The history of the village began in the mid 16th century, yet there had probably been many previous settlements of the place since the 13th century, having to do with the activity of the Cistercians. Based on the 1564 document on the lustration of crown lands, it can be alleged that Czarny Dunajec was probably established as early as in 1552, on the initiative of Prokop Pieniążek. The locator and the first administrator of the village was Tomasz Miętus, who – together with his son – started lumbering the forest to clear the land for future settlement. He also financed the erection of the first wooden church – the Church of the Holy Trinity. In 1605, he passed his post over to his son, Klemens, and grandson, Sebastian. The starost of Nowy Targ, Adam Kazanowski, bought the land from Klemens Miętus in 1641 and converted it into a giant farm (folwark). During the reign of King Michał Korybut Wiśniowiecki, the folwark of Czarny Dunajec was granted to war veterans, Teodor Sulima i Jan Pawęcki. Because of its profitable location (on the trade route from Cracow to Orawa and further to Hungary), Czarny Dunajec was undergoing substantial growth at that time[1.1].

The village was home to Stanisław Lętowski, leader of the 1624-1633 peasants’ uprising against the starost Mikołaj Komorowski, who was famous for his cruelty and abuse of his subject peasants. Stanisław Lętowski was executed in Krzemionki, Cracow, on 28 June, 1651, for taking part in an uprising under the command of Kostka Napieralski. During the Swedish “Deluge”, the inhabitants also actively defended Poland. In 1670, Stanisław Buchański commanded the highlanders in a peasants’ uprising, in the battle of Nowy Targ.

In the 17th century, the folwark and its adjacent lands belonged to the family of Ratułowscy. In 1753, due to unsatisfactory income, Czarny Dunajec was sold by auction to local peasants. In 1769 [something is wrong with the date – needs to be checked, AK], after the partitions, it fell under Austrian occupation, became the Empire’s property, and was later put up for sale. The „Dominion of Czarny Dunajec”, with the villages Ciche, Chochołów, Czarny Dunajec, Dzianisz, Podczerwone, Witów i Wróblówka, was bought in 1819 by Jan Pajączkowski. Highlanders bought the courtly estate back from Pajączkowski, by the agency of reverend Józef Szczurowski, to gain independence from the court and to increase their own lands.

The rank and significance of Czarny Dunajec in the local economy grew during the occupation. Based on a privilege from 31 January 1831, the village was granted the right to host a market every week, and organize six fairs a year. On 21 September 1846, the number of fairs was increased to 13 per year as a reward for helping to repress the uprising in Chochołów. Two years later, the inhabitants were pestered by Russian soldiers, who were supposed to help Austria fight with Koszut. Properties were robbed and the locality devastated.

In the second half of the 19th century, the material situation of the people still worsened. Among the main reasons were the increasing population growth, resulting in land divisions and shrinking of individual farms. In 1857, there were 1,986 people living in Czarny Dunajec, and in 1890 – 2,445. An important factor was also the great fire in 1859, which consumed almost all the settlement. People were trying to make a living looking for seasonal jobs in Hungary. A large group emigrated to the United States. It generated a capital inflow and, as a consequence, economic growth of the locality. In 1880, it started to be described as a town. A post office, a tax office, a county court, an apothecary, and a school were active there at the time. In 1904, the railway from Nowy Targ was lengthened. In the inter-war period, Czarny Dunajec was gradually losing its status and it lost its town rights in 1934.

In the years of Nazi occupation, the inhabitants of Czarny Dunajec were subject to many acts of terror. Two people were murdered and 30 houses burnt down already in the first days of September. About 80 people were executed at the Czarny Dunajec cemetery during the war. After the liberation, remnants of the murdered were transferred to a common burial place, where a monument was erected with the inscription: “In memory of the Poles murdered in Czarny Dunajec by Nazi torturers between 3rd September 1939 and 29th January 1945 – Compatriots.”

 

Bibliography

  • Czarny Dunajec i okolice. Zarys dziejów do roku 1945, red. F. Kiryk, Kraków 1997.
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Footnotes
  • [1.1] Study based on: Czarny Dunajec i okolice. Zarys dziejów do roku 1945, ed. F. Kiryka, Kraków 1997