Some interesting information and a selection of old pictures of the town of Szamotuły (Samter), in what is the province of Wielkopolska, in western Poland.
Szamotuły (Samter) is a small town in the ‘Greater Poland’ / Wielkopolska Voivodeship of Poland. It is located on the River Sama, and about 30 kilometres (19 miles) north-west of the large city of Poznań. Szamotuly has a population of just under 19,000.
Some things you may not know about Szamotuły:
- The ruins of the late thirteenth century town have recently been discovered and excavated three kilometres (just under 2 miles) north of the present town.
- In 1793, Szamotuły, together with the entire region was annexed to Prussia as a result of the second partition of Poland.
- In the mid 19th century nearly half of all the inhabitants of Samter / Szamotuly were Jewish. This percentage dropped through time, as it did in many such small towns in the region, due to conversion to Christianity, migration to larger cities such as Posen / Poznan and Berlin, and emigration to America.
- Records indicate that the entire Second World War Jewish population of Szamotuly, numbering 264, perished in the holocaust.
- The Jewish cemetery in Szamotuły was destroyed in the 1940s and the gravestones used in road construction. The site is now a park. The tombstones that do still survive are kept in the town museum.
- Until the end of the First World War and the border changes brought about by the Treaty of Versailles, Szamotuly was called Samter and part of Prussia, Germany. Following this and the ‘Greater Poland (Wielkopolskie) Uprising’ Szamotuly once again became part of Poland.
- Germany occupied Szamotuly on the 7th September 1939 as part of its invasion of Poland and incorporated the town in to the ‘Wartheland’ of Germany.
- The town was liberated by the Soviet Red Army on the 27th February 1945.
- Szamotuly has a railway station on the Poznań – Szczecin railway line. Until fairly recently there was also a railway line connecting Szamotuły with the nearby town of Międzychód.
- The ‘Collegiate’ church is home to the rather splendid ‘Kazanska’ painting of the Virgin Mary. In 1665 the painting is said to have shed bloody tears. Because of this miracle pilgrims travel from far and wide to view the painting.
- All cars and trucks registered in Szamotuly have registration plates beginning with the letters PSZ.
Related content on Polish Poland: Post-war images of Szamotuły.