History

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Although the locals have already discovered much of the rich historical and cultural heritage, every corner turned uncovers more mysterious and legendary aspects of the commune’s history.

Among many remarkable remains of the past, perhaps the most significant are medieval strongholds in Chłądowo and Małachowo Złych Miejsc.

Historical festival in medieval stronghold in Małachowo Złych Miejsc

The former is located on Niedzięgiel Peninsula while the latter was discovered on the farmland north of the rural settlement. The mysterious history of both is related to a neighbouring village, Wiekowo. Similar remains were discovered near Ostrowite Prymasowskie.

Proving the region’s rich history are also other archeological finds like bronze figurine “Izys” excavated in Małachowo Złych Miejsc or Polish and Jewish coins “bracteates” excavated in Witkowo.

Bronze figurine “Izys” excavated in Małachowo Złych Miejsc


The region’s history spans more than 900 years. In the 12th century, the first settlement was established in Mokowka Forest. In the centre of the vast woodlands, stretching out in every direction, a small town Witkowo was established. The first mention of the name Witkowo was found in the records from 1363 which referred to a clergyman named Marcin, who was born in Witkowo but lived in Tulce. Perhaps the most important person in the town’s early history was Wincenty Kot, born in Witkowo in the 15th century. After graduating from the Academy of Kraków, as a  former parish priest, he was nominated the Archbishop of Gniezno and the Primate of Poland.

History

In 1676 the town was granted a charter and in 1684 it was given the right to organize fairs. That was a turning point in its history. About 100 years later, in 1782 the king of the Polish Commonwealth, Stanisław August Poniatowski, formally approved the town’s location stimulating its further development. In keeping with the memoirs and historical chronicles, in the 15th century Witkowo was a point where many trade routes met.

Remarkable event in the history of the town took place in 1887 when the district of Witkowo was established. It existed on the map of Poland for the following 50 years. The district included Czerniejewo, Mielżyn and Powidz.

District of Witkowo was established in 1887

The history of Witkowo is closely related to the history of its owners and administrators: the knightly Korzboki familiy and the aristocratic Spławski, Przyjemski, Kaczkowski, Działyński, Sułkowkis and Wołłowicz families. A prominent person was Antoni Sułkowski who inherited the town and was later to become Gniezno province governor. He defended the town’s national status during the First Partition of the Polish Commonwealth.

The community of Witkowo have always adored and respected their home country. They were famous for their patriotism and readiness to sacrifice life for the country. They took part in Kościuszko Uprising, fought in the Napoleon Bonaparte’s troops and supported the November, January and Wielkopolska Uprisings. They heroically fought for Żnin, Szubin, Rynarzewo and Nakło. The troops of fifty insurrectionists under Stanisław Połczyński and Ignacy Jezierski’s command contributed to the victory in the battle of Inowrocław.

Photo of troops contributed to the victory in the battle of Inowrocław

In 1918 Witkowo regained independence.

Military parade in Witkowo 1920

Polish language was reestablished as the official language of the region and district money was put into circulation.

Banknot wyemitowany przez Powiat Witkowski w 1919r.

Several years later, the town faced another historically difficult times of the Second World War. After the outbreak of the War, part of the community was displaced and forcibly taken to Germany or other German-occupied regions in Poland. Many people were sent to Nazi concentration camps or forced to work in Germany. One of the bloodiest wars in history destroyed much of the town’s architecture. The Nazis demolished all buildings where any Jewish sings were found like the Jewish synagogue or cemetery. Two prominent citizens lost their lives during the Second World War. It was a parish priest Kazimierz Kaźmierczak, who died in a concentration camp and a Resistance Movement activist, Klemens Grygiel, who was executed.

Some residents of Witkowo took part in fights against the German occupying force. Parhaps the most respected were Adam Borys and Józef Skowron. The former was a  battalion commander in the dominant Polish resistance movement Armia Krajowa (AK) Polish Home Army). He was known for his attempt on the life of Franz Kutscher, an SS General and Police Leader of Warsaw district. The latter fought in No. 300 Polish “Land of Masovia” Bomber Squadron.

After the long and bloody War, on 21st January 1945 Witkowo regained independence. It was a town in Gniezno district and a  former Poznań province. The administrative reforms in 1975 changed the territorial division of Poland and, as a consequence, Witkowo became part of Konin province. Today, the town is located in Wielkopolska province and Gniezno district. In 1995, a separate administrative unit of Powidz commune was formed in the region.

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