Samuel Wittenberg’s house

Bratislavská Street No. 7

The original name of the road in the address of Samuel Wittenberg’s house was Framborská cesta (Frambor Road). When visitors hear this name, they often wonder what or who Frambor could be. During the middle ages, many parts of modern Žilina were separate settlements that often had not only Slovak but also German names, which reminds us to this day that the town was settled not just by Slavonic peoples but also by Germans from the vicinity of Cieszyn in Silesia. The word Frambor is thought to derive from a combination of two German words: Frei (free, at liberty) and Berg (hill, mountain), written together as Freiberg. In the colloquial speech of the townspeople of Žilina, this gradually mutated into Frambor. Freiberg/Frambor was a territory that was initially exempted from taxes and fees (in this sense “frei”), which belonged to the estate of Žilina’s hereditary lord or richtár. In the 16th century the town bought out the hereditary rights and assets of its feudal lord, including the land of Frambor. The town used it for agricultural purposes and in 1907 a horticultural centre was established here by Bulgarian gardeners.

When the Bratislava–Žilina railway was completed in 1883 terminating at Nová Žilina (New Žilina) station, a colony for railway workers was built followed by other dwellings and, in 1906, a confectionary factory and steam bath. In 1908 the factory became Weider Brothers’ Confectionary and Chocolate Factory. In 1914 Samuel Wittenberg of Bytča bought the factory and made some structural modifications to convert it into a match factory. The products of the Wittenberg and Son Match Factory were well known not just in Slovakia but also abroad. The products were identified by the W.S. trademark that was stuck to the match boxes. These stickers also included the name of Žilina, so the factory promoted the town’s good name. The match factory shut down in 1945 when it was nationalised and its production relocated to Ružomberok.
In 1924 factory owner Samuel Wittenberg decided that he ought to live closer to the plant. he therefore bought a vacant lot on the corner of today’s Hollého and Bratislavská Streets from the town for 57,000 crowns. The house was designed by the important functionalist architect Fridrich Weinwurm (1885–1942). He completed a plan for a functionalist building – still a rarity in Žilina – at his Bratislava studio on 20 July 1924 and it was granted a building permit by the district office on 01 September 1924. The house was built by the Žilina construction firm of Armin Windholz and completed on 07 July 1925. In the basement of the house there was a central heating boiler and storerooms. On the ground floor there was a terrace, a large dining room, a gentleman’s study, the kitchen, the maid’s room, a cloakroom and sanitary facilities. On the first floor there were bedrooms, a living room and sanitary facilities.

After the death of Samuel Wittenberg, the house passed to his son Dezider Wittenberg, who also managed the match factory. His three sisters also had a share in the ownership. From 1941 to 1945 the house and the factory were in state administration. In 1947 Dezider Wittenberg became the sole owner again because his sisters had died in the Holocaust. In 1949 he sold the house to the Valášek and Závodský families. The house is now privately owned.

The two-storey house with concrete foundations, made of brick with a slate roof, with a partial basement and an outdoor terrace is inscribed in the list of historic monuments of the Town of Žilina under no. 09.

Source: Mgr. Peter Štanský a Milan Novák

It can be visited
exterior during a guided tour of TIO Žilina.

Position of the monument on the map: A3

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