Czeladź is the oldest town in the Dąbrowa Basin. The first historical reference to the settlement called Czeladź dates back to 1228. The document referencing the settlement, which has survived to this day, was issued by Kazimierz Opolski and defined the borders of the village and listed the most important sites, such as ponds, the bridge over the Brynica River and an inn. The Tatars burnt down the settlement in 1241.
Czeladź was granted municipal rights in 1262. In 1318, the town belonged to the Duchy of Teschen; in 1443 it was incorporated into the estates owned by the Kraków bishops along with the entire Duchy of Siewierz. At the beginning of the 16th century, a new form of authority started to function in parallel to the preexisting hereditary position of the head of the town – it was the Town Council headed by the town’s mayor. There were several guilds in the town, but most of Czeladź inhabitants made their living from trade and farming. Czeladź was surrounded by fortified walls, whose fragments have been preserved to the present day. The Market Place with the building of the Town Hall towering over the site was the centre of the town[1.1]].
In 1567, Czeladź became the centre of the Arian movement. On 9 March 1589, a treaty between Jan Zamoyski and Wilhelm von Rosenberg was signed in the Town Hall of Czeladź; by virtue of the treaty, Archduke Maximilian III of Austria renounced his claim to the Polish throne following his defeat by Jan Zamoyski’s troops in the battle of Byczyna in 1588. On 6 September 1589, the archduke confirmed the agreement on the bridge in Czeladź[1.2].
In 1655, the town was destroyed by Swedish troops. In 1790, the Duchy of Siewierz (including Czeladź) was incorporated into the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. Two years later, King Stanisław August Poniatowski made Czeladź a free town with a new coat of arms[1.3]. In 1795, following the Third Partition of Poland, the town was annexed by Prussia and then, in 1807, became part of the Duchy of Warsaw.
In 1815, in accordance with the agreements of the Congress of Vienna, the town was incorporated into Russian-controlled Congress Poland. In 1870, the tsarist authorities deprived Czeladź of its town privileges, but the settlement did not fall into ruin thanks to hard coal deposits discovered in the area in the second half of the 19th century. The coal started to be mined in 1897 and, as the mining business and other industries began to develop, Jewish people started to settle in the region.
During WWI, in 1914, Czeladź was seized by German troops and regained its town privileges. On 11 November 1918, the Polish Military Organisation defeated the German forces stationed in Czeladź. On 10 March 1919, during the Silesian Uprising, a bloody battle between the 7th Company of the 11th Infantry Regiment of the Polish Army and German units was held in the area between the “Saturn” mine and the Pszczelnik park in Siemianowice[1.4].
Before the outbreak of WWII, Czeladź had ca. 22,000 inhabitants. The town was the westernmost town of the Kieleckie Province, which had its border ca. 1 km to the West, on the bridge on the Brynica; on the other side of the river, there was a narrow strip controlled by the autonomous Śląskie Province. In the inter-war period, the town became an important centre of workers’ movement and numerous strikes were staged there.
After the outbreak of WWII, German troops took over the town on 5 September 1939. Over the occupation period, there were several underground resistance movements operating in Czeladź, for example the White Eagle Organisation, the Home Army, and the People’s Guard[1.5]. At the beginning of 1942, Germans opened a ghetto in the town. By May 1943, all Jews had been transported to other ghettos and to the Auschwitz–Birkenau concentration camp. In January 1945, Czeladź was taken over by the Soviet army. After the war, the town was incorporated back into Poland.
- Mrozowski M., Czeladź. Najkrótsza historia miasta, Czeladź 2006.
- Olechwieruk A., Historia Miasta, Miasto Czeladź [online] http://www.czeladz.pl/pl/historia [Accessed: 23.03.2015].
- [1.1] A. Olechwieruk, Historia Miasta,"Miasto Czeladź", http://www.czeladz.pl/pl/historia [Accessed: November 6, 2012.
- [1.2] Mrozowski M., Czeladź. Najkrótsza historia miasta, Czeladź 2006, p. 19.
- [1.3] M. Mrozowski, Czeladź. Najkrótsza historia miasta, Czeladź 2006, p. 19.
- [1.4] More: Kwaśniak W., Powstania śląskie a Czeladź, Czeladź 1992.
- [1.5] More: Trąba M., Czeladź w latach II wojny światowej (1939–1945). Źródła i materiały z archiwów kościelnych, Czeladź 2011.