Wejherowo

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Wejherowo
Wejherowo aerial view.jpg
WEJHEROWO. AB-027.JPG
Wejherowo, Poland - panoramio (11).jpg
638368 Wejherowo-pałac 06.jpg
Park Miejski w Wejherowie - kanał wodny.jpg
  • From top, left to right: Wejherowo from a bird's eye view
  • Town Hall
  • Wejherowo Calvary
  • Przebendowski Palace
  • Aleksander Majkowski Park
Flag of Wejherowo
Flag
Coat of arms of Wejherowo
Coat of arms
Wejherowo is located in Poland
Wejherowo
Wejherowo
Coordinates: 54°36′N 18°15′E / 54.600°N 18.250°E / 54.600; 18.250
Country Poland
Voivodeship Pomeranian
CountyWejherowo County
GminaWejherowo (urban gmina)
Established1643
Town rights1650
Named forJakub Wejher
Government
 • MayorKrzysztof Hildebrandt
Area
 • City25.65 km2 (9.90 sq mi)
Highest elevation
110 m (360 ft)
Lowest elevation
24 m (79 ft)
Population
 (2012)
 • City50,310
 • Density2,000/km2 (5,100/sq mi)
 • Metro
130,000
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+2 (CEST)
Postal code
84-200 to 84-204
Area code(s)+48 58
Car platesGWE
Websitehttp://www.wejherowo.pl

Wejherowo [vɛi̯xɛˈrɔvɔ] (Kashubian: Wejrowò, German: Neustadt in Westpreußen) is a city in Gdańsk Pomerania, northern Poland, with 50,310 inhabitants (2012). It has been the capital of Wejherowo County in Pomeranian Voivodeship since 1999; previously, it was a city in Gdańsk Voivodeship (1975–1998).

Geographical location[edit]

Wejherowo is located in Pomeralia, in the ethnocultural region of Kashubia, approximately 11 km (7 mi) west of the town of Rumia, 32 kilometres (20 miles) east of the town of Lębork and 35 km (22 mi) north-west of the regional metropole of Gdańsk, in the broad glacial valley of the river Rheda at an altitude of 30 metres (98 feet) above sea level.

History[edit]

Jakub Wejher, the founder of Wejherowo

Wejherowo was founded in 1643 as Wola Wejherowska (literally "Wejher's Wola"), by the voivode of the Malbork Voivodeship, and Polish noble, Jakub Wejher. It was translated in the colloquial German of the time as Weihersfrey or Veyersfrey. According to the founder's will, the dwellers of the new settlement were to possess the same city rights as other towns in the region, hence the place granted Kulm law. The town's privileges, received in 1655, were confirmed by King John II Casimir Vasa of Poland.

Wejher, who survived the Smolensk War, built two churches in the new settlement (The Holy Trinity and Saint Ann). He also brought in Franciscan fathers, built a monastery, and founded a calvary, consisting of 26 chapels, aligned along the border of the town forest, which were built during 1646–55. According to the founder's written statement of 1655, all honorable persons, independent of their nationality, were invited to become citizens of the new settlement if they would pay a citizen fee of ten gulden each.

19th-century view of the Przebendowski Palace in Wejherowo

In the First Partition of Poland in 1772, in which the Kingdom of Prussia annexed most of Pomerelia, the town was incorporated into the Kingdom, and administered within the new province of West Prussia. Its name in German changed from Weyersfrey to Neustadt in Westpreußen, a name which was in use also before. The affix "in West Prussia" was added to the town's name in order to avoid confusion with a number of other towns carrying the same name. Decisive factors which boosted the development of the town in the 19th century were the 1818 establishment of Landkreis Neustadt, an administrative district, and the construction of the Danzig (Gdańsk) – Stettin (Szczecin) railway line, to which Neustadt was connected with a train station in 1870. Neustadt became part of the German Empire in 1871 during the Prussian-led unification of Germany. During the second half of the 19th century, a significant number of Jewish families from the region began migrating to Syracuse, New York, including the renowned Shubert theatrical family. The Poles formed 59.3% of population in the district area of the city around this time.[1] The city itself, however, was predominantly German with a Polish minority of 5 % in 1890.[2]

Historical architecture of the Old Town

In 1905 "Neustadt" had a Protestant church, two Catholic churches, a synagogue, a grammar school, a preparatory school for a training college for school teachers, a training college for evangelical school teachers, a mental asylum, a local court, a forest office, cigarette factories, sawmills, a brewery, a cattle trade and wood trade as well as grain trade.[3] During the Partitions the German authorities led a systemic campaign of Germanization against local the Polish and Kashubian populations, which resisted by organizing the secret patriotic organization Zwiazek Filomatow, distributing the Polish newspaper Gazeta Gdanska, and by establishing various local economic initiatives.[4]

Polish soldiers in Wejherowo in 1920 after Poland regained its independence

Until 1919 Neustadt belonged to the administrative district of Regierungsbezirk Danzig in the Province of West Prussia in Germany. After World War I and the re-establishment of independent Poland, the town was integrated into the Second Polish Republic. Wejherowo was the capital of Wejherowo County in Pomeranian Voivodeship, becoming a headquarters of state administration responsible for the maritime economy.

World War II[edit]

Monument to Polish foresters murdered in Piaśnica

After the invasion of Poland, which marked the beginning of World War II, Wejherowo was annexed by Nazi Germany and was administered as part of Regierungsbezirk Danzig in the province of Reichsgau Danzig-West Prussia. Most of the town's Jewish community was murdered by the Nazis during the occupation, while many local Poles were also victims of the Nazi extermination policy.[4]

The Einsatzkommando 16 and SS Wachsturmbann "Eimann" entered the county in the first half of September 1939 to commit various crimes against the population.[5] Poles arrested both in Wejherowo and the county were imprisoned in the local prison, and afterwards transported to the nearby village of Piaśnica Wielka,[6] which was the site of a mass murder of about 12,000 Poles in 1939. Among people murdered there were the city's mayor Teodor Roman Bolduan and the wójt of gmina Wejherowo (head of the local gmina) Edward Łakomy.[7] Numerous Poles arrested during the Intelligenzaktion in other cities of the region were also briefly held in the local prison before they were murdered in Piaśnica.[8] Among those people were local officials, merchants, activists, teachers, priests and civilian defenders of Gdynia.[8] Local teachers were also among Polish teachers and principals murdered in the Mauthausen concentration camp.[9]

In March 1945 Wejherowo was captured by the Red Army. After the war, in 1945, Wejherowo was reintegrated with Poland. Its first post-war mayor was Bernard Szczęsny, who during the German occupation was part of the Polish resistance movement, was imprisoned in the Stutthof concentration camp and escaped during a death march.[10]

An 18th-century timber-framed home (left)
Trinity Church, 1754-1755

Number of inhabitants by year[edit]

Year Number Remarks
1789 700
1831 1,690 [11]
1845 1,800 [12]
1853 2,500 [13]
1865 3,200 [14]
1875 4,506 [15]
1880 4,715 [15]
1890 5,546 incl. 2,336 Protestants, 3,039 Catholics and 160 Jews[16] (240 Poles[15])
1905 8,389 incl. 3,044 Protestants, 5,171 Catholics, 26 other Christians and 148 Jews
1921 8,786
1943 16,490
1948 13,400
1960 24,500
1970 33,800
1980 42,400
1990 46,800
2000 46,200
2006 47,159
2011 49,922

Culture[edit]

Sports[edit]

The local football club is Gryf Wejherowo. It competes in the lower leagues.

Education[edit]

Gallery[edit]

Notable people[edit]

Dorota Maslowska, 2017
Marta Jeschke, 2010

International relations[edit]

Wejherowo is twinned with:

References[edit]

  1. ^ Polski ruch narodowy w prusach zachodnich w latach: 1860-1914 Szczepan Wierzchosławski page 19 Zakład Narodowy im. Ossolińskich, 1980
  2. ^ Handbuch der historischen Stätten, Ost und Westpreußen (Stuttgart 1981), p. 157.
  3. ^ Meyers Konversations-Lexikon, 6th edition, Vol 14, Leipzig and Vienna 1908, p. 580, no. 21.
  4. ^ a b Wejherowo historia miasta
  5. ^ Maria Wardzyńska, Był rok 1939. Operacja niemieckiej policji bezpieczeństwa w Polsce. Intelligenzaktion, IPN, Warszawa, 2009, p. 106 (in Polish)
  6. ^ Wardzyńska, p. 107
  7. ^ Wardzyńska, p. 107-108
  8. ^ a b Wardzyńska, p. 147
  9. ^ Wardzyńska, p. 180-181
  10. ^ "Krzysztof Sławski o burmistrzu Bernardzie Szczęsnym, Wejherowo.pl" (in Polish). Retrieved June 10, 2019.
  11. ^ August Eduard Preuß: Preußische Landes- und Volkskunde. Königsberg 1835, pp. 411–412, no. 27.
  12. ^ Universal-Lexikon der Gegenwart und Vergangenheit (H. A. Pierer, ed.), 2nd edition, Vol. 19, Altenburg 1845, p. 407, no. 14.
  13. ^ Conversations-Lexikon, 10th edition, Vol. 11, Brockhaus, Leipzig 1853, p. 163
  14. ^ Meyer's Konversations-Lexikon, 2nd edition, Vol. 11, Hildburghausen 1865, p. 1085, no. 17.
  15. ^ a b c Michael Rademacher: Deutsche Verwaltungsgeschichte Provinz Westpreußen, Kreis Neustadt (2006).
  16. ^ Brockhaus' Konversations-Lexikon, 14th edition, Vol. 12, Berlin and Vienna 1894, p. 289, no. 32

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 54°36′N 18°14′E / 54.600°N 18.233°E / 54.600; 18.233