The destruction of the historical evidence of Silesian industrial history prompted the architect, industrial heritage expert and president of the Polish TICCIH Committee, Piotr Gerber, to establish the "Foundation for the Preservation of Silesia's Industrial Heritage" in 2007. Now it has been awarded the Silesian Cultural Award in Wroclaw. The accolade is not only highly deserved, it also signals the great value of Silesia's industrial heritage and its need for protection.
Poland and particularly Silesia are currently undergoing a process of economic changes, initiated by the social and economic reforms at the end of the 20th century. One of the consequences is the liquidation of many historic industrial branches, in some cases entire industrial districts. The Foundation addresses this development with research on the industrial history of Silesia, hands-on protection of the tangible industrial heritage and education on the economic factors underlying the threat to industrial relics.
The most important activity of the Foundation is the protection of specific technical monuments characteristic of Silesia. The protection is mainly carried out by converting the object in question into a museum. Currently, the Foundation operates the Silesian Railway Museum in Jaworzyna Śląska - an ERIH anchor point - established in 2005, as well as the Zinc Rolling Mill in Szopienice-Katowice, opened in 2016. Other museums are in preparation, including the Silesian Porcelain Museum in Tułowice near Opole, the Museum of Agricultural Techniques in Piotrowice Śląskie near Świdnica, the Railway Museum in Dzierżoniów as a branch of the Museum in Jaworzyna Śląska, and the former Hilbert flour factory in Dzierżoniów.
The Silesian Cultural Award has been bestowed by the federal state of Lower Saxony since 1977. The prize is intended to recognise the achievements of artists and culture professionals who either come from Silesia themselves or whose award-winning work is related to Silesia. In addition, the prize can be awarded for special contributions to the preservation, further development and dissemination of the cultural heritage of Silesia.
Foundation for the Protection of Silesian Industrial Heritage