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Image based on Guenther's book on flags of the region of the forner
East Brandenburg, now Northwest Poland
Jens Pattke, 23 Feb 2003
Choszczno - urban-rural commune, Choszczno County, Zachodnio-pomorskie
Voivodship - German name: Arnswalde.
Gmina Choszczno is an urban-rural gmina (commune) in Choszczno County, West Pomeranian Voivodship, in north-western Poland. Its seat is the town of Choszczno, which lies approximately 62 kilometres (39 mi) south-east of the regional capital Szczecin.
Area: 246.53 sq.km (95.2 sq.mi); Population: 22,263 (2006).
The town was badly affected by the Second World War: 80% of its buildings were damaged or destroyed. The town was rebuilt and is now a center for local government of the Choszczno commune (Polish: gmina). Due to its microclimate the town has become a rehabilitation center for convalescing patients. The close proximity of the lakes has made it a tourist destination for water sports. Other tourist attractions are 'Wodny Raj' aqua park and Drawieński National Park, located 20 km (12 mi) to the east near the town of Drawno.
Choszczno has a strong military tradition and is the home base for the
2nd Artillery Regiment which is part of the 12th Mechanised Division headquartered
in Szczecin. These troops participated heavily in the Polish stabilization
mission in Iraq.
The town's industries include: iron foundry, machinery, and the manufacture of clothing, animal feeds and starch.
Arnswalde was since its foundation in the 13th century situated initially
in Brandenburg and Kingdom of Prussia until 1938, when due to its close
proximity to the new Polish border, it was added to the German border region
Grenzmark Posen-West Prussia in the Province of Pomerania until 1945.
The name Arnswalde was first mentioned in the written chronicles in 1269. The Cistercian Order gave up the lands around Arnswalde (Choszczno) probably in 1283. The Margrave of Brandenburg founded the town of Arnswalde at its present location. The Brandenburg red eagle coat of arms attests to Arnswalde's Brandenburg history. In 1289 Arnswalde is described as a town. In 1402 the town become a center of central European politics when the Brandenburg Neumark (New March) signed a vassal treaty with the Teutonic Order. The Teutonic Order's influence in the region lasted for 50 years. As the town was on the side of the
Teutonic Order in the war with Poland it was invaded and pillaged by the Polish side a number of times.
Due to the nature of the Teutonic Order's policies towards its vassals
the citizens of Arnswalde rebelled in 1443 and were finally successful
in gaining special privileges in 1445. The town got stronger economically
due its location, becoming a regional market town. Its strategic importance
as a crossing of two tracks - from Stettin to Posen (Szczecin to Poznań)
and from Landsberg towards Thorn (Gorzów Wielkopolski towards Toruń), was
recognised and the city was fortified. This did not help as the town was
ravaged by the 30 years war from 1618 to 1648. Stability occurred once
Arnswalde become part of the Kingdom of Prussia, and to signify its importance
a permanent garrison was stationed in the town from 1719. In this period
the town advanced economically and socially with the establishment of a
new postal route to Stargard. The 18th century again brought difficulties
and the town experienced a number of tragedies caused by the plague, the
occurred in 1800 when 65 children perished.
19th century was a great time for the development of Arnswalde. It was linked by railway with Stettin and Posen (Szczecin and Poznań) in 1848 and later with Berlin, also in the Brandenburg region. The town experienced lower cost mass public transportation, which lead to the creation of new tourist industry in the town. The microclimate in the region drew in weekend tourists from as far as Berlin and Brandenburg whilst the new hospital next to the lake catered for convalescing patients. The railway was also a catalyst for the local manufacturing industry as it provided an affordable transport of goods to the Port of Stettin (Szczecin), because of this a brewery and a textile industry flourished. In 1905 a new hospital was opened and was situated on the bank of lake Klukom. The First World War had little effect on Arnswalde but the post-war German depression damaged the tourist economy. The demilitarisation of post-war Germany meant that the garrison was disbanded until 1938, when it was reinstated.
The Second World War saw the establishment of the prisoner of war camp Oflag II B on the outskirt of the town in 1939. Soon the majority of the prisoners were Polish and French. With the collapse of the German eastern front throughout the Red Army Vistula-Oder Offensive of 1945, Arnswalde was on the front line. The towns strategic position of protecting Stargard and Stettin (Szczecin) seaport meant that there was a strong German garrison defending the town. The Russian offensive meant that bitter fighting occurred which resulted in almost 80% damage of the towns infrastructure. After the German resistance stopped in spring of 1945 Arnswalde was handed over to the Poles for administration as a part of Recovered Territories and renamed Choszczno.
The German inhabitants, who composed almost 99% of the town population, either fled westwards or were expelled, often forcibly, by Soviet forces and the new local Polish administration. The town was mainly repopulated by Poles removed from the Polish terrains of today's Lithuania, Belarus, and Ukraine - so called (Kresy) , which Poland lost as a result of the World War II to the USSR at the Yalta Conference and the agreements between the USSR, United Kingdom, and the USA. This expulsion from the Soviet Union by the allied powers, was called repatriation by the Communist propaganda. Poles born in annexed by the Soviets lands were deported to former German lands (Recovered Territories) and told they returned to their Motherland. The first Polish institution to send its representatives to the newly liberated town was the Polish Railways (PKP). In 1946 the first Polish education institution the "Bolesław Krzywousty" high school was opened. Due to the damage sustained by the town, the majority of the burnt out buildings were dismantled and the reclaimed bricks were sent for the rebuilding of Warsaw. This short-sighted policy of 'cannibalisation' was created by the unknown legal status of the newly acquired Polish territories. Only after 1956 when the territory situation was clarified, did the process of rebuilding started properly and investment by the Polish government start. Due to the population growth the local government invested in new housing and in 1959 the first newly built housing block was completed. The rebuilding continued and the majority of the architecture is now post 1950s. In 1990s the local government started investing in sporting facilities (an indoor swimming pool, sports arena, tennis courts) to promote active tourism.
Starting with its partnership with Fürstenwalde in 1978, the local government has been active in fostering foreign co-operation and the creation of links with different sister cities. In 1984 Choszczno celebrated 700 years since its foundation. The traditional annual Days of Choszczno festival is held during the first weekend of June. (wiki)
Arms and flag adopted on August 28, 2001 (resolution # XXXI/328/2001).
The Arms underwent a slight modification according to the change made to the law ("Statut") of the commune on January 25, 2007 (resolution # V/56/2007) describing the color of the shield as specifically "silver", not just "white".
Relevant adjustments apply also to the ceremonial (official) flag and the banner.
"Arms: on the silver shield a red eagle turned to the right, with golden beak and legs, holding two green branches of the oak tree with three green leaves and two golden acorns each.
The red eagle is related to the Coat of Arms of the Brandendurg. The German name of the town, Arnswalde, means literally "an eagle's forest" and the oak branches remind of the forests of the area.
Flag: rectangular piece of cloth in the ratio 5:8 composed of three
equal horizontal bands (from the top): white-red-green.
Ceremonial (official) flag has the Arms placed in its middle."
Chrystian Kretowicz, 30 Nov 2008