Tuesday, February 22, 2005

My city Lodz and its story

Łódź (Lodz) is the second largest city in Poland, has about 900 000 inhabitants.
It is situated in the center of the country, about 120 km away from Warsaw.

The word łódź means "boat" and also a boat is a crest of the city.
Name Łódź comes from the river Łódka that used to go through the city.

For many centuries Lodz was a small village with population fewer than 1000 inhabitants.

Only in the beginning of XIX century (Lodz belonged to the Russian-ruled section of the partitioned Poland then) the government decided to create industrial city here. The reason for choosing Lodz was a rich underground water supply and plain area. That made perfect conditions to start textile industry here.

To attract investors there was a special economic zone created in Lodz, which btw. still exists. There were also some other allowances, privileges and financial support granted.
Among the immigrants coming to Lodz there were mostly Jews (got money so could afford building factories and manage the business), Poles, German and Russian. That made a multicultural character of the city (different schools, theaters, churches, cemeteries and so on...).

In 1850 Russia abolished a customs border between the Kingdom of Poland and Russia so the industry in Lodz could develop freely with a huge Russian market at a close distance.
Lodz was called Ziemia Obiecana - "Promised Land" as it was developing and getting rich very fast. Already in the second half of the XIX century Lodz became the second largest city in the Kingdom of Poland.

Great industrial magnates, such as Ludwik Geyer, Traugott Grohman, Karol Scheibler and Izrael Poznanski, owned the largest cotton factories transforming them into joint stock family-run companies. Next to every factory there were beautiful villas and palaces. The factory owners built also housing estates for their workers, fire brigades, hospitals, shops, schools and train stations. Everything around their factory. That looked like small, self-supporting towns within the city.

Poznanski factory

Księży Młyn - Scheiblers factory

Dynamic development of the city was brought to the end with the I World War. Both wars ruined also the multinational nature of Lodz.
In years 1940 - 1944 there was Jewish ghetto in Lodz.

In early 1945 Lodz had fewer than 300 000 inhabitants. Until 1948 the city was a de facto capital of Poland since Warsaw had been totally destroyed during and after the Warsaw uprising and most of the government and country administration resided in Lodz.
Lodz was not so much destroyed during the war.

In the communism time authorities nationalised all private companies. When the system collapsed, after 1990, most of them were privatised again, but were in such a desolate state that few survived in the new capitalist reality.

Poznanski's Palace. It is a Museum of Lodz City History now.

Poznanski factory. It is huge. Right now it is being rebuilt into new shopping and entertainment center - Manufaktura.

The palace of Scheibler's daughter and her husband Herbst (who was the main director at Scheibler's factory).

Schebler"s factory. It is empty, in ruin now.

Houses of Scheibler's workers, placed near the factory. They are small and the lower class live there now.

Fire station funded by Scheibler. It is situated opposite to the factory.

The palace of Scheibler. It is a museum of cinematography now.

White factory once owned by Geyer. It is a museum of textile industry now.

The plan of the city is different than in other cities. We dont have central market. The city was planned entirely by government so has more like american structure.
The most famous place is simply a street - Piotrkowska street. It is considered to be one of the longest shopping streets in Europe (4,5 km long). There are various institutions, banks, shops, restaurants, galleries and first of all pubs along this street. You can also take a rickshaw-ride here.

All the buildings are maintained in characteristic art nouveau style.
We call it secesja.

Wall with famous Lodz inhabitants.

Rickshaw ride.

Bricks with names of Lodz citizens and Hangy with Ale.
You could buy the brick with your name.
Money raised in that way covered the renovations costs of buildings on Piotrkowska street.

There are some sculptures of famous inhabitants from Lodz.
Here pianist Artur Rubinstein and Beata.

Julian Tuwim - writer and me.

Former factories owners at the table with Daniel.

Writer Władysław Reymont - Nobel prize winner and Ale.

Lodz is famous also from its film character. We call it even Hollyłódź.
There is a good film school where Polanski, Wajda studied. We have also Camerimage - international film festival of the art of cinematography.

Our walk of fame and Fred with Jenny,

Here in one very popular pub - Łódź Kaliska.

Dont forget to drop in:)


At 10:37 PM, Blogger the Pirate said...

Okay I'm sold, when I make my way to Poland (some day) I will have to visit Lodz, mostly for the cool looking buildings, plus I got family in Poland somewhere. But I won't drink what appears to be beer through a straw, it just seems too sacrilegious.

What films Wajda make, I have never heard that name beore. Have heard of Roman Polanski, though I'm not too much of a fan of his personal behavoir that led up to him fleeing the States.

Btw, nice blog.

At 5:18 PM, Anonymous Karina said...

I love the wall of fame, walk of fame and I adore the sculptured figures of famous Lodz people. What a wonderful way to make the past part of the present. Its really cool! :-).

At 5:28 PM, Blogger Paperslut said...

Really nice blog.
If I could afford the ticket, I'd fly there ASAP!

Do visit my blog

At 6:21 PM, Blogger anna buda said...

Im glad you like it:)

As to Wajda: he is considered to be one of the greatest polish directors. Three of his movies were nominated to Oscars in the category of foreign language film ("Land of Promise", "The Maids of Wilko" and "Man of Iron"). In 1999 he was awarded with Honorary Oscar "in recognition of five decades of extraordinary film direction". His movies mostly refer to polish reality and polish culture, dont have commercial character and maybe thats why are not so popular abroad.
I can highly recommend his "Land of Promise" which is about Lodz in its industrial time. His latest movies "Mr Tadeus" and "Revenge" are based on polish literatury.

As to our sculptures of famous Lodz inhabitants - here people believe that touching nose of the sculpture brings luck so most of those sculptures have shining, gold noses:)

At 4:15 PM, Blogger atl said...

Yes, Lodz is lovely. In the summer. Yesterday, it was gray and depressing. I'm surprised the entire city didn't decide upon collective suicide. But today, it looks a little better, with the snow. On the sexiness of drinking beer through a straw...hmmm...I hadn't really thought about that. But it depends on the woman, and the straw, I guess.

At 4:17 PM, Blogger atl said...

Forgot to add, the pictures are really quite lovely.

At 6:42 PM, Blogger anna buda said...

Thanks Adam.
True about this depressing weather here. Well, to cheer up a bit we are going out friday night. Wanna join? We can discuss the meaning of the straw in the process of drinking a beer;)

At 9:45 PM, Blogger the Pirate said...

Could I put in a request for a guide to Poznan?

At 3:57 PM, Blogger anna buda said...

Sure, but in some time.
Poznan is very nice, quite specific but for sure worth mentioning city. I lived there for one month in 2002 and visited it hundreds times.
Why do you want this city? Is it the one where your family lives?

At 6:59 PM, Blogger the Pirate said...

Poznan is where my great-grandfaher (my dad's mother's father) is from, but it was part of Germany at that point time.
Not quite sure where the family that stayed behind is now.

There is no rush, was curious about the city and you're just a little closer than me.
I see you have been to San Fran, lovely town.

At 12:30 PM, Blogger anna buda said...

You are right, in the time of your great-grandfather Poland was partitioned into 3 parts which were accessed to Germany, Russia and Austria. That was the price for having much stronger neighbours... For 120 years Poland didnt exist on the map at all, it changed only with the WW I.
Poznan was under German rules.
Such conditions influenced the development and culture of cities in those different areas and we have some stereotypes especially about people from Poznan, I will mention it as well:)

San Fran was nicer than I even expected. It is great to have city with beach.

At 6:48 PM, Blogger the Pirate said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 6:50 PM, Blogger the Pirate said...

Are they different from the other general stereotypes about the Polish?

Beaches are great, part of the reason I love LA.

At 11:45 PM, Blogger anna buda said...

Yes, we have different stereotypes within the country, for example: Warsaw people seem to be more career oriented, people from mountains are very religious and hospitable and Poznan people have more german characteristics - we say they are more organised and thrifty. There are also some small differences in the language and Poznan people call potatoes in different way, thats why we often call them potato people:) It is also good to mention that in the annexation time they were pretty good at resisting the germanization process, maintaining polish culture. It was and still is quite rich and developed region, competed pretty well with germany in the past.
That of course is only a stereotype, which we keep in mind because of history and tradition but it is not exactly like that nowadays.

At 5:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just spent a few days in Lodz and visited a gallery on Piotrkowska Street which was directly across the street from a small plaza with a statue of a priest/monk. From where I stood (Grand Lodz) I would come out and make a left hand turn and walk towards the gallery. On the first floor was an antique store of fine furniture and on the second floor was the gallery of many fine pieces of art. There was a painting in there I should have purchased when I was there and didn't. If anyone out there knows of the Gallery's name please e-mail me. I really need to by this piece.

At 5:14 AM, Blogger DrBernal said...

I'm the one looking for the gallery, my e-mail address is:ngbernal214@hotmail.com

At 3:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi people
I do not know what to give for Christmas of the to friends, advise something ....

At 8:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello. Prompt how to get acquainted with the girl it to me to like. But does not know about it
I have read through one history
Each of you has your personal story; it is your history. Keeping a diary or writing your feelings in a special notebook is a wonderful way to learn how to think and write about who you are -- to develop your own identity and voice.

People of all ages are able to do this. Your own history is special because of your circumstances: your cultural, racial, religious or ethnic background. Your story is also part of human history, a part of the story of the dignity and worth of all human beings. By putting opinions and thoughts into words, you, too, can give voice to your inner self and strivings.

A long entry by Anne Frank on April 5, 1944, written after more than a year and a half of hiding from the Nazis, describes the range of emotions 14-year-old Anne is experiencing:

". . . but the moment I was alone I knew I was going to cry my eyes out. I slid to the floor in my nightgown and began by saying my prayers, very fervently. Then I drew my knees to my chest, lay my head on my arms and cried, all huddled up on the bare floor. A loud sob brought me back down to earth, and I choked back my tears, since I didn't want anyone next door to hear me . . .

"And now it's really over. I finally realized that I must do my school work to keep from being ignorant, to get on in life, to become a journalist, because that's what I want! I know I can write. A few of my stories are good, my descriptions of the Secret Annex are humorous, much of my diary is vivid and alive, but . . . it remains to be seen whether I really have talent . . .

"When I write I can shake off all my cares. My sorrow disappears, my spirits are revived! But, and that's a big question, will I ever be able to write something great, will I ever become a journalist or a writer? I hope so, oh, I hope so very much, because writing allows me to record everything, all my thoughts, ideals and fantasies.

"I haven't worked on Cady's Life for ages. In my mind I've worked out exactly what happens next, but the story doesn't seem to be coming along very well. I might never finish it, and it'll wind up in the wastepaper basket or the stove. That's a horrible thought, but then I say to myself, "At the age of 14 and with so little experience, you can't write about philosophy.' So onward and upward, with renewed spirits. It'll all work out, because I'm determined to write! Yours, Anne M. Frank

For those of you interested in reading some of Anne Frank's first stories and essays, including a version of Cady's Life, see Tales From the Secret Annex (Doubleday, 1996). Next: Reviewing and revising your writing


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