław and northwards to Poznań. It is also connected with Fosowskie.


Kraków Gate Tower

Archaeologists have determined that a settlement existed at the location of present-day Kluczbork by 1000–800 BCE. The Germanic Sciri and Bastarnae settled in the vicinity, and were followed c. 100 BCE by Celts and various Germanic tribes, including Silingi and Vandals. The latter left Silesia c. 400 and West Slavs came to the region in the 7th century (see Silesians). In the late 10th century the Silesian territory was included in the emerging Polish state by its first historic ruler Mieszko I.

In the 13th century the Knights of the Cross with the Red Star acquired territory in Silesia, including the villages of Młodoszów, Kuniów, and Chocianowice. The Knights built a settlement on 2 November 1252 [citation needed]. Named Cruceburg (later spelled Creutzburg, Creuzburg, Kreuzburg), it received Magdeburg rights on 26 February 1253, now accepted as the official date of the town's foundation. The Knights adjudicated in the town until 1274, when it started to be administered by a vogt of local Silesian dukes and juries were introduced. As a result of the dynastic fragmentation of Poland, Kluczbork was part of various Polish duchies ruled by the Piast dynasty: Duchy of Silesia until 1293, Duchy of Głogów until 1312, Duchy of Oleśnica until 1323 and Duchy of Legnica until 1341, when it came under direct rule of the King of Poland, Casimir III the Great.[2] In 1356 it passed to the Czech Crown,[2] and continued to belong to various duchies ruled by the Piast dynasty. From 1536 it was part of the Piast-ruled Duchy of Brzeg until its dissolution in 1675.[2] Afterwards it was incorporated into the Habsburg monarchy, as part of the Habsburg-ruled Czech Kingdom.

Renaissance-Baroque Kluczbork Town Hall and townhouses

A mint operated in Kluczbork during the reign of Duke Bolesław III the Generous, in the early 14th century.[2] In 1426 Duke Louis II of Brzeg granted Kluczbork privileges of a salt market.[2] For centuries the town was inhabited by a predominantly Polish-speaking populace. The textile industry began to grow in importance in 1553, but suffered a fire in 1569. Another great fire destroyed many houses on 8 December 1562. On 25 January 1588, the day after the Battle of Byczyna, Polish troops under Jan Zamoyski plundered the city. The townspeople accepted the Protestant Reformation in 1656 and converted the local Roman Catholic Church into a Lutheran one. The Polish Brethren settled in the city after 1660, and organized their synods in the city in 1663 and 1668.[2] The town had a population of approximately 1,000 in 1681.

A fire on 23 April 1737 almost completely destroyed the town, leaving only a few houses and the castle unscathed. Several years of rebuilding passed before it reached its previous size.

In the 18th century Kreuzburg was annexed by the Kingdom of Prussia in 1741 during the Silesian Wars and became part of the Prussian Province of Silesia. Under Prussian rule the town and the region saw a large influx of German-speaking settlers.

The town became part of the German Empire upon the unification of Germany in 1871. It had a predominantly German-speaking population of 5,238 in 1875, although it was located in a Polish-dominated district.[3] The population grew to 8,750 by 1895 and 10,236 by 1900.

Memorial plaque at the site of the former German Oflag VIII A prisoner of war camp and Ilag VIII/Z camp

Following the Treaty of Versailles after World War I, Kreuzburg was involved in the Upper Silesian referendum in 1921. 95.6% (37,957 votes out of 39,703 participants) voted to remain within Weimar Germany instead of joining the Second Polish Republic. It became part of the Province of Upper Silesia; to differentiate between other places named Kreuzburg, it was known as Kreuzburg O.S. (referring to Oberschlesien, or Upper Silesia). By 1939 the town was the seat of Landkreis Kreuzburg O.S. and had 11,693 inhabitants. After the Nazi Party took power in Germany in the 1930s, anti-Polish and anti-Jewish sentiments became more visible. In 1936, the Germans changed the Polish-sounding street names, and in 1938, during the Kristallnacht they burned down the synagogue, built in 1886.[2] Local Polish leader Paweł Widera was arrested in May 1939.[4]

During World War II, in 1939, the Germans established the Oflag VIII-A prisoner-of-war camp initially for Polish and later for French officers.[5] In 1942, it was dissolved and the POWs were relocated to the Oflag VIII-F POW camp in Moravská Třebová in German-occupied Czechslovakia.[5] In 1943, the Germans founded the Ilag VIII/Z camp for interned citizens of the United Kingdom and the United States.[2] The Germans evacuated the populace before the advancing Soviet army in January 1945 to then German-speaking parts of Bohemia.[6][2] In January 1945, sick POWs from the Stalag Luft 7 were moved to Ilag VIII/Z, whereas the remaining POWs passed through the town in a German-perpetrated death march.[7] The town was captured by the Soviet Union's Red Army on 20 January 1945 toward the end of the war. After German surrender, the German population returned.[6]

Following the war in 1945, the town became part of Poland. In July 1945, the Polish administration issued a decree that all Germans are to wear on their clothing a discriminatory mark with "N" on white background.[8] In the following, the German native population was expelled.

Between 1975–1998, the town was administratively part of the former Opole Voivodeship. A monument of Jan Dzierżon, pioneering and world-famous Polish apiarist, was unveiled in 1981.[9]


Kluczbork budget income's sources as of 2015.

Kluczbork's economy is dominated by the production of machinery, knitwear and construction material, alongside newly emerging industries, namely: the transport sector, trade, agriculture and the food production sector as well as being the centre for the Kluczbork County's banks and other financial institutions. The Gmina Kluczbork has some 1800 businesses (1300 of which are located within the city's boundaries). The largest factories in Kluczbork are: Fabryka Maszyn i Urządzeń „Famak” (machinery production), PV „Prefabet - Kluczbork” S.A. (concrete materials) and Wagrem sp. z o.o. Kluczbork (weighing scale repairs).

The part of the town of Kluczbork, around Ligota Dolna, is part of the Wałbrzych Special Economic Zone (area of 53939 ha). The current investors in the Wałbrzych Special Economic Zone are: Marcegaglia Poland,[10] Inpol-Krak Tubes Service Center and the German Seppeler Gruppe Ocynkownia Śląsk (galvanisation company).[11]


MKS Kluczbork is a professional association football club founded in 2003 as a result of a merger of two local clubs.

Notable people[edit]

Jan Dzierżon, Polish apiarist and "father of modern apiculture", was born in Łowkowice, Kluczbork County

Twin towns – sister cities[edit]

See twin towns of Gmina Kluczbork.



  1. ^ "Population. Size and structure and vital statistics in Poland by territorial division in 2019. As of 30th June". stat.gov.pl. Statistics Poland. 2019-10-15. Retrieved 2020-02-14.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Najważniejsze daty z historii miasta". Urząd Miejski w Kluczborku (in Polish). Archived from the original on 22 September 2020. Retrieved 14 February 2020.
  3. ^ Felix Triest, Topographisches handbuch von Oberschliesen, 1865, p. 145 (in German)
  4. ^ Cygański, Mirosław (1984). "Hitlerowskie prześladowania przywódców i aktywu Związków Polaków w Niemczech w latach 1939-1945". Przegląd Zachodni (in Polish) (4): 28.
  5. ^ a b Megargee, Geoffrey P.; Overmans, Rüdiger; Vogt, Wolfgang (2022). The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Encyclopedia of Camps and Ghettos 1933–1945. Volume IV. Indiana University Press, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. p. 254. ISBN 978-0-253-06089-1.
  6. ^ a b Rosemarie Dette. Kreuzburg : Stadt und Kreis in Oberschlesien ; Geschichte und Erinnerung ; ein Heimatbuch. Heimatkreisverband Kreuzburg, Oberschlesien.
  7. ^ Stanek, Piotr (2015). "Stalag Luft 7 Bankau i jego ewakuacja na Zachód w styczniu 1945 r.". Łambinowicki rocznik muzealny (in Polish). 38. Opole: 64–65. ISSN 0137-5199.
  8. ^ Nitschke, Bernadetta (2004). Vertreibung und Aussiedlung der deutschen Bevölkerung aus Polen 1945 bis 1949. Oldenbourg. p. 98.
  9. ^ "Kluczbork - Pomnik ks. dr Jana Dzierżona". PolskaNiezwykla.pl (in Polish). Retrieved 14 February 2020.
  10. ^ "Marcegaglia Poland". www.marcegaglia.pl. Retrieved 31 January 2017.
  11. ^ "BAZY BIBLIOTEKI NARODOWEJ". mak.bn.org.pl. Retrieved 31 January 2017.

External links[edit]