Žigo Wertheimer’s house

Republiky Street No. 10

The part of Žilina around Ulica republiky is known to locals as Závažie, or Na Závaží. It covers the area from the River Váh to the present day Hlinka Square and includes streets such as Národná, Štefánikova, Milcova and Pivovarská. The building of houses on Ulica republiky began in earnest in the 1920s. Before then it was an area of fields and pasture by the Všivák Brook and three ponds fed by the free-flowing springs at Studničky.

One of the most important buildings in this neighbourhood was built by Ing. Žigo Wertheimer. He was born in 1896 in the nearby village of Divinka and moved to Žilina in 1906 to study at the Hungarian Royal State Grammar School. He passed his school leaving exams in 1914 and continued his studies at university, where he earned a degree in civil engineering. He returned to Žilina and set up home with his brother, the lawyer JUDr. Július Wertheimer at what is now Ulica republiky 8. In 1927 he was granted a licence to design houses in Žilina. From 1928 to 1932 his studio employed Alojz Jesch who would go on to become an important civil engineer and designer. Although his licence to design buildings was suspended in 1941, he was such an important and outstanding designer that he continued to design many important buildings.
In 1937, when he was still living at his brother’s house, he bought a vacant lot for 135,000 crowns and in 1938 he and his wife Júlia (née Wittmannová) built the four-storey house mentioned earlier based on his own design. The building was approved by Žilina District Office on 15 October 1938 and built by Ing. Vojtech Friedner’s construction firm. The original plans made in August 1938 were amended in September 1938.
The house’s raised basement had a garage with an entrance from what was then Ulica 28. októbra, the central heating boiler, a drying room, storerooms and a kitchen with a room for the caretaker. The raised ground floor housed the owner’s four-room flat and studio. On the next floor there were 4 rooms, a maid’s room, a kitchen, toilets and two balconies. There were two flats with amenities on the top floor. The building received its occupancy certificate on 11 February 1939. There were also tenants in the Wertheimers’ house – the Feiner family, the family of notary Jozef Buček and the Grigar family.
In the period from 1941 to 1945, the house was under national administration although Wertheimer continued to use the studio on the ground floor while the administrator of the building, Mikuláš Schestág-Šesták, the town builder and one of the co-designers of the town market building. From July 1945, the building was returned to the administration of its original owner, who had renamed himself Žigmund Vavrín-Wertheimer. In 1947 the national administration order for the house was cancelled and the property was returned to Žigmund Vavrín and his wife. The house is currently in private ownership and has been totally reconstructed with two new floors added. It is mainly used for dwelling purposes but also contains a shop. Per-floor heating has replaced the original central heating and the garage on the left of the building now provides a closable passage to the private car park in the yard behind the building.
Vavrín-Wertheimer’s extensive activities included the design of family houses, hotels, factories, airports and other large buildings. He participated in the competition for the construction of the Neolog Synagogue in Žilina, the competition for Ruzyn Airport in Prague and in the years after the Second World War he designed for Slovena Žilina. After 1945 he designed factory buildings for a cotton mill in Ružomberok, for works in Liptovský Mikuláš and Nižná nad Oravou and for the paper works in Harmanec. He designed several buildings in Čadca, a school in Kysucké Nové Mesto and other buildings. In Žilina he designed the Astoria Hotel, the trade union building on Štefánik Square and houses for Samuel Popper and Jozef Krupec amongst others. As a functionary of the Jewish religious community and a construction specialist, he acted as the professional supervisor of construction of the Neolog Synagogue in Žilina between 1929 and 1931, during which the only surviving photograph of him was probably taken.
Žigmund Vavrín-Wertheimer was also a member of the sports club in Žilina. He died in Žilina on 26 June 1956 and was buried in the town’s Jewish cemetery.

Source: Mgr. Peter Štanský and Milan Novák

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

Position of the monument on the map: C4

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