Market square (Rynek) with the Old Town Hall
Świecie - najlepsze na świecie
Świecie - the best in the world
|• Mayor||Tadeusz Grzegorz Pogoda|
|• Total||11.87 km2 (4.58 sq mi)|
|Highest elevation||86 m (282 ft)|
|Lowest elevation||19 m (62 ft)|
|• Density||2,200/km2 (5,600/sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC+1 (CET)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC+2 (CEST)|
86-100 to 86-105
|Area code(s)||+48 52|
Świeciepronounced [ˈɕfʲɛt͡ɕɛ] (German : Schwetz) is a town in northern Poland with 25,968 inhabitants (2006), situated in Kuyavian-Pomeranian Voivodeship (since 1999); it was in Bydgoszcz Voivodeship from 1975 to 1998. It is the capital of Świecie County.
Świecie is located on the west bank of river Vistula at the mouth of river Wda, approximately 40 kilometres (25 mi) north-east of Bydgoszcz, 105 kilometers south of Gdańsk and 190 kilometers south-west of Kaliningrad.
A fishermen's village existed at the site of the present-day town in the Early Middle Ages.The area became part of the emerging Polish state in the 10th century. The name of the town comes from the Polish word świecić, which means "shine". During the period of the fragmentation of Poland, Świecie became the residence of Pomeranian Duke Grzymisław, when in 1198 the St. Mary's church was erected there. Grzymisław's duchy included part of Gdańsk Pomerania with prominent towns of Starogard Gdański and Lubiszewo Tczewskie, as well as Skarszewy. The Teutonic Order conquered Gdańsk in 1309 and in 1310 bought the region in Soldin from the Margraves of Brandenburg, who claimed the region, which however legally formed part of Poland. By then, the settlement already had the status of Civitas, just as Gdańsk and Tczew did. Świecie was granted a municipal form of government by the Teutonic Order, when it was still located on the high west bank of the Vistula. Probably because of destruction by fire, during the period 1338–1375 the town was relocated down into the valley at the Vistula. The town was briefly recaptured by the Poles after their victory in the Battle of Grunwald in 1410. In 1454, in the beginning stages of the Thirteen Years' War, it was captured by the Prussian Confederation, which opposed Teutonic rule, and upon the request of which King Casimir IV Jagiellon re-incorporated the territory to the Kingdom of Poland that same year. The Teutonic Knights renounced any claims to the town, and recognized it as part of Poland in 1466. Administratively it formed part of the Pomeranian Voivodeship in the province of Royal Prussia in the Greater Poland Province. The town prospered due to its location at the intersection of the Amber Road and the trade route connecting Western Pomerania with Warmia, Masuria and Lithuania. In the 17th century, Świecie suffered as a result of the Swedish invasion of Poland and an epidemic.
In 1772, during the First Partition of Poland, the town was annexed by the Kingdom of Prussia, and as Schwetz was integrated into the newly formed Province of West Prussia. In 1905 the town had a Protestant church, two Catholic churches and a synagogue.After World War I Świecie became part of the Pomeranian Voivodeship with the provincial capital in Toruń of the Second Republic of Poland. In 1920, Stanisław Kostka, a distinguished Polish activist who was active in Grudziądz and Świecie under Prussian rule, became the mayor of the town. Stanisław Kostka built new flood embankments that protect Świecie from floods to this day, and under his administration the town developed economically and culturally.
During the Second World War, Nazi Germany occupied Świecie and annexed it on 8 October 1939, making it the seat of the Kreis county of Schwetz. It was administered as part of Reichsgau Danzig-West Prussia. Prominent Poles were arrested using secret politically targeted hit list and murdered using the Volksdeutscher Selbstschutz paramilitaries.Local Poles were murdered in large massacres in Świecie, Grupa and Mniszek.
People shot were finished off by blows delivered by shovels and the butts of assault rifles; they were buried in mass graves when still alive. Mothers were forced to place their children in the pits where they were shot together. Before executions women and girls were raped.(...) [The atrocities] evoked horror even in the Germans, including some soldiers. Terrified at what they saw in the town of Świecie two of them felt compelled to submit a report [to military authorities].
The Germans also murdered the staff and 1,350 patients of the local psychiatric hospital in large massacres in the Szpęgawski and Luszkówko forests.Local Poles were also subjected to expulsions.
The town was captured by combined Polish and Soviet forces on February 10, 1945,and restored to Poland, where it became part of the Bydgoszcz Voivodeship formed in 1946 in the People's Republic of Poland. The town grew rapidly with population reaching 13,500 by 1961. Sugar refinery was expanded, meat, cattle feed plants, and mills were built, including the paper factory launched in 1968, with 4,600 employees. In 1988 Świecie was awarded with the Officer's Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta, one of Poland's highest state orders.
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Translation from Polish: Rozstrzeliwanych dobijano łopatami, kolbami, a niekiedy zakopywano jeszcze żywych. Matki zmuszano do układania w wykopanych dołach swoich dzieci, a potem je same rozstrzeliwano. Przed rozstrzelaniem gwałcono dziewczęta i kobiety.
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