Katzer Families

Habelschwerdt (Bystrzyca Klodzka)
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The history of the town

Habelschwerdt is situated 85 km south-east of the state capital on the left bank of the "Glatzer Neisse" River right where the "Kressenbach" - also called "Weistritz" - flows into it at the foot of the mountains of the "Habelschwerdter Gebirge". It was founded by German settlers as a planned colonial town around 1250 AD. In 1319 Habelschwerdt received the privilege of a "Royal City" by King Johann von Böhmen. The town was badly affected by wars in the 15th, 17th. and 18th centuries and also by great fires in the 19th and early 2th centuries. Ther is not much left of the old fortification - except for three towers. Among them is the "Stadtbergturm",which became known as "Willmannturm" in Hermann Stehr's novel "Drei Nächte" (Three nights) (1909).

A precious monstrance was kept in the Catholic church of St. Michael. The church was last refurbished from 1914 to 1916 and is the oldest church in the county of Glatz dating back to the secons half of the 12th century. 

The Protestant church, a royal present of 1822, was rebuilt after a fire in 1825 together with the "Rittertorturm" that was made a bell tower. There was a  Catholic teachers' college there from 1766-1776 and from 1871-1925.  The town hall was built from 1852-1854.

Economy: Paper and wood industry, a factory for agricultural equipment, brickworks and cigar manufacturing.

The town was occupied by Soviet troops after its surrender on May 5, 1945.

In 1939 Habelschwerdt was a town of  6877 inhabitants,  by 1975 their number had grown to 10300.

Hermann Stehr, a realistic poet inflenced by Silesian mysticism, was born in Habelschwerdt  in February 2, 1864 and was buried on the "Floriansberg" in his home town. His grave, however, can't be found anymore.

The town and district of Habelschwerdt (apart from Mittelwalde) have been sponsored by the town and district of Altena in North Rhine-Westphalia since1952. A regional journal "Grafschafter Bote" has been published in Lüdenscheid since 1950.

Hildegard Jackson (née "Neumann" from Habelschwerdt), now lives in San Marcos California. She still remembers the "Habelschwerdt Song":

"Alle Schwerter rosten,
alle Schwerter rosten
nur die Habelschwerdter nicht!"