• April 17, 2015
  • 91

“My Wileńszczyzna and my Kresy” now in Vilnius

We are pleased to announce that our co-worker from Bydgoszcz, Krzysztof Jeremi Sidorkiewicz, has released his book “My Wileńszczyzna and my Kresy”.

The book consists of the publications from Polish newspapers, also from “Kurier Wileński”. As the title suggests, the main idea of the book are Vilnius and Kresy. Moreover, the book covers the topic of Polish-Lithuanian relations through historical events and the memories of former Vilnius residents. Although the main idea might not seem very exceptional for the residents, the book includes many unknown facts which a Reader may not be familiar with.

The choice of the topic is not accidental. The author is affined with Kresy both in terms of his family and sentiments.

“I heard about Kresy since my childhood – tells the author at the beginning. My father’s family came from the former Grand Duchy of Lithuania. In particular, I remember the stories about my father’s childhood and his early falling in love on Siberia, his school years in in today’s Belorussian Wołkowysk and interestingly spent years during his education on the University of Stefan Batory in Vilnius. Moreover, I remembered my father’s stories about my dad’s stay in small manor houses in the southern Vilnius during Christmas breaks. It was a place where his Mother and Grandmother came from. I still have in memory her melodious speech mixed with Russian and Belorussian. My mother wasn’t born in Kresy. She sometimes secretly laughed at her mother-in-law’s speech.”

In the book you can find the articles about the reality from 20 years back but also some important fact from further past. It was a surprise for me to find out that the filomat-conspirator, a close friend of Adam Mickiewicz, Jan Czeczott, was buried on a cementary in Rotnica near Druskininkai, in a place lost in Lithuanian woods where it is almost impossible to find any Polish epitaphium.  When it comes to the uneasy Polish-Lithuanian relations, the author mentions interesting facts from the history, for example when in Russian annexation Lithuania organised the patriotic demonstration. Moreover, he tells a Reader when in 1861 in Kowno “God, who Poland” was sung and when “The January uprising was the time of the closest brotherhood and the unity of these two nations”. However, the end of the friendship came 20 years later and to the canon of Lithuanian nationalist frazeology were added the words from Kraszewski’s drama. It were words by prince Witold: “Near the bosom of Lithuanian family, there is Polish bloodsucker which sucks out blood”.

The author presents the facts which illustrate the extraordinary methods how to divide two nations – Polish and Lithuanian – through Russian Empire according to the rule “divide and rule”. Moreover, he supports his arguments with clever commentaries. When the defeat in January uprising bring about the persecution of Polish nation, “the cunning tsar decided to form more competitive Lithuanian education. The first Lithuanian grammar schools in Mariampol were open and donated from Russia, the same goes with the first seminary for teachers in Wejwery. The students from these two pioneering academia where educated in a spirit of the hatred to Polish culture (…).

You didn’t need much time for more consequences of this policy. In 1883, doctor Jan Banasiewicz, which was raised in Suwalszczyzna, started to release the first printable Lithuanian magazine in East Prussia entitled “Ausra”. From its very beginning, the magazine was based on anti-Polish ideas. Its main aim was to release Lithuanian nation from inferior cultural complex and in order to raise spirits of the nation, the magazine was willingly focused on national megalomania (…). It was Polish nation who was blame for all the defeats of Lithuanians.  Žemaitė Julia from Bieniuszewiczowie Żymontowa, who is said to be the greatest Lithuanian poet, reminisced that until 50 years old she didn’t hear a word about Polish-Lithuanian antagonism and it was not until the import of Prussian literature of the greatest pioneers of renaissance when she first read about it (…).

The author also says about the crime against Polish people in Wołyń commited by Ukrainian nationalists. He cities one of few examples of remembering about this cruel act which were the words by former Ukrainian president, Leonid Krawczuk. “We don’t hide this and we don’t fail to mention it. During World War II, about half million of Polish people was killed by Ukrainian chauvinists. Ukrainian chauvinism is a defect on a healthy Ukrainian body and a remorse for Polish nation”.

In the book “My Wileńszczyzna and my Kresy” a Reader will find some interesting facts for himself, for example he will learn about the history of Polish nation on Kresy. The story is told with vivid language and narration from a perspective of an objective person.

Krzysztof Jeremi Sidorkiewicz, the author of the book, is a lawyer, historician and a publicist. In the 90’s of last century, he was for example the journalist of “Ilustrowany Kurier Polski” published in Bydgoszcz. He also wrote for “Promocje Pomorskie” and “Gazeta Polska”. From 2009, he established the cooperation with “Kurier Wileński”. He is a Doctor of Philosophy in history.


The book has been released by the Institute of Publishing “Świadectwo”, Bydgoszcz 2015. It is available in Polish bookshops in Vilnius.

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

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