Nowogród Bobrzański Commune

The forests in Nowogród Bobrzański Commune hide the remnants of an ominous past, namely the ruins of one of the biggest arms factories in Europe.

It was built by forced labourers and prisoners of war. They were brought here from various corners of Europe by a firm from Troisdorf - Dynamit-Aktien Gesellshaft (DAG for short), known formerly as Alfred Nobel & Co. In the Third Reich times DAG was one of the three most important producers of explosives. The factory, hidden deep in the backwoods near Krzystkowice (which is part of Nowogród Bobrzański) employed from 20,000 to 30,000 people. Some witnesses would even talk about 40,000 workers. The facory used to produce TNT, nitrocellulose powder (white gunpowder), initiating materials and, probably, RDX (cyclonite). It also developed prototypes of new ammunition. On the area of 170 km², 520 buildings were erected connected with hard-paved roads, a network of railways, turnouts, sidings and receiving ramps. Also, two water intakes were built on the Bóbr river, deep water wells, sewer interceptors and a power grid.

When, in March 1945, Russians were coming close to the factory in Krzystkowice, Germans hurriedly disassembled the machinery and transported it to the main factory in Troisdorf. Whatever had been left behind was taken over by Russians. Today in the forests along the Nowogród Bobrzański – Lubsko route one can see ferroconcrete structures, fragments of buildings and bunkers. One is strongly advised, however, against exploring this dangerous area single-handedly. The area of the former arms factory should only be visited with a guide!

There are two walking trails leading through Nowogród Bobrzański Commune: the green trail takes you from Żagań, through Dobroszów Mały, Nowogród Bobrzański, Podgórzyce, Wysoka to Krosno Odrzańskie. The black one runs from Zielona Góra through Buchałów, Drzonów, Bogaczów to Podgórzyce. There is also a cycling trail leading from Nowa Wieś, through Nowogród Bobrzański to Brzeźnica. Kayakers may hold a rally down the Bóbr river, from Lwówek Śląski to Krzywaniec. Also for horse-riders special trails have been prepared: from Nowogród Bobrzański, through Dobroszów Mały to Złotnik; from Nowogród Bobrzański to Bronków; and from Nowogród Bobrzański, through Drągowina to Przybymierz. For the enthusiasts of didactic-historic paths one trail had been prepared from Niwiska to the Forest Division in Nowa Sól.

Driving down the national road 27 from Zielona Góra to Nowogród Bobrzański, just before the town on the left side of the road in the forest one can see a stone obelisk which commemorates a tragedy from 270 years ago. In was here that on June 17, 1739, a group of Russian soldiers murdered a Swedish diplomat. It was baron Malcolm von Sinclair, a Scot by birth, who, as a Member of Parliament, was returning from Constantinople to Sweden with secret documents. The news of this tragic event reverberated throughout Europe also because the killing took place in the territory of neutral Austria (at that time Nowogród Bobrzański lied within its borders). The event was also mentioned in Frederick I’s, the King of Sweden’s, proclamation when, in 1741, he was declaring war on Russia. In 1909, at the place of the tragedy the inhabitants of Nowogród Bobrzański erected a monument, which had survived until the end of World War II. Then, it was completely destroyed. Thanks to the efforts of the commune’s authorities, the Embassy of Sweden in Warsaw and the Sinclair family, the monument was unveiled again in 2002. In the ceremony participated the representatives of the Sinclair family dressed in traditional kilts, the acting minister of the Swedish Embassy in Warsaw, guests from Germany and Sweden and local residents. With the Scottish bagpipes playing, some whisky was poured to the base of the monument so that the major’s soul lacked nothing ‘in the afterlife’. The obelisk is being cared for by the pupils of the local junior high school.

The following monuments are worth seeing in the commune: the manor house and the palace in Bogaczów, now in private hands. The manor dates from the second half of the 16th c. Originally a Renaissance structure, in late 17th c. the manor underwent major reconstruction, which left it Baroque in style. After World War II, it was property of the State Farming Enterprise. The palace was erected in the 16th c. on a plan of a rectangle. It then underwent two major reconstructions: in the 18th c. - changing its style into Baroque and in the 19th c. – making it Neo-Baroque with elements of Neo-Rococo. In Niwiska there is a palace complex from the 16th c. It is situated in the south-western part of the village, by the Zielona Góra – Żagań road. In 1753, to keep abreast of the times, the complex was completely reconstructed to make it Baroque in style. Now it is private property. In Kamionka one is recommended to visit a manor and farm complex situated in the northern part of the village. It consists of the main residence with a park and the yard with farming buildings. The manor house, situated in the centre of the complex, constitutes its architectural dominant.

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The remnants of one of the biggest arms factories in Europe (DAG) near Nowogród Bobrzański

The remnants of one of the biggest arms factories in Europe (DAG) near Nowogród Bobrzański

The remnants of one of the biggest arms factories in Europe (DAG) near Nowogród Bobrzański

The remnants of one of the biggest arms factories in Europe (DAG) near Nowogród Bobrzański

The Ethnographic Museum - Ochla

In Ochla ( Zielona Góra Commune ) there is the vigorously functioning Ethnographic Museum in Zielona Góra, commonly known as ‘the open-air skansen’.