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Świebodzin, świebodzin mapa
Świebodzin German: Schwiebus is a town in western Poland with 21,757 inhabitants 2004 It is the capital of Świebodzin County Since the Local Government Reorganization Act of 1998, Świebodzin has been part of Lubusz Voivodeship It was formerly part of the Zielona Góra Voivodeship 1975–1998

Świebodzin is an important transportation hub, lying at the crossroads of the Polish national roads 2 and 3 The A2 motorway and S3 expressway cross near the town Świebodzin is located 39 km 24 mi northeast of Zielona Góra, one of the two voivodeship's capitals, 195 km 121 mi northwest of Wrocław and 110 km 68 mi west of Poznań; 70 km 43 mi east of the German border and 130 km 81 mi east of Berlin The crowned statue of Christ in Świebodzin, completed in November 2010, is claimed to be the world's tallest statue of Jesus


  • 1 History
    • 11 Middle Ages
    • 12 Early Modern Period
    • 13 20th century
  • 2 Attractions and sites of interest in Świebodzin
  • 3 Sport
  • 4 Notable residents
  • 5 International relations
    • 51 Twin towns — Sister cities
  • 6 References
  • 7 External links


Middle Ages

The town's name is said to be derived from the Polish personal name Świeboda, related to swoboda meaning "freedom" However the earliest historical records which mention Sebusianis, Sipusius Silesius, Suebosian, Soebosian, Suebusianus for today's Świebodzin date from the beginning of the 14th century, when the area belonged to the Lower Silesian duchy of Głogów German Glogau The town sprang up at the intersection of the old trade routes linking Silesia with Pomerania and a branch of the route running from Lusatia to Poznań in Greater Poland and further to Pomerelia Initially, the town was probably a defensive fortification, built on the western banks of Lake Zamecko at a slight elevation The town wall was ringed by settlements, which were much later incorporated into the city itself

Bohemian Silesia green with northern Świebodzin exclave

In 1319 the Brandenburg margrave Waldemar of Ascania conquered Świebodzin and the town of Sulechów to its south He died in the same year and the territory fell back to the Silesian Piasts, who in 1329 became vassals of Bohemia, an Electorate of the Holy Roman Empire When in 1476 Duke Henry XI of Głogów died without issue, fights over his succession broke out between Duke Jan II the Mad of Żagań and the Brandenburg Elector Albert III Achilles of Hohenzollern, who in ca1479 was able to acquire the northern part of the duchy with the towns of Crossen Krosno Odrzańskie and Züllichau Sulechów, which were finally incorporated into the Neumark district of Brandenburg in 1537 The area of Schwiebus however remained a Bohemian fief, becoming an exclave of the Silesian crown land which in 1526 passed with the Bohemian kingdom to the Habsburg Monarchy

Early Modern Period

Partial view of the town square

Because of the town's location at an important crossroads, it developed economically, particularly in the areas of commerce and craft production In the 15th century and particularly in the 16th century, Schwiebus was known for manufacturing beer and exporting cloth It also developed various urban handicrafts and manufactured goods for local purposes the weekly market The salt, wool, grain, horse, and beef trades were also important For a time the Schwiebus territory was granted by the emperor to Brandenburg-Prussia Representatives of well-known Silesian families, including the von Knobelsdorffs, among others, held authority and power in the town as district starosts and castle commanders on behalf of the Habsburgs

Because of its position near the Holy Roman Empire's border with the Kingdom of Poland, the town most likely had a population of mixed Polish and German descent at this time, but Germans were the majority by the early modern period During the 16th and the first half of the 17th centuries, the town expanded economically, spatially, and demographically, in spite of local conflicts and the turbulent Protestant Reformation and Counter-Reformation

After the victory of King Frederick II of Prussia in the First Silesian War 1740–1742, Schwiebus came under Prussian administration In 1817 its territory was merged with the southern Züllichau region to form the Züllichau-Schwiebus District in the Province of Brandenburg Schwiebus remained in this territorial form until 1945 Annexation by Prussia brought about a sharp economic crisis, as the tradesmen of Schwiebus were cut off from many of their traditional markets and outlets The Prussian authorities also increased local taxes while limiting the town's autonomy The period of revolutions and Napoleonic wars brought about a depression in the cloth trade and limited the economic prospects of the town

The town's extended stagnation ended with the Stein-Hardenberg economic reforms and the beginning of the industrial revolution in the mid-19th century As a medium-sized town and hub of the local market, lying at the intersection of several routes of communication, including the new Frankfurt Oder-Poznań railway line, Schwiebus became a center of local industry textile, machinery, and agricultural food processing The town was modernized at this time with improved traffic arteries, renovation of the town hall, reconstruction of the church of St Michael, and the construction of several new public service buildings law courts, high school, gas works, and post office Schwiebus contributed to and benefited from the economic expansion of the German Empire in the years before 1914

20th century

Church of St Michael the Archangel

A new period of economic stagnation began with the territorial changes in central Europe after Germany's defeat in World War I In the interwar period, Schwiebus found itself in the eastern outskirts of Germany, twenty kilometers west of the newly imposed German-Polish border During the 1920s, Weimar Germany experienced two major economic crises, the hyperinflation of the early 1920s and the Great Depression beginning in 1929 The citizens of Schwiebus suffered severe economic hardship during this time As was the case elsewhere in Germany, many of the town's citizens were dissatisfied with their lot and turned to political extremism

Adolf Hitler of the Nazi Party came to power in Germany in 1933 Hitler quickly moved to consolidate and expand his power, adopting severe repressive measures against his political opposition and the German Jewish minority However, Hitler remained popular with the public because he oversaw the German economic recovery of the 1930s The new government sponsored many public works programs and a massive rearmament campaign which included the construction of an extensive fortified line of bunkers, Ostwall today known as the Międzyrzecz Fortified Region twenty kilometers north of Schwiebus

The rearmament campaign was a necessary precondition for the wars Hitler planned to establish German dominance in Europe World War II 1939–45 brought first hardship to Schwiebus and then total disaster In early January 1945, the Soviet Red Army began its final advance through Poland into eastern Germany, reaching Schwiebus before the end of the month By this time, many of its inhabitants had already fled, fearing the Soviet revenge for the atrocities perpetrated by the German occupation forces against the civilian population of the Soviet Union The town was largely spared from destruction during the fighting, as the bulk of the Soviet forces passed to the north and south on their way to Berlin It was finally captured in 31 January 1945

However, at the Yalta Conference in February 1945, the leaders of the Allies, represented by Winston Churchill of the United Kingdom, Franklin D Roosevelt of the United States, and Joseph Stalin of the Soviet Union quietly decided that all German territory east of the Oder River would be transferred to Poland as compensation for eastern Polish lands annexed by the Soviet Union Poland was also given approval to deport the native Germans and replace them with new Polish settlers At the mid-summer Potsdam Conference, taking place shortly after Germany's defeat, the leaders of the Allied Powers temporarily designated the Oder-Neisse line as the new border between Germany and Poland until a final peace treaty confirming the end of the war They also consented to the expulsion of the entire native German population east of these two rivers With the transfer of de facto sovereignty from Germany to Poland, German Schwiebus became Polish Świebodzin From 1945 to 1947, the German population of the town was expelled westward, often by force Thousands of Poles, including those expelled from Poland's eastern territories annexed by the Soviet Union, forced laborers liberated from Germany, and refugees from Poland's ruined cities, then settled in Świebodzin

The early postwar years were difficult ones for the inhabitants of Świebodzin Many of the Polish newcomers were poorly educated refugees from rural areas and lacked familiarity with the mercantile and industrial activities which had previously provided the town's economic foundation Many of the surrounding towns and villages had been more severely damaged during the war and it took some years before the flow of trade recovered Furthermore, the new Polish government adopted the communist economic system and enacted disruptive, sweeping social, economic, and political reforms Świebodzin's economic recovery was also hampered by the Soviet policy of dismantling industrial facilities in conquered areas, and shipping components back to the Soviet Union In this way, Świebodzin lost some of its prewar industries, particularly its breweries

The economic situation slowly improved and the new Polish settlers adapted to postwar circumstances Świebodzin expanded in the period under communist rule, and its population doubled New neighborhoods were built to the south of the railway line, composed largely of pre-fabricated apartment buildings The Communist Economic Planning Commissions chose to develop the electromechanical, furniture, and timber industries in Świebodzin Products were exported throughout Poland and to the other states in the Soviet Bloc

However, with the collapse of the Soviet Bloc and the revolutions of 1989, Świebodzin once again experienced economic upheaval With some difficulties, the local economy was adapted to the international market economy New industries and businesses were established, but others were unable to compete in the new environment and went bankrupt Many more goods became available in local shops, but at prices that many inhabitants could not afford In recent years, a few foreign-owned discount supermarkets, pizzerias, hotels, and other businesses have been established in the town, taking advantage of the proximity of Poland's main east-west motorway With the economic changes there have also been political changes A series of non-communist local governments have been elected since 1989

Attractions and sites of interest in Świebodzin

Statue of Christ the King

The center of Świebodzin still contains remnants of the town's past as a medieval walled settlement, including two nearly intact towers and fragments of the town’s defensive walls and bastions The central market square is dominated by the town hall, built around 1550 in the renaissance style and rebuilt in the 19th century with the addition of its prominent clock tower The town hall still contains its original gothic vaults in the rooms of the Regional Museum and basement cafe There are two large churches in the town center, the Church of St Michael the Archangel and the Church of the Mother of God The Church of St Michael was first built in the second half of the 15th Century, and its neo-gothic façade was added in the second half of the 19th century The neo-gothic Church of the Mother of God was built during the Imperial German period as a Protestant Church but was reconsecrated as a Catholic Church after World War II

In the summer of 2008, assembly of the Christ the King Statue, a giant statue of a crowned Jesus Christ, began on a hill on the outskirts of the town Intended to serve as a future site of pilgrimage, the statue was completed in November 2010, and is claimed to be the world's largest statue of Jesus, although if the crown is excluded the Cristo de la Concordia in Bolivia is still taller Construction was funded by donations from local people and as far away as Canada The existence of the statue has seen fellow Poles referring to the town jokingly as Rio de Świebodzineiro


Świebodzin has a table tennis club KS Jofrakuda Świebodzin which is playing in 3liga Polish third division The club has also the other teams playing in lower divisions of Lubusz The club is known from a successful work with young table tennis players, who are highly ranked in Polish youth categories

Notable residents

  • Martin Agricola 1486–1556, composer
  • Karl-Heinz Bendert 1914–1983, Luftwaffe ace
  • Otto Feige, maybe identical with B Traven died 1969, writer of The Treasure of the Sierra Madre
  • Zdzisław Hoffmann born 1959, first ever triple jump World Champion 1983
  • Zbigniew Kłosowski 1956–2004, Solidarity movement Leader
  • Alfred Knispel 1898-1945, artist
  • Werner Kolhörster 1887–1946, physicist
  • Ruth Margarete Roellig 1878–1969, writer
  • Piotr Rysiukiewicz born 1974, sprinter
  • Walter Warzecha 1891–1956, admiral and last commander of the Kriegsmarine
  • Wolfhart Westendorf 1924–2018, egyptologist
  • Michael Witzel born 1943, Wales Professor of Sanskrit at Harvard University

International relations

See also: List of twin towns and sister cities in Poland

Twin towns — Sister cities

Świebodzin is twinned with:

  • Neuenhagen, Germany
  • Herzberg, Brandenburg, Germany


  1. ^ K Rymut, Nazwy miast Polski, Ossolineum 1987, s 242
  2. ^ Linde, Samuel Bogumił "Slownik jẹzyka polskiego", Volume 5 1812 Booksgoogleca Retrieved 2012-05-16 
  3. ^ Complete Works of Thomas Carlyle - Google Books Booksgooglecom 2005-11-08 Retrieved 2010-05-02 
  4. ^ a b "Giant Jesus statue completed in Polish town" Google Associated Press November 6, 2010 Retrieved November 7, 2010 
  5. ^ Oleksiak, Wojciech 9 June 2014 "Polandball - A Case Study" Culturepl Adam Mickiewicz Institute Archived from the original on 6 August 2014 Retrieved 6 August 2014 
  6. ^ "mwbib02htm" Peoplefasharvardedu Retrieved 2012-05-25 

External links

  • Official website in Polish
  • Historical artifacts from Świebodzin/Schwiebus in Polish
  • Regionalny Portal Informacyjny in Polish
  • Jewish Community in Świebodzin on Virtual Shtetl
  • Map with Schwiebus as part of the German Empire
  • GAZETA Świebodzińska in Polish
  • Gazeta Lokalna Dwutygodnik Powiatu Świebodzińskiego
  • Oficjalna strona KS Jofrakudy Świebodzin / Official website of the table-tennis club KS Jofrakuda in Polish, świebodzin, świebodzin chrystus, świebodzin figura chrystusa, świebodzin jezus, świebodzin mapa, świebodzin monument to christ, świebodzin urząd miasta, świebodzin zielona gora, świebodzin znaki drogowe

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