Kozłów, surrounded by forests, is situated in the valley of a small river, for centuries called Bytomka by the village inhabitants (Kozłówka on maps). Numerous streams, springs (today only one remains), and wetlands create a specific atmosphere of this village. In the past, there were about 2,000 morgens of farmlands, of which 800 belonged to the estate, the rest to peasants (the largest peasant property was about 120 morgens big) and cottagers around the village. In 1800 there were 18 peasants, 26 crofters and 30 homesteaders in Kozłów. These inhabitants were mainly engaged in agriculture; oats were grown on the wet and sour lands of Oberdorf, and barley and rye were grown on the Niederhof lands; even hops were cultivated and quite a lot of them were sold, for example, to Kraków (and salt was imported from there). Cows and horses were bred, beekeeping was also practiced (honey from Kozłów bees also went to Krakow).
Some inhabitants of Kozłów worked in a forge dating back to the 13th-century bloomery (today’s „Pod Platanem” Manor House), a farm belonging to the Duke of Racibórz, a sawmill, two mills, gravel pits or sand pits, and in the interwar years in steelworks, mines, and other industrial plants in Łabędy, Gliwice or Zabrze.
Alois Woikowski and two Konieczny brothers – photo from 1927
Both, those who rode (bicycles or drove horse-drawn carts) or walked, as well as merchants, passed each other on the Old Road. It led from Stare Gliwice through a forest, today called Dąbrowa, to Brzezinka, and the road to Kozłów and Sośnicowice turned left; planted with oaks it was visible from afar. In the field behind Dąbrowa, it crossed the road leading from Karnowiec. At the cross erected in this place, carts stopped, and merchants often exchanged goods (today, cyclists and pedestrians rest at this cross).
At the beginning of the 1930s, a road connecting Sośnicowice and Kozłów with Gliwice and Łabędy was built; it crossed the Old Road and the so-called Swedish embankments (during the demolition of one of these embankments at the end of the 19th century, numerous human skeletons were found, which were collected and buried in the local cemetery). In the 1930s, two new streets were built: Marcina and Młyńska; before that, there were few houses along dirt roads (the land along Młyńska belonged to the Kollochs and the mill owned by the Rusetzki family, and there were several large farms in Marcina), later within a few years’ time over a dozen houses were built.
At that time, there were several shops and three pubs in the village. The last owners of the restaurants (actually the tavern) were Gasch, Duda and Filusch – people used to say that you go to Gasch’s, Duda’s or Filusch’s. Duda had a pub and a shop in what is now Ułańska street, Gasch (an Evangelical who came to Kozłów probably during the plebiscite) in what is now Średnia and people went to Gasch for music, and Filusch’s place was located in what is now Łabędzka; the first owner of the latter was Josef Kolloch, who also owned the land in Młyńska, which is why the residents said for a long time that they live in Kollochowe place. Filusch expanded the pub, for example, there were four toilets outside, a stage inside, and part of the main hall was higher and was accessed by several stairs (depending on the situation, there were tables on it, or an orchestra played). People went to all these pubs for a beer (or you came for a beer with your own metal milk jug), men played skat (e.g., Gasch had a separate room for that), you came for music (or at least to watch people dancing through the window) but most of all weddings were held there.
Franz Udolph’s Colonial Shop
Pub at Gasch’s
Shoppers went to Mrozek and Schoppa (at the present Średnia Street), to Duda, to Mika, who also had a bakery at the current Łabędzka Street (the other bakery, Rzepka’s, was located at the current Krótka Street) and to Schwierz (this shop in the center of Kozłów functioned in same place for over a hundred years, recently moved to the building opposite); the history of the Schwierz family was very tragic – Richard Schwierz was arrested by the Russians in January 1945, shot, and tanks ran over his corpse thrown into the street; his wife and her maid, in order to avoid being raped by Russian soldiers, cut their wrists (Schwierzowa survived).
The year 1945 was extremely tragic for the inhabitants of Kozłów (after these events, time was divided into before the Rus and after the Rus). About ten men were shot (including, for example, the owner of one of the restaurants, Duda, or a young Pole working in Kozłów), a dozen or so women were raped (several died), several houses were burnt down, all robbed and devastated. In January 1945 the Russians ordered all men aged 18 to 50 to report to the barracks in Gliwice, ostensibly for cleaning work – in May 1945 all (about 70 people) were deported to labour camps in the USSR, a dozen of them died during the first year of their stay in the camp, a few after being released from the camp, and the last one returned home in 1950. When the Russians left, looters from central Poland appeared and the inhabitants of Kozłów did not know peace for many months. It was also hard to get used to the new system and the new authorities, but the people of Kozłów were slowly healing their wounds. A school was rebuilt, a state-owned farm was established in the former estate, and a place of training and recreation for the elites of the new power in the former forge. It was forcefully proved that Kozłów returned „to the Motherland”, e.g. by removing German inscriptions on over a hundred-year-old crosses, destroying cemetery tombstones with German names, forbidding children to use the Silesian dialect (they could sing folk songs from other regions of Poland) or changing the Kozłów inhabitants’ surnames or first names to sound more Polish (e.g. Wilhelm became Filip, Berta – Barbara, and Hosch – Hosz). Many inhabitants left for Germany. Those who stayed cared about their little homeland and the memory of its past. Kozłów began to change and has been changing to this day, but it still remains an intriguing and unusual place.
Theodor Heinrich’s wedding – photo dating back 1927
The wedding of Anna Hosch and Jan Auer – photo from 1931
Duda’s restaurant in the 1930s