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Coat of arms of appenywiec
Żywiec (Poland)
Basic data
State : Poland
Voivodeship : Silesia
Powiat : Żywiec
Area : 50.57  km²
Geographic location : 49 ° 40 ′  N , 19 ° 10 ′  E Coordinates: 49 ° 40 ′ 0 ″  N , 19 ° 10 ′ 0 ″  E
Height : 345 m npm
Residents : 31,194
(Jun. 30, 2019)
Postal code : 34-300 to 34-330
Telephone code : (+48) 33
License plate : SZY
Economy and Transport
Street : Bielsko-Biała - Makov
Next international airport : Krakow-Balice
Gminatype: Borough
Residents: 31,194
(Jun. 30, 2019)
Community number  ( GUS ): 2417011
Administration (as of 2016)
Mayor : Antoni Szlagor
Address: ul. Powstańców Śląskich 9
34-300 Żywiec
Website : www.zywiec.pl

Panorama with the Little Beskids

Żywiec ([ ˈʒɨvʲɛʦ ]; German Saybusch , Seipusch ; Czech Živec ) is a medium- sized town with about 32,000 inhabitants in the Silesian Voivodeship in Poland . It is the seat of the district of the same name .


Red: Grojec hills (in the south), Alt Saybusch (in the north) and (New) Saybusch at the confluence of Soła, Koszarawa, Żylica and Łękawka on the Austrian map in the background;              Modern boundaries of the city and districts

The city center is at an altitude of 345 to 350 m above sea level, but in the north it goes up to 830 m above sea level, in the Saybuscher basin belonging to the Beskids at the confluence of the Koszarawa into the Soła , which is dammed to the north to the Jezioro Żywieckie . The city of Bielsko-Biała is about 18 km to the northwest . The border triangle with the Czech Republic and Slovakia is in the vicinity . The historical landscape of Zywiec country is as part of today the majority and of the identity of the inhabitants of Malopolska considered, but because of late medieval membership of Silesian duchies (Opole-Raciborz, Cieszyn, Auschwitz), later also to circle Silesia the Province Krakow , Lesser Poland-Silesian Border area.

The urban area occupies 50.57 km², of which 45% is arable land and 17% is forest. The urban area makes up 4.9% of the district area.

After the Second World War, the city first belonged to the Kraków Voivodeship and from 1975 to the Bielsko-Biała Voivodeship .

The urban area borders on the following municipalities:

City structure

The city is divided into eight districts.


The name of the city, formerly also Żywcza (feminine form) and Żywcze , appears in the documents as Zivicz (1326), Zipscha (1327), Ziwcza (1335) and Ziwiecz (1603). The name is derived from the presumed original owner * Żywie (k) (e.g. in 1484 the personal name was mentioned as Szywczek de Pakoschowka ), possibly also from the Polish appellative żywy , which can be translated as living and alludes to the fact that here living inventory, i.e. livestock, was kept. The city coat of arms with the bull's head under the eagle of the Upper Silesian Piasts refers to this.

The German name Saybusch probably developed from Zipscha (1327), in the 15th century by Salbchus (1440), Zeywissch (1445), Seÿppich (1448) and Seypusch (1580). Andrzej Komoniecki (1658–1729) derived the German form of the name from the local tradition of animal husbandry: Zaypus, to jest Świni Las albo Świniopas. ( Świni Las - for example Sauwald or Saubusch, Świniopas would be a swineherd ).


middle Ages

On Żywiec's local mountain, Grojec, there was a Celtic fortress in antiquity, which was expanded into a West Slavic fortress in the early Middle Ages.

The first written mention of the ducal village comes from the turn of the 13th to the 14th century during the Polish particularism . The Roman Catholic parish was first mentioned in a document in 1308, which was also mentioned as Zivicz in the Peterspfennigregister of 1326 in the Auschwitz deanery of the Krakow diocese . It is a place that was later called Stary Żywiec ( Alt Saybusch ) and was a few kilometers downstream on the bottom of today's reservoir. After the division of the Duchy of Teschen in 1315, the place was in the newly founded Duchy of Auschwitz . Since 1327 the duchy was under feudal rule of the Kingdom of Bohemia and the accompanying document mentioned an oppidum Zipscha .


In 1445 it was mentioned in a German-language document in the sentence in our Zeywisschem weigbilde , which was also the first mention of the Saybuscher Weichbild . In the same year, with the division of the Duchy of Auschwitz, the soft picture fell to Przemislaus III. , who re-founded the city in 1448 after a fire in 1447 (since the original settlement location was unfavorable and was often hit by floods). On September 13th, 1448 the Duke confirmed the privilege and forbade the lande unde asked Seÿppichs no markth not sullin .

A few years earlier, around 1447, the Weichbild was probably pledged to the Skrzyński family, which started private rule in this area, which resulted in its removal from the Duchy of Auschwitz (certainly between 1450 and 1452). In the years 1460–1465 the Skrzyński family led a grueling activity as robber barons in the Polish-Silesian border area, which forced the military intervention of the Polish king Casimir IV . In 1462 the Grojec Castle was destroyed by royal troops and not rebuilt. The rule of the Skrzyński family was eliminated and the Old Castle rose in rank to a royal castle. But already in 1467 King Casimir IV bequeathed Żywiec with the entire Saybuscher land to the aristocratic Komorowski family for their political support, especially the king's Hungarian policy. However, Piotr Komorowski changed his political orientation and turned to Matthias Corvinus , as well as against the king, whereupon he occupied the city in 1477 and had the castle destroyed. Nevertheless, Piotr Komorowski managed to reconcile himself with the king after another change of policy and received his latifundie back.

Early modern age

Kasimir IV's son Sigismund the Elder granted the town market rights in 1512 and exempted it from taxes in 1518, which favored the town's economic boom. The parish church was built from 1512 to 1542 instead of a wooden church in the Renaissance style. In 1537 the bourgeoisie received the right to brew beer and the right to serve beer. The first city hospital was built in 1542, the city brewery in 1548 and the city school in 1558. In 1579 the city received stacking rights and other trading rights from Stephan Báthory , who promoted the city on the trade route to his Hungarian homeland.

In 1564 the Duchy of Auschwitz-Zator was incorporated into the Lesser Poland Voivodeship together with the State of Saybusch as the District of Silesia .

Around the year 1600 there were clearly less than 1000 inhabitants in the city. There was a Protestant congregation to which the German-speaking minority in particular belonged.

In 1608 the Saybuscher land was divided by succession, but the town remained with the Komorowski until 1624, when they sold it to the Polish Queen Constanze . After her death, it remained the property of the Polish royal family Wasa until 1678. During the Swedish Flood , the city was destroyed in 1656.

In 1678 Jan Wielopolski acquired the Saybusch land and it remained with the Wielopolski until 1838 . The Wielkopolski extended the castle in the baroque style and laid out the castle park . Otherwise, however, their rule in the 18th century is marked by the economic decline of the city. After the First Partition of Poland , Żywiec came to the newly founded Kingdom of Galicia , which became part of the Habsburg lands. However, the Wielkopolski initially continued to own the city.

In the Habsburg Empire

town hall
Old town
Chinese tower

When Poland was first partitioned in 1772, the city became part of the new Kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria of the Habsburg Empire (from 1804). In 1773 the city became the seat of a district in Wieliczka County, which was dissolved two years later and the area was attached to the Zator County District. From 1782 it belonged to the Myślenice District (from 1819 with the seat in Wadowice). The duchy of Auschwitz-Zator, which was temporarily spun off from Galicia and assigned to Austrian Silesia from 1818 or 1820–1850, was a formal member of the German Confederation at the time , although before 1772 it had been subject to Poland and not the Holy Roman Empire . In 1838 Archduke Karl of Austria-Teschen acquired the Saybusch region and incorporated it into the Teschen Chamber .

From 1854 and 1867, Żywiec was the seat of the district of Saybusch and Żywiec .

Large parts of the former rule of Saybusch were bought by Duke Albert von Sachsen-Teschen , a son of the Saxon-Polish King August III. , 1810 part of the rule of the Teschen Chamber . During this time the area was industrialized and in Żywiec the Żywiec brewery , the paper factory, the Friedrich ironworks, the Ponar machine factory, the Sila leather goods factory and numerous other companies were established. In 1868 the New Town Hall was built. In 1878 the city was connected to the rail network by the Kaiser Ferdinands-Nordbahn and in 1884 by the Galician Transversalbahn . The New Palace and numerous other public buildings were built in the second half of the 19th century, which still shape the city center today.

By inheritance from the Teschen Chamber in 1895, the Saybusch branch of the Habsburgs was created, whose progenitor was Karl Stephan of Austria , who already spoke fluent Polish and stayed in Żywiec after the First World War when the Second Polish Republic came about .

In the Second Polish Republic

After the defeat of Austria-Hungary in the First World War , the area of ​​Galicia was incorporated into the Second Polish Republic in 1919 , to which Żywiec belonged as the district town of the Powiat Żywiecki of the Krakow Voivodeship . The urban area was expanded by incorporations in 1929 and 1939.

Karl Albrecht von Habsburg-Altenburg inherited the Saybusch region in 1933 , but was expropriated after the German invasion of Poland because, feeling as a Pole, he was not ready to sign the German People's List . He was arrested by the occupiers in Teschen and Cracow and tortured several times. His wife was able to flee to Sweden, where she was followed by Karl Albrecht after the Soviet occupation of Poland.

Period of German occupation

After the German invasion of Poland in 1939, the place - renamed Saybusch - belonged to the German Reich from October 26, 1939 . As the center of the district of the same name ( Saybusch district ), it formed part of the new administrative district of Katowice in the Prussian province of Silesia , from January 18, 1941 in the province of Upper Silesia .

In March or April 1940, members of the Polish intelligentsia were deliberately arrested and killed. As part of the Saybusch campaign , 17,993 Poles were expelled from the occupied territories of Saybusch Land between September and December 1940 in order to be able to settle ethnic Germans . Most of the Poles were resettled in the Generalgouvernement . Some young men were deported to the German Reich as forced laborers .

From November 30, 1940, the city was administered by a German official commissioner. When the city of Saybusch was granted the right of the German municipal code on January 30, 1935, the local administration was headed by a German mayor from April 1, 1942 until the end of the war.

In March 1945 there were heavy fighting around the city, in which the old town was badly damaged. The retreating German troops blew up a railway bridge and two road bridges and devastated the station.

People's Republic of Poland

Żywiec came back to Poland in 1945 and administratively belonged to the then Kraków Voivodeship until 1974 , then to the Bielsko-Biała Voivodeship until 1998 . The urban area was expanded by further incorporations in 1950 and 1976. After the flood of the century in 1956, the Jezioro Żywieckie reservoir was created north of the city in 1966 .

Third Polish Republic

The urban area was expanded by further incorporations in 1991 and 2001. In 2000, Karl Albrechts' daughter, Maria Krystyna Altenburg, returned to Żywiec. She lived in the New Palace until her death in 2012 , where she was born in 1923.

Żywiec is also known outside of Poland for its Żywiec brand beer, which is produced in the city brewery . Today's brewery group Grupa Żywiec emerged from the city brewery after the Archducal Brewery Saybusch was founded in 1856 , which later operated as the Beskid Brewery Seybusch . The Grupa Zywiec is now one of the subsidiaries at the Heineken Corporation and sells u. a. the beer brands Warka and Tatra . Under the Żywiec brand , other beverage products such as mineral water, which come from the nearby mineral springs, are sold.

Historical views


Catholic Church

Bell tower

The Catholic Church is represented in Żywiec with five parishes belonging to the Bielsko-Żywiec diocese , a suffragan diocese of the Krakow Archdiocese :

Other Christian churches

There are also parishes of six other Christian faiths in Żywiec:


In 1629 the settlement of Jews in the city was banned, so the Jews settled in neighboring villages such as Sporysz and Isep, but especially in Zabłocie. At the beginning of the 20th century there was a Jewish community in the area around Saybusch (seat in Zabłocie) with around 1800 (390 in 1900 in Zabłocie itself) members. A synagogue called the Temple was built in the mid-19th century in the area of ​​the intersection between ul. Wesoła and ul. Dworcowej . A mikveh , a Jewish school and other buildings were also built in the area, which were completely demolished during the German occupation. After the war, a vocational school center for carpentry and building trade ( Zespół Szkół Budowlano-Drzewnych im. Armii Krajowej ) was built on the site. In July 2003, a memorial stone was inaugurated at the site of the synagogue, which commemorates the destruction of the community center in Polish and Hebrew: "This is where the temple synagogue stood, which was destroyed by the German occupiers during the Second World War. In memory of the Jews in Żywiec - The inhabitants of Żywiec - in July 2003. " The Jewish cemetery with around five hundred gravestones has been preserved and also dates from the 19th century.

From 1941 the Jewish community of Żywiec was wiped out: First a large part of the Jewish population was deported to the Ghetto of Sucha Beskidzka . From there, people were taken to Auschwitz from 1942 .


The TS Mitech Zywiec (Towarzystwo Sportowe Mitech Zywiec) is a women's football club which plays in the first Polish women's football league since 2009/10.




In the vicinity of Saybusch in the Little Beskids , a funicular runs from Międzybrodzie Żywieckie to Mount Żar (767 m). Four marked long-distance hiking trails lead through the city.

sons and daughters of the town

Town twinning

Żywiec has town partnerships with:

Unterhaching Germany , Bavaria
Riom France
Adur District Council Great Britain
Szczytno Poland
Čadca Slovakia
Liptovský Mikuláš Slovakia
Gödöllő Hungary

Web links

Commons : Żywiec  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. a b population. Size and Structure by Territorial Division. As of June 30, 2019. Główny Urząd Statystyczny (GUS) (PDF files; 0.99 MiB), accessed December 24, 2019 .
  2. Władysław Lubas: nazwy miejscowe Południowej części dawnego województwa Krakowskiego . Polska Akademia Nauk . Instytut Języka Polskiego, Wrocław 1968, p. 188 (Polish, online ).
  3. ^ Przemysław Stanko: Monografia Gminy Wilkowice . Wydawnictwo Prasa Beskidzka, Wilkowice 2014, ISBN 978-83-940833-0-4 , p. 77 (Polish).
  4. January Ptaśnik (editor): Monumenta Poloniae Vaticana T.1 Acta Apostolicae Camerae. Vol. 1, 1207-1344 . Sums. Academiae Litterarum Cracoviensis, Cracoviae 1913, pp. 127-131 ( online ).
  5. Ignacy Rychlik: Księstwa oświęcimskie i zatorskie . Tarnów 1889, p. 26 (Polish, online ).
  6. a b Przemysław Stanko: Monografia Gminy Wilkowice . Wydawnictwo Prasa Beskidzka, Wilkowice 2014, ISBN 978-83-940833-0-4 , p. 67-68 (Polish).
  7. Mariusz Pawelec, Protestantyzm na Żywiecczyźnie - glosa , In: Gronie, Füzet 6 (2008), pp. 191–198
  8. Most historians cite April 6, 1818 as the beginning of membership, when the German Confederation recognized the border shift. Nowakowski emphasizes, however, that the actual, legally binding imperial patent was not issued until March 2, 1820. A patent dated October 29, 1850 rejoined Galicia outside the German Confederation; Andrzej Nowakowski: Terytoria oświęcimsko-zatorskie w Związku Niemieckim: zarys prawno-historyczny . In: Przegląd Historyczny . tape 76 , no. 4 , 1985, ISSN  0033-2186 , pp. 787 (Polish, muzhp.pl [PDF; accessed March 9, 2020]).
  9. Wolfgang Curilla: The murder of Jews in Poland and the German order police 1939-1945. Ferdinand Schöningh, Paderborn 2011, ISBN 978-3-506-77043-1 , p. 143 ( limited preview in the Google book search).
  10. January Iluk: The resettlement of Germans after 1939 in the territory of Zywiec in photographic documentation. In: Yearbook for German and Eastern European Folklore . Volume 53, 2012, pp. 61-94; Mirosław Sikora: historian, sources, research. An analysis using the example of the project “Colonization of the Saybusch / OS. through the Third Reich in the years 1939–1945 ”. In: Hans-Werner Retterath (Ed.): Additions. Folklore archive research on the Germans in and from Eastern Europe (= series of publications by the Institute for Folklore of Germans in Eastern Europe. Volume 16). Waxmann, Münster, New York 2015, pp. 75–98.
  11. ^ Browary Żywiec SA, Poland. In: gbrauereien.org. Retrieved February 3, 2017 .
  12. ↑ Beer coasters of the eastern territories. Seybusch. In: bierdeckel-der-ostgebiete.npage.de. Retrieved February 3, 2017 .
  13. ^ Former location of the Jewish center on OpenStreetMap
  14. The Jewish Community Center around the 'Temple' ( Memento from March 3, 2017 in the Internet Archive ) (English) on sztetl.org
  15. ^ Jewish cemetery in Zabłocie in Żywiec (Saybusch) ( Memento from March 3, 2017 in the Internet Archive )
  16. Brewery Museum in Żywiec. In: polish-online.com. Retrieved February 3, 2017 .
  17. List of town twinning (Polish); accessed on March 1, 2017


  1. ^ An early modern copy of a Mieszkos I von Teschen-Auschwitz document without date
  2. So probably a market place developed on traditional Polish law - in contrast to civitates on German law, such as Bielsko