The history of the town and the surrounding areas was significantly impacted by war and the passage of armies through the region.
Russian General A. V. Suvorov spent the night in Svitavy on 2 February 1800 while returning from Switzerland. A commemorative plaque by sculptor Josef Kadlec was unveiled in Svitavy in 1950. In 1994 a commemorative plaque for Viktor Felber was unveiled on the same house. This Svitavy native and chancellor of the Czech Technical University in Prague was executed by the Nazis in 1942. In 1993 a commemorative plaque of Oskar Schindler, the protector of the lives of 1,200 Jews during the Holocaust, was installed in the auditorium of the Josef Plíva Foundation House by the German Ackermann Gemeinde Society. Commemorative plaques in honour of the Svitavy benefactor and patron V. O. Ottendorfer are installed in the Ottendorfer House, the former public library. On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the death of this Svitavy native a bronze commemorative plaque was unveiled on the façade of this building. The plaque commemorates the credit due to Ottendorfer for the development of the town. His financial gifts were used to build the hospital, orphanage, and libraries.