• October 24, 2014
  • 258

Memory of the Dalewscy

Rossa cemetery hides a lot of mysteries. Among a number of names, often connected with tragic stories, the students from Junior High School of John Paul II got particularly interested in the Dalewscy family. Under the guidance of history teacher, Witold Łozowski, they managed to dig up the forgotten stories about this patriotic family, which were published in “Kurier Wileński” in 1929.

When one goes through some old memoirs, they can notice that some families seem destined for unusual histories. It is especially easy to notice in the periods of national uprisings, when a father along with his sons went into the battle, when two generations suffered in prison and the third, juvenile one, visited their grandfathers and fathers and got prepared for the next rebellion against violence. In Lithuania, one of such families – deserving, martyr and sacrificial – was the family of Dalewscy, children of Dominik and Dominika from the Narkiewicz Dalewscy, landowners from Kunkułka (lidzki region). The offspring was numerous: Franciszek, Aleksander, Tytus, Konstanty and three sisters: Apolonia (Zygmuntowa Sierakowska), Tekla (mn. Jaenisch) i Ksawera (mn. Turska). The sons were educated in the Vilnius Junior High School, the daughters in the Institute of Noble Maidens, the eldest Franciszek and Aleksander left to the university in Petersburg.

A lot of young people of that times, left universities in the tsarist capital – often successfully began – and came back to their country to wake up the spirits, prepare, organize and not allow for the slumber in servitude. That was their mission. Dalewscy came back as well. Along with their friends, Florian Danowski and Bronisław Lutkiewicz, they started to prepare young people for the uprising. They established “Fraternal Union of Youth” in Lithuania. Whoever entered the organisation knew that, in any time, they have to be prepared for a martyr death – not only not to betray the union members but, as far as it is possible, take over the guilt of the others. The goal of the association was to arrange the lives of young people. They did not aim only for the liberation of their Homeland but also for the spiritual revival through promotion of values of knowledge and welfare, namely purity of soul and mores, honesty and justice, promotion of Polish identity, fighting against spiritual and material poverty.

Emotionally agitated patriotic feelings could not be kept within set boundaries. The events of 1848 shocked the young people. Especially craftsmen, despite directing positions, were eager to grab the guns. The uprising was set for the resurrection day in hope that crowded streets will make it easier to steal arms from the citadel. However, one of the participants betrayed his people. Dalescy got arrested. Firstly, the brothers were kept in the post-Dominican walls, but when, after two years, the authorities failed to force them to confessions, they were moved to the citadel. They were kept separately in dark dungeons, with only bread and water to live on. When governor Bibikow, pretending to be liberal, came to Franciszek Dalewski’s dungeon to get him to make a statement for “the sake of his companions”, Franciszek said impatiently: “General, if you really took me for an honest man, you would know that even if I knew anything, I would never say it”.

Franciszek was sentenced to death. Thanks to the efforts of the family, the sentence was changed for 15 years of drudgery. Aleksander was imprisoned for 10 years. They were sent to the Nerczyńscy’s mine in Siberia on foot, shod in shackles, joined with the common chain to other convicts. Franciszek fell down with typhus. He was thrown on the wagon with stuff. He recovered. What was it that cured him? It is difficult to figure out. Fresh air or frost? Or maybe his mother’s tears and prayers? The exiles in Siberia, after the horrible journey, had to deal with different work: giving lessons, producing leather and soap, later haunting (if they were given a gun). They stayed together in constant brotherhood. Most of them came back in around 1858 or 1859 and… again, these incurable heroes started to conspire.

Dalewscy got a work in French company building the railway track between Petersburg and Warsaw. Surrounded by common respect and love, they had a great impact on the others. In his memoirs, Gieysztor writes about Franciszek: “He did never have doubts about the future, as he was carrying it in his heart. In the exile, he remembered of only one thing – his homeland. Despite his feverish feelings, he was characterised by common sense and good judgement. He understood and loved romanticism, but he would always choose this what was practical. He always tried to improve himself, but he never thought about himself. He wiould never reject his beliefs… This was a man who surprised with his simplicity. From the very childhood devoted to the idea of Independence”. Aleksander, who was more lively, eager and eloquent, was his brother’s companion and the propagator of his ideas. He died in 1862. His friends engraved on his tombstone at Rossa: Woe unshaken student of Christ, Loyal to his Master in heart and Obedient in deed, strengthening his soul with courageous words. Usque ad finem.

Then came the events of 1863. Dalewski, Sierakowski, Danowski and others stand up for uprising. The senior of the family was followed by the younger brothers, Tytus and Konstanty, who left the university in Petersburg and came back to their country. Tytus became a mediator between the organisations in Petersburg and the section administrating Vilnius and Lithuanian province. Shortly, he was betrayed, found and sentenced to death by Murawiew. He was executed on December 30th, 1863. The place of his burial is unknown, probably it is located on the Castle Hill. Konstantyn, the forth brother from this deserving family, after the outbreak of the uprising, joined the troops of his brother-in-law, Sierakowski. After the battle at Birże, he created his own troops and fought. He was always calm, brave and canny, even when he had to carry his wounded companions away from the battle field. He was severely wounded himself, but he did not stop being the leader. He passed the border several times to save the rest of his troops. Along with his companions, he left for emigration. During the siege of Paris, he fought in the national guard and received a lot of acknowledgements from his superiors. In 1872, he was executed by the French for whom he risk his life.

The life of Apolonia, the sister of these tragic brothers, was no less heroic and horrible. As the wife of Zygmunt Sierakowski, the leader of the Lithuanian uprising, after her husband execution on Łukiski square, she was send for exile to Samara, where her mother and sister had already stayed. Pregnant at that time, she lost her only child, who was born in that horrible conditions and did not manage to survive. After the manifesto of 1867, she was allowed to move to Warsaw, where she could live with her sister an mother. They all died and were buried in there. In 1863, Franciszek Dalewski got arrested in Vilnius as the member of “administrative section of Lithuanian province”. He was again sent to Siberia, where he went on foot with his arm companion, Florian Danowski.

He did his drudgery in Sieraków. Afterwards, on the strength of the manifesto, he stayed in Irkuck. Finally, in 1883, he came back to his country and family in Warsaw. He settled in this town. Being about 60-year old, he got married with a young girl, Amelia Sokołowska, with whom he had four children: Zygmunta, Zofia, Hanna and Maria. To support his family, he worked as a clerk in the Warsaw-Vienna railway. From time to time, he had to bear with Russian authorities harassments, as they still could not forget about this rebel, surprised about the fact that he survived – tough Lithuanian Polish man. To the end of his days, he was particularly interested in the young. He loved them, believed in them and enjoyed listening to them. He died on April 25th, 1904. He was buried in the family plot at Powązki, next to his beloved mother and sisters. That is what they were like…then. How much we own to them today, we do not sufficiently know. Yet, it is worth remembering about such heroes.

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

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