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Město Klimkovice
Klimkovice

Klimkovice 1848 - 1918

The forthcoming 19th century brought along revolutionary changes in all areas of society. However, the decisive event of that time was the overthrowing of the feudal system in the revolutionary year 1848. For the nobility, it meant the definitive end of feudal privileges, loss of unlimited power over the serfs. To the contrary, for ordinary people it meant the end of oppression and liberation from the serfdom duties.

In 1850, the political power changes forced the formation of new government bodies. The territory of Silesia was divided into political districts, which formed the new basic administrative units of government. After more than fifty years in the Cieszyn region, Klimkovice was again connected to the political district of Opava. The head of each political district was the district governor. District courts became the lowest judicial instances for all residents of the district court regardless of their social status.

Additional, and for Klimkovice equally crucial, changes were the economic changes. Emerging coal mining in the Ostrava region gave birth to first industrial enterprises in the early 19th century. In 1828, at the request of the Archbishop of Olomouc, Vítkovice ironworks were created - with blast furnaces and hardware facilities. Mining and steelworks required more labour force, which came from a wide area all around Ostrava.

This opportunity was seized by many people from Klimkovice, who reported to Ostrava businesses, where they expected to make more money for their families. They ignored quite difficult working conditions, because until then there was no rail connection from Klimkovice to Ostrava, they walked to Ostrava every day, or lived in communal dormitories, and came back home to their families only on Sundays. Working hours ranged from 12 to 14 hours, even longer hours were not rare, and the salaries were not especially high after Baron Rothschild acquired the ironworks. Under the influence of Ostrava workers, the local working class created a strong social conscience, which found its expression in the founding of the first workers' associations in Klimkovice. So in 1873, the Association of Catholic journeymen was created and later in 1906, workers' educational association Pokrok came to be.

For Klimkovice, the years following the year 1848 were also a period of culmination of the struggle for national character of the town and its rescue from spreading Germanisation. Despite the constant efforts to Germanize Klimkovice, it defended a purely Czech nature.

Construction of local railroad

Josef Hradil and DVM Rudolf Resner were interested in the construction of a local railroad Svinov - Klimkovice. Back then, the town was completely financially exhausted due to the costly construction of a school, and since there was no help from the state, the work on the railroad was extremely daring and risky. In 1910, both men decided to create a joint stock company. They turned to the village Klimkovice, Polanka, Svinov and their inhabitants with a request to purchase notes at 200 K. They sold 4,850 shares, which was enough to get the construction going. The work went quickly, and on December 8, 1911, Klimkovice had a railroad link with the outside world.

The First World War

According to the census in 1880, only 397 out of the 2361 people in Klimkovice were German. This census also gives us information about the size of individual parts of the district. Out of the total number of people living in the region, Klimkovice had 1366, Lagnovo 600, Josefovice 251, Hýlov (part of the village of Čavisov) 106 and Janovice (part of the village of Olbramice) 38 people. There were 2305 Catholics, 3 Protestants and 53 Jews in Klimkovice.

Based on all these facts, we can say that Klimkovice entered the new century with confidence and a great start, but that was soon thwarted by the First World War. The War came suddenly and unexpectedly. Just one month after the Serbian assassination of Austrian heir to the throne on July 28, 1914. General mobilization was already taking place. Hundreds of men had to leave their families and went to war, which was expected to last no longer than a few weeks, but stretched to 4 years. Abandoned farms were in decline, and because of conscription, there were no horse blankets, and soon the lack of food was obvious and in full effect. Since April 1915, a ticket system was introduced. On October 3 and 4, 1917, the last two bells were removed from the parish church, St. Catherine’s bell weighing 874 kg and St. John’s bell weighing 440 kg. Soon, all the tin whistles from organs were taken away. War casualties’ reports were coming in regularly. In the end, there were 376 casualties just from the judicial district. 63 citizens of Klimkovice lost their lives on the battlefields. Their names are enshrined in the sandstone monument to the victims of World War I, which now stands in a town set of Peter Bezruč.

It seemed that Austro-Hungarian Empire would be defeated and that aroused hope that our nation may finally gain independence. The Czech prisoners of war formed voluntary bands of legionnaires and fought alongside the allies for our freedom. There were some legionaries from Klimkovice too.

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