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A Few Remarks About the Beginnings of the Suwałki Parish
This article represents an essential contribution to the history of the Catholic parish in Suwałki, dedicated to the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. The first part deals with the period from before 1710, i.e. building of a church in Suwałki. The author uses the registers from the Bakałarzewo parish and notes down the residents of Suwałki and surrounding villages who entered into marriage, baptized their children or were witnesses to those events. An analysis of those entries leads the author to the conclusion that Suwałki did not come formally under any church then. Further on, the author describes the first church (its look, furnishings), presbytery buildings, hospitals, i.e.poorhouses, a parish school, and a cemetery which was then located near the church.
Consecutive fragments of the article are devoted to clergymen and their remuneration, organists and church service. In the final part, the author presents the territorial range of the parish (a list of villages), the state of roads, a list of home farms and villages belonging to the Camaldolese lands (together with a number of homes in particular villages, and an amount of taxes).
Churches in Suwałki in the 19th Century
The introduction to the article outlines very briefly the demographic situation in Suwałki in the 19th century, with particular attention to diversity of denominations. In subsequent parts the author, often based on sources unused so far, describes in chronological order the history of construction of churches of individual denominations. The author devotes the most space to St. Alexander’s church, verifying facts to date, concerning the chronology of construction works, expansion and consecutive rebuildings of the church. It is particularly important to point out the renovation carried out in 1856, during which the shape and size of windows were changed, the frontage was remade and the towers were made higher. The fragment devoted to an Orthodox church which was renovated and rebuilt in the years 1879–1881, 1893–1894, several dozen years after its construction, is similar in character.
Separate fragments of the text discuss the construction of a synagogue (1820), an Evangelical church (1839–1841) and the Old Believers’ church (molenna) (1910–1912). The text is supplemented by short pieces of information on chapels in a secondary school and Christian hospital, as well as longer pieces of information on chapels in the Catholic and Orthodox cemeteries. Because of the necessity of additional research, the author did not present the history of military Orthodox churches.
Pastoral Service in the Suwałki Garrison 1921–1939
In the interwar period, Suwałki constituted a numerous garrison. There was a pastoral service of various denominations to enable the soldiers to practise their religion, and to provide pastoral care. The author describes the organization of Catholic pastoral work in the Suwałki garrison presenting, among others, biographies of chaplains, the circumstances in which a former military Orthodox church at Wojska Polskiego street was taken over for a garrison church, and creation of St. Casimirs’s military parish in Suwałki. The soldiers of Orthodox denomination used the former St. George’s garrison Orthodox church situated in Sejneńska street, and the parish priests from the Suwałki Orthodox parish were chaplains there. And the Suwałki rabbis were responsible for providing religion care for the Jewish faith soldiers. The soldiers who were Jews took part in services in the Main Synagogue at Berki Joselewicza street and several houses of prayer functioning in Suwałki. The parsons from the Suwałki parish and also parsons coming to Suwałki from the Evangelical-Augsburg parish DOK III in Grodno ministered to soldiers who were Evangelicals. In the final part of the article the author discusses religious practices and participation in services of the Suwałki garrison soldiers, particularly on religious and national holidays.
Rev. Stanisław Szczęsnowicz (1867–1944) – Priest and Politician
The author portrays Rev. Stanisław Szczęsnowicz (1867–1944), emphasizing his two roles: those of a priest and politician. Rev. Szczęsnowicz was, for many years, a parish priest in Bakałarzewo (1903–1914), in Suwałki (1914–1929) and in Łomża (1929–1944). He also performed the function of the Suwałki and Łomża dean. He was involved in social and political life. During WWI he was active in the Citizens’ Committee, in November 1918 he became a member of the Provisional Citizens’ Council for the Suwałki District, and in 1919 he was an MP for the Legislative Seym. His speeches in 1919, concerning the liberation of Suwalszczyzna from German occupation, belong to the best-known ones.
Situation and Functioning of Organizational Structures of Churches and Religious Associations in Suwałki in the Years 1975–1989
This article describes the situation and functioning of organizational structures of the churches and religious associations in Suwałki in the years 1975–1989. The author points out that under communists the religious policy was shaped, managed and implemented by the Central Committee of the Polish United Workers’ Party (CC PUWP), and Department IV of the Security Service (SS) was an unusually essential element in the state apparatus.
In Suwałki, the provincial governor and the 1st Secretary of the Provincial Committee of the PUWP with a subordinate apparatus made use of the SS knowledge, and they not only consulted their actions and decisions with the SS but also based them on their suggestions. It also happened that the administration had to carry out tasks, see to certain questions or solve problems on the initiative of the SS and under their supervision.
The author devoted most of his attention to matters of the Roman-Catholic church: supervision over priests and religious congregations, church and sacred building, a Catholic youth movement (oasis movement) organized by the Light – Life Movement. From other denominations a description of relations between the communist authorities and the Old Believers, members of the Orthodox church, Evangelicals and Jehovah’s Witnesses occupies a lot of space. The author stresses that in the period described, non-Catholics, generally loyal to the authorities, were able to focus themselves and take advantage of the favourable overall economic situation and take care of, even improve, of course not without difficulties, the legal situation of their churches and religious associations.
The Suwałki Rabbis
In the 19th century, Jews in Suwałki formed a numerous community. In the middle of the century they constituted over half of the town’s population. The author devoted a lot of attention to religious, economic, social and political description of this community. Short biographies of the Suwałki’s rabbis are a fundamental part of the article. A limited number of sources is an essential problem when trying to show the complexity of relations in this environment. Published materials which were prepared by Jewish authors quite often contain contradictory information. It is clearly visible in lists of different forms of names of the same people.
The Suwałki Deans: Rev. Bolesław Gumowski and Rev. Witold Balukiewicz in Authorities’ and Security Apparatus’s Materials
Priests Bolesław Gumowski (1869–1964) and Witold Balukiewicz (1891–1971) were Suwałki’s consecutive parish priests and deans. After WWII their activities were in the range of the communist authorities’ and security service’s interest. The author, based on the documents created by them, presents the attitude of both priests towards a decision of the authorities, limiting the influence of the Catholic church on the society (e.g. removing nuns from schools and hospitals, registration of religious organizations and associations, introducing receivership in “Caritas”) or various political and repressive actions. The author devoted a lot of space to Rev. Gumowski’s attitude towards the decision of the authorities in 1955, which led to closing down of the chapel in the County Hospital in Suwałki, as well as his attempts to rebuild the garrison church in Suwałki.
Changes in Suwałki’s Population Against a Background of Other Previous Capitals of Provinces in the Years 1998–2010
Since 1999 Suwałki has not been the capital of the province but it has had the status of a township. The author analyses social and economic development of Suwałki in the period 1998–2010 against a background of other cities which lost their status of the capital of a province on 01 January 1999. A development of population in Suwałki and other previous capitals of provinces is subject to an analysis as far as the number, age, migration and birth rate are concerned. These facors and their changes have a significant influence on the economic potential of the city, reflect the city’s attractiveness against the background of other potential places of residence. The analyses were based on the data of the Chief Central Statistical Office. The article is illustrated by 18 tables and graphs.
Displacements of Lithuanian Population from Suwalszczyzna in the Years 1941, 1945–1949 – their Course and Consequences
In 1941, on the strength of agreement between the Third Reich and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, most of Lithuanian people living in Suwalszczyzna for generations were displaced to the USSR. Part of them returned after the war was over. In the second half of the 1940s the authorities attempted to displace from the Polish territory soviet citizens staying in Poland illegally. Proper regulations did not concern Lithuanian population living in Suwalszczyzna, however, a soviet commission and Białystok’s provincial governor, as well as the Suwałki’s starost interpreted the regulations in another way, aiming at displacing to the USSR the Lithuanians who returned to Suwalszczyzna after the war “wilfully” and “illegally”. The author describes, lasting until 1953, efforts of Lithuanians at risk of displacement to recover the ownwership of farmsteads left in 1941.
Operation”L” (June – October 1950) – a Contribution to the History of Stalin’s System of Repressions in Suwalszczyzna
At the beginning of the 1950s, the region of Suwalszczyzna was considered a place whose inhabitants were particularly unfriendly towards the new communist authority. A social approval, certainly not common, of the activities of what remained of the armed underground was especially menacing for the communist authorities. From June to October 1950, in the Province of Białystok, one of the most spectacular repressive actions of the SS apparatus, the so called operation “L” was carried out. Its aim was to execute tax obligations from farmers and to weaken, through economic sanctions and threats, the social backup of anticommunist partisans. The operation had the biggest range in the County of Suwałki, where it aimed at families and people supporting members of Jan Sadowski’s (nickname “Blady”) and Piotr Burdyn’s armed group. 84 families suffered the repressions. The author presents a broad context of this operation and its course. The description is supplemented by a list of farm owners in the County of Suwałki who were deprived of their property within the operation “L” in 1950.
Andrzej Matusiewicz, Janusz Mierzwa
The Starostes of Sejny 1918–1925
This article presents the history of coming into existence of the County of Sejny and its complicated functioning in the years 1918–1925. The authors devoted a lot of attention to discussing the reaction of the county’s authorities to the gossip and information about plans for its liquidation which kept appearing from 1921. A fundamental part of the text contains short biographical notes on the following starostes: Bolesław Szczęsny Herbaczewski, Henryk Wróblewski, Olgierd Czesław Malinowski, Henryk Szymon Bieńkiewicz and Stanisław Brzęczek.
Janusz Mierzwa, Jarosław Szlaszyński
The Starostes of Augustów 1918–1939
The introduction to this article constitutes a description of establishing of the Augustów local government at the county level (starosty) at the end of 1918, and starostes’ competence. A fundamental part of the article consists of short biographical notes of the following starostes: Tadeusz Podoski, Tadeusz Giedrojć, Wacław Malanowski, Kazimierz Siwik, Stefan Tomasz Eichler, Tadeusz Aleksandrowicz.
Secret Police in the “Hańcza” Hotel in Suwałki
This article is a continuation of the subject begun in Volume VI of the “Yearbook” with the text “Secret Police in the PTTK Hotel in Augustów”. This time, the author, based on Security Service documents, discusses how secret police organized in the years 1975–1989 a system of surveillance of guests in the “Hańcza” hotel in Suwałki. The retained documents allow us to determine a number of hotel guests, in this foreigners. Because the latter were of particular interest to the Security Service, we know the list of foreign diplomats visiting the city and purposes of their stay.
Antisocialist Propaganda Actions in Augustów in the years 1980–1984
In the period of the Polish People’s Republic (PPR), there was an information monopoly of the state and the Polish United Workers’ Party apparatus, supported by the Security Service activities. As a result, in the period of workers’ protests in Poland in August 1980, during the martial law and immediately after it was abolished, propaganda campaigns, mainly in the form of inscriptions on the walls and circulation of leaflets, were one of the main forms of influence on the society by supporters of reforms and democratization of life in the country.
The author discusses the course of these activities and presents their organizers in Augustów in the period from 1980 to 1984. He states that there were two sources from which the leaflets came; local leaflets whose authors made and circulated antisocialist and antiparty inscriptions and propaganda materials according to their own idea and abilities, and leaflets coming from the outside, brought mainly by students and higher schools graduates from big university centres.
Publishing Activity of the Regional Executive Committee of NSZZ “Solidarność” of the Pojezierze Region (1986–1989)
In the introduction the author describes the development of publishing movement conducted by the NSZZ “Solidarność” before the martial law was introduced on 13 December 1981. The underground structures of the union in the Suwałki Province came into being only at the end of 1985 and beginning of 1986. A fundamental part of the text describes the history of revival and publishing (editing, printing, distribution, activities of the SS, changes in publishing policy) of an official paper of the Management Board of the “Pojezierze” Region, NSZZ “Solidarność” – the paper was called “Kres” (1986–1989). The final part of the article describes the revival of the “Pojezierze Information Bulletin” in 1989, and the appearance of a new title “The Voice of Pojezierze”. Moreover, the author lists other ephemeral papers published before 1989, among others: “Kreska” and “Plagiator”.
Two Documents Referring to the Construction of the Augustów Canal
Wojciech Batura prepared for publication two documents coming from the collection of the Augustów Land Museum. They are letters by Teodor Urbañski and Wojciech Korczakowski submitted in 1837 to the management of the Polish Bank, justifying the necessity of completing the construction works on the Augustów Canal. The letters explain motives for administrative actions, the scope and nature of the works undertaken in the last period of construction of the Augustów Canal. From their content we can conclude how the construction preparations looked in those days and how the canal administration functioned then, what was the state of the facility, and we can get to know the conditiong of floating. They also illustrate hydrotechnical knowledge in those days.