The history of Kozłów

Kozłów is a village located on both sides of the road leading from Gliwice and Łabędy to Sośnicowice. The beginnings of the village date back to the early Middle Ages – the oldest mention of Kozłów comes from November 11, 1279, when the parish priest Heinrich von Koslow and the commune head Hermann von Koslow were mentioned. In the 15th century, King Jagiełło gave the village (he acquired it by exchange) to a knight who, according to the custom of the time, took the surname from the name of the village – Koslowski, and until the 17th century Kozłów remained in the hands of this family. The tombstone of Piotr Koslowski, from 1618 is in the presbytery of the church dedicated to St. Nicholas (several members of the family were also buried in Gliwice). Two towers in the family’s coat of arms indicate that the Koslowski family had fortifications in two parts of the village (traces of one of them were discovered on a hill in the Bytomka Valley, between the church and the mill). For centuries, Kozłów has been divided into four parts: Oberhof (the so-called estate), Niederhof (the area around the stronghold), Waldvorwerk (today Podlesie) and Carlowitz (now known as Karnowiec, i.e. the upper part of Ułańska St. and Średnia St. up to the ‘kasztanowa street’). Their owners changed over the centuries and, apart from the Koslowski family, one can mention Counts of Welczków from Łabędy, counts of Hoditz from Sośnicowice or count.
Around the mid-nineteenth century, the village merged into one, but until the 1930s Kozłów III still had his village head and kept separate accounts.

Kozłów also entered the history of the Thirty Years’ War (1618-1648) – the Danish army of Ernst Mansfeld attacked Gliwice from the village side and to this day there are visible remains of two embankments near the so-called The Old Road leading from Gliwice to Kozłów and Brzezinka (from the 1930s only to the Sośnicowice – Łabędy road, when the road and embankments were cut with a newly built road). There are also peculations that the embankments are much older and may be either the remains of medieval fortifications or the remains of medieval embankments protecting cattle on pastures.

Also the smithy at the end of Marcina Street dates back to the Middle Ages. Probably in this place there was a bloomery in the 13th century, then ironworks and then a copper forge. The hammer was operated by a water wheel for at least two centuries (until the 1930s). The smithy was for many years the property of the Marcin family (hence Marcin Street), and later Fuchs.

An old water mill has survived in Kozłów, but it is worth mentioning that there was also a windmill in the village and it was one of the last in Silesia, operating before World War II.

The interwar period abounded in various events – two new streets were created, ul. Marcina and ul. Młyńska, when several houses were built in them; there was a mixed choir „Tadeusz Kościuszko”, later a choir „Słowik” and „Damrot”; in the plebiscites, some inhabitants were on the Polish side, some on the German side; a road connecting Sośnicowice with Łabędy was
built; the name of the village was changed to Lindenhain.

In 1942-1944 a Wehrmacht camp operated in Kozłów, set up for the construction of the Wrocław-Kraków highway. About 600 prisoners lost their lives here; they were Belarusians and Ukrainians from Rivne, Kovel and other towns from the eastern territories (the mass grave of the victims of the camp is located on the border of Kozłów and Brzezinka).

In January 1945, the Soviet troops entered Kozłów. As a result of rapes and murders, 11 people were killed, and 67 village residents were taken to Soviet labour camps (eighteen of them died in inhuman conditions in the camps).

After the war, the village slowly healed its wounds, with difficulty entering the Polish People’s Republic. Many residents, unable to come to terms with the new reality, left for Germany. Today, Kozłów is developing and rediscovering its values.