• August 18, 2016
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20th Anniversary of Association of Polish Engineers and Technicians in Lithuania

The Association of Polish Engineers and Technicians in Lithuania has been functioning for 20 years already! It was founded in the summer of 1996 on the initiative of a group of engineers, socially active Poles working in the interest of Polishness. It was a period when Polish trade associations were being established in large numbers in the Vilnius region, and so engineers also decided to found their own club, referring to the honourable tradition of the Polish engineering organisations of the first half of the 20th century. Already in the tsar’s times, Polish engineers and technicians belonged in the Vilnius elite, and did some scientific, social, and charitable activity.

One of the seniors of the engineering community in Vilnius was Prof. Jerzy Niewodniczański’s grandfather from Cracow, Wiktor Niewodniczański (1872-1929), a graduate of the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences at the St. Petersburg University and the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering at the Warsaw University of Technology. In 1903, being the director-general of the power plant erected then in Vilnius, he establishes the Engineering Group along with his friends, and later the Association of Engineers and Technicians. When, on the wave of the thaw after the 1905 revolution, a positive change of the Tsar authorities’ attitude towards Polish issues took place, in 1906 already this engineering organisation was legalized – it was registered as the Association of Polish Technicians. In 1913 Reverend Prelate (!) Jan Kurczewski was chosen to be the Association chairman.

After 123 years of bondage, Poland regained independence, but it cost it a great number of victims. As a result of the hostilities in Poland, 240 bridges, 63% of train stations, 56% of rolling stock, 48% of locomotive sheds were destroyed. Factories were ruined, agriculture destroyed. There was a shortage of qualified staff, workforce, and, above all, educated engineers and technicians. The foreground task was development of technical and vocational education.

Three Universities of Technology were functioning at the time of the 2nd Polish Republic: in Warsaw, Lviv, and Gdańsk. In Vilnius the Stefan Batory University, which, however, did not have developed technical instruction, was revived. The Association of Engineers and Technicians in Vilnius initiated creation of a technical school. Later it was renamed the Józef Piłsudski State Technical School at Holendernia Street. The school instructed in Polish to 1942 and still functions as the Lithuanian Technical College.

The Association of Engineers and Technicians in Vilnius could not function legally after 17th September 1939, but its members were still socially active in the underground, participated in the Polish resistance movement, many of them fought in the ranks of the Home Army. Only the consecutive persecutions of occupants, post-war deportations to the East, and expatriations to the West eventually dispersed that community, though many Polish engineers from Vilnius took part in the process of rebuilding Poland after the war, and, towards the end of their lives, they got engaged in organising borderland associations.

After Lithuania regained independence on 24th June 1996, a group of engineers and technicians (Jan Andrzejewski, Jan Hermanowicz, Ryszard Jaroszewicz, Karol Śnieżko, Jerzy Bogusz, Wiesław Piontek, Michał and Stanisława Runiewicz, Konstanty Runiewicz, Kazimierz Charyton, and Stanisław Tuczkowski) prepared the statute of a new organisation and applied for its registration in the Vilnius City Hall. On 12th August of the same year, the Association of Polish Engineers and Technicians in Lithuania (STIPL) was registered. Eng. Jan Andrzejewski was elected to be its first chairman, the deputy chairmen were Eng. Jan Hermanowicz and Eng. Karol Śnieżko, the treasurer – Wiesław Piontek, and the secretary – Eng. Zenon Bohdanowicz, PhD.

In October of 2005 the Association was admitted to the European Federation of Engineering Associations. Currently, its chairman is Eng. Jerzy Mozyro. Also the Construction-Sanitary Engineers Association (PZITS) functions as part of the STIPL (chairman – Eng. Jan Andrzejewski). Already on 14th October 1989, the founding convention of the Lithuanian Association of Engineers in Vilnius was held, where Donaldas Zanevičius, PhD, was chosen for its chairman, and on 1st February 2006 Jan Andrzejewski, among others, became the deputy chairman of the nationwide organisation.

From the history of the Association:

Eng. Jan Andrzejewski – 3 terms of office
Eng. Jan Hermanowicz – 1 term of office
Eng. Wiesław Piontek – 2 terms of office
Eng. Józef Wasilewski – 1 term of office
Eng. Jerzy Mozyro – 1 term of office
Eng. Robert Niewiadomski (since 2013)

On Eng. Zygmunt Klonowski’s initiative, a competition is organised among engineers as well, the “Engineer of the Year” plebiscite.

The “Engineer of the Year” title has been received so far by:

2006 – Eng. Mieczysław Buzan, MSc
2007 – Eng. Wioletta Czepanko, PhD
2008 – Eng. Piotr Stoszkun, PhD
2009 – Prof. Eng. Tadeusz Łozowski
2010 – Eng. Robert Niewiadomski, MSc
2011 – Eng. Zenon Bohdanowicz, PhD
2013 – Eng. Jan Andrzejewski, MSc
2016 – Prof. Eng. Leon Ustinowicz

We modeled the Association’s activity on the prewar examples, as well as we followed advice and experience of our befriended, allied organisations in Poland and in the West (in the U.S., Austria, Germany, France). Numerous cooperation agreements were signed, among others with the Polish Union of Sanitary Engineers and Technicians in Warsaw, Polish Union of Civil Engineers, Construction Company “TAPKAPI”, Association of Mechanical Engineers (Warsaw Branch), Polish Association of Civil, Sanitary, Communications and Agricultural Engineers and Technicians in Słupsk, Polish Association of Electrical Engineers in Warsaw, Polish Communication Association in Warsaw, and other associations and individual companies.

Conferences, symposiums, technical conferences, study trips:

  1. Symposium “Environmental Protection”
  2.  Agricultural symposium
  3. Construction symposium
  4. Mechanical symposium
  5. Study trip “Rural Tourism”
  6. Communications symposium
  7. Energetic conference
  8. Symposium “Renewable Energy Sources”
  9. Symposium “Nuclear Power Engineering”– trip to Visaginas
  10. 4th Symposium “Poles Together”, entitled “Polish Technical Ideas in the European Union”

The suggestion of organising this last, biggest international symposium was put forward in 1999 at the 2nd Symposium of the Federation NOT in Warsaw. An organising committee was established, comprising of:

The chairman of the Organising Committee – Eng. Jan Andrzejewski, the chairman of the Construction-Sanitary Engineers Association in Vilnius and the deputy chairman of the Association of Polish Engineers and Technicians in Lithuania. Members of the committee: Eng. Artur Ludkowski, MSc, the director of the House of Polish Culture (DKP) in Vilnius; Eng. Wojciech Ratyński, PhD; and Eng. Ewa Mańkiewicz-Cudny, MSc, the management of the Federation NOT in Warsaw.

The Honorary Committee: Longin Pastusiak, Marshal of the Polish Senate; Krystyna Danielak, Deputy Marshal of the Polish Senate; Andrzej Stelmachowski, Chairman of the Association “Polish Community”; Jerzy Bahr, Ambassador of Poland in Lithuania; Bożena Brooker, Secretary-General of European Federation of Polish Scientific and Technological Societies Abroad; Andrzej Drzewiecki, Chairman of the Association of Polish Engineers (SIP) in Canada; Andrzej Farniak, Chairman of the SIP in Great Britain; Grzegorz Lipowski, Deputy Chairman of the Polish Federation of Engineering Associations FSNT–NOT; Ryszard Paruszewski, Secretary-General of the PZITS; Janusz Ptak, Chairman of the SIP in France; Kazimierz Wawrzyniak, Secretary-General of the FSNT-NOT; Donaldas Zanevičius, Chairman of the Lithuanian Association of Engineers.

At the Symposium arrived more than 200 delegates from Lithuania, Poland, Belarus, the U.S., Canada, Germany, France, and other countries where Polish engineering organisations are located. The most numerous group of delegates came from Łódź and Słupsk.

It is essential to mention and thank wholeheartedly the allied organisations in Poland for their generous help and sending magazines on science and technology for free, such as “Przegląd Techniczny”, “W-E”, “Spektrum”, “Budownictwo”, “Gaz i Woda”, “Drogownictwo”, “Komunikacja”, and many more publications that we receive regularly to the Association’s address. We would also like to thank Ms. Ewa Mańkiewicz-Cudna, Krystyna Popiel, Irena Fober, Dorota Mańkowska, Mr. Jerzy Pszczoła, Ryszard Marcińczak, Eugeniusz Ryl, Ryszard Warchulski, Tadeusz Malinowski from Bełchatów, the first director of the DKP Marek Pakuła, the chairman of the Lithuanian Association of Engineers Donaldas Zanevičiusow, PhD. In all seriousness and with all due respect, we want to express our gratitude to the whole current management and staff of the DKP, as well as to the late Prof. Marek Roman and Eng. Ryszard Paruszewski – may their memory be blessed!

Initially, the Association was registered under a private address; we had been given the approval of the Bohdanowicz family and used the address in Vilnius, ul. Taikos 121 m.8. After a few months, we went for our own accommodation in a tender; we managed to win and had our first seat at ul. Moniuszki 10-29. We functioned there for five years. During that time the House of Polish Culture was built in Vilnius and we got a new place in Room 206, where we have been up to this day.

Jan Andrzejewski

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

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