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Siła Natury
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History

The history of the Commune of Brenna is as rich as is its tradition.

Part of the history is Górki – one of the oldest villages of Podbeskidzie, mentioned as early as 1305. Not much can be said of its beginnings. In 1302 Górki was mentioned in Liber fundatnionis espiscopatus vratislaviensis (Book of the estate of the Bishop of Wrocław). It was then owned by one of the prince’s servants or even by one of his subjects, who was granted over 300 ha of land and raised to nobility for his merits. In the second quarter of the 15th century, Górki became part of a larger estate owned by successive gentry families. Due to the families’ expansion and intermarrying, the villages changed hands quite often. The village was held for the longest time by the Górecki (1521-1697) and Marklowski families (1734-1802).

In the 16th century the village expanded upstream along the Brennica and was large enough for its parts to be distinguished in administrative documents as the „old”, „noble” Górki Wielkie, situated lower, and the peasant village of Górki Małe.

The exact date when the village of Brenna was established is unknown. It was first mentioned in historical records at the end of the 15th century, namely in a document issued on 30 June 1490. At that time, the Prince of Cieszyn confirms that a certain Wawrzyniec of Pogórze bequeaths half of the villages of Pogórze and Brenna, with all the fixtures, to his wife, Salomena of Vrchlabi. The fact mentioned in the document may indicate that Brenna had been inhabited earlier, if only partly and only the land most suitable for settling. If half of the village was donated in 1490, it must have been established and inhabited much earlier. Prof. Franciszek Popiołek in his „History of settlements in the Silesian Beskid” claims that it emerged as a new entity from an older village – Górki Małe.

The most important dates in the history of the Commune:
1305 – the village was included in the list of towns and villages in the Duchy of Cieszyn which paid rent.
1394 – the act of sale of the village appears which states, that it is owned by certain Jaykonis family.
The 15th century – Górki become a village owned by gentry, which changes hands frequently. It is owned for the longest time by the Górecki family.
The 16th century – the village expands upstream of the Brennica river (by clearing new areas of forest). The documents distinguish the „old”, „noble” Górki Wielkie, situated lower (1521) and the peasant village of Górki Małe – situated higher (1556). It was then that the prince of Cieszyn, Wacław III Adam donated the village of Brenna, situated in the valley of the Brennica, to Wacław Woda of Kojowice, whereas the fields in Górki Małe, together with the inn, the mill and fishponds were owned by an alderman by the name of Mikołaj Taniec.
That was the time when wandering shepherds appeared on mountain glades with their sheep. The newcomers were referred to in the prince’s records as Walachs. People of different ethnic origin can be identified by their surnames, which are until now met in the commune: Madzia, Rusin, Oleksy, Holeksa, Moskała.
1621 – Brenna is still a village owned by the prince, administered by two aldermen, with the wealthier farmers and tenants. There was a prince’s manor and glassworks in the village, the latter producing simple glass for beer and wine glasses. It may have been established by Wacław Woda because in 1621 a new glassworks was built which was not shut down until 1690.
According to the record, Brenna was at that time inhabited by 47 settlers with families.
The turn of the 16th-17th centuries – the village inhabitants kept about a thousand sheep and paid the rent of 95 sheep and 7 pieces of cheese.
1772 – the duchy is taken over by the Habsburg line of Lorraine, which is a harbinger of important changes in the economy. Demand for wood grew, one of the reasons being the development of metallurgy, which consumed iron ore excavated in nearby Leśnica. Whereas charcoal was made in Brenna itself.
1780 – the village inhabitants kept as many as 5568 sheep and goats.
1785 – a wooden church was built in Brenna, replaced in 1796 by a brick one.
1789 – the first school with the Czech language is opened. The land under the school was exchanged with Jan Holeksa for part of the meadows in Stawówka. It was a two-class school with 280 pupils. The teacher’s name was Lorańczyk. Currently, the site is occupied by the so called „old commune office” building.
1792 – a note was recorded at the court chancery that there was an ironworks along with the one in Ustroń. The ironworks were fired with charcoal, whose production destroyed the forests around Brenna.
The 18th century – the parish is established and the church is built. Before that, Brenna had been part of the parish in Grodziec.
1838 – in that year such professions were recorded in Brenna, as: turner, butcher, miller (who ran the prince’s mill). There were smiths, shoemakers, tailors and weavers.
1847 – torrential rains destroyed cereals and other crops. There were many incidents of death by starvation. Only some people ate oats and cabbage, while the main food for most consisted of mixture of beech tree leaves, nettle and herbs with bran soup. An epidemic of typhus, dysentery and other diseases broke out.
1883 – a Lutheran school is opened, maintained by the congregation of Ustroń.
1890 – a school is opened in Bukowa
1893 – a school is opened in Leśnica.
1897 – a Farmers’ Association is established, the Saving and Lending Fund is active.
The 19th century – quarrying has developed. The work was hard, causing occupational diseases, such as pneumoconiosis and rheumatism.
1918 – on regaining of independence by Poland, the chamber collapsed, the peasants became free farmers on their land.
1922 – the old mansion in Górki Wielkie is bought by Tadeusz Kossak; soon, Zofia Kossak, his daughter and a world-famous writer, comes and lives here through the rest of her life – except during the war and her stay in England.
1923 – the Catholic House is built, named after Father Londzin, a priest.
1927 – the Christian Grocers’ Cooperative, the Reifeisen’s bank and a first radio are established.
1928 – a School Motherland Society was established.
1929 – a new road was built to Brenna, a scouts’ station was opened in Bucz, which was later transformed into a School for Girl Scout Instructors, the Voluntary Fire Brigade is established, first buses start to run.
1933 – a new, large and convenient School No. 1 is opened, the Society of Shepherd Cooperatives is established, gathering 11 large pastures.
1937 – a water intake for the town of Cieszyn is opened on the border with Górki Wielkie.
1939 – German troops invade Brenna; German administration and schools are established. Brenna was incorporated to the German Third Reich.
1940 – first underground resistance groups are established in Brenna. Brenna is one of its most active centres. There are a lot of places of fighting, the Germans’ relentless retaliations, graves, monuments which have been commemorating the years of Nazi occupation.
August 1944 – a Soviet reconnaissance and diversion group lands, headed by major Anisimov, who gains control over part of the local guerrilla troops.
The war caused a lot of victims, both among the guerrilla fighters and among the local population. Those murdered by the German soldiers are commemorated by the monument and plaques, both at the site of murders and at the cemetery.
After 1945 – a lot of initiatives have been carried out with the aim of making the leisure and tourism in the Brenna region more attractive.
13 May 1946 – there were still two active underground military groups: the National Armed Forces headed by Henryk „Bartek” Flame and conspiratorial Polish Army group named „Wędrowiec”. On the night of 12/13 May, 13 militiamen were killed in the skirmish between the Bartek’s unit and the Citizens’ Militia in Błatnia.
1958 – the village electrification started.
1960 – a new school is opened in Leśnica.
1963 – the healthcare centre is established.
1964 – a „Thousand Years” school is opened in Bukowa
1975 – a new Commune Office building is opened
1978 – construction of a gas supply network is started from the Górki side.
30.09.1989 – the 500th anniversary of the village of Brenna is celebrated and the obelisk to commemorate the murder by Nazi soldiers of 5 Poles and 20 unnamed Italian prisoners of war is unveiled.
12.08.1990 – the 100th birthday of Zofia Kossak.
12.06.2004 – the Beskidzka 5 programme is launched (aimed at long-term cooperation of five communes: Brenna, Ustroń, Wisła, Istebna, Szczyrk).
17.07.2005 – the 700th anniversary of the village of Górka is celebrated.
30.08.2009 – the 20th Ecumenical Harvest Festival is held in Brenna.