Searching For Traces Of 1914 Contact View from My Window

View from My Window

In a palace, a tenement house and a familok (a typical worker’s house)

During World War I the cities of Upper
Silesia were not damaged. Some public
buildings in the course of time changed
their purpose and became lazarets that
means military hospitals. That happened
for example with the brand new public
bathrooms in Jastrzebie-Zdroj and the
Capitol Cinema in Gliwice.

The Building of The Capitol Cinema in Gliwice in 1917.

However, private accommodation, both
palaces of the aristocracy, middle-class
houses, workers‘ houses or peasants'
cottages looked the same as before the
war and were still the dwellings for their

If you want to see how The Prince Hans Heinrich Hochberg von Pless and his beautiful wife Olivia Cornwallis-West, known as Daisy lived, look here: The Castle in Pszczyna

And this is the palace in Brynek - one of the seats of the other important family of Upper Silesia: the Counts Henckel von Donnersmarck

The interiors of the palace in Brynek today:

The billiards room with a table to record the results in the part of palace where the count lived.

The hall of the palace where the countess lived.

In the middle-class tenement houses the families of merchants, bankers, doctors and major officials lived in comfortable apartments with many rooms, a kitchen, and often their own bathroom.

Postcards presenting views of Katowice at the beginning of the twentieth century. Collections of The Museum of Silesia.

A wardrobe at the beginning of the First World War.

A wertiko that used to hold sheets or tablecloths and napkins.

Collections of The Museum of Silesia

Clothes should be washed on a washboard ...

pressed with an iron with removable input ...

and then you can dress up in front of a mirror.

In wealthy homes there were also various toiletries:

For example for nails

and hair.

A set of hair styling irons from the beginning of the twentieth century.

In many homes there were clocks

The poorest urban dwellers lived in houses called familoks, in which the apartments had a large kitchen and one or two rooms. Toilets were located on the landings and were common to all the families who lived on the same floor.

Familok in Bytków (today it is Siemianowice Silesian district). Photography from the Museum of Silesia.

The most famous tenement district in Upper Silesia is Nikiszowiec in Katowice. That is how it looks today:

The miners painted the frames of the windows in red and their wives took care so that the windows and curtains were clean. When World War I began and women went to work in factories and poverty caused that they had to save money. In that time the windows of their apartments were not washed as often as before...

The most important room in a familok was the kitchen. Here its residents lived their everyday lives – they cooked, ate, talked. Children also played during bad weather there.

Photo from the collection of Małgorzata Malanowicz

At the door of the kitchen usually were hung the stoups . Every member of the family could cross himself or herself with holy water before they left and when they returned home. Porcelain home stoups from the beginning of the twentieth century. The Museum of Silesia.

A kitchen chair of the 1910 collection of the Museum of Silesia.

Furniture in familoks were often similar to those in the rich houses, but were more modest and from inferior materials

And here is the inside of a wardrobe from the collection of the City Museum in Tychy.

During World War I in the Upper Silesia many Silesian villages looked like cities. Typical rural houses were preserved only in the rural parts of the region.

A kitchen in a cottage. Gallery of the City History in Jastrzebie-Zdroj.

In such molds butter was made. Collections of The Museum of Silesia

Chorzów. Postcard from the collection of the Museum of Silesia