Since the second half of the 18th century Bialystok (at present in northeastern Poland, then Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth) got a multicultural town inhabited by Poles, Jews, Russians, Belarusians, Tatars and Germans as well. First Germans appeared here as officials of Prussian Government. As a result of Poland’s partitions (after the third partition which was held in 1795) Bialystok was taken over by Prussia. In the first half of the 19th century Germans appeared here in most cases as owners and highly qualified workers of textile factories. It was the time Bialystok when was even called – “Manchester of the North”.
German culture was thriving. As a natural consequence of that settlement evangelical church and cemetery were established. The pictures which are published below depict German cemetery which was set up in the second half of the 19th century in ditrict town called “Wygoda”.
After the Second World War, during the communist regime, on the part of the cemetary were built block of flats and was created park.
Mausoleum and quarter of German soldiers who fell during the First World War.
Some Germans living in Bialystok became assimilated into Polish culture, mainly in the interwar period. German traces still exist in the form of surnames of Bialystok’s inhabitants. On the part of the left former evangelical cemetary was created lapidarium. Unfortunately, the huge part of necropoly was destroyed irreversibly, as I mentioned above, during the communist times.
At the first half of the 19th century Bialystok’s economy started growing fast. German and Jewish manufacturers began arriving here to set up textile facories, especially after 1831 – the year when customs border between The Polish Kingdom and the enormous part of former Polish and Lithuanian lands was established by tsarist government as a kind of repression for Polish independence uprising in 1830 – 1831 (November Uprising). It was the time of huge influx of German and Jewish textile manufacturers and highly qualified German workers. Bialystok became at that time one of the most important industrial towns in whole Russian Empire, it was even called “Manchester of the north”.
Unfortunately many of the old textile factories have been in so pitiful state that it has not been possible to save and renovate them, some of them were just knocked down, onle a few survived and it is difficult to predict how long they will stay as a part of the town landscape. Some of them are now converted into the lofts and probably it is the only way to protect those old buildings, though there is a great danger that they may lose its original character.
Below I present pictures of two untouched old plants and one being under way of converting into lofts.