Javorník (Jeseník District)

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Location
50°23'39"N
017°00'21"E
Country
 Czech Republic
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Description

Javorník (Czech pronunciation: [ˈjavorɲiːk], also known as Javorník u Jeseníku or Javorník ve Slezsku; German: Jauernig) is a town in the Jeseník District in the Olomouc Region of the Czech Republic. It has about 2,800 inhabitants. It lies in the foothills of Golden Mountains. The centre of the town is historically significant and is protected by law as Urban monument zone.

Administrative parts

Villages of Bílý Potok, Horní Hoštice, Travná and Zálesí are administrative parts of Javorník.

History

Early history

Village of Javorník was first mentioned in a written document from 1290, however it was probably established before 1260. The medieval fortress, which would later become castle Jánský Vrch was built at the turn of the 13th and 14th century and was first mentioned in 1307. It belonged to the principality of Neisse-Grottkau, which was under the rule of the prince-bishops of Breslau. From 1428 to 1432, during the Hussite Wars, Javorník and its fort were under siege by the Hussites. They left the village and the fortress in ruins, and it was not until the early 16th century when Jan Thurzo, Prince-Bishop of Breslau, built the Jánský Vrch Castle on the remains of the old stronghold of Jauernig. During his reign Javorník gained importance as a mining settlement as several silver and iron ore mines were established in the area. In 1549 the village finally became a town and a first school was also established. Unfortunately, in 1576 the town’s growth was hampered as it was ravaged by a fire. The devastation was minor however, compare to the destruction Javorník experienced during the Thirty Years War, especially then in 1646. The settlement was nearly completely destroyed and it was not until eight years later that Javorník became once again a prosperous town, now with a church, school, town hall and a brewery.

Golden Age

After the Prussian victory in the First Silesian War in 1742, Austria lost nearly all of its Silesian possessions. However, Javorník together with the so-called Bohemian Silesia remained under Habsburg control. This was a prosperous period for the town. In 1748, Javorník became the seat of the Breslau diocese responsible for the administration of all its properties in the Freiwaldau region and since 1767 also the center of Habsburg government for the principality of Neisse-Grottkau. At the same time, Count Philipp Gotthard of Schaffgotsch, the prince-bishop of Breslau moved his court on the Jánský vrch and with him Javorník became also the cultural center of Upper Silesia. Among the most famous personalities living there was August Carl Ditters von Dittersdorf, renowned Viennese composer and violinist. By 1804, Javorník had 419 homes and over 3100 citizens, more than any other urban area in the region.

19th and early 20th century

In 1825 a devastating fire once again ravaged the town, destroying 104 of its structures including the town hall, church and most of its industry. Although Javorník was rebuilt, it never regained the same importance in the region as it had during the golden age in the second half of the 18th century. Most of the textile, brewing and manufacturing industries never fully recovered and the town became once again dependent on forestry and mining, chiefly of silver, arsenic and iron. In 1897, Javorník was linked with the rest of the Austro-Hungarian Empire by a local railway, but even that did not revitalize the town's industries or its overall growth. In 1880 Javorník had the population of 3,362 citizens, all were German-speaking. This number continued to decline throughout the first quarter of the 20th century. During WWII, approximately 30 French and Soviet POWs were interned at the old town prison in Javorník. Other and larger POW Camps were located in Zálesí, Travná, Račí údolí and the nearby Bernartice. Also located in Javorník was Reichsarbeitsdienst (RAD) work camp K6/380 (in German RAD-Abt. K6/380 Jauernig). According to the Austrian census of 1910 the town had 2,052 inhabitants, 1,956 of whom had permanent residence there. Census asked people for their native language, 1,956 (100%) were German-speaking. Most populous religious group were Roman Catholics with 2,019 (98.4%).From 1938 to 1945 it was one of the municipalities in Sudetenland. By 1938, local ethnic-German population became overwhelmingly pro-Nazi with many locals joining the Sudetendeutsches Freikorps, a para-military Nazi-Germany sponsored and trained organization that was conducting terrorist attacks against the Czechoslovak authorities. One of the most notable attacks of the Freikorps in the town took place on 22 September 1938. A group of 12 members of the Czechoslovak Border Guard was retreating through the town after being attacked from Germany when it was ambushed by over 100 local members of Freikorps. The Czechoslovak soldiers were disarmed and abducted to Germany where they were interned by local authorities in the concentration camp in Paczków.

Post-WWII years

After 1945, under the Beneš decrees most Sudeten Germans were forced to leave Czechoslovakia. Most citizens of Javorník were evicted from their homes and held at several internment camps in the Freiwaldau district. Many of them were also beaten and killed by numerous militias and paramilitary groups with strong ties to the Communist Party and the Red Army. However, scores of families from Javorník were able to leave with the assistance of Cardinal Adolf Bertram and the Wittelsbachs, a noble German family that owned several properties in the area. They worked tirelessly to save many ethnic German families; helping them to flee Czechoslovakia to the British and US Zones in Germany and Austria. The majority of the German population was expelled from Javorník by 1947. Their property was given or sold to the Czech and Slovak citizens under the repopulation programs of the Czechoslovak government. Following the Communist coup d'état of 1948, Czechoslovakian government confiscated most of the property which belonged to the Roman Catholic Church and the prince-bishops of Breslau, including their farmland and forest holdings. Most of the businesses closed and were moved to larger cities in the region. By the mid-1960s, the only major employers in Javorník were Jednotné zemědělské družstvo (agricultural cooperative), small manufacturer of metal furniture and a company producing stuffed toys. As the social conditions in the town continued to deteriorate, in the mid-1980s the Communist government decided to build a subsidiary of MEZ Postrelmov, one of the oldest companies in Northern Moravia, in Javornik. Unfortunately after the Velvet Revolution in 1989, the company found it hard to compete in the new economic environment and closed down in early 1990s.

Present

As of 2008, the town of Javorník had one primary school and two kindergartens, a health centre (with two general physicians) and several leisure facilities, including a movie theatre, library and a swimming pool.

Notable people

Count Philipp Gotthard of Schaffgotsch (1716–1795), Prince-Bishop of Breslau Carl Ditters von Dittersdorf (1739–1799), composer, Kapellmeister at Jánský Vrch in 1770–1794 Johann Nepomuk Rust (1775–1840), surgeon Joseph Freiherr von Eichendorff (1788–1857), poet, stayed at Jánský Vrch in 1856–57 Joseph Christian Freiherr von Zedlitz (1790–1862), author Cardinal Melchior Freiherr von Diepenbrock (1798–1853), Prince-Bishop of Breslau Emil Sax (1845–1927), economist Cardinal Adolf Bertram (1859–1945), Archbishop of Breslau, died in Jánský Vrch and was buried here Franz Wittelsbach, Prinz von Bayern (1919–1999), a son of Prince Georg of Bavaria, lived in Javornik from 1944 and is buried here

Twin towns – sister cities

Javorník is twinned with: Otmuchów, Poland Paczków, Poland Złoty Stok, Poland
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