Kutno is a city in central Poland with a population of 48 thousand inhabitants. It is the center of the County of Kutnow in the Lodz Voivodeship. The city is located in the northern part of the Lodz Voivodeship, 20 km from the geographical center of Poland. As of January 1, 2009, the area was 33.59 km².
The climate of Kutno is similar to that of the entire lowland
area of Poland. Temperatures are influenced by both continental
and oceanic air. The annual temperature amplitude is 21.7 ° C, and
the 30-year average in January: - 3.3 ° C; July mean temperature:
18.4 ° C.
Kutno lies in the zone of the lowest rainfall in Poland. Their average annual sum amounts to 550 mm, but in particular years it may be much lower. The lack of rainfall causes the phenomenon of stepping of agricultural areas, which is dangerous for Kutno and its vicinity. This process is additionally aggravated by low forest cover and very intensive agriculture conducted in the entire Kutno district. Most precipitation occurs in the summer, especially in July, when about 17% of all precipitation falls in Kutno during the year. The least rainfall is recorded in the winter months and March. Kutno is distinguished by an exceptionally low number of storms. On average, the number of stormy days per year is 5 (this number is half the average for the whole country). The snow cover is relatively short, about 39 days a year. In the city area, there are an average of 21 days with fog per year. It most often appears in late fall and winter. Local fog often hangs in the Ochnia river valley.
Cloud cover ranges from 50% in September to 80% in December, with an average of 50 sunny and 130 cloudy days throughout the year.
The pattern of wind directions is consistent with the characteristics of other regions. Westerly winds predominate, while in winter the frequency of south-west winds increases. Northwest winds are most common in summer.
The origins of the city
Kutno belongs to very ancient settlements. It was very probable that the village could be established in the middle of the 12th century. This is evidenced by the salary document of the Łęczyca provostry issued on the grounds of the consecration of the collegiate church in Łęczyca in 1161. He obliged, among others, the inhabitants of Kutno to give tithes to the collegiate church in Łęczyca.
The city was probably founded at the turn of the 13th and 14th centuries, its name appears for the first time in a document from 1301. This document was issued by Leszek, Przemysł, Kazimierz - prince of Kujawy, son of Ziemomysław in the presence of three court dignitaries and other people gathered on the occasion of some convention or the holding of courts in Włocławek. The list of witnesses includes Michał, the parson of the Church in Kutno, which is why the document mentions the existence of the city, but says nothing about its origins. In 1386, Duke Siemowit IV granted Andrzej de Kutno a privilege, whose villages of Kutno and Sieciechów were exempted from all fees, services and burdens, except for 2 groszy from each field of grain. The inhabitants were also exempt from the land courts, and from then on they were only answerable to the prince. In 1386, the village was granted commercial rights, and 46 years later, in 1432, the city was granted. The first records describing Kutno as a town appeared in 1444.
In the 12th – 13th centuries Kutno was part of the Łęczyca castellany of the Łęczyca province (until 1231), and then also of the Łęczyca castellany of the Łęczyca principality. In the thirteenth century, or in the fourteenth century, Kutno and the surrounding towns fell from the Duchy of Łęczyca and fell under the rule of the Dukes of Mazovia. After the incorporation of the Gostynin land into the Polish Crown in 1462, Kutno found itself in the Gostynin county of the Rawa voivodship.
On July 1, 1504, Nicholas of Kutno obtained the city's right to hold the St. Wawrzyniec, which accelerated the commercial development of the city. In 1701 the Kucieński family gave Kutno to Anna Zamojska. The Zamojski family had a long family dispute over this property. The city fell into debt. The situation normalized when Andrzej Hieronim Zamoyski became the owner. At that time, there was a revival in the development of Kutno.
In 1750, when King August III of the Saxon ordered the construction of a traveling house in Kutno, the prestige of the city increased significantly. As a result, the Postal Palace, known as the "Saxon Palace", was created. It was built in the years 1750–1753, after the opening of the Royal Route from Dresden to Warsaw. The palace was adorned with a rich architectural design, designed by Jan Marcin Walter. In 1753, Kutno was completely burnt down. Then the town files burned down, including the old location privilege. After the fire, the Grand Chancellor of the Crown, Andrzej Zamoyski, left for King Stanisław August Poniatowski for a new location privilege. In 1774 another fire took place in the city. This accident can be associated with the numerous marches of troops and the carelessness of soldiers. In 1775, Andrzej Zamoyski sold Kutno to Stanisław Gadomski, voivode of Łęczyca. Under his rule, Kutno became one of the largest centers of central Poland. The 2nd partition of Poland in 1793 buried the chance to rebuild an independent state. The area of the city came entirely under Prussian rule and became part of the newly created provinces of South Prussia. Kutnowskie was entirely included in the Łęczyca department, and after the third partition, it was incorporated into the Warsaw department.
In 1806, Napoleon's army, led by Leblanc, passed through the city. Later, on January 4, 1807, Napoleon Bonaparte passed through Kutno. In 1807, after settling the peace in Tylża, Kutno became part of the Duchy of Warsaw. In 1808 a great fire broke out in the city, which destroyed 180 houses. This year, the Napoleonic army passed through Kutno and this fact can be associated with the fire. In those days, such incidents took place very often, but no one took responsibility for it. In 1809, Jan Henryk Dąbrowski stayed in Kutno. However, this visit did not arouse much interest among the politically active inhabitants of the city. In 1815, after the establishment of the Kingdom of Poland, the division into provinces that coincided with the former departments was restored. In 1826, in connection with the planned reconstruction of Kutno, the first city plan was published. In 1830, the 2nd squadron of the 4th Regiment of Mounted Rifles was stationed in the city.
In 1833, the first performances of the theater were shown in the
city. In 1840 the Chapel was built, today's Museum of the Battle of
Bzura. The rotunda-shaped building in the neo-Renaissance style, topped
with a dome, located in the Spring of Nations Park, used to be the
mausoleum of the Rzątkowski and Mniewski families. In 1843, there was a
fire on Królewska Street, which consumed almost all the buildings. Only
two buildings survived - today's Crocantino and MDM. In 1844 the first
hospital was opened in the city. The donor of the land, many materials
and the main builder was the then owner of Kutno, Feliks Mniewski. In
1845 a new town hall was built in the classicist style. The building at
Piłsudski Square is now the seat of the Regional Museum, where you can
see souvenirs and documents depicting the history of the city. In 1862,
a railway was opened in the city on the Warsaw-Bydgoszcz route. It
determined the economic face of the city for many years. Thanks to the
railway line running through Kutno, the so-called The city has become
not only a junction station, but also a dynamically developing economic
and trade center. During the January Uprising and immediately before it,
the city was the seat of the head of the Gostynin district. In 1867, the
Kutno poviat was created, basically changing the name only from Orłowski
to Kutno, formally the Kutno poviat. This state survived with minor
changes until the outbreak of World War I. In 1880, the world-famous
writer Shalom Asz was born in the city. In his collection of stories
entitled Miasteczko, the author presented the situation of the Jewish
population of his hometown - the action takes place in Kutno. Every two
years, the city organizes the Jewish Culture Festival. Szaloma Asza in
the framework of which the most important part is a literary competition
referring to the work of the outstanding writer. In 1881 an Evangelical
church was built at today's Sienkiewicza Street. In 1883 it was decided
to demolish the Gothic church of St. Lawrence from the end of the 15th
century. The old church with one tower was in danger of collapsing. The
services were held in the converted rectory, on the site of which a much
larger present was built later. In 1886, on the site of the previous
one, a neo-Gothic basilica church with two towers was built, dedicated
to St. Lawrence. It was designed by Konstanty Wojciechowski.
January 5, 1904 at the Municipal Theater, called at that time, Henryk Sienkiewicz played the House of Revenue of the Fire Brigade. All income from the Nobel Prize winner's lectures was donated to poor children. After the writer's performance, a ball was held in the palace in the Wiosny Ludów Park, to which only men were allowed, while women could admire Sienkiewicz through the open shutters. In 1905 a great railroad strike took place. At the beginning of February, the head of the Kutno poviat, Grigory Dvigubski, received information about a railway workers' strike being prepared. He handed it over immediately, on February 6, to the governor of Warsaw. The railwaymen's strike for several days ended on February 25, 1905. In the same year, electricity was delivered to the city, the name of Jasna Street today is related to it, as there was an energy distribution station on this street, called by the townspeople the "power plant". In 1906, Aleksander Prokowski opened the first bookstore in the city. In 1907, the building of the first secondary school in Kutno, organized and built by the Polish Macierz Szkolna, was opened. Stefan Chrupczałowski became its director. The school was open for less than four months, after PMS was suspended, it was closed.
On November 15–16, 1914, the little-known Battle of Kutno took place, which, after the Russians lost, opened the way for the Germans to Warsaw. In 1915, the local parish priest, Franciszek Pruski, was shot by the Germans. The plaque commemorating this event is located in the parish of St. John the Baptist. On November 11, 1918, during an attempt to disarm a German gendarme in the vicinity of the railway station, the peowiak, Wojciech Rychtelski, was killed. He was buried at the Main Cemetery in Kutno, and in front of the station, there is his monument and a plaque commemorating this event.
From April 1919 to January 1921, Charles de Gaulle stayed in Kutno as
an instructor in the French military mission under the command of
General Louis Faura. In June 1924, elections to the Jewish community
In the years 1920–1939, the 37th Łęczyca Infantry Regiment was stationed in the city. On March 5, 1938, the town was given a coat of arms that depicted two wild boars on a yellow background. The animals stood on their hind legs and their front legs were leaning against the green shrub. On April 1, 1938, the counties of Kutno, Skierniewice and Rawa were incorporated into the Łódź Province.
From August 1939, a camp for interned Polish citizens of German origin operated here.
World War II and persecution of Jews
On September 9–12, 1939, the Battle of Bzura took place. On September 9, the operational group of the "Poznań" army of general Edmund Knoll-Kownacki launched an attack on the 8th army of general Johannes Blaskowitz. On September 11, the army of "Pomerania" joined the fight. Initially, the attacks by the Polish army were successful, but the Germans, having shifted reinforcements on September 12, launched a serious counterattack. In this situation, General Tadeusz Kut worka ordered Knoll-Kownacki to jump back beyond the Bzura river. Kutno was still outside the borders of direct land forces fighting. Only the retreating Polish army passed through the city. Despite the final defeat of the Polish troops, this battle was of great operational and strategic importance, forced the Germans to change their action plan and regrouping forces, and also delayed the capitulation of Warsaw.
A few days after the battle - on September 16, 1939, German troops entered the city. This was accompanied by the bombing of trains, railway stations and residential buildings throughout the Kutno poviat.
In December 1939, the displacement of the Polish population began, so that the areas of the city became, according to the slogans proclaimed by the Nazis, "purely German". People were displaced in the morning, police officers ordered them to leave the apartments within an hour, everyone could take 50 kg of luggage, and a Pole could take an additional 200 zlotys and a Jew 50 zlotys. The deportations were often accompanied by the use of firearms, rape, beating and even murder. People were transported by lorries or horse-drawn carts, and then by sealed trains. The journey lasted up to 8 days, 150 people were crammed into the wagon, people could only stand next to each other, they were not even released so that they could take care of their physiological needs. Many of them died of cold, hunger, lack of air or water. On April 14, 1940, most of the teachers from the Kutno poviat, about 220 people, were arrested. Few escaped arrest because they either left their homes or had been warned in advance. Teachers were locked up in a prison where they were beaten unconscious. After the investigation, the women and some of the men were released, the rest were taken to labor camps. In total, about 80 teachers died in prison and in labor.
In the Kutno poviat, there was a unit of the ZWZ-AK under the pseudonym "Karol".
Arthur Greiser's brother, Otto, became the president of the "Wspólna Praca" cooperative in Kutno and was the deputy mayor and honorary councilor.
The next action of the German authorities in the city was the establishment of the ghetto on June 15, 1940. Already two weeks before the opening, preparations were underway at the "Hortensja" sugar factory, or, according to other sources, "Konstancja", at Mickiewicza Street. The entire factory area was surrounded by barbed wire. On the opening day, Poles were forbidden to leave their apartments, while Jews were ordered to take all their belongings and go to the factory. German soldiers and SS men stood by the road, urging and tormenting the Jews. 8,000 people were placed on the factory premises in 5 residential buildings. It was crowded and there were no sanitary facilities. On the very first day, several people died of a heart attack. The only food was small amounts of potatoes and bread. The prices, on the other hand, were very high. One kg of potatoes, over the allowance, cost 40 fen in the ghetto, while in the city 5 fen. However, the real nightmare of the Jews in the ghetto began in the winter. There was a shortage of firewood at that time. To obtain some heat, furniture, scaffolding, beams, etc. were burned. Hugo Jaeger, one of Hitler's personal photographers, came to Kutno. He then took a dozen or so color photos from the Kutno ghetto for the "Life" magazine.
In 1941, due to the large number of displaced persons and transport
difficulties, another camp was established in Kutno at 7 Przemysłowa
Street, this time a transit camp for displaced persons. There was 1
brick building and 2 wooden barracks on its premises, and, like in the
ghetto, there were no sanitary facilities. Temporarily, about 500 people
lived in the camp. 10 people died of dysentery every day due to eating
rootstock and drinking raw water. In January 1941, an epidemic of typhus
broke out in the Kutno ghetto. There were no medications available to
the ghetto inhabitants, and when the townspeople asked for vaccines and
medicines for Jews, the Germans replied that "there is no help for Poles
and Jews." The epidemic was only suppressed in June. During this time,
800 people fell ill, 500 people died. Their bodies were transported in a
bakery cart or, when there were more, by a truck.
Another event was the execution of three Poles: Kalikst Perkowski, Wilhelm Czarnecki and Piotr Sand, in the Old Market Square (then Alter Markt), today's Wolności Square, on June 9, 1941. They were convicted of transporting food to Warsaw. To make their death a lesson for everyone, at the behest of the Gauleiter and governor of the Land of Warta, Arthur Greiser, execution by hanging took place in the presence of the city authorities, high Nazi officials and forcibly deported residents, including even the families of the convicts. The sentence was carried out under the leadership of the head of the Kutno Gestapo, Hauptsturmführer Eduard Schmidt. The bodies of the murdered were cut off the gallows at 6 p.m. in connection with the planned military parade, and then taken away in an unknown direction. The crime was documented by Hermann Baltruschat, who then served at the Border Police Station in Kutno.
On March 19, 1942, the ghetto was closed. In the same year, the Germans blew up an 18th-century synagogue. All Jews, in alphabetical order, were transported to Koło, from where they were transported to the death camp in Chełmno. There, 6,000 Jewish residents of Kutno were killed, the elders managing the ghetto were murdered in the city, and the Jewish police were shot at the end. On August 31, 1942, the Hitlerjugend Congress of the Warta Region took place, the celebrations took place in both Kutno parks, the Spring of Nations and Traugutt. A city map with German street names was specially developed for this purpose.
On January 19, 1945, the city was liberated from German occupation by the Red Army. The tankers of the 219th brigade and the 37th mechanized brigade under the command of senior lieutenant F. Rysiewicz stood out in the battles for Kutno.
On February 27, 1945, the 7th Division of the 2nd Polish Army marched out of Kutno. At that time, Kutno was visited by: Lieutenant General Michał Rola-Żymierski, President of the National Heritage Board of Poland Bolesław Bierut, General Karol Świerczewski, and the Soviet attaché General Vasily Szatiłow. At Piłsudski Square, an honorary stand was temporarily built, where they gave a speech.
On November 2, 1949, a monument to the Polish-Soviet Brotherhood was built on the square on January 19, showing two soldiers: the Red Army and the Polish People's Army shaking hands. After the construction of the monument, various controversial situations arose. High school students poured paint over it and partially destroyed it. They belonged to an independence group, called "Mściwy Hawk", founded in 1950. In 1964, the School Complex No. 1 was opened. The sister of Yuri Gagarin (the patron of the school) participated in the opening.
Cultural institutions in Kutno started their activity in the first days after the liberation. First, the institutions existing before 1939 were opened. In June 1945, the Poviat Public Library resumed its activity. By organizing street collections and retrieving copies of books kept during the war by the inhabitants of Kutno, its book collection grew rapidly. She occupied a room on Kilińskiego Street, rented to the Komunalna Kasa Oszczędności. The library has played and continues to play an important role in spreading culture. In 1968, the Song and Dance Ensemble of the Kutno Region was founded by Kazimierz Jóźwiak, a choreographer and manager, and at the same time director of the House of Culture. The group staged eight programs based on Kutno folklore, which they presented on many domestic and foreign stages. In 1969, an exhibition presenting the heroes and the course of the Battle of Bzura was opened in the former Mniewski Chapel. In 1971, the Regional Museum in Kutno was opened in the former town hall at Piłsudski Square.
In 1972, old documents were searched in order to find the owner who
was in danger of collapsing the palace, at the corner of pl. Piłsudski.
It turned out that the building was the Traveling Palace of Augustus III
of Saxony. Documents also indicated that Napoleon Bonaparte was there
during his stay in the Duchy of Warsaw. In 1972, a Consultation Point of
the Faculty of Economics and Sociology of the University of Lodz was
located at the ZSZZ. In 1975, the city was incorporated into the newly
created Płock Province. It was there for the next 23 years. In the same
year, on the 30th anniversary of the Polish People's Republic, the Kutno
poviat was awarded the Order of the Banner of Labor. Since 1975, a Rose
Fair has been held in the Kutno Cultural Center every September. Since
its inception, it has been the center of Kutno's cultural events. On
December 28, 1982, on the initiative of the Social Committee for the
Construction of the Hospital, headed by Franciszek Sienkiewicz, the City
Hospital was officially opened. Doctor Antoni Troczewski (the hospital
after the war was named after Ludwik Rydygier until that year, and the
departments were located all over the city). It was designed for 610
beds, and the total area of its rooms was 24,000 m². The opening
ceremony was attended by the daughter of Dr. Troczewski, Helena
Troczewska-Pique, participant in the Warsaw Uprising, decorated with the
Cross of Merit. She unveiled a portrait of her father. In 1984, a plaque
was unveiled devoted to the married couple of Wards, Malwin and Wincent,
KPP activists and co-founders of the Agricultural Workers' Union.
Due to the developed network of road and rail routes, Kutno attracted many investors. In addition to many branches of the Kutno industry, the electronics industry played a key role. In 1957, the Miflex Radio Components Plant was established, employing over 3,000 people. The plant is one of the most important domestic producers of capacitors of various types, impulse transformers and anti-interference filters.
In 1990, the formula of the Rose Fair was changed, and the name was changed to the Rose Day. In 1996, an International Baseball Competition was held in the city. Since then, Kutno is a city famous in the world for baseball, the seat of the European Center of the Little Baseball League, which covers Europe, Africa and Asia. On August 18, 1998, the Higher School of National Economy was established in Kutno, which is a non-state, higher vocational school. The seat of the university is at 7 Lelewela Street. In 1999, as a result of the administrative reform, the Kutno County returned to the Łódź Province after 24 years (from the reform of 1975). In 2001, Królewska Street and Marshal Józef Piłsudski Square were restored. In 2002, the City Council adopted a resolution on the establishment of the flag and the flag of the City of Kutno.
On January 19, 2003, there was a fire in the Saxon Palace, which is the only Postal Inn of this type of Saxon kings in Poland. Today, you can admire several renovated rooms of this precious palace. A special foundation has also been established to raise money for the renovation of this historic building. On November 11, 2008, a monument to Marshal Józef Piłsudski was unveiled. Tomasz Nałęcz. On May 9, 2015, the mayor of the city of Kutno, Zbigniew Burzyński, unveiled a monument to Bolesław Wituszyński, a rose grower from Kutno. On November 10, 2018, in connection with the Celebration of the Centenary of Regaining Independence by Poland, the authorities of the city of Kutno unveiled the statue of Dr. Antoni Troczewski in front of the restored seat of the Registry Office in Kutno, where he used to live.
There is a legend that the town and the parish were founded in 1250,
but it is not supported by any document.
The legend of the city's foundation
According to a widespread, but untrue legend, Kutno was founded by Count Piotr of Kutna Hora, who in 997 fled with Bishop Wojciech's brother from Bohemia to Poland. In memory of the family estate, he founded a town called Kutno.
J. Łukawski, publisher of Liber beneficiorum J. Łaski, in a footnote on p. 478 noted the following message:
Piotr of Kutno, coming to Poland in 997, founded Kutno in memory of his property in the Czech Republic. Together with the settlement, he endowed the parish church there. His descendants wrote themselves as counts from Kutno, later they took the surname Kucieńscy
Similarly, we read in the Geographical Dictionary of the Kingdom of Poland: "According to the Czech tradition, Peter of Kutno was to establish his seat here in 997 and give it the name of his family nest."
The message raises fundamental factual doubts and is rejected by scientists writing about Kutno as a legend from the 18th century and as an attempt to embellish the origins of some noble families. The Geographical Dictionary of the Kingdom of Poland also states: The name "Kąty", often found in these pages, suggests that Kutno could have been originally called "Kątno". This hypothesis is supported by contemporary linguists, including prof. Jan Miodek: a variant of the word "angle" could have been "kut". In the Old Polish region, Kąty is a shabby, poor buildings of forest farms, usually set up on the sidelines, next to the forest. In many dialects, the "squat" is known to this day - a poor shed made of planks, which gives credibility to the origin of the name.
The source of the story is probably the similarity of the names Kutno and Kutna Hora. The first mentions of Kutna Hora date back to 1289, and Kutno - from 1301. In addition, in the 10th century no cities were established in the Polan state, their function was performed by a system of castles, which changed only in the 13th century. Count titles are used in Bohemia from 1627.