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“Great Lviv” by Godzimir Malachowski

Yevhen Huliuk



Дата публікації

The history of Lviv, in general, is quiet water. However, there were also storms in it. The decade at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, when Godzimir Malachowski was the president of the city, can be considered a positive upheaval.

He lost his parents at an early age but managed to get a thorough education, make a brilliant career, and leave a deep mark in the history of Lviv. This trace has been covered with the dust of history. That’s why we have to excavate it – just like the priceless treasure of human civilization, known today as the Egyptian pyramids, were once cleared from the sands. Godzimir Malachowski is also worthy to be talked more about him. Why? Let’s have a look!

Ґодзімір Малаховський - галицький юрист та політик

Young years. Joy embraced grief

Godzimir Malachowski is a native of Lviv. He was born on October 31, 1852, in the family of an impoverished nobleman. The parents of the hero of this text died early. With the help of his guardian, Malachowski successfully graduated from the Lviv University Faculty of Law and became a Doctor of Sciences. Already in his student years, he was noted for his activity.

Malachowski married successfully. His father-in-law was a well-known lawyer and director of the Galician Saving Bank. He handed over his law office to his son-in-law. Under Malachowski, an excellent orator, and expert in jurisprudence, this bureau became one of the best in Lviv. Malachowski became a member of the Lviv Society of Lawyers, he was also known in the Viennese advocate community.  

At the same time, Godzimir Malachowski was engaged in creative work. He is the author of many kinds of research and articles on legal topics, regularly published in specialized magazines. Malachowski wrote the history of the Galician Savings Bank, an institution where he worked for a long time.

Будівля Галицької Ощадної каси
Galician Savings Bank on a postcard of 1914. Photo from the archives of the Center for Urban History of East Central Europe.

Read more: Lviv French and the first Freemasons in the city. The family of Lenshan de Berier

Ґодзімір Малаховський - галицький правник, політик, президент Львова

Elevator to the top

At the end of the 19th century, Malachowski was a well-known figure in Lviv and Vienna. He became even more famous after the National Exhibition of 1894, which he co-organized. The wide road to the future turned into a highway for him. In 1896, Malachowski became a deputy of the Galician Рarliament and remained a deputy until he died in 1908. In the Рarliament, he was a member of the budget and railway commissions and took care of improving working conditions and the position of teachers. As for the latter, from 1897 – 1905, Malachowski was the head of the City School Council of Lviv, during 1898 – 1908 he headed the Pedagogical Society. As a good strategist, he understood the significance of education and science for society.  

In 1904, Malachowski became a member of parliament in Vienna. He headed the industrial commission and worked on an oil production bill there. The latter is not accidental because Galicia was among the world leaders in oil production at that time. Malachowski also dealt with trade issues and reforming the judicial system in Vienna.

Будівля Галицького Сейму
The building of the Galician Sejm. Photo from the archives of the Center for Urban History of East Central Europe.
Пам'ятник Адаму Міцкевичу у Львові. Фото з архіву Центру міської історії.

President of Lviv

Malachowski became a deputy of the Lviv City Council in 1892. He dealt with financial, legal, and organizational issues. At the same time, he worked on the new Lviv City Council statute. He was the first President of Lviv (1896 – 1905), who took office after the innovations. This period can be considered a calm before the storm of the Great War, but also a time of development and modernization. It is called “the end of the century”/“fin de siècle” in European history. These trends are completely inherent in Lviv.  

During Malachowski’s ten-year tenure as the President of Lviv, an Оpera Theatre was opened, and a monument was erected to King Jan Sobieski, as poets Mickiewicz and Ujejski, playwright Fredro and governor Goluchowski.  

The electric transport network was also expanded, and the construction of the Mikolasz Passage and the Art and Industrial Museum was completed. Not all of the above is only his merit.

However, it is often the completion of significant projects that is the biggest challenge. The following can be stated: Lviv before and after Malachowski are two differences. There were no doubts – he left us a modern and European city.    

Пасаж Міколяша у Львові
Mikolasz Passage 1901-1907. Photo from the archives of the Center for Urban History of East Central Europe.
Будинок на вул. Т. Костюшка. Фото з архіву Центру міської історії Центрально Східної Європи.

Familiar with Malachowski

Godzimir Malachowski, his wife Marcelia, and their children lived in Lviv at 20 T. Kostiushka Street. Lviv government officials, intellectuals, and artists often gathered there. The Malachowski family owned other houses in the city; they had plots of land outside Lviv. When the head of the family became a member of the parliament in Vienna, the family did not move to the capital but stayed in Lviv.

They were engaged in charity work. For example, they founded the association “Parent’s Union”, which maintained 14 care homes attached to the schools. The children were fed, helped with their homework, and provided with the necessary literature.

Godzimir Malachowski set a very ambitious goal – to turn Lviv into a modern European capital. All his activities should be viewed through this prism. Compared to Malachowski’s services to the city, we talk very little about this person and his actions today. Fortunately, the situation was different with his contemporaries.

This president of Lviv, a great benefactor of the city, was buried at the Lychakiv Cemetary. In the obituary, they wrote that Godzimir Malachowski “was brought up in Lviv, lived in Lviv, and worked for Lviv”. 

Read more: Lviv City Hall in the church and Jesus in vyshyvanka, or the unique world of Yulian Butsmaniuk


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