Historical story

To cheer up hearts. These famous Polish writers fought for independence

Last updated:2022-07-25

They cheered you up, encouraged you to fight, taught patriotism - Polish writers in the service of independence. The banner of the fight for a free Poland was carried by, among others Maria Dąbrowska and Stefan Żeromski. And they often did not mince words ...

OCTOBER 1918. WARSAW. Maria Dąbrowska wakes up in the morning and immediately sits down at a table. He writes:“October 13. We live in a fairy tale, the most wonderful fairy tale. It seems to me that we are not big enough to be happy enough. We're not good enough to be worthy. Oh, let's be great and good. ”

Dąbrowska adds that, in her opinion, Poland is like a wagon pulled by everyone, but by everyone in a different direction. That he has the impression that these moments are passing so quickly that even their Poles are unable to understand, let alone understand the happiness that is coming.

Interestingly, Dąbrowska is still counting on Piłsudski. Rumors have been saying for a month that he will return to the country soon. POW has just made a huge demonstration in Warsaw, which went to the Royal Castle, where the governor of Beseler still resides. The delegation brazenly asked why Piłsudski had not come yet, because he was supposed to come on October 10, October 12, etc.

Oh, rumors, rumors…

They died waiting

While waiting for the Commander, Dąbrowska is skeptical. " Chapeau bas before Piłsudski, if he can actually control the situation. However, such a cult for one man as far as the whole of Poland is concerned, is a kind of psychosis. And the slogan:»There is no army without Piłsudski« is an empty phrase. You cannot make a thing as great as a national army dependent on one mortal man. ”

In fact, a lot is happening. When Dąbrowska writes her dreams about Piłsudski, Austria and Germany promise President Wilson that they will agree to peace on his terms. Janusz Radziwiłł cables about the imminent release of Piłsudski, and the Council of State declares that a united and independent Poland is finally being created. A semi-socialist cabinet is being established in Germany and a revision of the Brest treaty regarding Ukraine is already planned.
The writer notes that these are so enormous that people actually froze in anticipation.

There was a great silence among the people, after all, every word you say will have the weight of an act, and every act of overturning.

While waiting for Piłsudski's return, Maria Dąbrowska was skeptical.

But even such great events do not allow her to forget about her personal life. She has her worries that keep her awake oh he has! Here is her husband, Mirek, for her name day in early October, he did not come. She is tormented by the thought that this is not the result of his grudge against her earlier romance with Szczygliński in Lublin.

Politics eats her, dreams of Poland, misses her husband, but on October 13 she goes to the exhibition of Kopczyński and - however - Szczygliński. And although her heart beats strongly, she coldly comments that the paintings of Lublin by Kopczyński are quite pretty, yet shallow. But Szczygliński's landscapes are it! This half-navy blue landscape, this Lublin's world longingly seen through the window from a lit room at dusk, full of frosty sadness of winter and joyful feelings of spring.

What is it that these emotions towards Szczygliński are still so strong in her? You can guess. In any case, for several days he cannot get used to them. I will write in the logbook:

I've been melancholy and strangely anxious all day. My inner peace has been greatly disturbed. I walk like a wrong one, my heart is beating. How stupid a person's heart is. After the office, I went to Łazienki today. The view from Belwederska Avenue down to Wilanów is one of the most beautiful in Warsaw. And the chestnut avenue of the Belweder Palace deep into the Łazienki Park is wonderful. I want to get up very early tomorrow and draw this.

Zakopane revolution

BURIED. Here the independence coup begins on Sunday. It is early afternoon on October 13, 1918, when in the so-called Sokolni, which is the recently built seat of the "Sokół" Gymnastic Society on Orkana Street, it gets crowded. The groups of residents approaching from the side of Krupówki are wearing festive clothes, and the intensity of the conversations conducted in half-whispering proves extraordinary excitement. Indeed, this time it is not just an after-dinner walk.

The reason for gathering at the "Falcon" is - as the posters hung earlier on the fences proclaim - "a citizens meeting". They were formally called by the head of the commune, Wincenty Regiec, but he did it without notifying the Austrian authorities. In the war situation it still required both courage and determination from him.

The text is an excerpt from the latest book by Witold Bereś and Krzysztof Burnetko, "Mgnienia. Tales from 1918-1920 ”, published by the Municipal Publishing House of Posienia.

A handful of insiders know a little more. So they had been preparing for several days now. The news from the front portends the imminent defeat of Germany and Austria-Hungary. This, in turn, makes it possible to think about taking over the resort. Several groups, a few local activists of the National Democratic Party, PPS and peasants - and ordinary, patriotically engaged citizens are working on the action plan at the same time.

One of the local leaders of the National Democracy, teacher Medard Kozłowski, will later talk about the less spectacular backstage of the Zakopane revolution:

At the beginning of October, I was summoned to Krakow, where I received an order from the party leaders to prepare Zakopane for the fall of Austria. We were instructed, a few local endocrats, to create an organization immediately National, into which we were to involve - if possible - all political factions.

The task was not easy. Although the ententophilic moods prevailed in Zakopane throughout the war, our forces, the NDs, were very modest. There were - in short - five of us first, and we grew to seven in the end. Our biggest concern was who to put in charge. Actually different:will Żeromski accept the presidency in the National Organization? Because only he can lead it, we agreed right away.

Fortunately for the conspirators, the writer says without hesitation:yes! There is also a considerable response from residents and patients - over two hundred citizens come to "Sokol". First, the poet Stanisław Wyrzykowski, associated with the NDs, presents the latest news from the front and political salons. Then the board of the National Organization is elected as the body that would take power.

Free, independent and united

Żeromski is to be the president. His deputies - Franciszek Pawlica from PSL-Piast, who is also the president of the Highlanders' Union, Major Mariusz Zaruski - legionnaire, co-founder of the Tatra Museum and the first head of the TOPR, and Wincenty Szymborski from the National Democratic Party. Kozłowski becomes the secretary. Also among the members of the board, supporters of the National Democratic Party (including the poet Jan Kasprowicz) are predominant.

Żeromski appealed for the disarming of the Austrian garrison to be planned in such a way as to limit the risk of bloodshed.

Finally, the Zakopane lawyer Józef Diehl proposes a summary of the resolution. The text is unambiguous and, for an uncertain time, bold:" In view of the adoption of the peace rules of President Wilson by the partitioning states, we now consider ourselves citizens of a free, independent and united Poland . We owe this Poland loyalty and obedience, our property and blood, we do not recognize any bonds with these sacred duties which are contrary to them. "

The attendees accept the declaration with enthusiasm. They were the first inhabitants of all three partitions to recognize themselves as citizens of an independent Polish state.

What's more, they immediately start preparing for the actual takeover of power over the area. It is not that simple. There is a guard unit in Zakopane, composed of Austrians, Czechs, Ruthenians and a few Poles. A separate strong outpost is the military police, almost entirely composed of Ruthenians. In addition, several hundred military wounds - mainly professional officers - are treated in the local Red Cross hospital and in private quarters. All of this can frustrate plans.

But it was in the Red Cross clinic of four Poles from the army of the Imperial-Royal who were receiving treatment there. establishes a secret Officer's Committee with a view to taking over the city by armed forces. They are led by Captain Marian Bolesławowicz. Several students called to serve in the Austrian army join the Committee. They contact the Krakow Polish Military Organization, and then meet Żeromski stealthily. The writer calls for the disarming of the Austrian garrison to be planned in such a way as to limit the risk of bloodshed.


The text is an excerpt from the book by Witold Bereś and Krzysztof Burnetko, “Mgnienia. Opowieści z lat 1918–1920 ”, which has just been published by the Publishing House of the City of Posnania.