The beginning of the settlement in today’s Chojna goes back to the  turn of the 7th and 8th centuries. In the 13th century the West Pomeranian Duke Barnim I brought colonists from Brandenburg there, and in 1255 Chojna was granted a town charter under Magdenburg Law. Beginning from 1270 the town was part of Brandenburg. Its name was Königsberg until 1945. At the turn of 13th and 14th centuries defensive walls with numerous turrets were built around the town During 1402-1455 the Chojeński Land was given as security to the Teutonic Knights.  It was under Teutonic rule that social and economic as well as administrative and political aspects of Chojeński Land were shaped. That region was a scene of several military operations conducted by the Polish, Teutonic or Pomeranian forces, which in consequence led to the town’s devastation and depopulation. In 1455 the Brandenburg margraves purchased Chojeński Land from the Teutonic Knights. The 17th century witnessed more wars which caused destruction and decimated the population. Beginning from 1720 the town was part of Prussia.

In the first part of the 19th century the Chojnia county was established, which embraced the area on the left bank of the Odra River and the town of Kostrzyń.

During the 18th and 19th  centuries the main occupation of the local people included farming and tree cutting. The development of the town was hampered primarily by its location, far from the main routes of the West Pomerania. Not until the second part of the 19th century did it gain a road and railway connection to the most important cities of the region. In those times Chojna was famous for the production of bells made by the Fischer’s family. They established a large foundry in the 19th century. The production of beer was essential to the town’s economy in those times. It is reflected by the fact that there were 92 breweries in 1808.

It is worth mentioning that a branch of the women’s concentration camp in Ravensbrück was established in Chojna in August 1944 near then airport construction site, where the camp prisoners worked. Most of the prisoners were women from Warsaw, who were taken to Ravensbruck after the Warsaw Uprising [1.1]. The women were placed in wooden barracks fenced with barbed wire. The camp had hospital barracks. The female prisoners were used to do earthworks  for the construction of runways and aircraft hangars. As the front line was moving west, in March 1945 the women were sent to the Ravensbrück  concentration camp on  the death march. The prisoners from the hospital barracks were left in the camp, from where they were liberated by the Russian army.[1.2].

In March 1945 the town was seized by the Red Army. As a result of fierce fighting 75% of the town’s buildings were destroyed. Following the incorporation of the town into Poland the name Königsberg was changed to Chojna.

In 2004 the population of Chojna numbered 7,099 and its density came to 587.7 people per 1 km 2 [1.3].

 

Bibliography:
  • Białecki T., Chojna i okolice na przestrzeni wieków, Zielona Góra 2007.

 

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Footnotes
  • [1.1] http://89.171.110.181/hm/hm_presentations/forgotten_camps/index.php?ver=pl&content=z&id=233 [accesed on 30 April, 2009].
  • [1.2] Chojna Szczecińska, "Zapomniane obozy nazistowskie",  http://hm.fotohistoria.pl/hm_presentations/forgotten_camps/index.php?ver=pl&content=z&id=233 [accessed on 14.12.2012].
  • [1.3] Bank Danych Regionalnych Głównego Urzędu Statystycznego, http://www.stat.gov.pl/bdr_s/app/strona.indeks [accessed on December 14, 2012].