Trawniki - A village in Poland


Trawniki can be translated as 'Lawns'. It is located in a generally flat part of the wojewodztwo of Lubelskie, becoming very slightly hilly in its southwestern part. Trawniki owes much of its growth to the coming of the railway and until the 1940's it was a junction on the main line between Warsaw and Lwow. A large part of the population was employed either on the railway or at the local knitwear factory. Today, with the changes in Poland's borders the railway is no longer so important and most of sidings, once full of goods wagons, lie empty. The knitwear factory has been privatised and split into to foriegn owned companies.
This page gives the results to date of my research into this village.

The Churches and Cemeteries
There is only one church in Trawniki that is in use and that is the Roman Catholic church built in the 1960's. Prior to this there was only a small chapel - originally the family chapel of the local landowners - and the population had to use the church in nearby Biskupice. However, with the Socialist government of the latter half of the 20th century, Trawniki saw a growth in population and this led to the establishment of a new church and also a cemetery. Burials in the new cemetery began in 1972. Over the same period, the older chapel fell into decay and is now no more than a ruin.
The chapel, now in ruins
The new church in Trawniki, built in the 1960's. During the Stalinist there were few, if any, churches built in Poland (although many were repaired or rebuilt after the war) and the 1960's saw the start of new church building here and there. It wasn't until the 1980's, however, that it really began in earnest. I have a web page devoted to the procession of Boze Cialo (Corpus Christi) from June 2001.
The interior of the church.
A shrine at a road junction in Trawniki Kol. This was made by one of the locals, the ribbons being tied to a metal cross, out of sight of the picture.
Near the bridge over the river is the war cemetery. The marked graves are mainly resistance fighters, with the pair on the left being 2 soldiers from the Polish army who died on 25th September 1939 defending the old bridge from the Germans. There are many Austrians buried here, in unmarked graves, from the first world war.
In the war cemetery is this obelisk commemorating the Austrians buried here. The plate on it is in German.
The village cemetery, opened in 1972. Prior to this, as the village had no proper church, burials were usually in Biskupice.
Grave pictures.
The well in the cemetery.

Farming in Trawniki
The improvement in farming over the latter half of the 20th century is difficult to measure. Sure, about half of the farmers now own tractors, but farm sizes are still, on average, about 2 hectares and most of the work in the fields is still done by hand. The greatest improvement has been the re-building of the farmhouses, replacing the wooden buildings with ones made of blocks and brick. Farming implements are generally the same as the were in 1944, barns and other buildings have sometimes been replaced. Probably the most noticable difference is the change in roofing material from straw thatch to galvanised steel sheeting.

In the early 1950's a huge grain silo was erected, opened in 1954. This huge grey building dominates the skyline as it was built on the highest point of the village and its architecture owes a lot to the 1930's. It is almost a classic of Communist ideals, the power of the People's State. Strangely enough, they didn't build a State farm here, land from the manor was divided and sold to the locals. Some of the locals refused to buy the land as they considered it someone else's property which the state had no right to sell.
The Grain Silo.
Amongst the trees a family works weeding  their strip field
Fields on the eastern side of the village.
A family working on their field, including their horse, cart and Maluch (Fiat 126).
The farmer and his horse and plough from the picture above.
Another small farmer and horse drawn plough.
The same horse as in the above picture, but this time with the cart.
A small farmyard, the original wooden buildings given a layer of concrete.
Another small farms, with a neat vegetable garden.
A barn, once thatched and now with asbestos roofing.

Business in Trawniki
The most important employer during the 20the century was the knitwear factory. In about 1991 it was sold off to 2 companies, one Belgian and the other French. The Belgian company now makes cleaning products for the home and car, whilst the other makes clothes to bulk order such as track suits for the army. Some of the lesser buildings are now used for small service industries. During WW2, part of the factory land was used as a concentration camp.
The Agricultural Supplies shop in Trawniki in the 1930's, owned from the 1920's to 1944 by Jozef Kulczynski (standing in the doorway). This building still exisits, but now it is just someone's home and has recently been rebuilt. In 1939 Jozef joined the army for the second time in his life, was captured by the Russians and then traded to the Germans, the Germans meanwhile commandeered his oil supplies from his business. He was sent to a prisoner of war camp in Germany, but a German doctor managed to arrange his release. The local resistance fighters broke into his house and stole many things including his suits and most of his tea service, later he was able to recognise many people in church wearing his suits. With the coming of communism he lost his business, but was retained as manager until ill health forced his retirement in 1960.
Jozef is on the left.
The upper signs says he sells Nobel petrol, and the lower one says fertilizer.
The same building as above, but showing the back after it was modernised in about 2000.
Jozef, his wife, and some employees, with the oil storage tanks in the background (now long gone).
Although long out of use, the siding for the Agricultural Supplies business is still connected to the main line.
The unloading platform for the Agricultural Supplies business, overgrown and the raiway tracks completely overgrown.
One of the 2 blacksmiths in the village, both defunct. The smithy is the small building, whilst the house behind it is now empty as all the families who lived there had bad luck, and now it is considered to be haunted.
Both house and workshop for the Malinowski family, locksmiths and ironmongers. No longer in business.
The railway was very important in the development of the village as it was a main junction on the Warsaw-Lwow line. In the past the sidings were always full of wagons, but since the second worlds war and the change of Poland's border, the line has significantly decreased in importance and now it has many empty sidings and the line is quite except for the Lublin-Chelm train. This building is at the main road crossing.
This water tower is beside the station and was once used for refilling steam trains as well as the nearby knitwear factory. The upper part is not original as that was burnt down.
This is the pump house by the river Wieprz. Now converted into a house, it once housed the machinery to pump water to the water tower. The architecture is classic 19th century industrial.

Trawniki Manor
The manor house existed until about the 1960's. After the war it was divided into flats for workers.
This was once the lawn in front of the house, the location of the house marked by the bushes in the background.
The old gatehouse. Once there were gates to the left, but even the gateposts have been pulled down now.
This is the drive from the main road to the gatehouse, the avenue being created for the house.

The Centre and Services in the Village
A house and barn in the centre of the village. In empty ground in front of the buildings there was once a tavern.
A block of flats, probably pre-war, in the centre of the village.

Poczta Polska - The post office.
This is now used as flats for teachers, but it was the village school in the post-war years.
This is the lower school, to the right is the upper school. Upper schools in Poland are often orientated towards particular skills, this one gave a basic education plus work skills for the nearby knitwear factory.
An early 20th century house, used as flats until the end of the second world war. Now it is the police station.
In a field near the edge of the centre of the vilage is this land set aside for garages.

Houses in the Village
One of the few really traditional style cottages left in Trawniki, note how the wall timbers overlap at the corners in 'swallowtails'.
This is a different construction to the one above as this is timber framed, with the wall planks being nailed to the framework of the house.
Another timber framed house, this one is an unusual shape for this part of Poland and it is possible that this is a modified standard type with the central upper storey being raised.
Stone and brick houses with their productive gardens.
A small stone cottage. Originally it was thatched, with the thatch coming almost down to ground level.
Limestone is a typical local building material. Most village buildings in Lubelskie are wood, but in some places there are outcrops of limestone. The brick edginf is typical for Trawniki.
Unusual in Trawniki is this completely wooden building. Out of place here, but it would be unnoticable 20 miles to the north in the Leczna area. There used to be many simple wooden cottages, but most of these have now gone.
A 2 storey house, the lower in stone and the upper in wood.
Thatch replaced by painted galvanised steel roofing.
This house was comandeered by the German officer in charge of the local concentration camp, as it was the nicest house in the village. Prior to this it had been divided into 2 flats, the occupants of which had to move out when the Germans came. It is still owned by the smae family who owned it before the war, and it is still rented out as 2 flats. There are a couple more houses very like this one, copies of this one.
This is the above house, but from the back and sometime in the 1930's
another house comandeered by a German officer. This one suffered a lot during a battle in 1944, when it was hit by several shells and a bomb, loosing all its roof and some of its walls. Currently it has an asphalt roof.

Limestone again, but without the typical brick corners and window surrounds.
A wooden house, plastered on the left and boarded on the right, with a newer porch added on the front. Under the right hand end of the building is a brick built cellar.
The porch of the building has a curved roof, one of many in Trawniki. It looks suspiciously like part of a roof of a railway carriage and this is the only place I have seen it.
Partly demolished, a brick cottage in the traditional style.

Probably 1960's
A porch showing the classic 'Trawniki' curved roof style.
Again probably 1960's, but now being 'improved'.
The 1970's saw changes in Polish architecture, daring for the times and impossible 20 years earlier.
Probably 1970's, but with an unusual roof reminiscent of the 1960's.
Probably 1980's, although it is often difficult to give a precise date for post-war housing as they took many years to build. Buying building materials was theoretically illegal, but money in the right pocket...


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Website written & maintained by: Trevor & Ania Butcher