History of Valteřice
Valteřice at the town of Žandov
The village of Valteřice was possibly founded during the east migration of ethnic Germans and their settling in the forest on the border between Saxony and Bohemia in the years 1226–1276, during the reign of the King Přemysl Otakar II. The name of the village probably comes from the name Walter, which was very popular in ancient times. It could have been the name of the chieftain who brought the first settlers here and also gave the colony his name.
The development of the village was adversely affected by its division between two lords, which took place in 1502. The river Ploučnice which flows through the village became the border between two estates: the right side of the river belonged to the Neuschloss estate (today’s Zahrádky near Česká Lípa), the left one to the Horní Police estate.
The division of the village had been fatal for Valteřice for centuries. The dual authority resulted in a huge tax burden on villagers in both parts, which led to jealousy, disputes and even murders. The conflicts culminated in the second half of the 17th century, after the Battle of White Mountain (1620): during the peasant rebellions in 1680 and perhaps even in 1775, the local villagers took the side of the insurgents. It was not until 1850 that district offices were established and the state administration was reformed, which ended the division of the village and united both its parts.
In the 18th century, the village had 50 houses, there was a pub and a shop. All agricultural crops, including hops, were grown. Almost all trades were represented, and cattle were raised here. In 1812, brown coal deposits were found to the east of the village. They also were mined here.
Franz Riss. Portrait of Andreas Zenker. 1831
A very prominent local native was Andreas Zenker, who belonged to one of the oldest families in Valteřice. He was born in Valteřice on May 9, 1762. As early as 1780, he joined the glass company Zahn & Co in Kamenický Šenov, on whose behalf he went as a glass dealer first to St. Petersburg and then to Moscow.
Andreas Zenker turned out to be a very enterprising businessman. With a small capital of only 724 roubles, he founded the banking house Zenker & Co. This bank gradually became the leading banking house in Moscow and flourished until the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917. In Russia, Andreas Zenker was awarded the Order of St. Stanislaus. He never lost connection with his home country, often visited Valteřice and remained its generous patron. He died on January 29, 1832 at the age of 70 in Moscow, where he was also buried.
Wilhelm Camphausen. Portrait of Franz Zenker. 1870s
Another remarkable member of the Zenker family was Franz Zenker (1829–1889), an artist. He studied at the Academy of Arts in Prague under Professor Maximilian Haushofer and became a landscape painter. He eventually settled down in Düsseldorf and was much respected member of Düsseldorf artistic community “Malkasten”. Unfortunately, although his life has been recently researched and documented and some of his works listed, no painting by his brush has been found yet.
Josef Franz Zenker
The most outstanding member of the family was Josef Franz Zenker (1785-1852), the nephew of Andreas, Moscow banker, founder of Valteřice school in 1838 and cavalier of the Knighthood of Franz Josef. (You can find more about Josef Zenker and the Valteřice school on the information board next to the monument to him which was erected in 1904 in front of the school. This monument was restored by the town of Žandov in 2021).
The school established by Josef Zenker was one of the most prominent and best equipped ones in the district. It had a library with 1,400 volumes in several languages, 767 pieces of minerals. There were also extensive collections of scientific instruments, and the school orchestra had 43 instruments at its disposal.
An interesting episode in the school history took place in June 1866, during the Prussian-Austrian war. At that time, out of fear of approaching Prussian troops, the district office moved from its seat at Česká Lípa to the spacious and comfortable building of Valteřice school. So, it became the seat of the district government for two days (June 24 and 25, 1866). Significantly, the head of the district office, together with the commissioner, left the management of events to minor officials, and both busied themselves with bargain purchases of early potatoes.
The school was attended not only by local children, but also by children from Stvolínecké Petrovice, Taneček, Noviny and also from Heřmanice, although Heřmanice had its own school (for example, in 1890 Valteřice school was attended by 154 pupils). The emphasis was placed not only on obtaining an education, but also on the love for the emperor, for God and for the homeland. Sightseeing trips were organised at the end of each school year. For example, on July 6, 1907, all school children, led by teachers and some pupils of the 6th grade, went on a trip to Skalice near Česká Lípa, where they saw famous local Glassworks. Then they visited the rock castle in Sloup v Čechách and went to Česká Lípa for a break which was filled with dancing. Then children walked through the city park and visited the exhibition at the local Museum founded by local industrialist and collector Heinrich Wedrich.
98,Valteřice. The first record of the building is dated 1870. This is a so-called “chateau”, which was later owned by Robert Kammel, a graduate of the Valteřice school. He studied medicine in Vienna and later contributed to local topographical research.
In the year 1880, the village had 610 inhabitants housed in 104 houses which is a significant testimony to the growing prosperity of Valteřice. The villagers were enterprising and quickly responded to the needs of the time. In the past, local curd and cheese were very popular. Whole goat herds were kept on the village common, and cheeses requested for the market were produced in individual households. Later, Valteřice became famous for growing potatoes, grain and hops. Overall, the village was well known for the production and sale of hay, wood, honey and butter. Valteřice had its own mill, and fish for market was also bred here. For half a century, the Lehner’s button factory operated at house No 96. During the Second World War, it produced electrical components for the war needs of the Third Reich.
101, Valterice. Hotel “Královo údolí” (King’s Rest) of Josef Otto
In 1924, 469 inhabitants lived in 99 houses, all of German nationality. At that time, Valteřice was already part of the political district of Česká Lípa. There were many professional associations in the village. The National Guard in Valteřice was mentioned as early, as 1849. In addition, in 1929-1935 there was a water cooperative, which carried out land reclamation. In 1929, the Association for Electrification of the Municipality of Valteřice was documented. There was the Agricultural Savings and Reserve Treasury and also an active association of firefighters.
In 1933, the road was repaired in Valteřice. In the background you can see house No 18, and to the right of it a turn to Taneček
The history of Valteřice was much affected by the First World War. Many local men went to war and many did not return. A memorial to the fallen was established by the village and placed next to the school on private land. The cost of making the monument was CZK 4,582. The monument consisted of three vertical boulders of gray quartzite, of which the two outer ones were about 1 meter high, and the middle one was about 2.5 meters high. On the central stone, a black plaque with the symbol of the cross was placed, under which was the text: “To the heroes who fell in the World War 1914–1918! The grateful village of Valteřice”. The names of the fallen soldiers were carved on the left stone, and the names of the missing ones on the right one. After 1945, the side stones and German inscriptions were removed. The monument was redesigned into a monument to the victims of Nazi persecution.
The monument was unveiled on July 8, 1923
After the end of the Second World War, the German population was expelled and the Czech village was subsequently settled. At the end of 1945, the village already had 396 new inhabitants. It is not without interest that the local school was opened on September 3, 1945, and the number of pupils in the then two classes reached the unusually high number of 98.
At that time, Valteřice had no public transport connections with the nearby villages. Some of the new settlers worked in agriculture, many used to commute by bicycle to Textilstroj in Žandov, or to the Achilles bicycle factory in Horní Police.
Valterice Theatre in 1965. Photo from the rehearsal of a play for children “Čert Belínek”. It was performed by M. Kočemba, J. Kobrč, M. Kobrčová, M. Jandlová and H. Pavlíčková.
There was no post office in Valteřice until 1957, although already in 1929 negotiations were held between the municipalities of Valteřice and Heřmanice about its establishment. Until then, the post office was used in nearby Kravaře and later also in Horní Police.
At present, Valteřice properly belongs to the town of Žandov. There are several businesses and farms. In the years 2020 and 2021, the local cemetery was extensively repaired and the former monument to the fallen in the First World War was renovated.
Prepared by Petr Fletcher, translated by Olga Baird-Yatsenko, 2021
Map: Archives of the Central Archive of Surveying and Cadastre
Homeland Museum and Gallery in Česká Lípa
State District Archive Česká Lípa