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Wednesday 17 February 2016

Jasło is a town which I love because of my family roots.

18th February 2016
Yesterday we were in Jasło the old town which I love because my private life is strictly connected with it. My grandparents and great grandaparents lived here. I remember from my childhood as I was visiting my relatives. It was a great time full of joy and laughter. Now when I come back here I am very sentimental and sad . All my relatives died so now I am not able to visit anybody. So I was walking in the street and visited all houses where they lived. What a shame but the death is the part of life - unfortunately.
Interesting building in the centre of the town.
Jasło was first mentioned in a document from 12th century, related to Mikolaj Bogoria foundation of a Cistercian monastery in Koprzywnica. A century later, in 1277, the Cistercian ownership of the village named Jasło was confirmed in a decree issued by Bolesław Wstydliwy. The village was clearly favoured by the king: 1262 the local fair was granted fiscal and judicial autonomy, which boosted its development
Located by a trade route, Jasło developed quickly and was granted city rights by King Kazimierz Wielki in 1365. Three years later the Cistercians lost the town, which became a royal property. It was also the time when Jasło’s architecture and spatial arrangement changed and, accordingly, the town acquired a typically medieval character. Interestingly, Jasło had a bathhouse in 1388, which was rare in those times, and probably a parochial school; as it seems, the town enjoyed a remarkable intellectual development. The graduates continued their education at the Academy of Cracow; according to the registers, young people from Jasło went to study in Cracow almost every year.
By the end of the 14th century, the community had been divided and around 1430 it became a property of the local nobility. In the next 80 years it was owned entirely by the Pieniążek family from Krużlowa
The first half of the 15th century saw a steady economical growth of Jasło as well as the rise of its significance among the other towns of Lesser Poland. However, these processes were interrupted by an invasion of Hungarians, who ravaged the whole Subcarpathian area. Jasło was plundered and burnt, but fortunately King Kazimierz granted the town a five-year tax exemption, thus helping it to recover after the devastation. In 1497, similarly, 26 townsmen were exempted from taxes for eight years; since their houses burnt down, King Jan Olbracht allowed them to improve their financial situation. The castellan of Biecz, Seweryn Boner, purchased the community forty years later.
The turn of the 15th and 16th century saw a boost in Jasło’s trade and crafts; this was caused by the increasing significance of the trade route from Hungary to Sandomierz through The Dukla Pass and Jasło.
Linen, felts, salt, grain, herrings from the Baltic Sea, sheepskins and furs were exported to the southern Europe, whereas wine, beer, copper and horses went to the North. The merchants had to struggle with numerous robbers, but still they took the risk.
The economic growth of Jasło was stopped in the 17th and 18th century. The Crown troops caused major losses in 1634 and 1635: firstly, the soldiers of Stanislaw Potocki required a contribution of 260 zlotys to be paid by the townsmen, and secondly, other two commanders – Krzysztof Wapowski and Jan Gizycki, forced them to pay 300 zlotys. The inhabitans of Jasło were also burdened with providing food for soldiers and maintenance of their servants and horses.
In 1657 Jasło was hit with another tragedy: it was invaded and devastated by the army of a Hungarian ruler, George Rákóczi II. Apart from the damages, the town was plagued by epidemies and fires. An extremely dangerous fire broke out in 1683: most of the houses and the town hall, where royal decrees granting privileges were kept, were devoured by flames. The situation had improved by the beginning of the 18th century, but 1734 was a year of disaster: Adam Tarło, a starosta and a proponent of King Stanislaw Leszczynski, formed the Dzików Confederation. As a result of battles between the confederates and the opponents of the king, Jasło suffered tremendous material losses. With the fall of the Kingdom of Poland, the towns became impoverished and the trade and crafts deteriorated; Jasło was not an exception.
In 1772, after the first partition of the Kingdom of Poland, Jasło came under the Austrian rule; in 1790, it became a seat of one of the 18 administrative units, ‘Kreise’. New authorities supported the recovery and development of the town: firstly, Emperor Franz Josef I gave his permission to organize three fairs a year, and secondly, municipal management was regulated, new streets were marked out and rules were laid down concerning urban development, waste disposal and fire prevention. In spite of these measures, a great fire broke out in 1826 and destroyed most of the wooden houses; still, it turned out to have a positive effect, because new houses were made of stone. The reconstruction of Jasło took many years and resulted in bringing a typical 19th-century look to the town. With the discovery of petroleum in the second half of the 19th century, Jasło entered a new period of progress. Ignacy Lukasiewicz, who from 1857 to 1866 ran a pharmacy located in the market square, established an oil distillery, the first one in the world, in the part of the suburbs called Ulaszowice. In 1868, the first secondary school in Jasło was founded, where many distinguished Poles were educated[2.1]. The Mining Office, an oil refinery and railway lines connecting Stróże with Zagórze and Jasło with Rzeszów were established in the following years. By the end of the 19th century, Jasło had become one of the biggest and richest towns in the area.
The good times were over when the First World War broke out in 1914. Bloody battles were fought over the entire county; 52 war cemeteries from years 1914-1915 are reminders of those events. Jasło itself changed its rule five times and was also bombed, but all this did not cause major losses. The military operations being finished, Jasło quickly recovered and started to prosper again. Along with the development of Central Industrial Region, The National Gunpowder Factory “Gamrat”, glassworks , and a few other enterprises were established. The number of inhabitants was steadily increasing.
In 1939, the prosperity was brought to an abrupt end by the outbreak of the Second World War. Soon the resistance movement emerged as a reaction to the repressive measures taken by the occupiers. The Jasło county had its own guerillas, belonging to the Home Army and the Peasants’ Battalions, which took sabotage actions. The most significant of them was the liberation of 200 prisoners during the attack on the town prison, carried out in the night from the 5th to the 6th of August 1943. The last months of war saw nearly complete destruction of Jasło; out of 1230 buildings, only 39 remained. Similarly, factories and public facilities were ruined. Only 174 inhabitants remained in the town at that time; after the end of the war, however, more people started coming back to Jasło and the reconstruction of the town began. By the end of 1945, the life in Jasło had almost come back to its old ways. The refinery was relaunched in 1946, the church was rebuilt and the Fruit and Vegetable Processing Factory “Pektowin” was founded, the only Polish enterprise manufacturing pectins. The next major industrial plant, glassworks “Jasło”, was established in 1970. (From Wikipedia)
Jasło in the past was an interesting town - it was a melting pot in Polish conditions. A lot of Jews lived here who finally left Poland in 1968. As I know from my family their neighbours were Jews but after WWII or latere they emigrated to Israel.
It was a grey day and so dark.
But perfect for emotional journey to my my family roots.
I am going to come again in the summer.
Photo was taken from the car on the way to Jasło..


  1. Thank you, Gosia for that excellent historical report on Jaslo. There is so much history over the centuries attached to Poland - thus my recommendation to read that James A.Michener book - "POLAND". His historical researchers from various parts of Europe - Austria/Russia/Germany/The Vatican to name some excelled themselves for Michener to weave a fictional novel around the historical aspects with the historical persons naturally real. EG: Lech Walesa, His Holiness Pope John Paul, Dr. Hans Frank (Reich Government General), SS Brigadefuhrer Jurgen Stroop - to name some of the more recent ones. The book really is an encyclopedia of Poland.
    Again much appreciated Gosia.

  2. The clouds remind me of some of our wild Midwestern storms. Sounds like your family has roots in a very interesting town, sorry to hear your folks are gone from that town now, but awesome that you have such a neat heritage.

    1. Bethany that day the sky was amazing.. If I had a chance I would stay here forever..

  3. Interesting read.
    It's strange when you visit a place where relatives have lived, and no more is anyone there. It's the same for me.

    1. Margaret you are right... But death is the part of our life

  4. Thank you for sharing this town's great history. Its always good to look back to old childhood memories, its just sad your relatives are gone now. Its beautiful and foggy there.

    1. Lei, childhood memories are the most important in our life