Sokołowsko Sanatorium Dr Brehmera

The first mention of Sokołowska appears in 1357 as an existing village probably founded by the Benedictine Order in Broumov. Until the end of the 15th century, Sokołowsko had several owners.

In 1509, Sokołowsko, together with the southern part of the Duchy of Świdnica was purchased by Count von Hochberg, who founded the ancestral seat in Książ. Until the mid-19th century, Sokołowsko did not differ much from other villages in the Hochberg family. A change in the fate of the village took place in 1849, when count von Colomb. Delighted by the landscape, Sokołowska persuaded her brother-in-law, Dr. Hermann Brehmer to create a spa that cures Vincent Priessnitz using the hydrotherapy method.

In 1855, the world’s first specialist tuberculosis sanatorium was opened in Sokołowsko, which used an innovative method of climatic and dietary treatment. Following the example of Sokołowska, a tuberculosis treatment center was established in Davos. Later on, Sokołowsko was called the “Silesian Davos”, although Davos should be called the “Swiss Sokołowski”. Prof. Alfred Sokołowski. In 1945, the village was named after him.

The spa was not cheap, but it was well developed – before 1888 it had a post office and telephone connections. In 1887, 730 patients stayed here. Dr. Tytus Chałubiński’s stay in Sokołowsko indirectly resulted in his interest in Zakopane, as he began searching for an area similar to this health resort in order to organize the same tuberculosis treatment center in Poland.

After World War II, a health resort with an anti-tuberculosis profile remained here. Under the pressure of Dr. Stanisław Domina, the treatment profile was changed towards the treatment of respiratory diseases. In the 1970s, the village began to be transformed into a winter sports center for the needs of Wałbrzych clubs, and ultimately the Provincial Winter Sports Center was to be established. However, due to the lack of financial resources, not everything was realized. Only the cross-country trails (including roller ski runs) remained, which were included in the Gwarków Run. In recent years, the spa has been going through a regression based on the general economic crisis. After World War II, the status of the village of Sokołowsko was not obtained until the beginning of the 21st century.

In 2007, the facility of the former Dr. Brehmer Sanatorium was purchased by the In Situ Contemporary Art Foundation, which is now creating the International Cultural Laboratory.

The longer history of Sokołowska….

According to a little-known legend, the beginnings of the village were to be associated with cattle breeders who, in search of new pastures, found a beautiful fertile clearing, full of herbs and flowers, located in a deep valley surrounded by steep mountain slopes, in the middle of the ancient Sudeten Forest.

The first settlement in the area of ​​today’s Sokołowska and its vicinity appeared at the turn of the 13th and 14th centuries. The habitats were situated on both banks of the stream flowing through the town. Their traces are most clearly visible in the eastern part of the village. From around 1400, the name of the town – Görbersdorf (Goerbersdorff, 1357) – was mentioned many times in documents in connection with the nearby Radosno (Ferudenschloß) knight’s castle. This name probably came from the name of one of the knights residing in the castle. In the years 1426-1428, the surrounding areas were plundered by the Hussites, who attacked the monastery in Krzeszów, the Ferudenschloß castle and nearby towns. The Hussites’ attacks and robberies lasted until 1443, and no trace of the surrounding peasant farms was left.

The events of the Thirty Years’ War brought further devastation in the years 1623 – 1624, and the plague in the years 1633 – 1634. The first mention of Görbersdorf comes from 1636, contained in a report by Hans Heinrich Hochberg of Książ, the owner of the village, prepared for the emperor. Hochberg notifies the new ruler that after the war only four remained out of nine farms, out of 228 cows and nine horses, 3 cows and one horse remained. In 1644, the Swedish army seized Książ, the owner of which took refuge in Görbersdorf in the house of the village administrator.
During the Silesian wars, the surrounding areas were plundered by both imperial and Prussian armies. In 1745, the head of Görbersdorf was captured by the imperial army, and the village had to pay a large ransom for his release. In 1807 a skirmish with Napoleon’s army took place near the town, on the so-called Blitzengrund (Lugovina).

At the beginning of the 19th century, there were 14 peasant farms in Görbersdorf. The town belonged to the Hochbergs. According to Knie in his book from 1845, the village was inhabited by 315 people, including 7 Catholics. The village had 64 houses and was a free village council. At that time, there were two water mills, two Dutch windmills, one distillery, 10 cotton weaving looms and 13 linen looms. 10 craftsmen were active. As the above data shows, it was a relatively well developed town. A radical change in rural development took place after 1849. In the summer of that year Marshal Blücher’s niece, Maria von Colomb, purchased the so-called Mühlengrundstück from the Hochbergs, on which she set up a cold water treatment facility the following year. Maria von Colomb intended to settle not only Görbersdorf, but also the surrounding villages. On Maria’s order, the villagers prepared their houses in the style of Gräfenberg. Simultaneously, “duche” (showers) were opened in Blitzengrund (Lugovina), 2 kilometers from Görbersdorf, where patients were transported three times a day. Despite efforts, the plant did not bring any income and, as a consequence, in 1854 Maria von Colomb went to prison for debts, and the plant was taken over by her young brother-in-law, Brehmer, for a small sum.

Hermann Brehmer was born in 1826 near Strzelin as the son of an official. He attended schools in Wrocław, in 1847 he began studying mathematics and natural science at the University of Wrocław. He was also interested in astronomy and botany. As a result of very active participation in the events of the Spring of Nations, he had to leave Wrocław. According to some reports, he was supposed to be hiding in the Sudetes at that time. He also visited health resorts, incl. Gräfonberg, where he met his future wife, sister Maria von Colomb. He then went to Berlin, where he met Alexander Humboldt. In Berlin, he initially studied botanical and then medical. The latter at the instigation of Dr. Schönlein, the court physician of King Frederick William IV. In 1853, Brehmer obtained his doctorate on the basis of the thesis entitled “Uber die Gesetze der Entsthung und das Fortschreitens der Tuberkuloze der Lungen”. From 1854 to 1858, together with Maria von Colomb, he ran a institute of natural medicine in Görbersdorf. In 1859, thanks to the protection of Professor Schönlein, he obtained a license from the Prussian government to run a treatment facility for lung patients according to his own method.

In his doctoral dissertation, Brehmer included the basic assumptions of his method. He pointed out that the high temperature and southern climate are definitely unfavorable for lung patients. On the other hand, elevation above sea level plays a positive role. In his practice, Brehmer emphasized climatic treatment through “fresh mountain air”. The treatment involved a lot of exercise in the fresh air, also with the use of special breathing exercises, called “pulmonary gymnastics”. Adequate and plentiful nutrition was equally important, including eating, apart from meat, also large amounts of vegetables.

Izabela, volunteer of European Solidarity Corps in In Situ Foundation in Sokolowsko.This project is co-funded by European Solidarity Corps.#EuropeanSolidarityCorps

Author: European Volunteers in Poland

A blog curated by volunteers taking part in European Solidarity Corps initiative in Poland and coordinated by Active Woman Association

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