::           Opening The Town Hall Tower 17.11.2012          

Municipal Councillor a Thief


Source: A. Dobkiewicz
A head embedded in the hall of the building is supposed to originate from a statue placed in the old days on the tower and presenting municipal councillor - the thief.

It is said that in the old times in „Townhouse Under Golden Countryman” (Rynek 8) there resided the municipal councillor (with his surname being Zechli) who while being alchemist was unsuccessfully looking for methods to change various substances into gold. A legend published as early as in 1667 and translated from German by the director of the Museum of Old Commerce Wiesław Rośkowicz describes the alchemist's life.

It is generally said that something peculiar occurred in Świdnica. A municipal councillor residing opposite town hall basement appropriated gold from municipal treasury to himself. In order to satisfy his greed he trained the jackdaw in such a way that in the evening it flew through broken window or through open grated window into old town hall chamber and took one or even more golden coins. The coins were not closed in a casket as it was believed that the room was sufficiently safe and were left on the table. When finally a huge lack of money was noticed the councillors started to suspect one another. Therefore one night they left one of them in the closed town hall chamber in order to await a thief. After the sunset the jackdaw flew and behaved as it was trained. It flew through the window, took a golden coin and headed towards the councillor's house mentioned above. When the deceit was finally noticed on the table in the chamber several marked coins were left and then they were taken by the flying messenger. Then the council gathered in the boardroom in order to make a decision what kind of punishment should be applied to a councillor who steals common good. The guilty councillor also participated in the session and as he did not know what the aim of the session was he expressed the following opinion: „The one who dares to reduce public income should go underground from the highest terrace of the Town Hall Tower or die of starvation in the terrace.

Afterwards the municipal police was sent to guilty councillor's house where not only the trained jackdaw was found but also marked golden coins. The above-mentioned councillor who was an old man – as presented by stone sculpture preserved until today – had a big rounded beard which was then regarded as the symbol of extraordinary pride and he submitted himself to the punishment he determined voluntarily and patiently. Due to his old age people even wanted to mitigate the punishment. This is a terrible story which is worth to remember! An old man who, was highly respected after delivering the judgement, headed towards terrace of the Town Hall Tower in the presence of hundreds of people.

His children were despairing when they had to look at their old and beloved father who was exposed to insults and disgrace. The sadness of his terrified wife who had to look at and mourn a part of her heart when her husband was exposed to laughter! Miserable sinner who passed a sentence on himself was overfilled with anxiety of death. However he managed to go down under the terrace to reach the stone balustrade trembling and fearing. There he was so hungry that he was eating his own body concurrently atoning for his sins and on the 10th day he died.

When the poor orphans with their mother , overhelmed by sadness who lived with him in unity for many years and with whom she had five children, saw father and husband as he was eating his own body as he was hungry were not able to help him. As was mentioned above on the 10th day he gave up his ghost and on this place a stone sulpture was made presenting his figure in eternal memory of the crime committed. It was placed on the stone balustrade of the tower. The sculpture was blown away by strong gale in 1642 and the head that preserved until today was placed in the town hall”.


Is there any source of truth in the old legend? Old chronicles mention about the councillor's statue which was placed on one of the balustrades of the Town Hall Tower. In the entrance hall of the town hall there can still be found an embedded head which was supposed to be a part of this statue – it does not present an old man with big rounded beard but a knight in helmet.


Source: W. Rośkowicz on the basis of E. Nawrocki's translation of the fragment of the book written by E. I. Naso entitled Phoenix redivivus Ducatuum Svidnicensis et Jauroviensis. Der wiederlebendige Phoenix der beiden Fuerstenthuemer Schweidnitz und Jauer, published in Wrocław in 1667.

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