Only four months after my previous visit to Pszczyna I happened to be there again. This time I was showing the place to my Irish historian friend. Although the main attractions were supposed to be Pszczyna Castle and the hunting lodge in Promnice, the park surounding the castle and the folk park nearby proved to be quite interesting too. They all made great subjects for my photographs.
Pszczyna Castle and the hunting lodge in Promnice were owned by the Hochberg family. Between 1914 and 1917 they were used as the German military headquarters for the Eastern Front. Here Kaiser Wilhelm II and the ”dynamic duo” of Field Marshal Paul von Hindenburg and General Erich von Ludendorff made the most important military decisions relating to the war with Russia. The location of Pszczyna – close to both the Russian and Austro-Hungarian borders – was probably the main reason why the Hochberg’s castle was chosen for the military headquarters. Actually, the “Three Emperors’ Corner” was at the confluence of Black and White Przemsza about 30 kilometres away. The proximity to the Austrian frontier was necessary given that Austrian army was such a liability to the Germans. The multilingual nature of the Austrian army undermined its cohesion. Some nationalities (e.g. the Czechs) showed a particular lack of enthusiasm for fighting for the Habsburg Empire. Therefore, German military assistance was necessary on many ocassions. As one of German general commented “we have shackled ourselves to a corpse”.
The folk park includes old cottages, stables and farm buildings moved there from the area of Pszczyna. Visitors are able to see the interiors of some of the cottages as well as the collection of old carriages, washing equipment and a blacksmith’s workshop.