- March 31, 2014
25th Anniversary of the Association of Poles in Lithuania: The meeting of the four circles
In the Vilnius House of Culture, on Saturday, 29th April, there was a solemn meeting of people affiliated in the four circles of APL of the city Vilnius. The meeting was due to the ongoing of the 25th anniversary of the Association of Poles in Lithuania.
The circle attending the meeting were: the Circle of the Senior Teachers (chairwoman Zofia Kuncewicz), the Veteran Circle (chaiwoman Janina Biesiekierska), the “All Good Friends” (chairwoman Nela Mongin)and the “Grunwald” Circles (chairman Fryderyk Szturmowicz).
Among the guests of honour, there were the participants of the first founding meeting or, as the conducting person Janina Biesiekierska introduced them, “APL signatories”: Henryk Mazul and Wojciech Piotrowicz, emphasizing that there were eleven of them (Krystyna Marczyk, Jan Ciechanowicz, Ryszard Maciejkianiec, Zygmunt Mackiewicz, Henryk Mazul, Romuald Mieczkowski, Wojciech Piotrowicz, Jan Sienkiewicz, Wladyslaw Strumilo, Jerzy Surwilo i Zdzisław Tuliszewski).
Many of them, however, had gone to the Lord, as e.g. Zdzislaw Tuliszewski, Wladyslaw Strumilo, Jerzy Surwilo. The people attending the meeting memorialized them, as well as the other members of the APL circles, with the moment of silence.
By sharing the experiences about those memorable times of the revival of the Polish identity, Henryk Mazul pointed out that the APL has a double date of birth.
The first is the 5th May, 1988 when, in the assembly hall of the Vilnius Pedagogical Institute, there was the first big public meeting of Poles, preceded by performance of the band from Poland, and then, on the initiative of the above-mentioned persons, it was announced that the founding meeting of the Socio-Cultural Association of Poles in Lithuania (SCAPL) was going to take place.
Here it is worth-noting that previously this initiative, along with the need to found the association of Poles in Lithuania had been maturing in the walls of the “Red Flag” editorial, being at that time deployed on the eleventh and twelfth floors of the House of Press. In the room on the twelfth floor, conversations on that matter frequently took place.
It was, indeed, an understandable phenomenon. From who, if not from their Polish editorial (and the daily had then a big output and it was read massively), was the Polish community in Lithuania to expect the concrete decisions?!
We can be happy today that this decision was taken confidently and in the right time. It was a kind of an injection to the beginning of the rebirth of Polish national identity in Lithuania.
The first chairman, chosen during this historic assembly, became one of the daily leading journalists Jan Sienkiewicz.
The second date of birth, pointed out by Henryk Mazul, was the 16th April, 1989, when the first general meeting of the SCAPL took place. During that meeting the decision was taken on the transforming the association into the Association of Poles in Lithuania. For the chairman there was Jan Sienkiewicz appointed again. His deputies were the lawyer Czeslaw Okinczyc and the doctor Medard Czobot.
The people assembled were listening to those memories with great interest.
Wojciech Piotrowicz told them, in turn, how the organizational work was carried out then. To the particular districts of the contemporary division of Vilnius, there were such activists directed , as Krystyna Marczyk (the October district), Henryk Polonski (the Leninist district), Wojciech Piotrowicz (the Soviet district), Wladyslaw Strumilo (the New Vilnia).
The rural districts had not been left unattended.
Ludwik Mlynski and Zygmunt Mackiewicz coordinated the foundation of the branches and circles in the Vilnius district.
Henryk Sosnowski- in the Trakai district, Ryszard Maciejkianiec – in the Šalčininkai district, Jerzy Surwilo – the Švenčionių district, Henryk Mazul – the Širvintų district, and Zdzislaw Tuliszewski – in the Molėtų district.
All the assembled this afternoon in the House of Polish Culture were people of the older generation, remembering clearly the events of those years, yet listening to the speeches of guests with great interest.
On the meeting, there were present: the chairman of the Board of the APL Michal Mackiewicz, the chairman of the Vilnius Local Branch Alicja Pietrowicz, and the editor-in-chief of “Our Newspaper” Janina Lisiewicz.
An interesting information about the reorganization in some circles, as well as inside the association, was given by Nela Mongin, one of the first and the most meritorious activist of the APL, both the founder and the chairwoman of the 10 people “All Good Friends” Circle.
The chairwoman of the senior pedagogues Zofia Kuncewicz, also told concisely about the work of her circle.
Fryderyk Szturmowicz, in turn, who at that time founded in the „Žalgiris” factory thriving and numbering 760 people circle (eventually broken into smaller circles after the final privatization of the company), referred to the very difficult period of the APL activity, when he was threatened the split until the events of 2002, when Michal Mackiewicz stood at the helm of the association; he was yet successively conducting its activity and elected to be the Vice President of the Polish Community Abroad Council.
Janina Lewczuk raised an extremely important issue of readership of the Polish language press by the Poles in Lithuania, as well as the quality and timeliness of that press.
Undoubtedly, the affordable subscription of Polish editions in both Vilnius and in the area, would have to be increasing, not decreasing.
“Polish newspaper in every Polish family” – we should return to this slogan and implement it together” – urged the “Neris” veteran Janina Lewczuk.
One of the accents of the Saturday meeting was the presentation by Krystyna Adamowicz. The presentation was about her book “Always loyal to the ‘five’ “, which has been going to make many readers interested, both those from Vilnius, as well as from many cities in Poland, not necessarily those who graduated from those great Vilnius school. (We are going to post a wider publication of the book soon.)
Roman Lachowicz, a man from Vilnius and a retired history teacher, who wrote and publish a valuable monograph entitled “A short outline of the history of the Polish nation” with some emphasis on the history of the Vilnius region, also presented his contribution. It is available in Polish bookstores of Vilnius “Elephas”, and in the House of Polish Culture.
Tłumaczenie by Roksana Kasperek w ramach praktyk w Europejskiej Fundacji Praw Człowieka, www.efhr.eu. Translated by Roksana Kasperek within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.