Above, Schloss Schwieben, Public domain, Unknown, Wikimedia Commons
Schwieben – where Hermine Bloch (geboren Kohn) was born – was in the administrative district (Kreis) Tost-Gleiwitz. This district was in the Opole region, in the province of Silesia. Werner’s family lived in an area known at the time as Upper Silesia (see notes on place names, below).
Map showing key Bloch and Weissenberg family places; Schwieben / Świbie is in yellow, top left. Source: Map edited from Google Earth Pro, Clare Weissenberg, pers. archive, copyright retained
Schwieben was a tiny village when Hermine was born in the middle of the 1800s.
To date, I have not been able to locate any information about the village, nor about our family when they were living here.
Old postcard, Schwieben. Source: image sent by email to Clare Weissenberg, pers. archive
A note on place names
The place names mentioned throughout this website may seem a little confusing. When Werner and his family lived here, the place names were in German; now, they are Polish.
In Polish, Schwieben is now Świbie, the administrative district is Gmina Wielowieś, in the province of Województwo śląskie. The area was Upper Silesia in English, Oberschlesien in German, and Górny Śląsk in Polish – located in southern Poland.
The region’s geo-political history is more complex than this suggests, but it gets us sufficiently orientated from the 1900s to the present day.
Throughout, I have tended to use the old German names primarily, because this is what is given in our family letters and documents. Where I need to locate places on a map, however, or where I feel it is otherwise helpful, I have also provided the present-day Polish names.