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Monograph of Borowice

MTB Borowice.pl 2007
Meeting 22.02.2007
WOSP 2007
Changes at Community






The man became an inhabitant of the mountains relatively late due to the fact that he used to find much better living conditions in fecund river valleys beneath. However, as the years passed, the mountains have also been inhabited. There is variety of reasons for which people risked to settle these usually wild and unwelcoming areas: religion, politics and, most often, economy. Sometimes it was just curiosity and the need of isolation that encouraged. The mountains have also been a shelter or an asylum for oppressed or for the ones who wanted to escape the threat of war.

Already in the Middle Ages between 12th and 13th century Karkonosze Mountains became the destination of treasure hunters who, rinsing out the sands of gills, found silver, gold and gems. The first people who started penetrating the area of Borowice were Walloon miners who, between the 13th and 14th century, looked for gold and gems on the area around Łomniczka. Apart from the miners, Karkonosze gained an interest of laboratory assistants and coalmen. By the end of 13th century the population density of Jeleniogórska Valley and Karkonoskie Plateau was almost equal to the one observed nowadays. From this period derive the first notes concerning Paszków and Piastów (today belonging to Piechowice), Kowary, Płóczki (today a part of Karpacz), Głębock and Broniów.

A symbol on the stone next to the ski flank in Borowice (Waloon symbol?)

The oldest part of today's Borowice is Broniów, settlement which after the War was called the Colony of Bartosz Głowacki (previously subsumed to Sosnówka). Its existence was annotated already in 1406. Because of the cloudburst which took place in 1412 between Sosnówka and Borowice and a series of disastrous floods, Broniów and the Red Valley were destroyed and their citizens moved to Płóczki in Karpacz.

The colonisation of Karkonosze, the biggest range of Sudetenland, progressed at a differential pace. However, by the end of 16th century the majority of localities which exist until nowadays were formed. After that time two more colonization waves occurred. The first one took place in the first half of 17th century, another one between 18th and 19th century. The seventeenth century one seems to be the most interesting due to the fact that it was connected with the Thirty Year's War.

Borowice (German name Baberhäuser) was set up as pastoral settlement in 1644 by Meertin Marksteiner. That protestant Swiss carpenter had escaped from Bohemia (Czech) from religious oppression connected with the Thirty Year's War. Before, in 1629, during the rules of Ferdinand II he was called from Switzerland to Czech to build dams. However, Czech counterreformation forced the Marksteiners to move to Silesia. Their way at the foot of Snow Mountain (Śnieżka) led them to the first Silesian hut, today's Strzecha Akademicka, where they met lord's forester, old Bretter, and they stayed at his place for some time. Marksteiner looking around found himself in Fir Tree Valley (in other sources called Maple Valley, today - the Valley of Five Streams) and desired to settle there. Thanks to mediation of Bretter he acquired Schaffgotschs' necessary agreement. Marksteiner had four sons and two daughters. All of his sons were taught his trade. They worked on the area of the whole kingdom and, thanks to it, the emperor awarded them freedom. In 1644 a piece of land for Marksteiner was allocated. In the same year the owner built there a house and next to it his son and daughter built their own houses. Marksteiner's house was situated next to a stream (Germ. Bach) from which derives the name of the village. Because of their settlement the citizens were called Bacherleute and the first houses were named Bacherhäuser. However, during the register, this name was misspelled into Baberhäuser.

According to some other sources the name Baberhäuser derives from German word baben (oben) - high and was used to describe high-lying houses. The first son of Meertin Marksteiner built his house in Upper Karpacz (Brückenberg) where before the War lived Johann Gottlieb Marksteiner. Another son built his house next to his father's place. The third son was a carpenter and worked in Kowary. The fourth one remained in his family house and, after the death of his father, bought his property. As for the daughters, the first one wedded in Friedberg am Queiß and another one married a mason who built the third house in the valley.

The place is surrounded by hills and forests. In 17th century flowing streams probably became a factor to form bogs which were difficult to cross. Marksteiner could settle in a place which had already been used as a shelter before. Anyway, soon after appeared more settlers who built several diffuse buildings forming a sylvan-pastoral settlement.

In 1660 an inn called Baberkretscham (today's guesthouse Skalnik and Dorotka café) was brought to existence.

Colonisation and planning of the highest parts of Karkonosze Mountains from 17th century contributed to preparing them for tourism which developed in next years. Aeries which were brought to existence on this unwelcoming area will soon become the base and support for the first pilgrims and tourists. From approximately 1700 derives the first note concerning the existence of a communication between Podgórzyn and huts on Polana through Borowice.

From 1723 Borowice belonged to a mountain borough Budziska (Gebirgsbauden) which had its base in Upper Karpacz in Jaworskie Duchy and the court was situated in Sobieszów at the foot of Chojnik.

In 1736 a mill which exists until nowadays was built.

Buildings of a windmill and a forestry building - a view from the past and a nowaday's photo taken from the front

In 1747 Broniów is mentioned as Braunsdorferhäuser, and in 1786 when it was inhabited by 13 cottage - workers as Bronsdorf.

In 1778 Jelenia Góra was connected with Wrocław by stagecoach way.

In 1782 34 huts were registered in Borowice. Since 1786 the village is known under the name Baberhäuser. After the change of administrative division from 1815 the settlement belongs to Budziska borough situated in the Jeleniogórski district. Through long years the village functioned as a cluster of huts of shepherds and lumbermen. However, it developed gradually for example grounding a school in 1833. That undertaking was an initiative of earl Schaffgotsch and local forester.

Since 1843 Borowice belonged to Protestant (evangelic) flock in Sosnówka. Catholic Church in Sosnówka served Borowice too, but, due to a small number of the worshippers, it had its base in Sobieszów.

By 19th century Borowice were a quite big pastoral settlement with 41 huts.

An important factor of tourism's development was creation of a railway connection from Jelenia Góra to Berlin in 1866 and a year later to Wrocław.

In 1880 the Karkonoski Union (Riesengebirges Verein - RGV) organising tourist movement was brought to existence. The Union used to release a newspaper entitled „Wanderer of Karkonosze”.

Not until the 90s of 19th century had the holiday movement reached Borowice. This fact was caused by the lack of good connection between the village and local tourist centers. However, already in 1898 in Borowice worked 100 holiday makers and a year later - 460. In 1901 a road connecting Borowice with Karpacz and Sosnówka (through Gajniki) was built. In that time the village became a small rest-hose because it played an important role in the main tourist route leading to the Snow Mountain (Śnieżka) (through the houses in Upper Karpacz, shelters on Polana, the Pilgrims (Pielgrzymy), the Silesian House (Śląski Dom) etc.). However, agriculture and shepherds' activity still dominated as a characteristic feature of Borowice. The road from Sosnówka to Borowice was covered with tarmac in 1937.

A forest track in the Valley of Kacza River connecting Borowice with Podgórzyn was built between 1902 and 1904 thanks to ducal forest inspector of Schaffgotschs, Mayntz. The track was covered with tarmac in 1937.

In 1911 a tram line from Jelenia Góra to Podgórzyn was opened and it functioned till 1964.

Just before the World War II Borowice counted approximately 250 people who worked mainly as shepherds or in forestry. They also gained quite significant incomes from holiday-makers staying in Borowice mainly in summer. In summer 1921 Borowice was visited by about 700 people.

Sudecka Road
In the end of 30s the built of Sudecka Road (Germ. Spindlerpaßstraße) was biegun. It led from Borowice to Karkonoska Saddle (the place of location of Polish Odrodzenie Shelter and Czech Špindlerova bouda Shelter). The works were commissioned to a company of H. Plüschke from Legnica. The suitable buildings for the workers were located next to Borowice, in the direction of Przesieka. During the World War II the buildings were converted into a captive camp the prisoners of which were forced to work hard over the built of the Sudecka Road in terrible conditions. Already in October 1939 the first group of Polish workers was delivered. They were forced to build barracks for the labourers who were to come later.

To that aim an area of two hectares was devoted. The camp was located about 1.5 km from Borowice and about 1.5 km from Przesieka, next to Sudecka Road, at the height of 632 m.b.s.l. and hidden in the forest. It did not provoke any suspicions to such extent that the citizens of Borowice had no idea about the existence of the camp.

The camp of Sudecka Road's built and the workers

On 20th April 1940 2000 Poles from Silesia (particularly from Sosnowiec, Będzin and Olkusz) were transported to Jelenia Góra and were forced to work. A group of them (100 people) was settled in Borowice to work over the built of the road on the area of the camp and employed in newly established craftworks.

Their labour was very hard. Using pickaxes in stone-pits they had to crash rocks for the broken stone needed for the built of the main road. The civil work camp was liquidated in 1943. Then the workers were transported to the Reich and their place was occupied by prisoners of war of Polish, French, Belgian and Soviet nationality from Stalag No 307 in Świętoszów. The average state of Arbeitskomando No 374 was 700 men, 300 of which were French.

Pozostałości po obozie – fundament kuchni, most kamienny nad rzeką Podgórną

The area of the camp was well guarded. It was surrounded by barbed wire and four guard towers. The war prisoners were accommodated in teen wooden barracks.

The camp was located below the Sudecka Road on the right (walking from Borowice). The area lies west from the water hold next to the Myja River in a triangle which sides are formed by Sudecka Road, Myja and a forest track. On the area it is possible to recognise, apart from the basements of stony buildings (the kitchen), flattenings – remainders of barracks, stony paths and two strange objects – something that seems to be stony containers or cisterns. The localization can be confirmed by a photo of the camp apparently taken from the height, probably from already finished bank of the Sudecka Road. The background presents characteristic glade on the top of the Czoło Hill.

The Germans planned to connect Sudetenland with Jeleniogórska Valley and with Izerskie Mountains. However, they did not succeed in materialising their plans. Given bad feeding, tremendously hard work and cold people suffered from emaciation and illnesses and died. The putrid fever epidemic decimated people. 40 prisoners have been buried in a common tomb hard upon the camp. Their place was occupied by a new transport of Soviet war prisoners, probably from the camp in Wojcieszyce.

The work over the built was still led by the company from Legnica. The supervisors of the prisoners were SS officers who in 1944-45, due to the front moving forwards, led to camp’s liquidation. The war prisoners who managed to survive hunger and oppression were shot and buried in mass unmarked graves on the area of forest graveyard on the other side of the road. In 1945 about 70 people were moved to Przesieka. Their fate is still unknown. The Barracks were pulled down and burned so that on the place they once stood remained only stones.

The dead were exhumed 1956 and 1970. From the relations of witnesses (17th - 27th October 1970) we know that the buried people were soldiers. Things which were found next by them: buttons of soldiers’ uniforms or two identifications entitled Stalag 308 27.600 and Stalag 308 07.387 can be treated as an evidence. On the graveyard in Borowice there are 38 anonymous graves and one big mass tomb. They are surrounded by cement curbstones. There are wooden crosses on the graves. A metal sword and a tablet embedded in a granite stone inform the tourists about the character and meaning of the place.

The graveyard of war prisoners in Borowice is under the protection of Fight and Martyrdoms’ Memory’s Defense Council (Rada Ochrony Pamięci Walk i Męczeństwa) working by the side of the Minister of Culture. The graveyard undergoes Dolnośląski Urząd Wojewódzki, plac Powstańców Warszawy 1, 50-951 Wrocław, tel. 071 3406590, fax 3406601, email bp@duw.pl

Among Polish war prisoners forced to work over the built of Sudecka Road there was Mr. Andrzej Kański, now a worker of District Forest Directorate (Okręgowy Zarząd Lasów) in Wrocław, son of, already dead, inspector of Marine School (Szkoła Morska) in Tczew and in Gdynia and the captain of Gdynia port. Andrzej Kański wrote about his recollections of the work in Silesian weekly ‘Panorama’. In the article he wrote that the memory about the anonymous builders of Sudecka Road should not get lost and that finishing the built (creating additional 2-3 kilometers depending how the built would be carried on) would be the best way to make an obeisance to the dead war prisoners and workers.

The graveyard of war prisoners in Borowice, maps of Sudecka Road

The plan of finishing Sudecka Road which, through Karkonoska Saddle, would create a new circular communication highway of Karkonosze between Poland and Czechoslovakia was, according to postulate KC PZPR, ‘included in the Project of the Management of Karkonoski Park Narodowy in terms of tourism until 1980’. The project was invented by Provincial Physical Culture and Tourism Committee Presidium of National Provincial Council in Wrocław (Wojewódzki Komitet Kultury Fizycznej i Turystyki Prezydium Wojewódzkiej Rady Narodowej we Wrocławiu) with a participation of the president of Karkonoski Park Narodowy, Mr. Franciszek Rudzki and of Provincial Nature Ranger, Mr. Jan Sibilski. The initial project of the undertaking is already finished and it is assumed that the built will cost approximately 10 million zlotys. Luckily, the project has been given up.

It has to be added that Sudecka Road is probably not what we think it is. Last time some voices were heard, which suggested that the planned appearance of the road differs from the factual state and that the highway got its name only after the end of the World War II.

Nowadays behind the crossroad of the road with the blue track connecting Przesieka with Karkonoska Saddle there is one kilometer long wide and indurate segment of the Sudecka Road, which is ready to be used.

ehind the 'blue' track

Through the next kilometer Sudecka Road changes into a patch, by which stone banks are visible. It is probably the material, which was prepared 60 years ago for further built. Later the path becomes hard to be passed and turns in North-East direction crossing the blue track.

After the Second World War
During the World War II no military actions took place in Jeleniogórska Valley. The first Soviet motor patrol appeared in Jelenia Góra on 8th May 1945. Lack of military actions prevented from serious destructions on the area. German owners escaped or were banished, but before the structures were overtaken by Polish organisations plunders and destructions happened. Already on 22nd May 1945 in Jelenia Góra appeared the first Polish operative group. In this way Czechs, who also arrogated the right to this land, were forestalled.

The pilots' grave next to Sudecka Road

A curiosity deriving form the after-war period is a remainder of aeroplane catastrophe and the history connected with it, which I have heard from Andrzej Kowalski, who gained this information from the relation of Mieczysław Holz. Several dozen meters above, left from Sudecka Road (going from Borowice), approximately 600 meters from the tarmac road leading to Odrodzenie, in the forest there is a grave of two pilot brothers, Alfred and Rudolf Szymańscy, who crashed there on 26th November 1946. They were accompanied by two more people, according to one version – by two male friends, according to the other – by two German women. The remainders of the plane – the sign of the catastrophe – are visible around the grave. People who at that time belonged to the citizens of Jelenia Góra claim that the victims stole the plane and tried to escape to the West.

The remainders of crushed aeroplane Polikarpov Po-2 lying around the grave

After the World War II the original citizens of Karkonsze had to leave the area. It was a huge-scale and complicated undertaking, in which 85 000 Germans were involved. It lasted till 1948. It was connected with fights with survivors of Wehrmacht and SS soldiers and Wehrwolf and Freies Deutschland members. There were well organised diversion groups which had their own hidden magazines and support of local German citizens. Many Germans found new homes on the area of Bayern. However, not all after-war Krkonosze citizens left. This concerns also Baberhäuser. In the nearby villages live people whose surnames indicate their pre-war origins, for example Exner.

The village was called Borowice (1945-1946). Later it was changed into Babica (1946-1948) and Babice (1948-1950). However, from 1950 the initial name was used again.

From 1945 Broniów was called Kolonia Bartosza and later – Uniejowice (1948), Bronów (1948) and today’s name – Broniów (1948). From that time gradual decrease of the number of citizens is observed. By now the figures have decreased by 1/4.

In April 1947 the Borderland Security (Wojska Ochrony Pogranicza) banned photographing and wandering on one’s own on the area of the whole borderland. Settlers came, mainly from eastern parts of pre-war Poland. The new comers were not always able to adapt to new conditions, they did not wish to live and farm here. They weren’t interested in tourism either. The traditions of local craft were, therefore, interrupted and industrial units were destroyed or used for some other aims. Guest houses and restaurants also deteriorated.

The policy of new power also contributed to tourism development. During first years of free passage, a few-year period of significant limitations of moving about the borderland in /karkonosze took place. This caused a long stagnation.

In 1961, a series of tourist conventions were introduced. It had an impact on development of this branch. Forms of variety of human activities were also provided, however, in many guides from that period Borowice were explained very briefly or not at all. Luckily, new objects were not built here. Thanks to it, original style comprising old, wooden hats was maintained. Practically only organized tourism was supported. To such belonged trade union and institution holidays. Workers’ Holiday Fund (Fundusz Wczasów Pracowniczych – FWP) brought to existence in 1949 was in possession of several guest houses here.

On 5th May 1975, the built of the guest house Wołczyn began. It was, however, pulled down in 1982 and on its place the machines factory FAMAK from Kluczbork built a building (today’s Hottur )

About 1974, stony Sudecka Road was covered with tarmac on the occasion of Wyścig Pokoju. Apart from Soviet participant, Suchoruczenkov, nobody from among the rest of the competitors succeeded in riding up to Przesieka. People pushed the bicycles running up (the grade reaches 19 degrees).

In 80s, a crisis caused the fact that a part of guest houses in Borowice remained empty and was a shelter only for strays. Rigour of the martial law caused a significant decrease of tourist movement connected with economic crisis, costs’ increase and liquidation of FWP and other institutional forms of tourism. In early 90s, on the area of Borowice a centre for Yugoslavian refugees was organised. Today the centre does not exist anymore.

Only in 90s the boom came. Much land and many buildings were bought by Wroclaw and Jelenia Góras’ citizens, who built holiday homes and renovated already existing ones for tourism’s aims. Most of the institutional guest houses passed to the hands of private owners and householders. It was connected with the intensification of local and foreign, especially Germen, tourism. The village has become quite popular tourist base. Today Borowice are willingly visited by organised groups, members of musters and conferences and individual tourists. Attractive both in summer and in winter, the village is discovered again. Given the location over diverse terrain, Borowice are also visited by groups of sportsmen of different disciplines as an ideal place for trim camps.

After the war Borowice administratively belonged to Podgórzyn district in Jelenia Góra county and Wroclaw province. After administrative changes from 1975 Borowice belonged to Podgórzyn community in Jelenia Góra province. After administrative reform from 1999 Borowice are in Podgórzyn community, belonging to Jelenia Góra district and Lower Silesian province.

From 1989 concerts of sung poetry “Gitarą i Piórem” take place each year in August. Everytime these events encourage a few thousand of people to visit the village.

In 90s the football pitch was built and, as a result of educational reform, the school was closed. In the period 2000-2003 in the school building Jowisz Society organised workshops and schoolings. However, Podgórzyn community has taken away the rights to the building in January 2003. It has happened probably due to prior commercial use of the place.

In year 2000, the road in Borowice was amplified and covered with tarmac, which cost about 500 000 zlotys. In the same year the Church p.w. Matki Bożej Fatimskiej in Borowice was preserved. Modernisation works on the area of the guest houses of Opolanin and Karkonosze took place in the period 2003-2005.

In 2005, an inner track of Borowice was aligned and a bridge crossing Jodłówka was placed.
Places worth visiting
Karkonoski National Park
Mountain Rescue Service
Polish Tourist Society
Mountain Tourist Distinction
Border crossing
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Cross country skiing
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Rock climbing

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