• August 13, 2014
  • 58

Tadeusz Wroblewski: his life passions

During one of the walks in Vilnius we were on the Tadeusz Kosciuszko street. In its vicinity, near the cathedral there is a street named after T. Vrublevskio. They are separated only by a short Arsenalo street with two museum buildings and monument of King Mendog.
This is the interesting piece of our city: the three streets – Zygmuntowska (Zygimantu), Arsenalska (Arsenalo), Wroblewskiego (Vrublevskio) have only one-sided building development. In the case of Zygimatu, on its other side Wilia runs, the same applies to Arsenalo street. In contrast, Vrublevskio borders with former Sereikiškių parkas. Let’s take a walk on this short street. Let’s start from the headquarters of the library of the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences of Wroblewscy, which until World War II housed the Institute for Study of Eastern Europe and the School of Political Sciences. Teodor Bujnicki,the poet from Vilnius, worked there.

Behind the library is a small little square with sculptures. It is a pity that the entrance gate is always closed. Behind the square is a tenement with no. 6 Today various offices and institutions are located there, but until the World War II there were flats. One of them belonged to relatives of Czeslaw Milosz – Pawlikowscy.
Milosz in his book “Zaczynajac od moich ulic,” writes: “He himself, Przemysław Pawlikowski was a former colonel of tsarist army, on the walls were seen photographs from Bessarabia, where they long-lived and probably have a property (…). Of their two sons, the first Danek, I do not remember, when he was young he committed suicide, the second, an engineer, went after the war to the Soviet Turkestan, he returned from there with his wife, a Russian, bought a car and was one of the first taxi drivers in Vilnius, occupation following the avant-garde, because who heard about a well-born man taking tips from the visitors. Russian wife walked in the house in the eastern galligaskins and smoke cigarettes in the long pipe. Wacek’s sister, Mary, worked in the office … “.

They all lived under one roof at Arsenalo 6, the current street of Tadeusz Wroblewski was called Arsenalo at the time of Milosz. The poet often visited his relatives, initially as a high school student. He felt here very well. Sometimes he dropped by, to just lie back on the couch. In the apartment he wrote a few poems. In 1940, the Nobel Prize winner in that apartment spent last night in Vilnius before the trek across the border to Warsaw. As he wrote: “This happened shortly after the occupation of the city by Soviet troops, which did not interest my family, because my uncle Pawlikowski was dying and the main trouble was buying a bottle of oxygen.”

Next – there is a storey cottage, which houses the restaurant. In the back yard is visible back of the mansion. One of the two mansions that are already found on the Mostowa street (Tilto). Opposite is Cielętnik (from grazing of veal here once). Near the cathedral, in the park a few years ago the metal
easel was set. In this way, commemorated was the name of the painter and stage designer Mstisław Dobużyński, who from this place painted a beautiful view of the Mostowa street with the Saint George church in the background. Next there is a stone sculpture of the Three Kings.
Now – a few information about the patron of the street.

Tadeusz Stanislaw Wroblewski (1858-1925) born and died in Vilnius. He was buried in the cemetery at Ross. His uncle Valery Wroblewski was one of the most prominent leaders of the January Uprising, and later – general of the Paris Commune. Wroblewski’s parents were frequented visited by Zygmunt Wroblewski Sierakowski, Konstanty Kalinowski, Jaroslaw Dabrowski.

After graduating from secondary school in Vilnius Tadeusz started medical studies in St. Petersburg, but in 1880 he was arrested for belonging to a secret organization, in 1881 he was exiled to Siberia. After returning to St. Petersburg in 1886 as an external student, he passed the examination and obtained a law degree. Since 1891 he ran a law practice in Vilnius. He became famous as a defender in the political trials, he defended the sailors who in 1905 provoked an armed uprising on the battleship Potemkin. In the interwar period in Vilnius he was a defender of Belarusian and Lithuanian political activists. He was a member of the Lithuanian Scientific Society. He wrote works on law, statistics, bibliography, history of Vilnius.

In 1899, Tadeusz Wroblewski reactivated in Vilnius Society of Blackguards (Neoszubrawcy). Society of Blackguards  was an ethical association , organized in the likeness of Freemasonry, acting in the years 1817-1822 in Vilnius, and then in 1899-1914.

Society published the satirical articles in the tabloid and in the weekly magazine of Vilnius, referring in their journalism to anticlerical tradition of the Enlightenment. They criticized obscurantism, drunkenness, gambling, mindless imitation of fashion, uncritical fascination with its own nationality, idleness of nobility and its attitude towards the peasantry.
The direct reason for founding the Society was the rise in popularity of mesmerism in Vilnius. Their main weapon was satire, irony and mockery. All letters of Blackguards had to be written “in the light-hearted and amusing style”.

Members of the Society were Michał Balinski, Leon Borowski, Antoni Gorecki, Kazimierz Kontrym, Michal Jozef Römer, Jan Boguslaw Rychter, Jakub Szymkiewicz, Jędrzej Śniadecki, Tomasz Zan, Stanislaw Bonifacy Jundziłł, Ignacy Szydlowski (high school teacher in Vilnius, translator of Byron). Everyone used the pseudonyms taken from Lithuanian mythology. Most of them belonged to Masonic lodges.

The apartment of Wroblewski at University Street 9 held for several years so called “Blackguards Saturdays”. Overall 1 000 meetings took place.

Tadeusz Wroblewski was the founder of the library, which he gave the name of his parents, Eustachy and Emilia Wróblewscy (they lived on a nearby Bonifraterska street – currently L. Stuoki-Gucevičiusa 9/7).
He inherited from them extensive library, which he significantly increased. He collected books, which amounted to 30,000 volumes, this number consisted of a lot of “white crows”, which are extremely rare editions. He accumulated also 28 thousand of manuscripts (manuscripts of Kraszewski and Syrokomli) and autographs, 1.5 thousand of maps, over 13 thousand ofengravings and photographs, about 1.2 thousand of images. Including the picture of Ferdynand Ruszczyc ” Krewo Castle “. Well known set of Masonic signs (part of the collection in 1939 was robbed by Soviet officers), interesting souvenirs of the Vilnius Society of Blackguards, valuable works of art.

This collection he dedicated to the city of Vilnius. After the death of Wroblewski, the library became a state institution, and in 1926 its collections were placed in the Tyszkiewicz palace on Zygmunt Street (Zygimantu Street 1/8).
Earlier at this place was Radziwill Palace, where lived Barbara Radziwill. According to the legend of Vilnius, quite likely from a historical point of view, she met with King Sigismund Augustus in the palace garden, which connects with the gardens of the Lower Castle.
At the end of the nineteenth century Radziwill Palace and its garden no longer existed. Bulit in their place was the winter palace of Tyszkiewicze. In 1928, the Treasury bought this building, which was already ruined. After the renovation Wróblewscy Library’s collection was placed here . In 1941, the library became the nucleus of the Library of the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences, now numbering 3.8 million copies. In 2009, the library was again named after Wróblewscy.

Translated by Patrycja Pawłowska within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.

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