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UNUSUAL TOWER

 

One of the most characteristic structures in the Upper Silesia is an aerial tower, located at the Tarnogórska Street in Gliwice. The building complex of the radio station was built in 1935 by a German company Lorenz (co-operation: Siemens, Telefunken, and others). In the main building there are many pieces of original equipment preserved, rea­ching back to the pre-war period. The most precious object of the whole complex is, obviou­sly, the broadcasting tower, allegedly the tallest wooden structure in the world (111 m).  Care­fully conserved, protected and repaired every year, it still has – according to the scientists from the Silesian University of Technology – many years of safe functioning ahead. The tower is built of larch wood, particularly resistant to pest and atmospheric factors. The beams are combined with brass screws. There is not a single iron nail there.

 

Upon the tower about 50 aerials of various types have been installed, operating for mo­bi­le telephones networks, radio-taxi, the CCM radio station, etc. Thanks to rents paid by the users, the tower “makes its own living”. Our tower looks specially attractive in the dark. Illuminated with massive spotlights, it is well visible from a distance of many kilome­ters, and it makes everlasting impression upon its visitors. 

 

WHAT HAPPENED HERE?

 

31st of August, 1939 at 8.00 p.m., the German radio station in Gliwice was broken into by a few SS troops members in civilian clothes, claiming to be Silesian rebels. Their leader was SS-Strurmbannführer Alfred Naujocks, appointed by SS-Gruppenführer Reinhard Heydrich, the chief of the General Reich Security Office, acting on the direct order of Hitler.  The operation was top secret. Only the text of the password which Heydrich was to pass to Naujocks on the phone was determined: ”Grossmutter gestorben”. The password constituted an order to commence the operation. The aggressors terrorised the German crew and broadcast a Polish announcement: “Attention! This is Gliwice. The broad­casting station is in the Polish hands...”. The remaining part of the proclamation read out loud in that moment was not emitted due to technical errors.

 

In the radio station Franciszek Honiok, a Polish Silesian, was murdered – at present he is believed to be the first victim of the World War II. On the previous day he was arrested by Gestapo in his home village £ubie near Pyskowice. Honiok, intoxicated with drugs, was brought to the radio station as “a tin” at 8.05 p.m. He was supposed to be the proof of “the Polish guilt”. On the next day Hitler gave a speech where he justified the outbreak of war with border provocations performed allegedly by Poles.  Hitler did not mention Gliwice, but all newspapers, radios and telegraphic agencies all over the world did. The truth about the Gliwice provocation was discovered as late as during the Nuremberg case. Some details were given by Naujocks himself  http://www.footnote.com/image/232386004/1945%7CNaujocks/#232386812

 

OVERCOMING STEREOTYPES

 

In 2002 the local government of Gliwice purchased the premises from TPSA (Polish Tele­com­munications), which had been the owner of the radio station since 1945. At first it was used to broadcast the programme of the Katowice Radio and to jam Free Europe (up to 1956). Later it was a place where radio transmitters and tele­com­mu­nication equipment were produced. The structure stayed in professional and responsible hands, therefore it is preserved in such a good condition.

 

The goal of taking the radio station over was not only rendering this attractive historic monument accessible to visitors. In the neighbourhood a European Cooperation Centre will be constructed. The main concept of the Centre is briefly inscribed upon the commemo­rating plate, unveiled under the radio station tower: Remembering the past, thinking of the future.

 

However, the intention to overcome mutual prejudices between Germans and Poles does not entail historic forgetfulness in the country so greatly influenced with war. Nevertheless, it is towards the future that the main efforts of our generation are directed; the generation which decided to give new chances for development and co-operation for Poles and Germans alike, in the united Europe.

 

HOW  TO  COME  HERE

 

Everybody travelling through Bytom along the old route from Berlin to Cracow can notice the tall silhouette of the Gliwice aerial tower from a long distance. Thanks to the illumination the tower is well visible also at night. The radio station is located directly at a two-level crossing of a National Road No. 88 with the Tarnogórska Street. You cannot miss it. Cars and coaches can drive onto the plot at 129 Tarnogórska Street, bigger buses can park at the Lubliniecka Street (directly at the tower). The visit takes about 1 hour and it costs 50 PLN (100 PLN at 15.00 and later). The time of arrival with no time limitations should be set calling at the number +48  693-131-292.

Steward to the Gliwice Radio Station

Andrzej Jarczewski

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