- January 31, 2013
175th birth anniversary of Konstanty Kalinowski
On February 2nd, 1838, in Mostowlany (city currently situated in the Podlaskie district in Poland, but in the past belonged to the Gardino eldership in Lithuania) came into the world Konstanty Kalinowski, one of the leaders of the January Uprising, perceived as a hero in Lithuania, Belarus and Poland. Belarus celebrated this anniversary by issuing 30 000 copies of an occasional postcard. They were put into circulation already on January 28th and on February 2nd, that is on the birth anniversary of Kalinowski, the post office in Minsk will give the opportunity to put an occasional postmark.
Konstanty Kalinowski (for the Belarusians – Kastus Kalinouski and for the Lithuanians – Kosta Kalinauskas) was born in a landed-gentry family; his father ran a loom business. Young Kalinowski started his education in secondary school in Svislach (currently the Belarus area), then he began his studies at the faculty of law at the university in Moscow and in Petersburg. In 1861, he set up a revolutionary organisation in Grodno, which was supposed to prepare the basis for the upcoming revolt and to popularise the ideas of revolution and independence among the peasants. The journal “Mużyckaja Prawda” (Peasant’s truth) served as the propaganda body within the organisational framework.
In 1862, Kalinowski became the head of Provincial Lithuanian Committee in Vilnius. When the Uprising broke out on 22nd January, 1863, the Lithuanian Committee (the Reds) also published a manifesto on 1st February, 1863 in which it proclaimed that Lithuania and Ruthenia joined the Uprising and the Committee was transformed into the Provincial Temporary Government of Lithuania and Belarus. However, the consensus with the Warsaw governmental commissioner was not reached as both of the conspirator groups (the Reds and the Whites) could not conclude an agreement between each other. Therefore, the Branch on Managing the Elderships of Lithuania was appointed. Kalinowski became a representative of the Temporary National Government for the Gardino eldership and later on, the Temporary National Government in Warsaw appointed him for the Plenipotentiary Commissar of the Government for Lithuania. When Zygmunt Sierakowski was taken captive in July, Kalinowski became the superior of all Uprising forces in service in the area of the former Grand Duchy of Lithuania.
Betrayed by one of the insurgents, Konstany Kalinowski was arrested on 9th February 1864 by the Russians in the Vilnius University where he had been hiding. It was one of many hideouts he had in Vilnius. At the beginning of the Upraisal he used to reside in Zarzecze, then he was hiding next to the Fratebenefratelli Monastery situated right near the seat of the Governor-General (currently it is the seat of the president of Lithuania). Kalinowski was kept in prison in the Dominicans Monastery, in the back of the Saint Spirit Church. During interrogations, he did not give anybody away, nor did he evade responsibility. He was sentenced to death penalty by shooting, but by the decision of Governor-General Muravyov (hangmen), he was hung along with other Uprising leaders (this type of sentence was perceived as more shameful) on 22nd March, 1864 in the Lukiškės Square in Vilnius. The bodies were buried secretly on the Zamkowa Góra (Castle Hill)
During the World War I, when the German army entered Vilnius, an exhumation was done by a special commission, half-century old bones and fragments of clothes were discovered. In commemoration of the insurgents a large wooden cross designed by Antoni Wiwulski was erected. The cross was tumbled down by Germans, but inhabitants of Vilnius preserved it and re-erected it on 23rd January, 1921. They called this place the Tomb of an Unknown Soldier. Since 1920, the insurgents have been commemorated in the Lukiškės Square. In 1994, a plaque in remembrance of Konstanty Kalinowski and Zygmunt Sierakowski was unveiled on a wall of Dominican Monastery and in 1999, a monument of “Kastus” was built in Soleczniki on the initiative of Belarusian society.
In 2006, the Polish government called scholarship programme for Belarusian students who have been expelled from the studies in Belarus after Konstanty Kalinowski. Meanwhile, Belarus just commemorated his 175th birth anniversary by issuing occasional philatelic materials.
Many of these materials are also in position of Polish and Lithuanian collectors, as post offices of theirs countries (and private publishers) have been commemorating for years the subsequent anniversaries of the Uprising and its leaders.
Poczta Polska (Polish Post) issued an occasional postcard and postmark in remembrance of 150th anniversary of January Uprising already on 22nd January, 2013. Lithuanian Post will put into circulation the anniversary stamp and postmark FDC on 23rd March.
Based on: belpost.by, poczta-polska.pl, wikipedia.org, tygodnik.lt, inf.wł.
Tłumaczenie Bartłomiej Cichoń w ramach praktyk w Europejskiej Fundacji Praw Człowieka, www.efhr.eu. Translated by Bartłomiej Cichoń the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.