Szczecin that No Longer Exists

The exhibition composes the pre-war city of scarce fragments and in surviving memorabilia it searches for the spirits of its residents from the times of rapid growth, when each field of life was accompanied by progress and improvement.  


At the end of the nineteenth century the capital of Pomeranian Province was becoming a modern city with developed network of public transport, extraordinary restaurants, splendorous department stores and public facilities like cinemas, theatres, concert halls or museums. The city relatively quickly developed its centre with glamorous buildings along broad streets and large squares, with numerous schools, green areas and stately complex named Hakenterrasse (present Wały Chrobrego) which has been attracting strollers up to this day. 

The change of the city panorama was noticed by numerous painters, who found lively harbour and the Oder River bank particularly attractive. The views by Fritz Hans Modrow, Wilhelm Hoffman, Willy Stöwer and other artists presented at the exhibition make it possible to understand what were the most important themes of the city life of that time. An eye-catching wrok of art is "Harbour in Szczecin" signed JR initials, painted in 1899. With extraordinary accuracy it presents riggings, sail sewings and details by which some of the vessels may be identified. he mood of pre-war Szczecin has been captured also by views of the Old Town which may be found in paintings by Helene Runge ("View of the Castle Tower”) or Oswald Polte ("Hay Market in Szczecin”).

Apart from the harbour and the shipyard, large industrial plants appeared in the cityscape. They included "Kraft” ironworks, or J. Gollnow steel company. Stoewer factory, that had been known in Germany on account of its excellent sewing machines, typewriters or bicycles, developed in the automobile market. Brewing developed locally, dominated by "Borisch”, "Elysium” and "Bergschloss” brands, called "The Three Kings". Beside the large ones, numerous small companies existed in Szczecin, responding to demanding needs of the citizens, like goldsmith Wilhelm Schellmann's jewellery shop. 

Szczecin of the turn of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries was a charming city, the inhabitants of which created and surrounded themselves with art and artistic everyday items. Seemingly random set of everyday use objects presented on the exhibition is a trace of those for whom Szczecin had been the house for generations as well as those who had arrived here looking for job or success in business.  

The sign of the city prosperity were fountains founded in 1898 near the City Hall of the time, having rich representative sculpture, designed by Ludwig Manzel. Its central part was a statue of mythic Sedina, personifying the Hanseatic City of Stettin. The sculpture has been lost since World War II. Its bronze model is presently a landmark of Museum exposition, par excellence symbolizing Szczecin that no longer exists.