Secession house of the Žilina advocate JUDr. Arpád Braun and his wife Ida Wiesnerová is one of the most beautiful buildings at Andrej Hlinka Square. This important representative of the Jewish orthodox community was born in Žilina in 1877. He was studying at the local folk school, secondary grammar school in Žilina, secondary grammar school and legal faculty in Budapest and Kluž in today Romania, where he was awarded an academic degree.
After demolishing two smaller bungalows on one of the most attractive plots in the town, a construction of a house according to the design prepared in 1909 by Izidor Szerdahelyi was supposed to begin in 1911.
However, the firm of Jozef Junek started building the house only on 18 May 1914, when the building permit was issued, and the construction was not completed until 1920. From 1914 to 1920 wooden scaffolding was standing around the house. A new building permit was issued and the building company of Jozef Nosko completed the house in 1921. On 17 November the final building approval was issued.
The lengthy construction process was caused by a dispute about the building line and a dispute with the previous land owners, what was a very unusual situation for that period. It was difficult to determine the building line of the house at the interface of three forming streets – Farské schody (Parsonage stairs), today Hlinka Square and the connection street of Kálovská Street. The streets were only being formed and 146 m2 of the Braun family’s plots were nationalised for such purpose. Plots of other owners were nationalised as well in order to make space for a new road connecting the today Národná Street, Hlinka Square, Kálov and Hurbanova Street.
As the designed building was rather big, Arpád Braun ordered a structural review by the firm of Fischmann from Budapest. The house had a cellar with 4 rooms and three floors. Xylolite floor was made on the first floor, since a pharmacy was going to be there. However, there were only commercial premises, warehouses, offices and a social facility. On the second floor there were 5 rooms, a kitchen, two larders and social facilities; on the third floor there were 9 rooms, 2 kitchens, larders and two social facilities.
It is interesting that there was a guard cabin of the town police in front of the house that was demolished at the request of JUDr. Braun in 1921. In 1928 the cellars and lighting were reconstructed according to the design by arch. Zweigenthal. Large commercial premises on the ground floor of the house were used especially by banks. Moravská banka (Moravian bank) from 1922, Moravsko-slovenská banka (Moravian-Slovak bank) after 1930 and from 1939 Slovenská ľudová banka (Slovak folk bank) and Dunajská banka (Danube bank). Also business firms and individuals resided in the house: Abbey Eugen – a wood shop, dentist Dezider Klein, Rudolf Preiss Odevy (a clothing shop), shoe shop Policky – Riecker – Popper, Nehera clothing services, A. Singer, Bohdan Dratva dental technician and many others. The Braun family also lived in the house. The house owners were dragged off to a concentration camp in 1942, where they died. In 1942 the house was nationalised and a big part of it – the basement, the second and the third floor – were hired by the Crew Military Headquarters in Žilina until 1947. In 1945 the local management of the Slovak Communist Party (KSS) resided in the house. In 1949 the title to the house was transferred to Signa Ševecová, a niece of Ida Braunová, but in 1962 the house was nationalised again.
From 1949 various shops were operating in the ground floor: grocery’s, game weapons shop and shoe shop Baťa – Šimovany (later the Žilina shoe shop and shoe shop Partizánske). In 1959 the ground floor was reconstructed, interior partition walls were demolished and only the shoe shop remained in the whole premises. Later it was transferred into the first self-service shoe shop in the town. At the beginning of the 90’s it was cancelled and replaced by a shop of Odevy Prostějov (Clothing Prostějov). At present there is the seat of Československá obchodná banka (bank).
Source: Mgr. Peter Štanský and Milan Novák
It can be visited
■ exterior during a guided tour of TIO Žilina.
Position of the monument of the map: B4