GREATER POLAND UPRISING 1918-1919 - selection of biographies


Participant of the Greater Poland and Silesian Uprisings. He was born on 18 January 1893 in Kościan, to the family of a court translator- Józef Franciszek, and Maria née Śmigielska. He grew up in a spirit of patriotic awareness: his grandfather Kazimierz was a participant of the Revolutions of 1848 and his father took part in the January Uprising of 1863. After his father’s death on 2 July 1902 he moved to Poznań with the rest of his family. Initially, he studied in a 7-year public school, and from the year 1903 he attended the St. Mary Magdalene Gymnasium where he completed his ninth year in 1911. He participated in the activities of the self-education societies of the Polish youth and the professionally active youth: ”Iskra” [Spark], ”Ogniwo” [Link] and ”Brzask” [Dawn]. He was a member of the Cathedral Choir conducted by Bolesław Dembiński, and then from 1914 by priest, Wacław Gieburowski. In 1909 he founded a football club for the professionally active youth - ”Fortuna” [Fortune]. After a year, he joined the Sports Club ”Britania”, and then the Sports Club ”Normandia” [Normandy] from which he formed the Sports Club ”Posnania” in 1912. In 1911, he became active in the ranks of ”Iskra”, and after half a year, he became one of the members of its board. Upon graduation from school in 1911, he started to learn his profession in the Land Improvement School in Bydgoszcz and undertook activities in the Youth Self-Education Association “Iskra”. In 1912, he was the co-founder of the first scout group of Poznań. He took part in patriotic demonstrations. In the year 1913, he was admitted to the Tomasz Zan Society. In August 1914 he was drafted into the German army, but was then released from it as early as January 1915. He worked for the Municipality Council while continuing the scouting activities. He took over command of the “Piast” scout troop. In 1916 he was the commandant of the scout groups in Poznań and became a member of the Scout Headquarters for the German Reich. He co-participated in the issuing of the “Ruch skautowy” [Scout movement] monthly magazine, and in the organisation of patriotic demonstrations and jamborees. On 4 January 1918 he was sentenced to a fine of 600 German marks and dismissed from work with the Magistrate. He belonged to the group of co-founders of the Polish Military Organisation of the Prussian partition. On 1 July 1918 he was again conscripted into the German army and transported to Głogów under escort, but as early as 22 August 1918, he was rescued again and returned to the underground resistance in the area of the poviats? Gostyń, Śrem and Leszno. On 10 November 1918, he recruited new members to the Polish Military Organisation of the Prussian partition from the poviats within his area of responsibility. On 11 November 1918, he returned to Poznań. He joined the Council of Eleven of the Polish Military Organisation of the Prussian partition, on 13 November he took part in the so called Town Hall Coup and the organisation of the Guard and Security Service company? he also organised the Recruitment Office for the German soldiers of Polish nationality. On behalf of the scouting organisations, he welcomed I. J. Paderewski to the ”Bazaar” Hotel (26 December 1918). On 27 December, with the troop of the Polish Military Organisation of the Prussian partition, he resided in the Museum building opposite the “Bazaar” Hotel. On 28 December, together with the Scout Company, he took part in the seizure of Fort Grolman. On 6 January 1919, he commanded the HGM section during the capturing of Ławica airport. When the Polish Military Organisation of the Prussian partition was dissolved, he fully focused on scouting. After changing the current Scout Headquarters for the German Reich to the Greater Poland Scout Group Authority on 30 March 1919, he became the head of the male groups of the Polish Scouting Organisation in the Greater Poland region. He also undertook one-year preparatory studies for the profession of teacher and started work in the educational sector. In October 1919, the Ministry of the former Prussian Partition sent him to the Warmia and Masuria region to carry out reconnaissance for the purpose of the establishment of contact with the Polish population before the plebiscite regarding the incorporation of these territories into Poland which was due to take place. On 12 February 1920, upon completing the State Yearly Seminar Course and passing the teaching exam he went to the plebiscite areas, namely the Kwidzyń region. He was a Plebiscite Commissar in the poviats of Sztum and Malbork, where he became a member of the People's Council as head of the Department of Education of the School Inspectorate. There, he organised scouting, falconry, people's libraries and singing societies. During the last days of June 1930, he was sent to Westphalia by the Central Plebiscite Committee in Kwidzyń to agitate for the participation of Exiles from the Warmia and Masuria regions in voting for Poland. Then in July 1920 he started similar work in Upper Silesia, where he was sworn in as a member of the Polish Military Organisation of Upper Silesia. The Central Plebiscite Office sent him to the Koźle poviat, where he acted as the Deputy Plebiscite Commissar of the city and poviat of Koźle, and also as the head of the Department of Culture. He took part in the 2nd Silesian Uprising. On 1 August 1921, being severely ill, he came back to Poznań, but as early as the end of February 1921 he was again summoned to arrive in Upper Silesia. This time, the Central Plebiscite Office sent him to the poviat of Lubliniec. After 20 March 1921, he returned to Poznań and took up a job in the educational sector. On 1 June 1921, the Superintendence Office of the Poznań School District entrusted him with the post of teacher in a one class school in Złotoryja on the Warta River near Biedrusko, and from 1 October 1921 in the Wilda district in Poznań. He resumed his social activities, organising numerous domestic and foreign trips under the Christian-National Association of Teachers. He joined the Sports Club ”Warta” (27 November 1921). He was an instructor of the Polish Scouting Organisation Headquarters, and in the years 1926-1928, he was Commander of the Greater Poland Banner of the Polish Scouting Organisation. After the May Coup, he came into conflict with the Sanacja authorities. On 14 December 1927, he was transferred to a school in Krobia (Gostyń poviat) as part of a punishment, which made his work for the Polish Scouting Organisation impossible. He appealed to the Supreme Administration Tribunal in Warsaw against this decree. In 1928, he was relieved of the function of commandant of the Greater Poland Banner of the Polish Scouting Organisation. In 1929, he joined the Polish Animal Care Society for the Poznań province and became a full member. After positive verification by the District School Council on 5 May, he returned to Poznań. However, on 1 September 1930, the ministry transferred him again to Krobia, and on 4 July 1933 to Puczym (the Pimsk poviat in the Polesia region) to a one-class school. Later, on 5 March 1934, he was sent to Środa Wlkp., and on 2 September 1935, to a school located in Naramowice near Poznań. It was not until 1 March 1936 that he received a post in the 11th and 29th Common Public School in the Wilda district. During that last period he was a member of the Extraordinary Examination Commission in common schools, as well as a delegate of the Examination Commission in the German Friedrich Schiller Gymnasium in Poznań. On top of this, in 1937, he was appointed member of the Parish Council of the Poznań Lord's Resurrection parish and was also elected a member of the City Council in Poznań. On 3 March 1938, the Mayor of the City of Poznań appointed him the Social Custodian for district XXI, area 4 of the commune, poviat and city of the Poznań province. He organised a 3-week tourist event to Romania - Bulgaria - Turkey - Yugoslavia - Hungary and Czechoslovakia for teachers in the year 1938. On 24 October 1939, he was arrested and imprisoned in Fort VII. He was freed on 8 December 1939, and his family was exiled at that time to the General Government. He found his family at a later time in Ostrowiec Świętokrzyski. For the rest of the occupation time he stayed in Częstochowa, where he organised the Social Committee for Help for the Displaced, in which he supervised the work of Regional Custodians (until the dissolution of the committee on 15 September 1940). On 10 January 1941, he took up a job as a grocery shop manager. He participated in the resistance movement, in secret teaching activities: he organised self-education clubs and secondary school-leaving examinations, meetings and also secret gymnasium, secondary school and university classes took place in his own private apartment. On 20 February 1945, he returned to Poznań. Next day he was appointed head of the Primary School in the Wilda district in Poznań. He launched the school at Górna Wilda Street where the building was interchangeably used by schools No. 12 and 28. As he took up the job of teacher, he also made attempts at re-establishing the Polish Scouting and Guiding Association. In 1952, he retired. He became a social worker in the Teaching Section of the Retired within the Polish Teachers Union, among other things, he was its chairman. From 1957 he chaired the National Commission for History at the Regional Board of the Society of Fighters for Freedom and Democracy. He died on 1 December in 1971 in Poznań. He was buried in the Junikowo cemetery. He was awarded the Cross of Independence (17 September 1932 - in recognition of his merits in the Greater Poland Uprising, the Plebiscite of Warmia and Masuria and the Silesian Uprising), the Knight’s Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta (28 June 1967), the Greater Poland Insurgent Cross (27 August 1957), the Silesian Insurgent Cross (30 July 1964), the Commemorative Cross for Civil Merit (3 November 1919), the badge of the Polish Scouting Organisation For Merit (3 July 1921), the 3rd of May Medal (3 May 1925) and the “Rodło” Medal (posthumously - 31 August 1988). He was married in 1923 to Maria Karczewska, with whom he had three children: Jerzy, Urszula and Barbara.
Zdzisław Kościański, Śniegocki Henryk (1893-1971), Powstańcy wielkopolscy. Biogramy uczestników powstania wielkopolskiego 1918-1919, v. XII, ed. B. Polak, Poznań 2015, pp. 159-162.
Author of the entry
Zdzisław Kościański