The Marek Edelman Dialogue Center in Łódź

German Łódź

German community began to settle in Lodz and its surroundings at the end of the eighteenth century. A turning point in the inflow of this minority was the seizing of the Lodz land by the Kingdom of Prussia as a result of the second partition treaty of 1793. The settlement was favored both by the German authorities administering there until 1807 years as well as the Russian administration of the Polish Kingdom into which Lodz was included after 1815. The authorities had high hopes for rapid economic and industrial growth of the region with the German settlement, and in the wider perspective of the whole area, the so-called “Congress Poland”. The administrative incentives for German immigrants included among others: exemption from tax obligations for a period of six years, free materials to build houses, perpetual lease of land for construction, exemption from military service or duty-free transport of the immigrants’ livestock. All this had an impact on a large influx of German artisans and craftsmen from the areas of Pomerania, Great Poland, Brandenburg, Silesia, Saxony and even the Rhineland and Styria. Settlers were not a uniform group.

They differed from one another in terms of dialect, religion and material position. As a rule, however, they brought with them professional experience and technical background necessary for industrial development. The largest increase, and thus, the highest percentage of German-speaking population of Lodz took place before 1836, when as many as 70% of people out of the 6500 population of Lodz were German settlers. This percentage decreased in subsequent years, with the growth of the Polish and Jewish population. At the beginning of the twentieth century, the German population of Lodz was approximately 20%. Generally speaking, German immigrants were the best-educated and comprised of technical experts, foremen and managers. In the first half of the nineteenth century, they founded small weaving workshops, which later turned into large industrial plants. It is impossible to overestimate the contribution of the German community to the development of the city. Germans build factories and created jobs, they did not forget about their education, language and religion, building Protestant churches and forming German schools, as well as cultural and social associations. German industrialists funded hospitals and housing estates for their employees, expanding areas of the city, thus allowing greater immigration.

It is certain that without the German settlers such a rapid and dynamic development of Lodz in the nineteenth century would have been impossible. The most powerful German families in Lodz included: the Scheiblers, Heinzels, Biedermanns, Geyers, Grohmans, Anstadts, Schweikerts and Kindermanns. They left behind magnificent monuments, which include: the St. Matthew Evangelical church, the White Factory of Ludwig Geyer, the Herbst Palace, the Scheibler factory, the Biedermann Palace, the Heinzel Palace, the Grohman Villa and many others.