Board I: Environment of the city and district of Solec Kujawski.
Solec Kujawski is located in the Dell of Toruń, at the bottom of a glacial river that flew there several thousand years ago. The sand itself and sand dunes in the area of Solec are the result of river activity and frosty winds in continental glacier area. Gradual climate warming cased influx of animals such as mammoths, rhinos and even of humans.
Board II: Primeval surroundings of Solec Kujawski
The oldest single finding that indicates people’s appearance in this area comes from the final phase of Paleolithic period (9000 – 8000 BC); though the oldest scientifically documented human traces in Solec Kujawski and its neighboring areas (Wypaleniska, Otorowo, Kabat and Przyłubie) come from Mesolithic Age, which is a central Stone Age (7000 – 4500 BC). Those people belonged to chojnicko-pieńowska culture and were mainly hunters and collectors.
Traces after settlers form the Funnelbeaker culture were found mainly in Siedmiogóry and Wypaleniska, and come from the Neolithic period (4500-1600 BC). In turn, remains after people from the Globular Amphora culture were found in Przyłubie, Kabat and Makowiska.
Traces of the Lusatian culture, the same culture that is connected to Biskupin, come from Bronze and Iron Age; these were found near Przyłubie, Kabat, Wypaleniska, Otorowo and Solec Kujawski. What is more, defensive settlement in the area of present-day Kamieniec, which is located on the other side of the Vistula River and dated VI – V BC, can be treated as a mark of an ancient passage through the Vistula River in the vicinity of Solec Kujawski.
People of the Przeworsk culture have appeared in the territories of Solec Kujawski during the period of Roman’s influence. This population is identified with Germanic Vandal’s tribes and Celtic Luggers.
Total lack of archeological relics from 600 to 1200 AC may implicate a decrease of settlement in this area.
Board III: Before location
From 1138, Poland was divided into districts, thus the process redoubled in the 13th century. In 1230 and 1231, Kujavia was created form a part of the Mazovian district, it was ruled by Konrad Mazowiecki’s son Kazimierz (1211-1267) and its capital city was Inowrocław. Land on which Solec will later be built upon became the object of discordance between Kuyavian and Pomeranian districts. In 1242, prince Kazimierz attached Castellany of Wyszogród to his land, automatically with areas of the present-day Solec.
In 1263, during the reign of prince Kazimierz the first written mention of Solec appeared; it referred to the Vistula port persecuted by the Teutonic Order.
Board IV: Prince Przemysł and location of Solec Kujawski
In 1325, prince Przemysł, Kazimierz’s grandoson, conferred civil rights to Solec Kujawski. Tomasz of Jaksice near Inowrocław was the one to be responsible for the creation of the city and its later rule as the first prefect.
Church of St. Stanisław Bishop and Martyr came into existence in the same time, so St. Stanisłw automatically became the patron of the city.
There are two hypotheses about the origin of Solec name, because it does not exist in town’s location documents. The first, which is more traditional, focuses on the noun ‘salt’, meaning, Solec – the place of salt trade. The second is connected to an old Polish words ‘sół’, ‘sółek’, which describes a place or a building where grain and valuable goods were stored. Through ages, the name of the city was spelled in many ways, for instance Solecz, Solyecz, Soliecz, Solitz, Sulec, Szolec, Szulice, Schulitz. Finally in 1924, present-day name Solec Kujawski was interposed to differentiate it form other polish cities under the same name, in fact there are 12.
About 1327 in the face of jeopardy from the Teutonic Order, king Władysław Łokietek took over prince’s Przemysł Kujavia district in exchange for Sieradz principality. That is how Solec became a king’s town.
Board V/1: The border between Solec Kujawski and the Teutonic Order
Konrad Mazowiecki brought Teutonic Order to Poland in 1226 and gave them the district of Chełmno Land to settle down. The knights, have taken over missions of Christianization of the Prussia land and protection of Mazovia from the north. The Teutonic Order after a conquest of Prussia commenced a conversion from allies into rivals, and later into enemies towards the Kingdom of Poland. Knights of the Teutonic Order have taken over Gdańsk Pomerania land in 1308; it has been a beginning of 150-years-long lasting conflict. Władysław Łokietek could not have allowed for this type of aggression, and commenced an open war. As a result the Teutonic Order occupied Solec in 1332 [or earlier in 1330 or 1331], though the land was returned to Poland in 1337 during the reign of the Kazimierz The Great . The Treaty of Kalisz, signed in 1343, was the beginning of semi quiet century of development.
Board V/2: The border between Solec Kujawski and the Teutonic Order
In spite of difficulties constantly brought by the Teutonic Order, Solec flourished as the center of commerce and a partner of Gdańsk’s port. Solec Kujawski had its own boatbuilder’s workshops at the beginning of the 15th century. Moreover, Solec had a convenient location, which contributed to its stable position in negotiations during the state meetings. One of those meetings was set on one of the Vistula’s islands near Solec, in 1389.
Dynamic development of Solec has interrupted by the explosion of war with Teutonic Order, after they occupied and destroyed the town in 1409. The victory during the Tannenberg Battle has lessened the power of Teutonic Order and so they have stopped being a direct threat to Solec.
During the negotiations in 1411 there was an interesting event described by Jan Długosz; it goes as follows: Janusz Brzozogłowy who was a major of Bydgoszcz did not know that the truce with the Teutonic Order has been extended so he passed the Vistula River in Solec and an abducted herd of horses which belonged to Teutonic Order’s Grand Master and his knights. Despite chase, he has got safely to the Polish coast. Antonio Zeno, a Papal legate, took part in negotiations with Teutonic Order in Solec during Spring in 1422 [probably also in 1417]. In spite of the initial agreement, peace was not reached because the Teutonic Order formulated unacceptable conditions. All in all, peace was concluded on September 27, 1422 in Melno. As a result, Poland regained the area of Nieszawa.
A final confrontation with the Teutonic knights was reached during the Thirteen Years’ War [from 1454 to 1466]. Solec, being a king’s town, had to expose one soldier [Bydgoszcz had to expose two soldiers]. As a result of The Second Peace of Toruń, Poland regain Gdańsk Pomerania area and Chełmno Land. From that time the Vistula River hasn’t been a border of the Kingdom of Poland.
Board VI: The 16th century – peaceful time
The 16th century is called a ‘Polish Golden Age’, it was also a successful period for Solec. However, Solec still remained a small town and was constantly in the shadow of the larger Bydgoszcz. What is more, a small wooden church was in the town.
King Zygmunt I of Poland has confirmed all privileges of the town on September 25, 1538. Trade with Gdańsk still spread out; in 1580, in Solec Kujawski there were 6 bakers, 4 shoemakers, 3 tailors, 2 carpenters, 2 common carriers, 2 potters, 1 blacksmith, 1 cooper, 1 wheeler and 14 tenant farmers. Annual tax paid by the town was 31 zloty and 24 groszes [for comparison Bydgoszcz – 413 zloty, Koronowo – 72 zloty and 3 groszes, Fordon – 19 zloty].
Board VII: Newcomers from Holland
When religious wars have covered Europe in the 16th and 17th century, there was a widespread tolerance in Poland; at the same time many lands lied fallow. There were two factors, namely religious and economic, which caused the beginning of Holland citizen’s settlement in Poland during the second half of the 16th century. At the beginning, they came down to Vistula Marshland area, later on to the other areas of Poland. In general the settlers were the Mennonites [radical fraction of Anabaptism].
Maciej Przyłubski was a nobleman who decided to bring the Mennonites to his own property in 1594. ‘The experiment’ was successful, so other landowners followed Przyłubski footsteps. Later ‘Olendrzy’ [that is how newcomers from Holland were called] settled down in Łęgnowo (1596), Otorowo, Makowiska, Plątnowo and Żółwin (1604-1605).
The Mennonites composed a compact community, with their own local government and their own culture. They had a great respect for work and coped with draining wet fields excellently. They paid to landowners in the form of annual rent.
As the years went by, and as a result of wars, the German settlers of the evangelical faith, called ‘Olendrzy’ by locals, occupied Mennonites’ areas. New settlements such as Soleckie Olendry or Kabat (18th) emerged in outlying area of the Vistula.
Board VIII: Years of fatalities (17th -18th century).
The wars that swept across through Poland in the 17th and 18th centuries took place also in Solec. Concentration of royal troops was planned on 24 August 1655, during the Deluge, in the vicinity of Solec, but it was not realized because of a mass levy capitulation in Ujście (25.07.1655). Considerable part of land of the Polish Kingdom was soon to be occupied by Swedes. Our troops have been forced to guerilla war, where Stefan Czarniecki has gained fame; he has come to Solec on 11-12 January 1657 during the expedition to get to Gdańsk.
Solec has been destroyed to a high degree as a result of war with Sweden, and the town was not able to pay taxes; there were only 20 houses in the town in 1660.
Probably the Northern War (1700-1721) was more tragic for Solec. Swedes occupied the town again; the oppression of burghers was so large that they killed the troop in act of desperation and the town was burned in act of revenge. The “Swedish Mountain” is a name of the biggest prominence which is a remainder near Solec after Swedish occupation.
Then Russian troops stationed here during the Seven Years’ War (1756-1763).
Epidemics appeared during the wars very often, unfortunately, they spread in Solec as well in 1677 and from 1708 to 1709.
However, the town has always been rebuilt after war conflagration. A parish-priest started to live in Solec from the ‘60s of the 17th century, and then a new wooden church was built in 1736. This church has served Christians of Solec and neighboring villages until the beginning of the 20th century.
Apart from the church, there were also impressive buildings such as for instance a building of Solec county.
Board IX: The Prussian partition 1772-1807
The weakness of Poland and an aggressive policy of our neighbours caused the First Partition of Poland in 1772. Prussians took the territories where Solec lied. A new border was planned in the vicinity of Solec, in Przyłubie, but the border was moved to the South East because of Prussia’s usurpations from 1773.
The representatives of cities and villages from Prussian’s lands had to pay homage to the Prussian king on September 27, 1772 in Malbork. Mayor Wawrzyniec Złotowski with secretaries Franciszek Ostrowski and Wojciech Bagziński represented Solec Kujawski. The representatives of Makowiska, Otorowo, Łegnowo also paid the homage. The territories where Solec laid were included in the district called The Nadnotecki District and to Western Prussia in 1793 (after the Second Partition of Poland).
In 1772 Solec had got 234 inhabitants and was even smaller than nearby villages for instance in Otorowo [villages Otorowo and Otorowo-Mill] and in Przyłubie [Przyłubie Farm, villages Przyłubie-Clump and German-Przyłubie] there was a total of 238 inhabitants.
Fryderyk II who was the originator of the First Partition of Poland, called ‘the Great’ in Germany, visited Solec on June 10 1782. It was the part of inspection of taken grounds.
However the new reality had a little influence on the position of the town. The number of population mounted up to 316, but after a great fire the number diminished to 176; it was in 1789. At the beginning of the 19th century Solec Kujawski had 309 inhabitants.
Board X: The Kościuszko Uprising, 1794
When general Antoni Madaliński and Cavalry Brigade from Great Poland, started their route march from Ostrołęka to Cracow on March 12, 1794, it was a sign of the upcoming uprising. The fights were waged mainly against Russian army, but Prussia came out against insurgents on May as well. Tadeusz Kościuszko supported the outbreak of the Uprising in Great Poland and sent his corps, led by general Jan Henryk Dąbrowski, to fight for freedom. What is more, General Madaliński led some of detachments. Polish army entered Bydgoszcz after a victorious battle in Łabiszyn on October 2. General Dionizy Mniewski got control over Solec at the head of Kujavia rise; Solec became a base for an assault on Toruń, but the preparations to the assault were interrupted because reinforcement troops which came to rescue. The detachments of the rise left Solec on October 13, and they began a retreat towards Włocławek.
While general Dąbrowski was preparing a siege of Toruń, there was the defeat in Maciejowice on October 10, and Tadeusz Kościuszko was taken captive. As a result of it, the Uprising fallen unsuccessful, and it led to the Third Partition of Poland in 1795.
Board XI: The Duchy of Warsaw 1807 – 1815
The wars called ‘the Napoleonic Wars’ blow out at the beginning of the 19th century. The troops of French Emperor defeated Prussia, in 1806, occupied Berlin and most of the lands under Prussia’s control. France concluded peace with Prussia in Tylża on July 9, 1807. As a result, the Duchy of Warsaw was created. Solec Kujawski was attached to this administrative territory.
First French detachments appeared in Solec at the end of 1806, but the history will remember their acts of plunder in the church and in presbytery. Polish detachments of general Dąbrowski occupied these territories at the beginning of 1807.
The Duchy of Warsaw engaged in the war with Austria. Austria’s troops appeared in Bydgoszcz on May, however, thanks to counteroffensive of Józef Poniatowski parts of former Polish territory were regained.
Unfortunately, shortly after the defeat of Napoleonic expedition to Russia put an end to the existence the Duchy of Warsaw. Russian armies invaded Solec at the beginning of 1813 and deployed there until 1815.
Borad XII: The Grand Duchy of Posen; the first half of the 19th century.
New order in Europe was established on Viennese congress in 1815. Solec was a part of the Grand Duchy of Poznań, which was given to Prussia. At that time, the most popular professions in Solec were shoemaking, stove fittery, butchery and tailoring. There was also a wide-scale transport of wood, grain and pottery articles to Gdańsk.
Germans and Jews began coming to Solec, though the increase of inhabitants was stopped by the cholera epidemic in 1830. There was an evangelical parish established there in 1833, and the Protestant church was build in 1845 up to 1847 and was extended in 1894 [it is a present-day ‘the Sacred Heart Church’].
The infantry detachment was stationed in Solec and blocked the border during the November Uprising (1830-1831). Construction of a hardened road (1849 to 1850) from Bydgoszcz to Toruń, was a teaser for changes in the future.
In the meantime, there was a series of revolutionary spurt and national independence in Europe, which is called ‘the Spring of Nations’, 1848.
It had character of a national rise on the lands of The Grand Duchy of Poznań. Prussia eliminated the remainders of autonomy of Duchy after the fall of rise. They introduced a new administrative name – The Province of Poznań.
Board XIII: Schiller‘s family
August Schiller arrived to Solec from the Waltersdorf (today Niegosławice, Lublin province). It was shortly after the great fire of the town on 18 August 1859. Using the favourable economic situation in result of rebuilding of Solec, he established the construction business here. In 1861 at the local church he married Klara Wolska. The marriage had a dozen or so children. Three of them: Franciszek, Robert and Rudolf opened the construction industry. At the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, in the period of the heightened town development, the Schiller‘s built a lot of houses the house property and an outbuildings as well as buildings of the public utility.
August Schiller died in 1920, shortly after the return of Solec to Poland and was buried by the church built by Robert. At that time the majority of his children left to Germany. Robert Schiller which still ran the construction business in Solec and committed himself to the social life of the city, performing functions for four terms of office councillor. In the thirtieth years, limiting building activity, led the builder’s yard and fuel. After the World War II he was one of few local Germans which didn’t leave Solec. In 1958 he died and was buried on the graveyard by the street of Piotr Skarga.
Board XIV: Times of development and ‘Germanisation’ process; the second half of the 19th century.
In 1851 Solec had 612 inhabitants, and in the town there were: 59 dwelling house, 46 barns and cowsheds, 1 brewery and 5 granaries. The streets were irregular and cobbled.
During the fire, which broke down 1859, 12 houses, 20 cowsheds, 2 granaries and brewery were burnt. After the fire the centre of the town was planned out again.
Railway connection from Bydgoszcz to Toruń (1861) was a decisive event in Solec’s history; the connection was later was prolonged to Warsaw. The town became a great place for investors from Germany. The development of industry caused a new influx of inhabitants. They were mainly Germans who looked for work and better life in Solec; During that time Poles were the minority in Solec.The growth of the inhabitants had influence on development of education. A parities school was built by Wide Street (from 1873-74); before there were only separated Catholic and Evangelical schools.
New occupations in town that were more and more common from 1888, such as doctor or chemist, indicate the development of Solec Kujawski. The growing town was attaching to its territories smaller villages such as e.g. Olendry Soleckie. After Olendry witch 1731citizens was attached, the amount of people living in Solec grew up to 4210. Numerous floods and epidemics stopped the town from flourishing. The most tragic was cholera epidemic in 1873, when hundreds of people died [including 80 from the Russian district]. Floods were common in Solec, though the most tragic was set in March, 1888 when boats were necessary to cross Solec’s center.
Board XV: Solec’s industrial beginnings – up to 1920
It was on wood that Solec’s industry was based. One of the first huge industrial centers was sawmill called ‘Maria’ in Olendry Soleckie, set by Christoph Lindau from Magdeburg. In 1873, the Ruttgers Company from Drezno built a railway-industry fabric in Solec. In 1882, the same company opened a roof-felt fabric. Bruhning Company from Wroclaw opened a similar business. Sawmills were built there by the following companies: Julius Wegner, Cassirer’s Brothers, Portner and Knittel.
Solec’s sawmills produced railway backings, which were also made there in a naturally raw form. In 1873 the transshipment of railway backings mounted up to a scale that a bay-line needed to be constructed. Not to mention a few fires, the wood industry was basic for Solec. Traders from Germany were coming especially to Solec to buy wood; the material was brought to the town via Russian bargemen by river. The wide-scale wood trade helped inner-city-industry to flourish.
Board XVI: Times of development and ‘Germanisation’ – up to 1920.
Between 1885 and 1909 Henryk Teller was the major of Solec Kujawski. He was the one who created The Fire Brigade, was the initiator of building the town hall, and in 1894 published the first domestic newspaper called ‘Schulitzer Zeitung’. In 1902, Teller initiated Rifles Brotherhood [Schutzengilde zu Schulitz], and was its first chairman.
At that time many useful buildings were constructed:
1895 – forestry building
1906 – abattoir building
1907 – gas plant
1914 – shooting range of the Rifles Brotherhood
What is more: 1200 meters of sewage system was created, the first phone central was constructed and used 20 numbers (1901), railway station was built as well as the building for the fire brigade. In 1907, because of its bad condition the church from 1736 was closed and two years later disassembled. A new church was built there in 1911-12.
Prosperity of the city ended up with the outbreak of the First World War. 200 of Solec’s inhabitants were killed there. Military catastrophe and crisis commenced a revolution in Germany. Even in Solec in November 1918 Council of Labour Workers and Soldiers was created.
At the same time Poland began to grow in power, though in the Austrian and Russian districts. On December 27, in Poznań, The Great Poland Uprising came into being, but it did not reached Solec. Treaty of Versailles stated that Great Poland, Pomerania and a part of Kujavia, with Solec, would be attached to Poland.
Board XVII: Back to Poland
Even though Poles were a minority in Solec, polish customs started to flourish again. In 1913, Caltholic House was opened; on December 28, Lucjan Rydel’s ”Polish Betlejem” was showed there. Most probably it was the first polish cultural party in the town.
It was regaining the national freedom that made this tendency even stronger. At the end od 1918, new communities were created The Folk Society and The Reading Room of The People Society, and the following year The Singing Society “Moniuszko” and The Gymnastic Society “Falcon”.
On January 19, 1920 around noon a division of the Third Stationery of Great Poland Lancers came to town and signed the official act of taking the city up by Poland, it was signed in the town hall. The chairman for the army was Władysław Mosiewicz, for the administration clergyman Jan Klein, and for the Solec itself its major Artur Roesler and Brunon Haase who led the Council.
On March 30, 1921 on the cemetery nearby St. Stanislav church there was a funeral of Michał Dyrda and Franciszek Piotrowski. who were fighting in the uprising in Wielkopolska and died in 1919 near Chrośna.
On December 6, 1922 cardinal Edmund Dalbor visited Solec. In the ‘20s of the 20th century two presidents of Poland visited the town. Stanislav Wojciechowski came to Solec by train on August 3, 1924 and Ignacy Mościcki came by car on July 31, 1927. Though the visits were brief, undoubtedly they were of a great importance for the town’s citizens.
On November 22, 1924 by the admistrative decision the name of the city was transformed into ‘Solec Kujawski’.
Board XVIII: Economical Problems
In between World Wars, not only had Poland to rebuild the country, but also erase differences between former districts. Moreover, Poland was touched by the world economic crisis in the ‘20s and ‘30s. Even for Solec the years were economically tough.
German citizens’ emigration diminished population number. It was not until Poles from other places and reemigrants [from Germany] came back to our country that the population number came back to its point from the times before World War I.
Need for wood from Solec decreased, because earlier it was mainly produced for sale to the German market. A try to build preserves factory appeared not successful. Though there still were sawmills and old plants, many people had trouble to find a job in Solec so they were forced to leave; often to Gdynia.
Beautiful surrounding, the Vistula River and forests made Solec a Summer holiday village. Every year army had training camps there, and in the former Wegner’s Willa sanatorium was built.
Board XIX: Cultural Life of the city in 1920-1939
Besides the tough economic situation, cultural life flourished in Solec. On July 9, 1922 the first massive party was organized in Solec, namely Tenth Convention of Singers District; The Singing Society “Moniuszko” showed their talents there. There were other choirs in the city, namely ”Dzwon”, The Choir of St. Cecilia, and German choirs: The Evangelical Church Choir and The Male Singing Society. Schooling was ‘Polonized’, and from 1933 sisters from the Catholic Church took care of it. The Gymnastic Society “Sokół” was still prosperous and had its fillies in Łęgnowo and Wypaleniska. In 1924 The Sports Club “Unia” was created; reemigrants from Germany lead the club visibly. Germans were the members of the Wandersport club. Rifles Brotherhood, who in 1925 enlarged the shooting range, had a strictly Polish character.
In January 1925 there was a huge fete in the name of 600 years after Solec’s location. Besides the official part, there were shooting and dancing competitions. In 1928 there was a Local Convention of Association of Insurgents and Soldiers Society, and in 1933 convention of the local Association of Young Polish Women from Bydgoszcz. Cultural life flourished; many concerts, parties, balls were organized, often for charity. Dark clouds appeared upon Europe, as the times of Hitler’s ‘peaceful grabbing’ ended. On March 27, 1939 members of The Gymnastic Society “Sokół”, Rifle Brotherhood, Insurgents and Soldiers Society in their uniforms manifested in Bydgoszcz against Germany…
Board XX: Solec during the Second World War
On September 1, 1939, Germans without war warning invaded Poland. The number of soldiers on the German side was so huge that Poles had to step back. On 3rd and 4th of September divisions of The Pomeranian Cavalry Brigade from and 23rd division of army stepped back. There were battles with German diversion divisions near the town; it appears that innocent German citizens of Solec were killed also. It was a starting point for the earlier-planned massacre on Polish citizens, which main goal was a total germanization of Poles.
German divisions came to the city on September 7, the next day a local Selbstschutz division was created, led by Karl Musolf. Selbstschutz killed 50 Poles; many were murdered under the verdicts of Special Court (Sondergericht), others went to concentration camps. All in all, 150 Polish citizens of Solec were killed. Land on which Solec is situated now was attached to Germany as Gdańsk’s province – West Prussia, led by Albert Forster. This land was supposed to be an integral part of Germany that is why Poles from former Russian districts were moved from here. In between 1939 to 1944 around a thousand people were moved from here, and newcomers from Germany and Bessarabia came on their place. At that time around 1500 Germans settled there.
In Solec as well as in Przyłubie, Makowiska, Plątnowo and Łęgnowo working camps were situated; they were connected to Stalag XX-A from Toruń. English, Russian, Italian and French soldiers were working there; they were mainly building routes, flood-control barriers, and worked in Solec’s plants. In 1944 Germans realized that they would not win the war that is probably why they covered traces of murders. Dead corps was burned in the woods between Solec and Otorowo. In January 1945, Russian counteroffensive began. In January 23, first troops of the 47th Army of Belarus Front got to Solec occupied by a few hundred people.
Board XXI: Stalinist times
The Red Army liberated Poland of the German occupation, but did not bring freedom to the country. As a result of the decisions of the Yalta Conference, our country fell under the Soviet sphere of political influence. Poland was not a sovereign country, both with regard to internal as well as external policy. Being a member of independence organisations was treated as a crime.
Already in April/May 1945 in Puszcza Bydgoska (Bydgoszcz Forest), e.g. near Solec Kujawski, a group of anti-communist partisans was active and fought against robberies committed on local people by Red Army soldiers. The group was formed by Lieutenant Alojzy Bruski, nom de guerre “Grab”, who had earlier fought against Germans in Bory Tucholskie (Tuchola Forest). The group was beaten at the beginning of May near Leszyce. Second Lieutenant Kazimierz Wróblewski, nom de guerre “Kruk”, who was the actual commander of the group, was killed in that action. Alojzy Bruski was arrested in June 1945 and sentenced to death. The sentence was executed on 17 September 1946 in a prison in Wronki. Second Lieutenant Zbigniew Smoleński, nom de guerre “Żuraw”, was also sentenced to death. He was executed in Bydgoszcz on 21 February 1946, following a violent investigation.
At the turn of 1946 and 1947, Antoni Heda, nom de guerre “Szary”, was hiding in Solec Kujawski. He was an outstanding partisan commander, renowned for numerous actions, both against Germans and Soviets, as well as Polish communists. One of his most famous actions was freeing about 80 prisoners who were kept in a prison in Starachowice from the Germans, or taking over the prison of the Voivodeship Security Office in Kielce and freeing more than 350 prisoners. Antoni Heda was hiding in Solec under the name of Antoni Wiśniewski and worked as a renovation planning manager in National Car Plant No. 5 (later KZNS, the Kielce Automobile Repair Plant). In 1948, he was arrested and sentenced to death. The sentence was exchanged for life imprisonment. In 1956, he was released from prison and committed himself to independence activity.
In autumn 1949, a group of young people from Solec established an underground organisation Szarotka. Henryk Ciba became its leader. Already in spring 1950, the Security Office tracked down the organisation. As a result of arrests and a trial, the members of Szarotka were sentenced to 5 to 10 years in prison. One of the sentenced, Danuta Mrzyk, for singing carols in her cell, was put in solitary confinement, where she fell ill. She died in the prison hospital in Grudziądz. Other members of the organisation were released from prison in 1953-54 under amnesty.
Numerous former soldiers of the Polish Armed Forces who fought in the west and decided to return to the country after the war were persecuted as well. Commodore Bolesław Romanowski, an outstanding commander of submarines, was one of them. In 1950, he was dismissed from service in the Navy and arrested. After having been released from prison, he was made to leave the Coast. In 1954-57, he lived in Solec, in a currently non-existent house in Bydgoska Street. As a result of the Polish “thaw”, he returned to the Navy. He died in 1968. He wrote his memoirs from World War II titled “Torpeda w celu!” (“Aimed torpedo!”).
Board XXII: Solec during the times of People’s Republic of Poland
One of the main communistic aims was the rebuilding and than industrialization of Poland. It was a great chance for Solec, because its ground was infertile. Early in 1945, the oldest Solec’s railway plant started its production again. One year later in the buildings of the never-opened Preserve Factory a new plant was opened, namely National Car Plant Number Five. In 1947 Renovation Workhouse was formed in the building left after an old sawmill, but in 1952 it was transformed into Central Workhouse of Building Materials ZREMB. In 1954 PREFABET started its production [what would later be transformed into SOLBET]. In 1961 KOBRA, which was a plant producing leather materials, opened production line.
Growth in the industrial segment brought new settlers into the city. This implicated the expansion of public housing. In the 50s’, a new settlement of detached houses, now called “Woodland Housing Estate”, was built on the farm-belt-territories. In 1962, a group of KZNS’ workers constituted “Freighter” Housing Association, which gave away 1390 flats between 1965-1992; new occupational blocks of flats were built.
The increase in the town’s population caused rise of a new church. In the old evangelical congregation, which from 1945 till 1966 was St. Stanisław Church subsidiary, in 1966 priesthood was created and later in 1976 it was transformed into Church of Sacred Heart.
Early in 1945, a coeducational intermediate school was created [later a High School] and in 1958 it had got the first of the town’s gyms. Vocational schools were attached to plants. Two new primary schools were created. What is more, at the end of 1980s there were five kindergartens and a nursery school in the town.
Board XXIII: Independent Self-governing Trade Union of Individual Farmers „Solidarity”
An immutable part of the daily life in the times of People’s Republic of Poland was economical problems that, form time to time, brought about citizen’s disaffection, which subsequently was brutally quelled by the authorities. Developing economical problems of the 1970s led to emergence of a wave of strikes in the most industrialized regions of Poland. This constrained the authorities to negotiations, which ended up with signing the Gdańsk Agreement. One of the contract’s provisions was a leave for workforce to create Trade Unions; management commissions came into being.
The first commission was created on September 9, in the ZREMB plant. Commission of the Independent Self-governing Trade Union ‘Solidarity’ was instituted in Solec at the end of September. Franciszek Samojedny was its first chairman, and after 1981’s elections Marian Kwiatkowski became a new chairmen. Commission’s office was located on the first floor of a house number 1 situated by Januray 23 Street.
‘Festival of freedom’ that is how a period after ‘Solidarity’s’ creation was called, though it was rudely broken via Martial Law’s intromission on December 13, 1981. ‘Solidarity’ was then proscribed and its activists were now daunted, arrested or on their internment; many of them were forced to emigrate.
Inability to fight the economical crisis back and attenuation of the Soviet Union forced authorities in our country to commence their negotiations with opposition at the end of 1980s. ‘Solidarity’ started up operating overtly. On October 24, 1988 the ZREMB plant together with FAMOR plant formed Structural Commission of the Independent Self-governing Trade Union of Individual Farmers ‘Solidarity’; it was the first commission in Bydgoszcz’s township.
Accordingly to the outcome of the Polish Round Table Agreement, ‘Solidarity’ was legal again, and on June 4, 1989 general election was held [even opposition was allowed to take part in it]. Even though the election were not free [Polish United Worker’s Party was guaranteed 65 per cent of the Parliament seats] ‘Solidarity’ won everything that there was to win. The outcome of election quickened democratic transformation in our country.
Board XXIV: Present-day Solec
Transformation after 1989 had its influence on Solec as well. Many of plants there collapsed or were transfigured; thus new were created, often on a totally different occupation.
The creation of Industrial Estate along with Business Incubator [co-financed by the European Union’ subsidy, PHARE program 2001 and 2002], the construction of which was finished in 2005, made Solec again one of the most dynamically expanding cities of the region. Public building’s complex was created like for instance the swimming pool and sports hall.
On May 1, 2008 JURAPARK was opened and became a tourist hotspot. Nowadays, the city and the commune of Solec Kujawski have 16166 citizens, from which 15121 people live in the city itself [data from December 31, 2008].
Board XXV: Kabat – Radio Transmitting Center
The beginning of Kabat’s settlement comes back to 18th century when German leaseholders were populating the wilderness of the Bydgoszcz’s region. The village was constructed of four parts: Kabat, Small Kabat, Trzcianka and Jezierce.
In 1772 Kabat had 87 inhabitants, a teacher, a shoemaker, and its own tavern. Johan Gollnick was a provost. From 1783 there was a Calcium-burn-up-plant; it was used during the construction and preservation of the Bydgoszcz Canal.
At the end of 19th century, in Kabat there were 45 houses and 346 inhabitants, of which 343 were Evangelical and 3 were Catholics.
After 1939, Germans decided to obviate the village and create a firing range connected to DAG Fabric Bromberg, where projectiles to ‘Nebelwerfer’ Launchpad were tested. Now there can be seen the remains of reinforced-concrete-watchtower from those times.
After the War the Polish army seized the firing area. 33rd Firing area for planes and helicopters was created there and it was subservient to Aerial Forces Headquarters in Poznan. Service of the firing area included 11 to 17 soldiers. Above Kabat soldiers trained their skills on planes: Ił, Su, MiG, and on helicopters; the firing range existed until 1994.
When in 1996 protests of the citizens of Gąbin’s disenabled rebuilding of a radio mast, freehold of Program I of Polish Radio, which collapsed in 1991, one of the alternative localizations was the glade after the old firing area. On May 25, 1997 citizens of Solec Kujawski in a ballot measure agreed to build a radio mast in the region.
Radio Transmitting Center was built from 1998 to 1999, and was officially opened on September 4, 1999. For the sake of example, at the opening ceremony there were President Aleksander Kwaśniewski and Primate Józef Glemp.
In lieu of one radio mast, the Radio Transmitting Center consists of two smaller with the height of 330 meters and 289 meters.