- May 20, 2013
Malewski: Great-great-grandfather of the Kaczyński brothers is buried in the Rasos Cemetery
We can tell that Wincenty Jasiewicz participated in the Uprising, and later he was exiled but he came back and died in Vilnius, Czesław Malewski, the president of the Heraldic-genealogical Society of Lithuania and the history teacher in Adam Mickiewicz middle school told PL DELFI. Future wife of the future Nobel prizewinner Henryk Sienkiewicz was born on the Vilnius Street, the historian also shared. Czesław Malewski also runs his own website devoted to history and genealogy www.genealogia.lt.
Currently Lithuania as well as Poland is celebrating the year of the January Uprising. As far as I know you are interested in the fates of the insurrectionists from widely understood Vilnius region, aren’t you?
First of all, I specialize in the nineteenth century. I deal with the history of the Vilnius region, it includes the territory of Oszmiana, Lida, Trakai and Święcian. I got curious about the fate of the insurrectionists of the January Uprising. I stumbled upon the interview of Jadwiga Kaczyńska, nee Jasiewicz when I was studying the fate of the Jasiewicz family. She mentioned that her great-grandfather Wincent has been an insurrectionist, later he has been exiled to Siberia and has never came back from there. I just looked through different names while I was examining this historical period. I found the Jasiewicz and it is worth to point out that there was more than one Jasiewicz who have taken part in the Uprising. The documents show that the brother of the great-grandfather of the Kaczyńska, called Józef took part in the Uprisisng and later he was exiled to Siberia where he remained for several years. Then, the Russian authorities didn’t allow him to settle in Lithuania. He went away to the Kingdom of Poland and if I remember correctly he settled in Warsaw. Later on, by studying the metrics, dates of death and criminal cases, I found out that the great-gradfather of Jadwiga Kaczyńska died in Vilnius, after all.
Well, this is what is different from the family version. As far as I’m aware, the Kaczyński family believe that the great-grandfather Wincent Jasiewicz was exiled to Siberia where he died?
We have often eight great-grandfathers in the family. So people can hardly tell me anything about their great-grandfathers when I ask somebody about them. Some dates are verified. We can tell he took part in the Uprising and that later he was exiled. He was maybe exiled, however the documents show that he returned and died in Vilnius. He was buried in the Rasos Cemetery. His death certificate where his wife, son and daughter are mentioned, confirms it. They are the ones Mrs Kaczyńska mentioned as well. In this case, there are no mistakes. What is more, other documents, such as the birth certificate, noble documents confirm that this is the same person, so there are no mistakes here.
You said that his brother took part in the Uprising for sure. He was not allowed to return to Lithuania. What did the imperial authorities do in such matter?
Many people was not allowed to return, that’s why they chose to go away to the Kingdom of Poland. Some was allowed to go back, so Wincent Jasiewicz probably was allowed to return to Lithuania. My next step was to find the place he was buried. Was there still a tombstone or not? Yes, there was one but in a very bad condition. It needs renovation and a preservation of the memory of the Polish president’s great-grandfather.
How long have you been looking for the tombstone?
As a result of many years of experience, and the knowlegde of all the documents as well as the Rasos Cemetery, I found the tombstone in a few days. That’s not long. I walked by this place several times and if I didn’t find the destroyed tombstone, it would be hard to identify the gravesite. Thank God, the tombstone, even though in a bad condition, was still there.
Wincent Jasiewicz was buried in Rasos. So where did he lived after his exile?
That was another phase of the search. In 1856, the nobel register said his address was in Vilnius County. The exact place was not specified, though.
The Jasiewicz family was of noble origin, but were they gentry or rather more wealthy nobles?
They were average kind of nobility. Neither poor nor very wealthy. It is worth to point out that Wincenty as a capitan and his brother as a stabskapitän were educated men. They belonged to the nobility from Oszmiana County and they used Rawicz coat of arms.
Two Jasiewicz brothers chose the military career…
Yes, we know about two brothers. Maybe there was more of them. Maybe there were also sisters. What we need is an additional archival query concerning the fate of the insurrectionists. To tell the truth, I haven’t found the case of Wincenty yet, but I have looked through the case of his brother. In the following weeks, I will be studying the further history of the Jasiewicz family. And hopefully next week, I will be able to answer the questions that remained without answers so far.
The military career, was it a choice or rather are duty of the contemporary nobility?
It was a choice of a career and of course some additional funds to keep the family estate at the appropriate level in the class society back then. Farms did not make such a profit.
So, is it a kind of myth that the nobility lived off their lands?
Gentry and an average nobility couldn’t live only off the farming. Especially if they wanted to educate their children.
As far as I know, you found one other interesting fact following the fates of the insurrectionists?
It is an unknown fact that Kazimierz Szetkiewicz, the owner of the Hanuszyszki estate (Onuskes) spent a lot of time in Vilnius and his two daughters were born there. One of them was Maria, the future wife of the Nobel prizewinner Henryk Sienkiewicz. They lived on the Vilnius Street in the Baranowicz house. It was a wealthy family, contrary to the Jasiewicz family, their estate in Hanuszyszki had 3 000 ha. Wealthy nobility spent a lot of their time in the city where the social life was. They visited their estate when they wanted to rest. It is a known fact the father-in-law of Henryk Sienkiewicz was a model for the character of Zagłoba – one of the most colorful characters in the Trilogy. They lived on the Vilnius Street. It is definitely worth knowing that Henryk Sienkiewicz was linked to Vilnius thanks to his wife.
Is it known whether Henryk Sienkiewicz himself was in Vilnius?
To tell the truth, I wasn’t interested in the life of Sienkiewicz, but I don’t remember him ever visiting Lithuania.
Tłumaczenie by Justyna Kaczmarek w ramach praktyk w Europejskiej Fundacji Praw Człowieka, www.efhr.eu. Translated by Justyna Kaczmarek within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.