The Watch

Kindler Chapel, Pabianice Evangelical Cemetery

Pabianice, Łódź Voivodeship, Poland

Pabianice, annexed to the neighboring city of Łódź, became a powerhouse of the Polish textile industry in the nineteenth century. Polish textile manufacturing grew thanks to sustained demand from Russia, attracting a multiethnic population of industrialists, administrators, and textile workers to the city. The names of family-owned enterprises have left a lasting legacy in the urban environment of Łódź and the textile towns surrounding the city. In Pabianice, German industrialist Rudolf Kindler left the firm of Krusche & Ender to create the second-largest textile factory in the city, bearing his name. To commemorate their prosperity the Kindler family had a new mausoleum designed and built in the city’s Lutheran cemetery in 1907-09. But because only noble families were entitled to a mausoleum, the Kindlers donated the building to the cemetery for use as a chapel instead. Designed in an architectural style that was inspired primarily by the Viennese Secession movement, the Kindler Chapel consists of a single, tall space, with stained glass windows and an apse.

The textile industry in Pabianice and Łódź endured through successive periods of political change, and its history was marked by landmark events associated with the labor movement in Poland. The industry survived nationalization, but succumbed to the loss of its eastern markets following the downfall of communism. Since then deindustrialization has brought on neglect, pessimism, and a trend of migration away from Pabianice. In response, cities are pursuing strategies of urban revitalization, such as a new urban revitalization program sponsored by the Pabianice municipal authorities in 2017. Thanks to public participation through meetings, surveys, and research walks that engaged hundreds of local citizens, the old Kindler Chapel of the Evangelical cemetery was identified as a priority for regeneration. A restored chapel would help foster greater involvement in the social life of the city and would expand citizens’ opportunities to experience and participate in local culture. With the participation of the local music society, the public conservatory, and other civic and cultural groups, the Kindler Chapel would host artistic performances and other events, as it did before its poor condition caused it to be shuttered in 2008. The 2020 World Monuments Watch seeks to support the municipal authorities, the local Evangelical-Augsburg parish, and all involved in the urban regeneration of Pabianice in their ambitious effort.

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