Discovering the mystery of Rasos Cemetery. An unusual history lesson

Fot. wilnoteka.lt/I. Lewandowska

The history of the region of Vilnius is full of fight for independence against much stronger enemies. The silent witness of the fight is Rasos Cemetery. The Poles’ care of the graves is understandable when we know what dramatic lives are behind the names on the stone plaques. The students of John Paul II Secondary School in Vilnius decided to learn more about the Dalewski family history and to share the knowledge with others.

The initiator of the unusual history lesson was Alicja Klimaszewska. The chairperson of the Social Committee for Maintenance of the old Rasos cemetery. She presented the Dalewski as heroes, not widely-known yet worth knowing. Why them? As they were capable of making dramatic choices in their lives. “We need to learn to follow their example. We will never know what will happen to us, it is probable that someday we will have to make a hard and difficult decision, just like them,” explains Alicja Klimaszewska.

The idea was accepted by Adama Błaszkiewicza, the director of John Paul II Secondary School, as both Rasos Cemetery and the histories about Polish heroes are close to his heart. The students, together with Wiktorem Łozowskim, a history teacher, decided to look for information concerning the participants of the January Uprising. It was not easy as those people are not well-known and there not many sources mention about them. It was necessary to visit Lithuanian State Historical Archives and the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences. “Kurier Wileński” was found there in which a series of articles about the family was published in 1929. The students could learn more not only about the history of the family but also about the way historians work.

The memory about the insurrectionists is a proof that annexationist did not win: “Tzarist authorities wanted the memory about them to vanish, so that people did not visit their graves, did not offer flowers, so that the demonstrations were over,” says Alicja Klimaszewska.

This is the second history lesson in Rasos Cemetery organized by John Paul II Secondary School in Vilnius. All those who did not have a chance to take part in it are most welcomed to read about the Dalewski family and to read the article written by the organizers of the action http://www.wilnoteka.lt/pl/artykul/wspomnienie-o-dalewskich.

Tytus Jakub Dalewski, Krucini coat of arms (pseud. Józef Parafianowicz), a Polish activist, a conspirator, one of the leaders of National Government in Lithuania at the time of January Uprising. He was executed by firing squad on 11th January 1864 in Vilnius. Konstanty, his brother who also took part in the Uprising was executed by firing squad in Paris in 1871. Their symbolic grave can be found in Rasos Cemetery in the place where the third brother is buried – Alexander, a convict and conspirator who died in Vilnius in 1962.

On the basis of: inf.wł.

Source: http://www.wilnoteka.lt/pl/artykul/wspomnienie-o-dalewskich

Tłumaczenie by Gabriela Godek w ramach praktyk w Europejskiej Fundacji Praw Człowieka, www.efhr.eu. Translated by Gabriela Godek within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.

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