Horní Suchá (Polish: Sucha Górna, German: Obersuchau) is a municipality and village in the Karviná District in the Moravian-Silesian Region of the Czech Republic. It has about 4,400 inhabitants. Polish minority makes up 17.1% of the population.
The name is of topographic origin, supposedly derived from an older name of a hypothetical river or stream Sucha, literally dry, therefore disappearing. The supplementary adjective Horní (German: Ober, Polish: Górna) means Upper denoting its upper location in comparison to sister settlements: Prostřední Suchá (Middle) and Dolní Suchá (Lower).
The village may have been founded by Polish monks from the Order of Saint Benedict from Orlová abbey. The first mention of the village comes from a Latin document written by the Diocese of Wrocław, called Liber fundationis episcopatus Vratislaviensis, which dates from around 1305. The village is described as item in Sucha utraque. This phrase indicates that there were two villages of that name (utraque meaning both in Latin), with the other being Dolní Suchá.
The village initially fell under the jurisdiction of the Duchy of Teschen, which was formed in 1290 during the feudal fragmentation of Poland and was ruled by a local branch of the Silesian Piast dynasty. In 1327, the Duchy became a fee of the Kingdom of Bohemia, which after 1526 fell under the rule of the Habsburg Monarchy. The village was ruled by the Dukes of Cieszyn until 1471, after which it was passed between various Polish and German families, including Melichar Przyznar, who obtained the village in 1536. The north part of the village was eventually taken over by Johann von Larisch-Mönnich, a member of the House of Larisch-Mönnich, who eventually took over the remaining south part of the village in 1835.
The agricultural and industrial development of the village continued into the 19th century. The House of Larisch-Mönnich had many business interests here during this period. The sugar refinery, which was the most advanced in middle Europe and the Austrian Empire at that time, was built between 1832 and 1833. It was closed in 1873. The brickyard was founded in 1910, and closed in 1928. The František Mine was founded in 1911. The village experienced rapid development in the 20th century due to this mine.
After the 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 at least since 1880 to political district and legal district of Freistadt.
According to the censuses conducted in 1880, 1890, 1900 and 1910 the population of the municipality grew from 1,532 in 1880 to 2,761 in 1910. In terms of the dominant language spoken colloquially the majority were Polish-speakers (between 96.1% and 97.9%), accompanied by Czech-speakers (growing from 2 or 0.1% in 1890 to 66 or 2.4% in 1910), and German-speakers (between 1.5% and 2.8%). In terms of religion, in 1910 the majority were Roman Catholics (76.8%), followed by Protestants (22.6%), Jews (15 or 0.5%) and 4 others. The village was also traditionally inhabited by Silesian Lachs, speaking Cieszyn Silesian dialect, additionally industrial growth lured a large influx of migrant workers, mostly from western Galicia.
Between 1914 and 1945
After World War I, the Austria-Hungarian Empire fragmented. Horní Suchá was affected by the Polish–Czechoslovak War and the division of Cieszyn Silesia in 1920. Horní Suchá then became a part of Czechoslovakia. The era between the First and Second World Wars saw rapid development in the village. Many houses were built, in addition to the presbytery and school buildings. As a consequence of the Great Depression, there were numerous dismissals at the František Mine. The unions staged many protests and strikes, the most important of which was in 1932, between March 29 and April 1. There were confrontations with police, the crowd threw stones, and shots were fired, injuring one policeman. The police returned fire, and two people were seriously injured. The miner Władysław Karwiński died.
Following the Munich Agreement in October 1938 and the Zaolzie, Horní Sucha as well as Prostřední Suchá and Dolní Suchá were overrun by the Polish army. The region was annexed by Poland, and governed by Frysztat County of Silesian Voivodeship. The village was visited by the Polish president Ignacy Mościcki. During the Polish occupation, the Czechs experienced discrimination. Citizenship was given only to Poles and long-term inhabitants. Many Czechs left the village.
The Polish occupation ended after the German attack on Poland. After the German occupation, Horní Suchá was part of the Province of Upper Silesia (Regierungsbezirk Kattowitz). Horní Suchá, Prostřední Suchá and Dolní Suchá were united into one Sucha. The František Mine was of interest to the Nazi administration. Soviet prisoners of war were used for mining, and these prisoners endured very difficult conditions. The inhabitants of the village attempted to support them, and in particular delivered food.
Inhabitants of Horní Suchá were involved in the resistance movement. The Polish resistance movement in particular was very active. However, there were repercussions. 26 inhabitants were arrested and sent to concentration camps after an attack on a German newcomer in 1944. Due to the attack in Životice, 36 people were killed on August 6, 1944. Some of them were from Horní Suchá. In 1945, miners from Mine František were executed in front of the mine.
The village was liberated by the Red Army on May 3, 1945.
From 1945 until 1989
The political situation was more stable in the village during this period. The mine became the focus of the village, and most of the population was employed here. In 1961, the village had 5298 inhabitants. However, because of the mine's growth, there was not enough housing stock available in the village for the expanded workforce. New houses were built, including a small housing estate called Chrost. A new Czech school and kindergarten were erected. From 1975 until 1990 Horní Suchá was merged with the neighbouring city of Havířov.
The political environment changed dramatically in 1989. The village separated from Havířov on the basis of the plebiscite in 1990. In the 1990s and 2000s, there was a good deal of investment in the village. A new canteen was built for the new Czech school in 1992, the old Czech school was repaired in 1995-96, a new floor was built in 1997 and a new gym in 2004.
Infrastructure repairs to roads, pavements and the gas network were carried out in the early 1990s. New houses were built for elderly members of the population, and new flats for Polish students were built in 2007. The rail station was also repaired in 2007. The housing estate "Chrost" was revitalised in 2008 and the pavements and roads in the cemetery were repaired. Finally, in the late 2000s, the bridges were repaired and the sports ground for the Czech school was built.
The closure of the František Mine has caused high unemployment in the village. The mine was the focus of economic activity in the village for almost a century, and was united with the Dukla and Lazy Mines in 1995. The headquarters were moved to the Lazy Mine, and Horní Suchá decreased in importance until its eventual closure in 1999.
Many other companies currently operate in the village. These include Befra Electronic, S.R.O., a member of the Munz-Magenwirth Gruppe (electrical engineering), Lichtgitter CZ spol. S.R.O., a member of Lichtgitter GmbH (iron and steel frames and trelliswork), Advanced World Transport, HORNSTAV CZ S.R.O. (construction), Depos Horní Suchá, a.s. (waste management). After an industrial complex opened on the site of the former František Mine, unemployment decreased by 10%. As of August 2020, the unemployment rate was 9.2%.
The first school in Horní Suchá was founded in 1810 by church officials. A new school building was erected in 1838. The school consisted of only one class until 1869, at which point another was added. The new building was built in 1904, and the Polish school was placed here.
Czech school after World War I
The Czech school was opened after World War I in the 1921-22 school year. After 1938, the Czech schools were closed, and education was provided by Polish and later German schools.
Czech schools after 1945
The Czech schools were reopened after World War II. The first level of the elementary school was located in the "old school building", the second level in the "yellow school building", or the Wydziałówka, in Polish. The new kindergarten building was erected in 1947 in Podolkovice, and is currently the retirement home.
The reform of the education system in 1953 united the first and second level of the elementary school. Because of the growth of pupils in the village, the new building was erected on Těrlická Street. This building was opened on January 26, 1961. Classes took place in both the "old school building" and the "new school building" after this year.
The kindergarten in Podolkovice, which housed both Czech and Polish kindergartens, was closed in 1991. The new dining room in the new school building was opened in the school year 1993/1994 and the old school building was renovated between 1994-1996. The new school building was renovated in 1997 and a new floor was added. The Czech school has used the new school building exclusively since the school year 1997/1998.
Polish schools after 1945
The development of Polish schools after 1945 was not as rapid as that of the Czech schools. This was due to the falling rate of Polish inhabitants in the village. Due to economic development, especially at František Mine, newcomers to the village came from all parts of Czechoslovakia. The Polish school had to share buildings with the Czech school until 1961. After the opening of the new Czech school, the situation changed, and the Polish schools used the "red" and "yellow" school buildings.
There were investments into Polish schools after 1989, with repairs carried out to the gym and the construction of a new computer classroom.
The majority of people in Horní Suchá are atheist. According to the 2001 census, 34.1% of inhabitants are Roman Catholic, in addition to some members of the Silesian Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession and Církev bratrská.
The local Catholic parish was founded in 1867, and is currently part of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Ostrava-Opava. The Church of Saint Joseph was built in 1864. There is no church of Slezské církve evangelické augsburského vyznání in Horní Suchá, rather the members visit the church in Prostřední Suchá.
Volunteer fire department
Count Larisch founded the first fire department in 1833. The members were workers from the sugar factory and the department closed in 1873.
The new fire department was re-founded in 1903. The initiator was local mayor Jan Krzystek. There were 36 first members of the department and all the equipment was bought from presents. The department was integrated into Polish fire department organization. The fire hall was open in 1936. The Czech fire department was founded in 1936.
The department declined in the time of World War II. The fire hall was sold, the equipment was confiscated. The Polish department was re-opened in 1945. First fire practise was realized on August 11, 1945. The Czech department used the Polish fire hall. Both Czech and Polish departments were united in 1948. The fire department founded its own band, competition section etc. The fire hall was repaired in 1974. After uniting Horní Suchá with Havířov, the fire department was united with Havířov's one as well. The independent fire department was re-opened in 1990.
Areas of Horní Suchá
Těšiňok – east part of the valley
Dědina (also known as Centrum) – centre part of the municipality (school, church, château)
Paseky – name comes from bee's beehives, partly destroyed by mining
Podlesí – north-western part, destroyed by mining
Podolkovice – new part, south-western location, residential part
Kouty – new part, south-eastern location, residential part
Tadeusz Michejda (1879–1956), Polish physician and politician; worked here
Adolf Kantor (1910–1992), Polish boxer
Marie Glázrová (1911–2000), actress
Bronislav Poloczek (1939–2012), Polish-Czech actor
Ota Zaremba (born 1957), weightlifter, Olympic champion; lives here
Twin towns – sister cities
Horní Suchá is twinned with: