Bruenn - history of a town
It is known,
that people don't care much about the past or it's historic dates. This might be quite
correct, in regard to school teaching, since the method of presenting it, is mostly boring
and limited to historical numbers. Some people barely remember their grandparents
and nothing further back from history. The great Statesman Winston Churchill once said
though:" To look far back will make it possible, to see far ahead." Surely, he must have
known, what he was talking about. Therefore, - let us in the spirit of Churchill - look
briefly back into the century old history of this city.
During the 12th and 13th Century, long before the Europeans discovered the American
Continent, German settlers arrived in Bohemia, Moravia and in Bruenn.
The place developed in short time to a well organized community. Later on, some wars
broke out. The War of the Hussites started in the 15th century, after the religious
reformer Jan Hus was executed 1415 during the council in Constance. Calm, productive
years followed, until the Thirty Years War brought new destructions and misery for the
whole land, including Bruenn.
Everything that had been rebuilt since the last war, became ruined and destroyed again.
It was a religious war between the Catholics and the Protestants. One of the war
consequences was the Plague, which snatched away over 2000 inhabitants of Bruenn in
a short period of time. Needless to say, the city recovered and flourished again, thanks
to the visionary young Emperor Josef II, who from 1760 - 1790 carried out several
reforms. Cloisters were dissolved and religious tolerance imposed.
In 1850 Bruenn's population was 37.500 with a german majority and german a
dministration and everything developed in splendor. The old fortifications were levelled,
the streets were lighted and paved, the industry experienced a sudden advancement.
There were two directions , which substantiated the wealth: The textile industry
(weaving mills and cloth mills) and the machinery industry. Both branches were
established mostly by Germans and Jews. Bruenn developed also a rich cultural
scenery and the Comunal theatre was the first theatre in whole Europe with electric
illumination. It was set into operation by Edison himself.
When the Austrian Monarchy fell apart after WWI (1918), Czechoslovakia
established and with that, Bruenn experienced again great improvements. For the first
time in history the majority of the inhabitants and therefore also the administration
Unfortunately nationalistic tensions between the Germans and Czechs influenced
everybody's life. In 1939 Hitler occupied Czechoslovakia with his troops. The pure
German border regions were annexed to Germany in 1938. Bruenn obtained again a
German administration. Because of the sudden outbreak of WWII, it was impossible to
make any progress for the development of the city.
After the end of the war, all German inhabitants of the city were expelled. More about
it, in the chapter "The Deathmarch of the German population".