Dom Polski in Allenstein (Olsztyn)

Dom Polski with the Slavic Bank, ca. 1937
Dom Polski with the Slavic Bank, ca. 1937

Before the First World War, a series of restaurants and inns were housed in the impressive Gründerzeit building, the exterior of which has changed very little since it was built around 1885 by the entrepreneur Joachim Hosmann. In 1899, Hosmann sold the house to Otto Holzky, who opened a hotel called “Reichshof” there. In the years that followed, the building changed owner several times but the hotel, in which the Prussian General Field Marshall Albrecht of Prussia stayed the night, remained in operation, even though its name changed: In 1912, it was renamed “Central Hotel, before being changed back to “Reichshof” again a few years later.

The First World War and the enormous political, economic and social changes that went with it also manifested themselves in the garrison town, which until that time had been a quiet provincial town. The house in Bahnhofstraße was to become the focal point of German-Polish relationships, or rather the lack of them. In 1920, the building was bought by the authorities of the Second Republic of Poland that was created in 1918 and parts of the building were repurposed to become the headquarters of the Polish Plebiscite Committee. The hotel kept operating as an “international” hotel under the new owners.  

On 22 June 1920, the Treaty of Versailles was adopted by the National Assembly of the newly founded Weimar Republic: According to the provisions of the Treaty, Poland – which had been divided between the German Reich, Austria-Hungary and Russia since 1795 – became an internationally recognised and independent republic to which the German Reich had to make territorial concessions. The Treaty of Versailles, which was perceived as a “dictatorial peace”, was rejected by all levels of German society. In May 1919, the left-wing politician, pacifist and anti-war protestor Hugo Haase from Olsztyn wrote:

“As an East Prussian, I would particularly like to point out the violation which has been wrought on the people of this province ... For almost 40 years, I, along with the residents of this territory that is now to be torn away from the German Reich, have never thought about a separation, never wished an association with another folk; it is simply pushed like a lifeless mass onto another state through an act of violence.”[1]


[1]   Andreas Kossert: Ostpreussen, Geschichte und Mythos, p. 218

Media library
  • Bahnhofstraße in Allenstein, ca. 1900

    Hotel Reichshof on the right, postcard
  • Dom Polski at the time of the plebiscite, 1920

    Dom Polski at the time of the plebiscite, 1920
  • Dom Polski with the Slavic Bank, ca. 1937

    Dom Polski with the Slavic Bank, ca. 1937
  • Reconstruction of Dom Polski, 1979

    Reconstruction of Dom Polski, 1979
  • Dom Polski in Olsztyn, 2023

    Dom Polski in Olsztyn, 2023