Hnojník (Polish: Gnojnik, German: Hnoynik, Gnoynik) is a municipality and village in Frýdek-Místek District in the Moravian-Silesian Region of the Czech Republic. It has about 1,500 inhabitants. Polish minority makes up 10.9% of the population. It lies on the Stonávka River.
Hnojník was first mentioned in a Latin document of Diocese of Wrocław called Liber fundationis episcopatus Vratislaviensis from around 1305 as item in Gnoynik. It meant that the village was in the process of location (the size of land to pay a tithe from was not yet precised). The creation of the village was a part of a larger settlement campaign taking place in the late 13th century on the territory of what will be later known as Upper Silesia.
Politically Hnojník belonged initially to the Duchy of Teschen, formed in 1290 in the process of feudal fragmentation of Poland and was ruled by a local branch of Piast dynasty. In 1327 the duchy became a fee of the Kingdom of Bohemia, which after 1526 became part of the Habsburg Monarchy.
The village probably became a seat of a Catholic parish prior to the 16th century. After the 1540s Protestant Reformation prevailed in the Duchy of Teschen and a local Catholic church was taken over by Lutherans. It was taken from them (as one from around fifty buildings) in the region by a special commission and given back to the Roman Catholic Church on 23 March 1654.Since the 15th century, it was owned by several noble families. In 1736, the village was bought by Karl Beess. The Beess family was the last feudal owner of the Hnojník manor. The local population worked mostly as peasants on the properties of the Beess family. Several mills operated in the village. The Beess family established a brewery, distillery and a brickworks. In 1917, Teschen-based Jewish businessman Ignaz Schmelz established a steam-powered sawmill; in 1923, it burnt down and was rebuilt only to be closed soon after.
After Revolutions of 1848 in the Austrian Empire a modern municipal division was introduced in the re-established Austrian Silesia. The village as a municipality was subscribed to the political and legal district of Cieszyn. According to the censuses conducted in 1880, 1890, 1900 and 1910 the population of the municipality dropped from 599 in 1880 to 569 in 1910 with a dwindling majority being native Polish-speakers (from 97% in 1880 to 90.5% in 1910) accompanied by a German-speaking people (between 3% and 3.5%) and Czech-speaking (growing from 8 or 1.4% in 1890 to 34 or 6% in 1910). In terms of religion in 1910 majority were Protestants (57%), followed by Roman Catholics (41.5%) and Jews (9 or 1.5%). The village was also traditionally inhabited by Cieszyn Vlachs, speaking Cieszyn Silesian dialect.
After World War I, fall of Austria-Hungary, Polish–Czechoslovak War and the division of Cieszyn Silesia in 1920, it became a part of Czechoslovakia as Hnojník. At the beginning of July 1930, the village was visited by Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk, President of Czechoslovakia who then travelled across the Czechoslovak part of Cieszyn Silesia. Following the Munich Agreement, in October 1938 together with the Zaolzie region it was annexed by Poland, administratively adjoined to Cieszyn County of Silesian Voivodeship. It was then annexed by Nazi Germany at the beginning of World War II. After the war it was restored to Czechoslovakia.
The Beess family property was confiscated in November 1945. In 1946, Baron Georg Beess, the last nobleman from the Beess family to own properties in Hnojník, was expelled from the country and was deprived of his property according to the Beneš decrees affecting the Germans in Czechoslovakia. The mayor of Hnojník refused to sign the decree to expel Georg Beess, nevertheless he was expelled to Germany where he died in 1955.
The most prominent landmark in Hnojník is a baroque château built in 1736 in the central part of the village by order of Karl Beess. It was rebuilt in an empire style in the first half of the 19th century according to the plans of Viennese architect Joseph Kornhäusel. After World War II, the château was confiscated by the state administration as was mentioned above. Part of the furniture and paintings was relocated to the château in Šternberk. However, a significant part of it was stolen by unknown persons. The library was relocated to Šternberk and Potštát. The château became a property of the local administration and since 1966 of the collective farm. Since the 1970s, the château slowly dilapidated. After the fall of communism in 1989, it became a property of a private owner who didn't renovate it and the landmark continued to dilapidate. The state administration sold the landmark in 2008 to a new private owner, after the old one lost his property rights when he was imprisoned. The château in Hnojník remains one of the most endangered cultural landmarks in the country.
Another important landmark is the Roman Catholic Ascension of the Virgin Mary Church. It is not clear when it was built, but the initial wooden church was torn down and a new brick empire style one built in its place in 1808–1812.
There is a Catholic cemetery adjacent to the church. It is bordered by a 19th-century stone wall. The Beess family tomb is located there. This rectangular building was built in the second half of the 19th century in an empire style.
The first school was built in the 17th century; it is not clear exactly when. The language of instruction was Polish and later also German. The second school in the village began operating in 1853. It was a private Protestant school. Since 1874, it was a public school, therefore also Catholic children could attend it. The language of instruction was Polish. Both schools were joined in 1923 to one Polish school which operates to date. In June 2008, it was named after Jan Kubisz, the most known personality linked to Hnojník (Gnojnik). Kubisz was an educator and writer, author of the poem Płyniesz Olzo po dolinie which became an unofficial anthem of the Zaolzie region, especially local Poles. His house still stands in the village.
The first Czech school, the Catholic one, was formed in 1920. It was, however, replaced by a completely new, large Czech school built in 1931 and named after Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk, President of Czechoslovakia.
Jan Kubisz (1848–1929), Polish educator and writer, taught here for most of his life
Adam Makowicz (born 1940), Polish jazz musician