Princess Daisy of Pless is ours, Walbrzych heritage. It is a beautiful symbol of the city’s history, next to abandoned mines practically the only one. Turn of the century Englishwoman is also the only historical figure from times before 1945, which survived in the minds and memory of locals. Not only survived as the first Wałbrzych “celebrity”, whose pearls and charity became legendary, but still very much alive as  loving pacifist, social reformer and an angel of the poor. We are starting Foundation named after Princess.

Walbrzych is a city whose former inhabitants roots  were violently pulled out and those belonged to present ones, are left somewhere else, often in waterfalls of tears.  For almost 50 years (from 1945 until 1989), history of Walbrzych, town that started in Duchy of ŒŚwidnica and through the next 600 years was changing its provenance for the benefit of Czechs, Austrians, Prussian, Germans and finally Poles, was treated with neglect. Residents from the generations of my grandparents (quite often parents), in many cases do not identify with their city and region, and a sense of temporariness was in their lives ubiquitous. But times are changing and today in united Europe, generation that turn 30thies (and for sure those in their  20thies ) is quite different. Young generation doesn’t have a problem with former German history of their hometown.  Actually  very often is fascinated by it. The people of Walbrzych each decade identify more with their land and are interested in its history (check postcard craze on the Internet and at auctions ), and the character of Princess Daisy is not unfamiliar to them. Evidence for that is  survey, coordinated by dr Monica Bisek – Grąz, and carried out among students of the State Higher Vocational School (PWSZ). This local  university today owns a villa at Moniuszko 43 Street, where Daisy von Pless died in 1943. PWSZ them. Angelus Silesius in addition to the castle Książ, is practically the only place in Walbrzych where Daisy was commemorated. The only monument, or rather obelisk with a relief depicting the bust, is located in front of the old seat of Wałbrzyskie mines board (also known as a Czettrit’z Palace), formerly belonged to Princes of Hochberg. Today an example of revitalization in the strict sense, the object to which the careful restoration has bring back its Renaissance beauty and new feature in this part of the revived old city center. Pszczyna as a shining example for Walbrzych The potential of Princess Daisy von Pless memory as tourist attraction was professionally and elegantly used and is still  conducted by Castle Pless Museum in Pszczyna (Upper Silesia). Museum housed in the former residence of Hochbergs is a magnet for tourists from Poland and Europe, but also an institution which cooperates with the Victoria and Albert Museum in London and is regularly winning in international rankings. Paradoxically, the princess did not like Pszczyna that much, and for  most of her adult life treated Książ as her main residence, about which she spoke and wrote with great sensitivity. Her life ended in Walbrzych, town whose inhabitants still remembered about her fate and fame. The idea of a foundation named Princess Daisy of Pless was born in the minds of myself and Michał Wyszowski, because it is about the time. We have historical and cultural value in Walbrzych, which we practically do not use, or do it in a little, often unconsidered and haphazard manner. The figure of „Daisy from Książ” is now experiencing a renaissance, both in Poland and Europe. Undoubtedly contributed to the activities of the Castle Museum in Pszczyna, the authorities of this Silesian city, and in our area of the European Centre located in Castle Książ and countless fans, which even at the premiere of the film in Ksišż attended number of over  500. Exhibition „Daisy of Pless: The Happy Years” (by Rusell Harris) defenitely helped in carrying Princess legacy. Today it can be seen not only in Książ, but also in the Czech Republic, Austria, Germany and Great Britain. Also a documental film was made last year by the Polish Television. They are good biographies of Daisy published in polish, but still for their  Polish edition are waiting memoirs, rich with the information about our town and region,-in the 30s of last century a very popular throughout Europe and even America. Today, when the inhabitants of our city is less and less, attempts to bind people of Walbrzych with their native land should be more frequent, and related activities even more intensified. We decided mainly on cultural and educational activities, because even though my words will sound like a truism, the future not only of nations, but also and especially local communities in united Europe are indeed culture and education. We are a non-profit organization and our mission is primarily to organize, promote and participate in activities for development of regional identity, knowledge of the history and culture of Walbrzych and Lower Silesia (especially before 1945), and boost trade and strengthing intimate relations of residents with the city and region. Another element of our mission is to popularize the idea of Walbrzych and Walbrzych Agglomeration as a city and the region in which the Princess Daisy von Pless and family of  Hochberg conducted an extensive business, charitable, and contributing to its development, as well as the development of the whole of the Lower and Upper Silesia
Support from the start We are very  glad that Walbrzych’’s authorities have responded enthusiastically to the idea of the Foundation. Without the cooperation of the municipality it would not be possible to realize our strategic objectives, the organization of the celebration of 2013 as the Year of Princess Daisy (140 year anniversary of her birth and the 70th anniversary of death) and to create a multimedia museum of  Princess Daisy and the Hochberg family at villa where she died. Those are the priorities of the Foundation. We are also glad, that castle Książ decided to join us as the founder, and thus our main partner decided to be castle Książ.  At the end we are happy, that our idea was approved by the Director of the Castle Museum in Pszczyna and His Serene Highness, Bolko, Count von Hochberg, VI Prince von Pless and Baron of Książ. Notable historical figures  are very often “business cards” of cities and regions. For example,  from the many centuries crowds are visiting Orleans in search of traces of the famous Virgin, Mozart is Salzburg, and Salzburg is Mozart. Janosik in Slovakia’s Orava is still a ruler of the undivided mass imagination, and Toruń was, is and will be the city of Copernicus, but fights for famous astronomer with Olsztyn.  All of Romania attracts the tourists as the country of Dracula. Let Walbrzych become a „city of Princess Daisy” in which tourists in addition to castle Książ , will find, such an activities as multimedia museum in now dilapidated villa in Moniuszko, or an elegant statue in the center, perhaps on a revitalized Magistracki Square. Tourists coming to Książ, did not have to stop on the outskirts of Walbrzych and come back to Wroclaw. Let them continue their journey to the village that exist since the fourteenth century, town that’s stunning location and architectural monuments are now unjustly forgotten  not only by tourists but also residents. Let the visitors go further, and after visiting the complex at Moniuszki and Zamkowa streets in Walbrzych and quiet night in a comfortable bed in the Sobięcin’s Holiday Inn (this is no joke, as everyone knows the passing gallery of Victoria), visit the magnificent Castle Pless in Pszczyna to return next summer to Walbrzych and Książ. Traces of Daisy.

Matthew Mykytyszyn