The depopulation of the villages around Poznań following the epidemic of 1708-1710 and the wars of the early 18th century was so grave as to threaten the Wielkopolska capital’s food supply. German farming families from around Bamberg, Bavaria, soon started to make their way to Wielkopolska and, gradually, all the Germans who settled in and around Poznań during the 18th century began to be referred to as “Bambrzy” (Bambergers). Being Catholic was the basic precondition for their being allowed to stay. This factor led to the newcomers being subsequently Polonised and quickly absorbed into the Poznań community.
They were quickly recognised as good farmers, efficient organisers and, over time, patriotic Poles emotionally bonded to their new homeland. They slowly began to diversify their occupations and interests as well, taking up handicrafts and trading in addition to agriculture and becoming involved in cultural life.
What really makes the Bambrzy stand out are the women’s stunning folk costumes. These are now only worn on festive occasions and only some of their components are actually of southern German origin. Poznań still has a lot of homes, enclosures and roadside chapels to remind us of these newcomers. One of the city’s best loved monuments is that of the “Bamberka” (Bamberger woman) by the well in the Old Town marketplace. The Poznań Bambrzy commemorate their coming to Wielkopolska on the first Sunday of August every year. They also have their own organisations, like the Poznań Bambrzy Assocation and the museum on ul. Mostowa, Poznań, which opened in 2003.