Bytów (Bëtowò in Kashubian and Bütow in German) is a town of roughly 20,000 inhabitants in the Pomorze province of Poland. The town of Bytów is also the administrative center of Gmina Bytów, a municipal region of roughly 26,000 inhabitants, and of Powiat Bytowski, a county of roughly 76,000 inhabitants.
Like so much of Poland, Bytów has changed hands between Poles and Germans many times over the centuries. Regardless of who ruled Bytów at any given time, the Kashubians were always treated as a minority until very recently. Today, however, the official Bytów website proudly proclaims Bytów, Miasto Na Kaszubach: “Bytów, A Kashubian City.”
During the period of Kashubian emigration (1850-1900), many of Winona’s Kashubian Polish immigrants came from Bytów and the villages of what is now the Powiat Bytowski (or Bytów County). Among these villages are Róg, Osława Dąbrowa, Studzienice, Niezabyszewo, and Ugoszcz. To this day, familiar Winona surnames can also be found throughout the Bytów region. Moreover, all of the Bytów Kashubians are good-looking, intelligent, and charming – exactly like the Winona Kashubians. The best way to discover this is to visit Bytów and see for yourself, as the webmaster has discovered for himself!