Dear.Readers_ by sdfgsg234



Ludwinów (Liudvinavas) in honour of Hetman Pociej
– by Irena Lunskienė. .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 30   Dear.Readers,
Evidence of a stormy history

–.by.Prof ..Józef.Maroszek.. .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 32        Here is another edition of our guide for
                                                                                                                                   the borderlands of Lithuania, Poland and
What speech to open the world with?                                                                                                the Kaliningrad District of the Russian
                                                                                                                                   Federation. Being half way through the
.–.by.Dr ..Dorota.Misiejuk. . .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 35       project Transborder Centre for Educa-
                                                                                                                                   tion and Civil Information in Białystok, we
The second chance of the Augustow Canal                                                                                            experience for ourselves how difficult the
                                                                                                                                   transborder cooperation is. The articles
                                                                                                                                   one may read in “My Little Europe” dem-
                                                                                                                                   onstrate various aspects of our common
                                                                                                                                   history and present day.
                                                                                                                                   The magazine, however, is just one of the
                                                                                                                                   project elements. I encourage you to visit
                                                                                                                                   our website www.informacjaeuropejska.
                                                                                                                                   pl, where we place both current events and
                                                                                                                                   opinions and analyses resulting from our
–.by.Krzysztof.Wolfram.. .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 38.     activity. Implementing the project we see
                                                                                                                                   how huge a historical and cultural havoc
How the wig saved the king’s life!.                                                                                                in the borderland people’s awareness re-
–.by.Wojciech.Koronkiewicz. .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 42.              sulted from artificial divisions determined
                                                                                                                                   by state frontiers.
At the beginning it was szpichaw (a shed with buckets).                                                                             We hope that what we are doing is one of
                                                                                                                                   the elements contributing to mutual meet-
–.by.Tomasz.Naruszewicz.. .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 44.          ings of the inhabitants of these lands.
Lithuanian meads, liqueurs and sekaczes                                                                                                   Chairman of Amicus Society
                                                                                                                                                     Piotr Sobolewski

                                                                                                                                   Paulina Wolfram
                                                                                                                                   Jarosław Marek Chodynicki
                                                                                                                                   Adam Kozłowski
                                                                                                                                   Piotr Sobolewski
                                                                                                                                   Association „Towarzystwo Amicus”
                                                                                                                                   15-427 Białystok
                                                                                                                                   Lipowa 14 phone/fax: 0048 85 653 77 53
–.by.Andrzej.Fiedoruk.. .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 53    e-mail:
                                                                                                                                   Agencja „Benkowski”
                                                                                                                                   Legionowa 28, 15-281 Białystok
                                                                                                                                   Phone: 0048/85 745 52 45
                                                                                                                                   Fax: 0048/85 674 30 22


 South-east of Marijampolė…
 Ludwinów (Liudvinavas) in honour of Hetman Pociej

    South-east of Marijampole, at
 the confluence of the rivers Szes-
 zupa and Sudonia, a historic town
 of Ludwinów is located, being the
 centre of the Ludwinów District.
    Until the 18th century the set-
 tlement on the River Szeszupa was
 called Trobos (Chaty, lit. Cabins).
 It belonged to the Punia District.
    The village came to existence in
 a place where hunters used to stop
 and spend a night. The district was
 governed by Ludwik Konstanty
 Pociej: the Vilnius castellan and
 Great Hetman of Lithuania. Due to
 his efforts, King August II granted
 the settlement Trobos a town char-    For a long time there have been a     Lithuania. A declaration of local
 ter. The new town was called Lud-     number of well-doing farms which      authorities was signed. According
 winów in honour of Ludwik Kon-        belonged to great managers who        thereto, the Ludwinów District of
 stanty Pociej.                        made the district famous.             the Marijampole Region (on the
    The district occupies an are of       There is a secondary school, 3     Lithuanian part) and the authori-
 about 17,440 hectares. It is the      primary schools and a community       ties of the Commune Bakałażewo
 second largest district within the    centre. Amateur artistic group are    (on the Polish part) develop coop-
 Marijampole Region. It embraces       active. 8 village communes came       eration, together look for funds to
 56 villages and settlements where     to being. A number of traditional     implement common projects main-
 live c. 6,000 people altogether.      festivals are celebrated there. The   taining the economic, cultural and
                                       greatest festival held annually in    educational development, as well
                                       Ludwinów is St.Louis and the          as environment protection.
                                       Town of Ludwinów Day, celebrated         In autumn 2005 an agreement
                                       in the last week of August. Guest     on cooperation with the Commune
                                       come there on that day, including     Drohiczyn was signed.
                                       all those who have their families        In the year 2007 the commune
                                       and relatives in Ludwinów.            entered into cooperation with the
                                          The Ludwinów District main-        Association Amicus at the impe-
                                       tains very good cultural relations    lementation of the project Trans-
                                       with Poland. It has been cooper-      border Centre for Civil Education
                                       ating with the Commune of Puńsk       and Information in Białystok.
                                       since 2000. On 11 June 2003 rep-         Feel invited to Ludwinów, to the
                                       resentatives of local authorities     town, its history, culture and folk
                                       in borderlands of Poland and          artists.
                                       Lithuania met in Augustów at the                            Irena Lunskienie
                                       Third Economic Forum Poland-                   Head of the Ludwinów District



 Monuments of military construction on the territory of the Euroregion Neman
 Evidence of a stormy history
    They are evidence of old po-
 litical divisions: wooden burghs,
 both tribal and early medieval.
 Lowland castles prove the Teuton-
 ic expansion and the Lithuanians
 and the Mazovians’ resistance.
 Modern castles and fortresses
 testify the shotgun stage whereas
 strongholds make a “documenta-
 tion” of absolutism and the times
 of the partitions of Poland.

 Ruthenian wooden forts
 on the Mazovian Land
                                         Miedniki. the Lithuanian castle of the 14th century. Drawing by N.Orda
    On the territory of the historic
 Mazovia, early medieval castel-         Neman (later known as Raudań,                      type, built of brick on a regular
 lan keeps picturesquely situated        which means ‘red’ for its brick un-                plan, quadrilateral with the central
 in Święck, Tykocin and Grodz-           plastered walls, picturesquely dom-                yard. Each of them were signifi-
 kie Stare. In the period 1041-1047      inating on the high bank of the Ne-                cantly rebuilt.
 Yaroslav the Wise, the Grand Duke       man. The walls of the construction                    In 1389 Duke Vytautas of
 of Kiev led an expedition against       made a square strengthened with                    Lithuania fled with his family to
 Maslav, a rebel. In turn for the help   towers on the corners.                             the Teutonic Knights. A year later
 provided for Prince Kazimir the            In 1339 the castle was captured                 he signed commitments in their fa-
 Renovator of Poland Yaroslav the        by the Lithuanians. In 1343 it                     vour. The Order extended its rule
 Wise took over the Land of Drohic-      was demolished by the Teutonic                     over the lands left by Vytautas.
 zyn. On the territory taken over he     Knights and its ruins became a                     The Teutonic Knights construct-
 built a system of fortified Ruthenian   residence of the families of Kirszn-               ed then wooden castles: Neugar-
 burghs: Drohiczyn, Mielnik, Suraż       sztein and Olędzki.                                den on the Neman, opposite the
 and Bielsk Podlaski. The residues                                                          Horodniczanka’s mouth and old
 of the burghs are still very impres-    Castles in the east                                Grodno, as well as Metenburg on
 sive with their size.                                                                      the Biebrza and in Dolistowo, op-
    They were erected among the          of the Monastic State                              posite the Netta’s mouth. They
 Mazovian ethnos, then living there.     of the Teutonic Knights                            were soon destroyed and no trace
 They were expected to secure obe-                                                          of them is left.
 dience and protect from the neigh-        The 1370s were the time of build-                   In 1392 King Vladislav Jag-
 bours. In spite of that they changed    ing a system of defensive castles in               iello and Duke Vytautas signed
 the owners, once being property of      the east of the historical area of                 an agreement, by force of which
 once the Ruthenian dukes or the         the State of the Teutonic Knights                  Jagiello returned the latter his fa-
 Polish princes.                         (1226-1525). They survived in Ełk                  ther’s possessions: the Duchy of
    As early as the big Teutonic         (14th c.), Pisz (1376), Giżycko                    Troki and the Grodno Land. In
 Knights’ expedition to Lithuania        (1377), Węgorzewo (14th c.), Ryn                   autumn 1392 troops of the Teuton-
 Duke Heinrich of Bavaria erect-         (1377) and Ragneta (Niemensk).                     ic Knights reached Suraż on the
 ed the castle Bayern on the River       They were castles of the lowland                   Narew, destroying there Vytatuas’s

                                                                      EvIDENCE oF A SToRMy HISToRy

castle. Since then Suraż has never          The King located the fortress       nia, incorporated to the Crown in
restored its military importance.        nearly in the very middle of the       1569, as well as near the border
   It was the year 1393. Near Suraż      countries ruled by him. Hence one      of the dependent Duchy of Prus-
Prince Janusz I of Mazovia built the     could send artillery to protect all    sia, which were to be, after Duke
castle Złotoria on the Narew, op-        the borders of the Commonwealth.       Albrecht Hohenzollern’s death,
posite the River Supraśl’s mouth.        For with Cracow Tykocin commu-         incorporated to the Polish Crown.
However, the Teutonic Knights            nicated through the Narew and          This border location made great
destroyed this fortress too so as it     the Vistula, with Lvov through the     possibilities to mask the building
did not hinder their conquests and       Narew and the Bug or the Narew,        of the monarch’s domain there,
consolidation of their rule between      the Vistula and the San; with Vil-     which would have made the ruler
the Neman and the Narew.                 nius through the Biebrza and fur-      financially independent and would
   A new castle, called Tykocin, was     ther through the dry crossing into     provide him with at least limited
erected by Vytautas in Kaczorowo,        the Neman and then through the         independence.
upon the Narew, opposite the Riv-        Vilia. With Prussia, on the other         The Tykocin Castle gave later
er Nereśl’s mouth.                       hand, it was connected through         on shelter to other rulers: in 1576
   The Lithuanians, during Vy-           the Biebrza, the Pisa and the Elk.     to Stefan Batory, in 1630 to Si-
tautas’s rule, built lowland castles        The designer and builder of the     gismund III Vasa. On October
modeled on Teutonic ones: on rec-        Tykocin and Vilnius castles, as well   1, 1705, during the congress with
tangular projections with cuboid         as the Knyszyn residence, was Job      Tsar Peter I, King August II stayed
towers on the corners. Such castles      Preytfus.                              in the castle. The Swedish and the
were built in the 15th c., among            Along with the neighbouring         supporters of Leszczyński (on Oc-
other places in, Troki, Vilnius, Med-    Knyszyn residence, Tykocin was         tober 4, he was crowned in Warsaw
niki, Lida and Grodno. These were        supposed to be “a buckle” cement-      by archbishop Konstanty Zieliński)
castles built of brick with the use of   ing the two unifying state areas:      pushed him away on the territory
field stones. Nevertheless, most of      the Polish Crown and the Grand         of almost whole Poland, and Au-
the fortification of that period – as    Duchy of Lithuania. The property       gust II was seeking a Russian help
well as manor houses and residenc-       of Sigismund August was located        against Stanislaw. He wanted to
es were still wooden in this area, be-   partly within the former Duchy         award some magnates for their fa-
cause, above all, this material was      of Mazovia incorporated to the         vour. Thus he distributed the lords
available. Therefore, Gothic and         Polish Crown after the death of the    assembled then in Tykocin red-
early modern castles of 14-16 centu-     last dukes of Mazovia in 1529, and     enameled medals with the image of
ries are so hard to be found on this     partly in Podlasie - within the bor-   the White Eagle and an inscription
territory. Instead, they dominate on     ders of the Grand Duchy of Lithua-     Pro Fide, Rege et Lege (for Faith,
the territory of the former Monastic
Sate of the Teutonic Knights.

Tykocin – “a buckle”
linking the Grand Duchy
of Lithuania and the Crown
   In 1542 a project of building a
fortress in Tykocin was developed.
In an emergency it was to become
a refuge for King Sigismund Au-
gust of Poland (1520-1572), as well
as the object where the last Jagiel-
lonian monarch’s movables were
to be stored.                            The Castle of Ragneta


                                                                                   whose goal was to guard them-
                                                                                   selves from Moscow.

                                                                                   Osowiec – the fortress
                                                                                   on the Biebrza Wetlands
                                                                                      In the period 1844-56, a fortress
                                                                                   was built west of Giżycko, which
                                                                                   is a perfectly preserved example
                                                                                   of the Prussian fortification school
                                                                                   It was a main link in the chain of
                                                                                   fortifications closing an access to
                                                                                   the territory of the Prussian state
                                                                                   from the east. It was built on an
                                                                                   area of c.100 hectares and made a
                                                                                   very important strategic object of
     The Castle of Troki                                                           East Prussia.
                                                                                      From 1882 to 1892 the Russians
 King and Law) on its one side and        in Ciechanowiec, the Radziwills’         conducted a construction of the
 the letters A.R (Augustus Rex) on        castles in Goniądz and Waniewo,          Fortress Osowiec, situated on the
 the other one.                           the Gasztolds’ Castle Tykocin            only crossing through the Biebrza
    A very important element of the       and, finally, the fortification of the   Wetlands. The 195 thousand hect-
 Tykocin Castle was an alumnat for        Wiesiołowski family in Białystok.        ares of the River Biebrza valley,
 the 1633 war veterans. The Seym of          The solutions applied in the          mostly covered with swamps and
 the Commonwealth sent there of-          magnate fortification systems            peatbogs, were an effective pro-
 ficers of merit in combat in order       of the 16th-18th centuries were          tection of the fortress. A system of
 to spend there the rest of their life.   imitated in the residences of the        watergates and passages was built
    The castle was damaged by a           middle-class nobles. Nearly all          on them, which enabled to flood
 flood in the 18th century and its        such residences were separated           the area in case of enemy attack.
 walls were demolished.                   from peasants’ settlements with a           Osowiec was one of the four-
    After the Lithuanians took over       stream, on which two ponds were          teen military enterprises imple-
 the territory of Podlasie (14th c.),     arranged. Between the latter, a          mented in the second half of the
 there appeared some castles, ter-        causeway led to the manor house.         19th century on the line of the riv-
 ritorial authority centres of the        The stream made a sort of moat.          ers Neman-Vistula.
 Lithuanian rulers, in Drohiczyn,            Even today some traces of the            From 1889 on, also Piątnica near
 Mielnik, Bielsk Podlaski, Suraż          ponds may be found in these stra-        Łomża was fortified in order to
 and Brańsk.                              tegic trouble spots.                     protect the Narew crossings. Three
                                             At the beginning of the 16th cen-     forts were built there connected
 Fortified residences and…                tury, the Grand Duchy of Lithua-         with underground corridors.
                                          nia was in the centre of war against        The World War I and II left the
 Orthodox churches                        the Grand Duchy of Moscow. The           woods and forests crippled with
   About 1500 on the territory of         cause was a fact that Alexander Jag-     the lines of trenches and systems
 Podlasie some fortified manors sur-      iellonian and the Ruthenian Met-         of concrete shelters. The ran along
 rounded by systems of ramparts           ropolitan Joseph Bułharynowicz           the River Bug on the Soviet-Ger-
 were built, making magnate resi-         were implementing the church un-         man borderline of 1939-41, on the
 dences: the Castle Supraśl of the        ion program. That was why some           Neman near Grodno and on the
 Chodkiewicz family in Gródek, the        fortified Orthodox churches were         Augustow Canal.
 Castel Dubno of the Sapieha family       constructed in Vilnius, Supraśl,                           prof. Józef Maroszek
 near Boćki, the castle of the Kiszkas    Mały Możejków and Synkowicze,                             University of Białystok


Bilingual education in northeastern Poland

What speech to open the world with?
   One of the characteristics of the       Other theories imply that com-            Generally speaking, “bilingual
borderland is multilingualism. The       petences recognized on any level         education is permissibility of the
communication structure in such          constitute bilingualism.                 second language (in addition to
an area is a very complicated net-         There are two types of bilingual-      the common (official) language) as
work of rules concerning the use of      ism: added bilingualism and a re-        a language of communication and
the languages thereof. The network       pressed form of bilingualism. The        instruction in lessons. The point
is constituted by the long tradition     repressed form of bilingualism           was, above all, the use of the second
of cohabitation on the same terri-       occurs when the second language          language as a code communicating
tory and the specificity of contacts     replaces the first one. The added        the reality, explaining problems
between different ethnic groups.         form is characterized by the fact        and difficulties, describing abstract
   Not without importance are            that the both languages are equally      terms. Whereas in the cases of the
globalization processes. And what        valued by the individual.                majority group bilingual education
seems decisive is the ideology of          It is also proven that the latter      is considered as an effective way of
the state implemented through the        supports academic development            the second (foreign) language ac-
education system.                        of the pupils. By the same means,        quisition, the mutual influences of
                                         through using “the natural wealth”       bilingualism and bilingual educa-
Two languages, two words?                of the borderland – bilingualism         tion have an additional aspect for
                                         incorporated in the education sys-       the minority children. It is an issue
   The borderland is rich in bilin-      tem – we can support these chil-         of academic development of a per-
gual people. Bilingualism in de-         dren’s development, develop their        son, creating his/her cultural and
fined in literature as a fact of using   abilities and build various compe-       personal identity.
two languages by a given person.         tences more effectively.                    In this case bilingual education
At the same time the level of com-                                                is crucial in the process of leveling
mand of these languages is not de-       A language as a key                      educational chances, shaping the
termined. “Having command of                                                      self-esteem and attitudes towards
two languages” means that both           to building identities                   oneself, one’s own cultural and so-
the language systems are to the in-      of individuals                           cial heritage, as well as towards the
dividual socially alive and unique.                                               others. It also seems, in the light
In a way they call the same reality
                                         and cultural groups                      of recent research, that it is crucial
in a different way, they describe dif-      Is the skill of speaking two lan-     for the development of the minor-
ferent contexts, draw situations dif-    guages above all a need of the           ity group’s identity, i.e. its present
ferently, etc. Thus, a person who,       members of minority cultures in          identity.
even incredibly fast and skillfully,     the borderland then? It is they who
translates from one language to the      need two languages: one “home            The art of translation of one
other will not be called bilingual.      language,” their own, of the minor-
   What constitutes bilingualism         ity, and the second language, that       language code to the other
then?                                    of the majority, in order to fully          Most of children acquire compe-
   In the western literature, where      participate in the community life?       tence in mother tongue naturally,
interest in bilingualism and bilin-         Or else, is it a universal value of   through interactions in the family:
gual education is considered far         the borderland, and then one should      with the parents and the significant
more profoundly that in the Polish       consider a bilingual education pro-      others. Communicative competenc-
literature, one may find opinions        gram for all its inhabitants?            es in the first language are of basic
that a bilingual person should use          So, what does “bilingual” mean        importance in the process of the
two languages as mother tongues.         in the education process?                second language acquisition. The


 photos: W. Wołkow

 main idea of bilingual education          If the conditions of bilingual ed-    encoded with a different code and
 is a principle that new notions are    ucation are not met, then, for the       structuralized into different inter-
 learnt through cognitive structures    bilingual children, possibilities of     pretative patterns.
 “encoded” in the first language.       “taking” the knowledge “out” of             In effect he must face a process
 They can be conveyed into the new      the first language are closed, if they   of stigmatization (because of his
 language only when suitable inter-     were recorded there. The child is        dissimilarity which he does not
 pretative structures are developed     seen by the school as possessing         understand). Then he very often
 in this language. Only then such       no knowledge. The pupil himself          blames the group of origin for his
 a state enables a situation of un-     experiences tortures of being in-        own failures, rebels against the
 constrained use of the knowledge       competent. These are frustrations        identity taken over from the previ-
 regardless the language. A state of    connected with the impossibil-           ous generation.
 restriction of the knowledge presen-   ity of the rendition into the new           In this situation the pupils ap-
 tation ability by the language does    language something which he ac-          ply also several strategies of “the
 not occur.                             tually knows well. However, it is        language survival”:

                                                       WHAT SPEECH To oPEN THE WoRLD WITH?

• abandon the first language as        into the bilingual education area.     or foreign to the child, regardless
  soon as they can; they build         In the area in question we also        communicative skills thereof) are
  communicative competences in         deal with an additional complica-      not applied in practice.
  the second language;                 tion connected with the fact that         In our educational reality in the
• mix and – in the way ununder-        the occurring dialectic forms of       Białystok region we deal at most
  standable for the recipient – jux-   the language are values for the de-    with a propaganda of bilingual-
  tapose the first and the second      scending generation. They cannot       ism. Various actions are arranged
  language which results in a char-    be passed down since they are not      which demonstrate and making
  acteristic of the individual idio-   codified. And the structures of a      the public aware of the wealth
  syncratic system of communica-       traditional community are falling      which appears when we open our-
  tion with the environment.           apart. Moreover, there is no social    selves to another language. Pre-
                                       system which would support the         school and school curricula adopt
   This brings about limited pos-      dialect transmission to the next       elements of bilingualism: teach-
sibilities within both the first and   generation.                            ing the mother tongue as the sec-
the second language or a blockade         Younger generations begin in-       ond language. It is the language
of the second language develop-        creasingly identify themselves with    of the majority that is a known
ment during school education.          being Byelorussian or Ukrain-          code communicating reality. And
                                       ian. They became aware that they       the education concerns generally
A dialect – a self-sufficient          are part of the Byelorussian or        the involvement of the mother
                                       Ukrainian (ethnic) nation, which       tongue, usually known on the lev-
code or a variant                      stayed in Poland as the result of      el of awareness, in the system of
of the standard?                       state border changes and not mi-       codified standard.
                                       gration processes. They usually           The example of a very effective
   Another issue connected with        opt for the introduction of the lit-   program, and, most importantly,
the problems of bilingualism in        erary languages, either Byelorus-      continued in the subsequent years
the borderlands embraces dialects.     sian or Ukrainian into the educa-      of education, is the program of a
How should dialects be treated in      tion system. They are convinced        kindergarten in Bielsk Podlaski
relation to the standard language?     about the need for their own ac-       and a kindergarten in Białystok. In
Is it a variant of the standard or     tions for the development and          both of these institutions the cur-
a self-sufficient language code de-    popularization of a particular eth-    riculum assumes translation of the
scribing the world?                    nic culture. Thus they propagate       cultural heritage of the Byelorus-
   Including the dialect which oc-     including the standard language,       sian minority (Białystok) and
curs commonly on a given territory     not its dialectic form, in the edu-    the Ukrainian minority (Bielsk
in the form of the repressed bilin-    cation. However, from the point        Podlaski) into the contemporary
gualism in the bilingual education     of view of the theory of communi-      language. The way towards this
constitutes a dramatic problem.        cation, here we deal with teaching     is work with a natural language
   What is characteristic of dia-      de facto another language.             – the dialect which the children
lects is that the area of their use                                           know (on different levels).
concern a defined territory, and       There is no education,                    The objective is, however, not
(which is of basic importance for                                             shaping communicative compe-
schools and education in general)      there is propaganda only               tences in the dialect but the inclu-
do not function in the form of a          It is difficult to talk about any   sion thereof in the range of the
compact record.                        bilingual education in this situa-     codified language, respectively:
   These are usually oral represen-    tion. The known models of edu-         Byelorussian     and     Ukrainian.
tations of the world passed from       cation are: the so-called “pure”       What we deal with then is three
generation to generation. The          bilingualism (50% of time for          communicative systems in the ed-
school, on the other hand, works       each language in the educational       ucational process.
more uniformly and is not able         process) or immersion (in one lan-                          Dorota Misiejuk
to introduce all the local dialects    guage, usually that of the minority                    University of Białystok


 From the Vistula to the Neman – a tourist hit of Europe is waiting for its Renaissance
 The second chance of the Augustow Canal
    A conception of builing a water
 way from the Vistula to the Ne-
 man outside Prussia and leading
 to the Russian Baltic ports first
 appeared as early as 1821. This
 idea was close to Prince Fran-
 ciszek Ksawery Drucki-Lubecki,
 the Minister of Treasury in the
 government of the Kingdom of
 Poland (the so-called Congress
    The decision to begin the con-
 struction of the Augustow Canal
 was made in 1823. Then first provi-
 sions were established which con-
 cerned measurement and design
 of the water way connecting the
 Vistula basin with the Neman ba-
 sin. A few variants of its route were
    The only institution which had
 educated engineer staff at dispos-
 al, experienced in measurement,
 design, cartographic and executive
 works was the army.
    Now, it should be reminded
 that a lot of former Napoleonic
 officers served in the Polish army.
 They had been educated at mili-
 tary colleges of France, mainly in
 Metz. Among its graduates were,
 among others, Józef Bem and Ig-         A sluice in Augustów in winter. Photo by P. Malczewski
 nacy Prądzyński.
    It was General Maurycy Hauke,        Tariff War and a desire                           repressive tariff, almost tripling
 the chief of the General Logistics                                                        it. The hit was strong because at
 of Artillery and Engineering of the
                                         for big commerce                                  that time about 90 per cent of our
 Kingdom of Poland. As soon as              The main reason for the concep-                export and import of goods float-
 1823 Ignacy Prądzyński reported         tion of a new water way was the                   ed along the Vistula to Gdansk.
 his superior about the beginning        tariff war between Russian and the                These were mainly agricultural
 of recognition works.                   Kingdom of Poland on the one                      products and semiproducts such
    Let us return for a minute to the    side and the Kingdom of Prussia                   as flour, salt, grain, potatoes and
 basic causes of the Canal building      on the other. Prussia controlled                  others.
 and the reasons why the decisions       practically the whole foreign trade                  Another important reason for
 connected with its implementation       of the Kingdom of Poland and on                   the building of the Augustow
 were made so slowly.                    April 10, 1823, she introduced a                  Canal was the idea of economic

                                                 THE SECoND CHANCE oF THE AuguSToW CANAL

enlivening of the Vistula and the
Neman basins, creating an access
to the Baltic Sea for Lithuania
and building a big sea port for
the Kingdom and Lithuania in
Windawa. The idea of economic
development of these areas, con-
stituting the western borderland
of Russia’s economic and politi-
cal activity, was not noticed until
many years later.
   We     know     from     Ignacy
Prądzyński himself that both the
Augustow region, being within
the territory of the Kingdom of
Poland, and the Grodno region,
on the territory of Russia, were
lands forgotten by God and peo-
ple. A rare settlement network,
lack of roads as well as enormous
forests and wetlands made diffi-
cult conditions for economic de-       The harbour in Augustów. Photo by P. Malczewski
                                       anticipated for 3 thousand barges a               vive and was rebuilt after WWII in
14 years or from                       year (both ways). The overall cost                another place.
                                       of the project was estimated as 10
design to navigation                   million zlotys (of that time).                    The failure of the idea
   The design of the Canal was com-       Eight army regiments were de-
pleted in spring 1824. Its length      tached for the construction works,                or the doom of history?
was planned for 181.2 kilometers.      of which 900 soldiers were em-                       The decision on building the
I was to run along the rivers Bie-     ployed daily. They were used main-                Augustow Canal and its fast pace
brza and Netta to Augustow, hence      ly for earthwork. Moreover, about                 must have strongly impressed the
to Czarna Hańcza through lakes         1600 contracted workers were em-                  Prussians, since they lifted the re-
Necko, Białe, Studzieniczne, Orle,     ployed, mainly stonemasons, but                   pressive tariffs on Polish goods as
Paniewo, Krzywe, Mikaszewo and         also builders, carpenters, black-                 soon as March 1825. The first of
Mikaszówka. The lakes were to be       smith and locksmiths.                             the reasons for the beginning of
connected with canals. The water-         The construction works were                    this project ceased then to exist.
shed of the Neman and the Narew        stopped by the November Uprising                  However, the process of construc-
was to be done with a dyke. Ignacy     in 1831. The silence lasted until Au-             tion was not abandoned, for the
Prądzyński designed the end of the     gust 1833. After General Prądzyński               Canal was expected to be a way
Canal near the village of Warwiszki    was arrested for his participation in             to implement the other goal: eco-
near Grodno.                           the uprising, the management was                  nomic enlivenment of this part of
   The Canal, on all its length,       taken over General Jan Mallet. The                Europe. This was a fulfillment of
was to be served by 12 sluices and     construction was completed in 1838,               Prince Drucki-Lubecki and the
regulating constructions. Barges       and the following year the Canal                  other 19th-century visionaries’
called ‘berlinkas’, 40 meters long,    navigation was opened. Eventually,                dream. Did it work out?
5.5 meters wide, with load capacity    at the expense of 12 million zlotys,                 Traffic on the Canal commenced
of 7-10 metric tons of cargo were to   18 sluices were built, out of which               while it was being built – as early
float there. The target traffic was    only the sluice Agustów did not sur-              as 1828 the first vessels reached the


 The River Netta-Augustów Canal. Photo P. Malczewski

 Czarna Hańcza from the Vistula                 wood by the Germans, usually by             From the war to the mid 1980s,
 side. Unfortunately, the end of the            water or the Augustow Canal.             the Canal was utilized exclusively
 tariff war, the defeat of Poland after                                                  for water transport of timber and
 the November Uprising and lack of              Great tourist attraction                 as an, increasingly popular, tour-
 an efficient promotion of the new                                                       ist route of canoeing trips. In the
 water way resulted in the statement               During the inter-war period the       1970s even 80-100 thousand cubic
 of its limited usefulness in 1862.             first tourist trips appeared: canoe-     meters of wood was transported
    What did prove was wood                     ing rallies organized mainly by the      there. The last rafts were seen on
 transport from the Augustow For-               Scouts. In the late 1930s first pleas-   the Canal about 1986. Then it was
 est and salt from the heart of the             ure-boats floated there.                 used exclusively as a water reser-
 country.                                          After WWII, on the establish-         voir for timber conservation and
    In the second half of the 19th              ment of new state borders between        storing. Tourist traffic on the Canal
 century until the end of WWI                   Poland and the USSR, the east-           is increasingly growing. It seems
 nothing was happening to the Ca-               ern part of the Augustow Canal           that after 184 years Prince Drucki-
 nal. It was simply unnecessary.                with three sluices (Niemanowo,           Lubecki’s vision, supported with
    The period of WWI is marked                 Dąbrówka and Wołkusz) became             the hard work of General Ignacy
 by the devastation of the Au-                  part of the Soviet territory. At the     Prądzyński, stands a chance of be-
 gustow Forest, mass logging and                sluice Kurzyniec near Rudawka            coming true. However, the period
 transportation of huge loads of                the state border appeared.               of this place’s prosperity is con-

                                                              THE SECoND CHANCE oF THE AuguSToW CANAL

nected with the “recanalization”                       In March 1992 on Lake Wigry,               the sluice Kurzyniec and the sluice
of the route along its whole length                 the declaration on the Conception             Sosnówka.
according to the version origi-                     of Green Lungs of Europe was                     Here one should pose a ques-
nally planned by General Ignacy                     signed. One of the proposals for              tion: “What now?” It is 184 years
Prądzyński, i.e. from the Biebrza                   prompt implementation was the                 that the Augustow and Grodno
to the Neman.                                       revitalizing the water way the Vis-           Lands have been waiting for their
                                                    tula-the Neman. Since one of the              “five minutes.” Can we at last use
 In the 1950s and 60s, Father Karol Wojtyła,        signatories, beside Poland, Rus-              this big international chance,
 later Pope John Paul II, often used to visit the   sia, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and           which is the water way from the
 Route of Czarna Hańcza and the Augustow            the Ukraine, was Belarus, the way             Vistula to the Neman and further
 Canal. In 1990 he took a sentimental trip          to some reactivation of the water             to the Baltic Sea? A kind of motor-
 within the framework of the 7th Pilgrimage         route was open.                               way although designed for the us-
 to Poland. And from 8th to 10th June 1999             As the result of agreements be-            ers other than car drivers.
 he stayed in the Wigry Monastery and sailed        tween Poland and Belarus, some                   Will the authorities and the soci-
 across the Augustow Canal to the St.Mary’s         project works commenced, fol-                 eties of Poland, Belarus and Lithua-
 Sanctuary on Lake Studzieniczne. Today, af-
                                                    lowed by modernization works and              nia read properly the chance for de-
 ter the pope’s death, the places of his stay are
                                                    rebuilding of the Canal. It was Be-           velopment due to opening this way,
 treated as pilgrimage destinations for thou-
 sands of the faithful from Poland and all over
                                                    larus that first manage to cope with          mainly for tourist purposes? Can
 the world. This constitutes, apart from a form     her problems, on whose territory              they make a European tourist hit
 of religious experiences – a peculiar promo-       three missing sluices were renovat-           thereof? Will they free themselves
 tion of the region and especially the tourist      ed and the whole section between              from prejudices, political divisions
 route on the Augustow Canal.                       the Neman and the Polish border               and historical burdens, implement-
                                                    became navigable. The works end-              ing the vision of Green Lungs of
                                                    ed practically in the year 2006.              Europe within which the main role
Green Lungs of Poland                                  At the moment adaptation                   will be played by the Augustow Ca-
                                                    works are conducted on the Polish             nal – the Object of the World Herit-
Green Lungs of Europe                               side. According to some progno-               age and a masterpiece of the engi-
   In the year 1974, at the national                sis, they will have been completed            neering thought, which has not lost
conference dedicated to the envi-                   by the end of 2007, including a               anything of its beauty and utilitar-
ronment protection program of the                   complete renovation of the border             ian value for 184 years.
then Białystok Province, it was first               sluice Kurzyniec and a deepening                                Krzysztof Wolfram,
recognized that the Augustow Ca-                    of the Canal at the section between               Foundation Green Lungs of Poland
nal was to be a first-rate object gen-
erating tourist traffic in this part
of the country. However, nobody
could even dream about using the
part belonging to the USSR. On
the contrary. The border guard,
armed to the teeth, a wide zone of
border control, functioning of the
so-called “systema” and no will of
cooperation on the part of the So-
viets, deterred the visionaries.
   It was the collapse of the Soviet
Union that brought about the res-
urrection of the unimplemented
plans at the end of 1991 after the
rise of the independent Republic
of Belarus.                                         A sluice in Augustów. Photo by P.Malczewski


 On August III the Saxon’s hunting entertainments at Hetman Branicki’s
 How the wig saved the king’s life!
    It happened on 30 September
 1752. The royal court arrived at
 Hetman Jan Klemens Branicki’s to
 pay a visit.
    The Polish throne was occupied
 at that time by Augutst III the
 Saxon, called the Fat. That king,
 as commonly known, was a great
 amateur of luxurious life. And, as
 it became a king, he relished in
 feasts and hunts.

 Hunting for… cats
    Malicious gossips on the royal
 fat had it that, not being able to
 leave Warsaw to hunt, he longed
 for this type of entertainment that
 he ordered to lay around horse car-
 casses in front of the palace. When
 hungry dogs and cats ran up to the
 flash, the monarch would shoot
 them from the palace windows.
    Of course, Podlasie had never
 been short of game. Royal edicts,       Shooting competition in Chmielówka Stara, 2003
 as early as those issued by the first
 Jagiellonians, forbade hunting in       Palace, called the Versaille of the              deer, roe-deer, elk, wolves, wild
 the Białowieża Forest. For killing      North, and a bit more modest lit-                boar, foxes and hares are waiting
 an auroch, a bison or another royal     tle palace in Choroszcz. It is built             in a great number. There are also
 animal one could be executed. It        in baroque style in the middle of a              some bears in cages. One of them
 was only the last of the Jagiellons,    small islet surrounded by the pal-               is really big.
 Sigismund August, who, as the           ace moat. And it is not a defence
 first monarch in Europe, abolished      requisite but the rich magnate’s                 Wolves are falling
 tortures and capital punishment         luxury.
 for hunting in royal properties.           The whole 40-hectare palace                   off the trees
                                         park is cut with water canals. Over                Over the main canal in the park
 A beast lurking                         the water hang decorative little                 an enormous wooden bridge has
                                         bridges with fanciful balustrades.               been built. It leads high over the
 behind the bars                         Shapely boats with richly clad la-               water level. Opposite the bridge,
   However, let us return to King        dies float on the moats and canals.              on the palace view terrace a huge
 August III the Saxon: here he is,       Everything is ready for the recep-               decorative throne has been placed.
 entering Hetman Jan Klemens             tion of the king.                                A few smaller armchairs are for
 Branicki’s lands.                          Long before the hunt wild game                the host, his wife and some more
   This hetman possesses two lux-        was chased there from the sur-                   important guests of the court.
 urious residences. The Białystok        rounding forests. Closed in corrals              On the both banks of the canals

                                                                HoW THE WIg SAvED THE KINg’S LIFE!

gazebos, tables and places for the         But what is it? All of a sudden,      bear to discover what had enraged
guests have been situated. There        the clapping ceases. Out of the wa-      the beast so much. It was … a huge
is a stage nearby, on which some        ter emerges … the enraged huge           wig of the royal minister. Appar-
musicians are already tuning their      bear! Roaring terribly and having        ently, the man, falling into the wa-
instruments. Everything is ready.       stretched his powerful claws out,        ter, lost it. He managed to crawl up
They all can begin.                     the beast flails everything around       the bank but his wig attracted the
   Let us give the floor to the eye-    with the paws!                           beast’s attention.
witness. Stanislaw August Poni-            The dogs have been released!             Teasing the minister was endless.
atowski, the subsequent king of         No use! Bang crack! They all howl        He, on the other hand, pretended
Poland and at the moment the            miserably and their necks are bro-       to be angry and sulky but actually
hetman’s wife Izabela’s brother         ken! What is going on? The bear is       he was really happy. He not only
invited to the hetman’s palace, de-     jumping onto the boat, where, the        saved his own life but could count
scribes this event in his memoirs in    terrified king’s minister Saul sits.     on the king’s grace as well. Did he
details: “For a few days, the Grand     The minister falls into the water!       have a spare wig? Unfortunately, I
Hetman was receiving and organ-            Bing crack! The bears paws            don’t know!
izing trips for the king and his        are hitting around. Everybody is                           Wojciech Koronkiewicz
court. He, among other things, ar-      screaming with horror. Even the
ranged a great fun in Choroszcz,        king has become pale. For the             The little palace in Choroszcz still exits. It
exactly to the king’s taste. A          beast, already very enraged, glanc-       houses the museum of interiors where one
plenty of game were brought in          es at his direction. The bear brush-      may admire furniture and paintings of Bran-
cages to little woods of this de-       es the water in the canal aside in or-    icki’s era, including both the hetman’s and
lightful place. They were being         der to chop the king and his court        his wife’s portraits.
                                                                                  unfortunately, the palace park has dramati-
chased along a narrow path made         on the bank and to take revenge
                                                                                  cally overgrown. green duckweed covers the
of boards between two walls up to       for his harm and captivity.
                                                                                  moats and the canals. Rust damages the little
the tops of trees growing by the           The hetman turned pale be-             bridges over the water.
canal. There were devices there:        cause he did not imagine this hunt        However, it is worth visiting this place, tak-
traps through which the beasts          like that. He calls the shooters as       ing a stroll around the palace and explore the
fell down into the water from the       quickly as possible so that they kill     depth of the park. Maybe somewhere among
height of 30 feet, which gave the       the horrible beast and to protect         the grass and bushes we’ll feel the spirit of
king opportunities of shooting, as      the king from death. But will the         those old sumptuous hunts?
he liked, the wolves, the boar and      shooters come in time, before the         Walking along the main canal we’ll reach Love
the bears on the move. Hunting          bear riches the king? Ay, they are        Hill. It is here that Mrs Branicka’s gazebo
dogs were waiting for those beasts      standing too far away.                    stood. Izabela Poniatowska-Czartoryska mar-
at the feet of the trees in order, in                                             ried Jan Klemens Branicki where she was 18
case they survived, to chase them                                                 years old. He had just turned sixty. It was a
                                        The minister’s hair                       political marriage in order to secure influence
on earth and in water until the
king chose to shoot them.”              comes to the rescue                       on the country’s politics to the most power-
                                                                                  ful magnate families in Poland. Among other
                                           Suddenly, our of the water a           things it was influence on the future royal elec-
A bear attacks the monarch              hairy creature emerged, big, stinky       tion. Nevertheless, the marriage did not meet
                                        and like… nothing known. The              the expectations. The hetman let neither his
  At that moment an enormous            bear roared and dashed on this            wife nor her family affect his decisions. They
bear is being chased into the flyo-     creature. He started to tug it furi-      say he would go to girls in neighbouring no-
ver running high over the canal.        ously. By that time the shooters          ble settlements. Mrs Branicka, as a story has
The trap-flap has opened and the        had run up and killed the bear with       it, was by no means miserable and received
bear has fallen down. The king          a few salvos.                             various elegant young men in her temple of
shoots. On the bank applause can           The court sighed with relief. So       musing. Hence the name “Love Hill.”
be heard to express the court’s ad-     did the king, the hetman and the          A local legend has it, that he who comes there
miration of the king’s marksman-        hunt was over. Before the feast be-       for a date, may count on “a lot.” Is it true? It is
                                                                                  worth checking it for yourself.
ship.                                   gan the enormous carcass of the


 Functioning of Voluntary Fire Brigades based on the units from
 the Bakłarzewo Community
 At the beginning it was szpichaw (a shed with buckets)
    Voluntary Fire Brigades played
 the crucial role of keeping the se-
 curity in the small- town or the
 village environment. Not only the
 fire security.
    They have made the only, half-
 professional formation guarding
 the population from all sorts of
 cataclysms since the beginning of
 the town. Only several years ago
 , when the mechanical vehicles
 were not very popular means of
 transport, and the condition of the
 roads left a lot to be desired, exist-
 ing of the Voluntary Fire Brigades
 stood for to be or not to be for many
 buildings threatened by fire or the
 lives of inhabitants. Functioning
 of Voluntary Fire Brigades had           ties. They disciplined residents to             fire. If he does not do that he will vouch for
 also vital importance for building       clean chimneys, secure stoves, etc.             it with his head. On the sound of the bell
 the social bonds, both between           As early as in 1551 Andrzej Frycz               everybody must rush to extinguish the fire.
 firemen themselves and the other         Modrzewski in his work “On the Im-              Each farmer should have near his house
 inhabitants of the settlement as         provement of the Commonwealth” in the           a movable ladder, a fire hook on the long
 well. The experience gained dur-         chapter “How to avoid and put                   pole to pull down the collapsing buildings,
 ing the fight with the disaster was      out fires” presented the code of                a piece of cloth attached to the bar, which
 later often used in the military serv-   fire-fighting procedure: Each towns-            wet can be used to put out the fire, addi-
 ice for the benefit of the country .     man – the owner of the house- should try        tionally an axe, a bucket, in front of the
 It was also used in underground          that all stoves, chimneys, hearths and          house a vat full of water. In the next part
 resistance of all kinds of patriotic     other places, in which the fire burns, were     of his work Modrzewski included a threat
 organizations such as Polish Mili-       moulded from clay and protected against         of paying the penalty for people not re-
 tary Organization (Polska Organ-         spreading of fire. Chimneys should jut over     specting the above warrants. : If one of this
 izacja Wojskowa) or Home Army            the tops of the buildings so the out coming     warrants was not fulfilled by somebody
 (Armia Krajowa).                         sparks do not cause the danger of the roof      [...] he should pay one grzywna (former
                                          fire. From May to September you should          monetary unit), and if somebody was not
 As Frycz Modrzewski                      not light the fire after the sunset. Near the   presented at the fire three grzywnas.
                                          place where you light the fire you should
 wrote...                                 not store straw, hay and woody core.            The fire went with wars
    In the period of nobility in Po-          Modrzewski described also
 land, Bakałarzewo (founded in            measures in case of an accident                    Such rigorous patterns of be-
 1514) formally did not have Fire         of the fire itself: If the fire starts some-    haviour were forced by the con-
 Brigades- a coordination of the          where in the house the host or one of the       temporary reality. In the period
 fire-fighting activities was in the          household members should immediate-         of the former Commonwealth
 responsibility of the local authori-     ly run out of the house and announce the        all buildings situated in this part

                                                                        AT THE BEgINNINg IT WAS SzPICHAW

of the Grand Duchy of Lithua-                                                               to maintain a chimney-sweeper,
nia were made of wood. In                                                                   claiming that they would sweep
Bakałarzewo another problem was                                                             their chimneys by themselves. One
a high-density housing, especially                                                          of the problems was also the lack
near the market square. Moreover                                                            of the fire tower from which you
transporting water to the square                                                            could catch the sight of fire. There
was arduous, due to the height of                                                           were not suitable houses for the
the hill where it was located. The                                                          watchtower as well. In this local town
water was drawn off the Rospuda                                                             – we can read – there is only “szpichaw”
River and Sumowo Lake and few                                                               that is a shed for storage fire tools.
   There are not any remaining                                                              Moaning , crying
references showing the existence       A Print of Bakałarzewo Fire Brigade Stamp from
of fires here, which of course does    1934. Source: State Archive Suwałki, set 32, shelf   and grinding teeth
                                       mark 211, k. 13.
not mean they were not there. Pre-                                                             On 30-th April 1852 Bakałarzewo
sumably especially the periods of      that in Bakałarzewo there were 76                    experienced one of the most tragic
wars and the marches of foreign        fire-fighting sets consisting of fire                events in its history. At 10 o’clock
armies were rich in these kinds of     hooks, wooden syringes, ladders                      the fire, which consumed a big part
events.                                and leather buckets. Water was                       of the city, broke out. From the re-
   Because the Bakałarzewo Par-        drawn off from four wells and six                    port of the contemporary mayor of
ish was located close to the border    vats with water.                                     Bakałarzewo Tadeusz Gałdziewicz
there were often fights in these          Around the year 1834 the au-                      we learn that the cause of the trag-
parts, causing in the consequence      thorities of the town bought a                       edy was arson. The culprit was
conflagrations. Especially Swedish     hand pomp for 600 zloty. Six years                   never found. It is also known that
Deluge caused huge destructions        later the existing of the shed for                   the unknown person set fire from
and fires. The army of the intrud-     fire-fighting tools was mentioned                    the outside to the thatched roof of
ers plundered and burnt every-         in Bakałarzewo. This building was                    the stable belonging to Szmajło
thing what was on their way. This      called “szpichaw”. It was a kind of                  Mintz and Eliasz Bardyni (rabbi).
type of behaviour was also not         the former fire station of the Vol-                  From here the fire quickly moved
unfamiliar to Tatars formations        untary Fire Brigade. Of course                       to the neighboring properties.
which after the victorious Battle      there was not a place for a fire en-                 The wind was so strong that dur-
of Prostki in 1656 plundered Prus-     gine or other specialist equipment                   ing two hours 22 dwelling houses
sian lands and Polish-Lithuanian       there, inside there were only buck-                  and adjacent outbuildings were
lands as well.                         ets, fire hooks, shovels etc. This                   burnt. As a result of the fire the
                                       shed was probably situated at the                    following people lost their lives:
New Prussia – new order                market square, near the mayor’s                      Rozalia Korczakowa, the farmer’s
                                       office.                                              wife who at that time was 57 and
   Groundbreaking changes in ap-          There is an interesting, pre-                     a young Jew Lejbowicz, a son of
proach to fire protection came in      served document from 16/29                           the local blacksmith. What is more
the period of incorporating the        March 1843 in which the mayor                        several people were injured and
land of the today’s Suwalszczyzna      of Bakałarzewo responses to the                      two got burnt. According to the
to Białystok department of the         letter of the Governor of the Au-                    data including in the report the
New East Prussia, after the fall       gustów County about organis-                         disaster hit 81 families, altogether
of the I Commonwealth in 1795.         ing fire brigades in towns. Mayor                    325 people.
Prussians introduced new rules,        Krajewski claimed at that time                          Out of this number 186 could
which were more restrictive in fire-   that Bakałarzewo had not enough                      not feed themselves, 85 were able
fighting issues. From the descrip-     inhabitants and that there were                      to work and the remaining 101
tion of the towns made at the turn     shorts of funds for this aim. More-                  residents (people under age or ad-
of the 1799 and 1800 we know           over townsmen did not agree                          vanced age) were unable to work.


                                                                                                              formal formation, not registered
                                                                                                                  The fire station was located at
                                                                                                              the market square, more or less
                                                                                                              opposite the present-day house
                                                                                                              of the Drobiszewski family. As
                                                                                                              early as at the beginning of the
                                                                                                              twentieth century there was an
                                                                                                              old building so we can conclude it
                                                                                                              was built earlier, in the nineteenth
                                                                                                              century. It was pulled down just
                                                                                                              before the outbreak of World War
                                                                                                              I or when it was in progress. The
                                                                                                              way the fires were put out at that
                                                                                                              time was presented in an inter-
                                                                                                              esting story by Stanisław Sówka
                                                                                                              which was written in seventies of
                                                                                                              the twentieth century based on
     Bakałażewo Voluntary Fire Brigade in 1927. From the left stand: 1. Piotr Gajewski, 2. Piotr Jasiński,    the tales of the oldest inhabitants
     3. Stanisław Jasiński. The second row from the left: 1. Józef Jasiński (maybe Józef Szpakowski), 2.
                                                                                                              of Bakałarzewo. The author de-
     maybe Józef Cimochowski (from the USA, the later member of the resistance movement )?, 3. Fran-
     ciszek Naruszewicz, 4. ?, 5. ? Sitting on the bench from the left: 1. Stanisław Przyborowski, 2. Piotr   scribed in it the fire of the house
     Przyborowski, 3. Jan Brogowski, 4. Kazimierz Gierałtowski (an organist), 5. Rev. Julian Łosiewski        of Jewish Rublin, a sausage maker
     (a parish priest), 6. Jan Naumowicz (a chief), 7. Piotr Kamiński, 8. Franciszek Sejnowski. Sitting on    from Bakałarzewo who stayed in
     the groud from the left: 1. Piotr Przyborowski, 2. Jan Wasilewski, 3. Mieczysław Nowicki.                front of the church:
                                                                                                                  It is burning- Wincenty and Jakub
     The fire did not spare the house                    cal parish priest the reverend Jerzy                 Brzozowski are shouting from the direction
 of Eliasz Bardynia, a contempo-                         Kasperowicz was ordered to crate                     of the church carrying together a big circu-
 rary rabbi of the Jewish commu-                         the Committee to Help the Needy                      lar saw to saw timber, two smaller saws,
 nity from Bakałarzewo, in which a                       People. All new constructed hous-                    a file, a hammer , they have dropped eve-
 municipal office, Inland Revenue,                       es were however wooden. In spite                     rything and have run towards the fire[...]
 city treasury, bills, acts and offi-                    of the act from 1820 ordering                        The tongues of flames were visible. People
 cial items were located. The mayor                      building on market squares brick                     are running in unison towards the fire with
 Gałdziewicz, who was living close                       houses what was supposed to limit                    fire hooks, shovels and flappers. The siren
 to the office, lost his fortune, too.                   fires in the future.                                 of the fire brigade could be heard. [...].
 He describes these moments: I                                                                                    The fire brigade wheeled out a hayrack
 could save accidentally my life and what                It started from the                                  wagon from the fire station, the fire station
 I was wearing before the fire together with                                                                  stood at the market square. It was not far
 my family, the writer and servants. In a                fire station                                         away. The fire so quickly ate from all sides
 word I could save nothing valuable or from                 It is difficult to determine pre-                 resinous beams of Rublins’s house that it
 my property. I am staying now in the poor-              cisely the date of establishing                      was not much to extinguish. Firefighters
 est state wearing a part of Jewish clothes.             the Voluntary Fire Brigade in                        would be more helpful to shield Górwicz’s
 Eighty families had to wander through pig-              Bakałarzewo. So far nobody has                       buildings and the church. [...].
 sties and stables, one day, they cannot hold            not come across a document con-                          After the winter the barrel stood on the
 their lives, only moaning, crying and grind-            cluding that unambiguously. We                       sledges which had runners made of thick
 ing people’s teeth can be heard, people to a            can however assume that existing                     beams. It was attached to the sledges by
 large extent afflicted by God’s punishment.             of the fire station is the beginning                 iron bars not to fall down. Firefighters
     The authorities did not leave                       of the formation.                                    quickly moved the barrel from the sledges
 fire victims alone and organised                           Firefighters were probably cer-                   to the wagon and quickly went to the river
 fund-rising for rebuilding. The lo-                     tain residents who formed an in-                     for water. The hand pomp was already set,

                                                                       AT THE BEgINNINg IT WAS SzPICHAW

the hoses attached. To pump water four         wanted to build there a small box      take into consideration the means
men stood on each side. They delivered         and a public convenience. We do        of transport - a horse carriage - we
water quickly; the foam from horses could      not know if their demands were         have a clear image of the contem-
be collected by the handful. The pump has      kept.                                  porary fires (especially in the re-
started. The ashes were only extinguished.        In March Jan Naumowicz be-          mote areas , far from Bakałarzewo
   Thanks to firemen the Jewish Górwicz’s      came an alderman and he put for-       and other units). The fire risk
bakery was saved and the wooden church.        ward a proposal that the local fire    was high. The report of the alder-
Rublin seeing the fire burst into tears. The   brigade should have taken over         man Wólka Community Jan Dzi-
Sun was heading towards sunset.                the whole income from the annual       urdzikowski confirmed that 14
   The oldest officially preserved docu-       fairs. This case was also supported    people, owners of the houses in
ment confirming existence a fire brigade       by the County Starost.                 Bakałarzewo had defective chim-
here comes from 1921. 50000 marks were            In 1936 a decision was made to      neys. These people were Mowsza
passed in aid of the unit from the budget      build at the Bakałarzewo market        Jankowski, Bronisław Domel,
of the Community. A year later six mem-        square a new well and a tank for       Józef    Krankowski,      Stanisław
bers of the Fire-fighting Committee were       fire-fighting water. In the same       Filipowicz, Henryk Gryglas, An-
chosen (Paweł Pietkiewicz, Kazimierz           year the fire brigade from Rospuda     toni Wojciechowski, Ksawery
Kurzynowski, Konstanty Ferenc, Jan             had 33 members (Polish). Accord-       Gajewski, Bolesław Kaszuba, Jan
Drobiszewski, Aleksander Chmielewski           ing to the report of the chief of      Mieruniski, Franciszek Sejnowski,
and Konstanty Sypra).                          the Bakałarzewo Police it worked       Stanisław Sejnowski, Zygmunt
                                               well. They still had provisional       Tylenda, Józef Szpakowski and
Big range, small income                        fire station. They received a sub-     Stanisław Złotnik.
                                               vention from a community budget
   On 22 February 1934 the                     amounting to 350 zł. The urgent        The people
board of the Fire Brigade from                 problem was lack of the proper
Bakałarzewo: the chairman Jan                  fire station.                          of the post – war period
Naumowicz and the secretary                                                              There is lack of archival data
Józef Wnukowski sent to the                       As the evidence about a prestige    who was a chief of the Bakałażewo
County Board of the Fire Brigade               of the Bakałarzewo Fire Brigade        Fire Brigade before the outbreak
Association RP in Suwałki a peti-              testimonies a fact that one of its     of the war . According to Anna
tion concerning income from the                members was a local teacher Leon       Wróblewski from Bakałarzewo it
Bakałarzewo market. They wrote                 Kaminski. This man was involved        was Czesław Chrzanowski ).
that before 1933 the fire brigade              in the public life of the town. He        The operations of the Sec-
got 25% of all income from the                 was a well-known and respected         ond World War caused destruc-
trade. Other money was given to                person in the local society.           tion of almost all buildings in
the Community. Since 1933 the                     The Voluntary Fire Brigades in      Bakałarzewo , including a fire
firefighters lost control over the             Bakałarzewo was the only forma-        station. It was the reason why the
market and the lost the source                 tion of this kind in Wólka com-        unit was moved for several years
of the income. That is why fire-               munity. It had to watch over the       to Borawskie.
fighters from Rospuda asked the                safety of the big area ( 89,6 sq km)      Once again the fire brigade was
County Board to put a pressure                 . Except Bakałarzewo at the be-        re-established some time after es-
on the community authorities in                ginning of thirties in the Suwałki     tablishing on 25 September Vil-
this issue. They thought that if               County there were the fire bri-        lage People’s Council – as later
the market had been sectioned off              gades units in Suwałki, Berżniki,      documents reveal – on inhabit-
the Bakałarzewo community land                 Filipów, Jeleniewo, Krasnop-           ants’ initiative. . We do not know
the funds should have been trans-              ol, Płociczno (a state sawmill),       the exact day of its new activating.
ferred there. At the same time the             Przerośli, Sejny, Wiżajny and in       The oldest known infomation con-
fire brigade committed itself to               Wychodne . So the closest unit         cerning Bakałarzewo Voluntary
keeping the order during markets               was in Filipów and Wychodne            Fire Brigade comes from the year
and fairs. Additionally firefighters           (more than 10 kilometers). If we       1961. At that time there were 27


 members which had at their dis-       Kaszuba, Kazimierz Wróblewski,       Bełbot, Zdzisław Brankiewicz,
 posal a motor pump “Leopolia”         Józef Jankowski, Jan Gawrych,        Marian Penczyło . Four years later
 M 800, 9 combat uniforms and          Franciszek Szruba, Tadeusz Szc-      the members of the Bakałarzewo
 11 walking-out uniforms . In this     zurek, Tadeusz Mieruniski, Ale-      Voluntary Fire Brigade Board
 year a new fire station , which now   ksander Szpakowski, Marianna         were: the chairman – Wacław Tom-
 is the building of a post office,     Tomkiewicz, Ryszard Grzybowski,      kiewicz, the chief ( chairman’s
 was planned to be used. Totally       Kazimierz Wróblewski . In 1971 r     deputy) – Tadeusz Wróblewski,
 in 1961 members conducted five        the chairman was Wacław Tomk-        the second vice-chairman– Ale-
 firefighting actions and made one     iewicz, the chief – Tadeusz Wró-     ksander Jeleniewicz, the treasurer
 alarm drill.                          blewski, the chief’s deputy – Ale-   – Franciszek Tomkiewicz, the sec-
    On 12 December 1966 r. the         ksander Jeleniewicz, the secretary   retary – Tadeusz Gajewski and the
 members of the Bakałarzewo Vol-       – Tadeusz Gajewski, the treasurer    host – Stanisław Kaszuba. A year
 untary Fire Brigade Board be-         – Franciszek Tomkiewicz, the host    later a post of the chairman took
 came: Wacław Kozłowski – the          – Stanisław Kaszuba. Other mem-      up Stanisław Kaszuba, the secre-
 chairman, Tadeusz Wróblewski          bers were: Aleksander Szpakowski,    tary – Walenty Masalski and the
 – the chief, Marian Penczyło – the    Kazimierz Wróblewski, Edmund         host – Jan Kozłowski. There were
 chief’s deputy, Józef Szpakowski      Wasilewski, Edward Brankiewicz,      no changes on other posts. In
 – the secretary, Franciszek Tom-      Stanisław Jasiński, Marianna Tom-    1978 a new secretary was chosen-
 kiewicz – the treasurer and Józef     kiewicz, Jan Gawrych, Piotr Skiba,   Jan Szastaj. During the meeting
 Mieruński – the host. Other fire-     Stanisław Kamiński, Kozłowski,       on 15 November 1980 members
 men at this time were: Stanisław      Krzysztof Łasewicz, Kazimierz        of the Board were: the chairman

                                                               AT THE BEgINNINg IT WAS SzPICHAW

– Piotr Gągła, the chief – Edward      Józef Jankowski – the chairman,        year 2005 which serves for accidents
Skiba, the secretary – Marian          Jan Kozłowski – the chief, Stefan      trips and for transporting people
Smakulski, , the treasurer – Fran-     Naruszewicz – the secretary, Fran-     and the firefighting equipment .
ciszek Tomkiewicz and the host         ciszek Tomkiewicz – the treasurer,        In the region of Bakałarzewo
– Jan Kozłowski. The post of the       Eugeniusz Okrzesik – the host .        Community there are four Vol-
chairman of the Community Vol-            The key issue was to incorpo-       untary     Fire    Brigade     units:
untary Fire Brigade performed          rate this unit on 7 April 1995 to      Bakałarzewo, Karasiewo, Stara
Adam Szymański, and his secre-         the national rescue-firefighting       Chmielówka and Stary Skazdub.
tary – Walenty Masalski. On 25         system. It happened in accord-         In the Bakałarzewo Land Develop-
November 1981 r. Edward Skiba          ance with an earlier agreement         ment Plan from 1984 it was stated
resigned from the post of the chief    from 28 December 1994 r. . From        that in villages Karasiewo, Nowa
of the Bakałarzewo Voluntary Fire      2001 the post of the chairman          Kamionka, Aleksandrowi some
Brigade and two days later Józef       had Józef Jankowski, the chief         lands are reserved for the potential
Jankowski was chosen as his suc-       – Jan Kozłowski, the treasurer         building fire stations. . However
cessor. At the end of the same         – Franciszek Tomkiewicz and the        investments in Aleksandrów and
year the new chief of Bakałarzewo      host – Edward Nowakowski. The          Nowa Kamionka did not come off
firefighters became Stefan Na-         new member of the board (the           probably because of the diminish-
ruszewicz (officialy he stated the     secretary) became Janusz Na-           ing number of residents.
post on 24 January 1982). These        ruszewicz. In an Audit Commit-
authorities remained until 1986        tee were Henryk Wojciechowski,         Voluntary Fire Brigade
when the chairman Piotr Gągła          Krzysztof Łasewicz and Grzegorz
and the chief – Stefan Narusze-        Kozłowski.                             in Karasiewo
wicz resigned.                            As a result of general gather-           The Voluntary Fire Brigade
   In 1986 Bakałarzewo Voluntary       ing (reporting and electing) from      in Karasiewo came to existence
Fire Brigade had 28 fellows, 3 con-    21 February 2006, on which 27          by force of the General Assembly
tributors and 16 members of the        members came, the Board is as          held on December 16, 1966. The
youth team. On 25 November of          following: Józef Jankowski – the       first president of this unit became
the same year there was a general      chairman, Jan Kozłowski – the          Henryk Smokowski and the first
gathering where were discussed is-     chief, Tomasz Naruszewicz – the        chief was Piotr Gągła.
sues connected with improving of       secretary, Franciszek Tomkiewicz           Zygmunt Bokuniewicz became
audibility of the fire siren, buying   – the treasurer and Edward Nowa-       a vice-chief. Furthermore the fol-
walking-out uniforms and repair-       kowski – the host.                     lowing people were elected to
ing a fire hydrant in front of the        To an Audit Committee were          the management: Stanisław Je-
fire station. The new Board was        chosen: Henryk Wojciechowski           leniewicz – secretary, Stanisław
chosen . The post of the chairman      (the     chairperson),   Krzysztof     Jegliński – treasurer and Stanisław
was entrasted to Józef Jankowski,      Łasewicz (the secretary), Stefan       Plaga – host. The representa-
and the treasurer to – Franciszek      Stelmak (the member). The del-         tive of the Communal National
Tomkiewicz.. The new chief be-         egates for a convention of a com-      Council was Józef Woronko. The
came Jan Kozłowski. Additionaly        munity unit of Voluntary Fire Bri-     remaining        firefighters-found-
the Board consisted of Edward          gade were chosen: Stefan Biłda,        ers were: Stanisław Cichowski,
Wasilewski (the host), Marian          Jan Kozłowski, Jan Gorlo, Adam         Henryk Bokuniewicz, Stanisław
Smakulski (the chronicler) and         Szymański, Tomasz Naruszewicz,         Kowalski, Stanisław Jeleniewicz,
Stanisław Kaszuba (a member). In       Edward Nowakowski and Szymon           Stanisław Czarniecki, Aleksander
an Audit Commitee were : Henryk        Krzesicki . Because of the death of    Bobrowski, Stanisław Okunie-
Wojciechowski (the chairperson),       the old hand member Franciszek         wicz, Jan Gągła, Aleksander Omil-
Eugeniusz Okrzesik (a member) i        Tomkiewicz, a new treasurer be-        ian, Władysław Pojawa i Stanisław
Jarosław Dąbrowski (a member) .        came Henryk Kamiński.                  Jegliński (Igliński). An annual
   After the election in 1991 the         Firefighters from Bakałarzewo       membership fee was established
Board looked as the following :        have at their disposal Ford Transit,   at 24 zlotys.


    On December 1966, the District       retary, Jerzy Chlebus - treasurer,   Konstanty Rozmierski, host. The
 Management of VFB in Suwałki            and Piotr Dąbrowski – host. The      representative of the Commu-
 announced that: The Voluntary           Board of Audit comprised: Marcin     nal National Council was Józef
 Fire Brigade in the village of Ka-      Sobolewski, Piotr Cichocki i Paweł   Klukowski. The remaining mem-
 rasiewo, CNC (Comunal National          Jeleniewicz. On February 2006,       bers were: Edward Dzikielewski,
 Council) Bakałarzewo, came to           report-election General Assembly     Piotr Walendzewicz, Stanisław
 existence in 1966 by initiative of      was held attended by 15 members.     Stanulewicz, Henryk Rozmier-
 the inhabitants thereof. The exist-     The management of the VFB Ka-        ski, Józef Nalewajko, Józef Wal-
 ence of this VFB in the village is      rasiewo includes the following       endzewicz, Stanisław Rozmierski,
 in accordance with the guidelines       people: Władysław Pojawa from        Czesław Brodowski, Mieczysław
 of the layout of fire brigades in the   Nowy Dwór – president, Jerzy         Perkowski, Tadeusz Wasilewski,
 Suwałki District. From the mo-          Grajewski-Gągła from Karasiewo       Stanisław Miler syn Władysława,
 ment of origin on, the organization     – chief, Krzysztof Sak from Ka-      Piotr Skonieczny, Józef Dycze-
 meets its statutory responsibilities,   rasiewo – secretary, Jerzy Chlebus   wski, Franciszek Kaczanowski,
 both organizationally and training-     from Nowy Dwór – treasurer and       Władysław Ferenc, Serafin Moc-
 operationally. The number of the        Józef Smokowski from Karasiewo       zulski, Mieczysław Danowski and
 members is sufficient to perform        – host. The Board of Audit includ-   Henryk Aleksandrowicz.
 tasks designed for the brigade in       ed: Marcin Sobolewski from Ka-          The annual fee was established at
 question, i.e. “Km”.                    rasiewo – president and Piotr Ci-    24 zlotys. In 1967 another firefight-
     In 1971 the following people        chocki from Karasiewo and Paweł      er joined the unit, which resulted
 were members of the VFP Ka-             Jeleniewicz    from     Gębalówka    in the number of 26 members (in-
 rasiewo: Piotr Jeleniewicz – presi-     – members. Furthermore, rep-         cluding 9 exemplary firefighters,
 dent, Piotr Gągła – chief, Zyg-         resentatives for the Commune         three firefighters with the Medals of
 munt Bokuniewicz – vice-chief,          Branch Conference were elected:      Decenary and one with the Bronze
 Stanisław Jeleniewicz – sekretary,      Władysław Pojawa, Jerzy Grajew-      Medal). In order to raise the mem-
 Stanisław Czarniecki – treas-           ski-Gągła, Marcin Sobolewski,        bers’ qualifications firefighting
 urer, Aleksander Dąbrowski –            Krzysztof Sak and Jerzy Chlebus.     exercises were organized (there
 host, Aleksander Omilian, Józef                                              were 8 in 1961). The firefighters of
 Smokowski, Jan Gągła, Czesław           Voluntary Fire Brigade               Chmielówka also arranged talks
 Bokuniewicz, Piotr Dąbrowski,                                                making the community aware of
 Aleksander Sobolewski, Stanisław        in Stara Chmielówka                  fire dangers and yearly inspections
 Jegliński, Józef Woronko, Tadeusz           The Voluntary Fire Brigade in    of all the houses. Among other
 Banaszewski, Henryk Smokowski,          Stara Chmielówka has been ex-        things, these actions resulted in no
 Teodor Czarniecki, Stanisław            isting in Stara Chmielówka since     fires noted in the period 1965-67 on
 Kowalski, Stanisław Bokuniewicz,        1956. The Management of the          the territory of their community,
 Władysław Pojawa.                       District Department of VFB in        because the farmers treated these
     As the result of the 1991 elec-     Suwałki gave the year 1954 as the    things quite seriously, observe the
 tions, Stanisław Jeleniewicz be-        date of its origin in 1966, but it   fire protection regulations, par-
 came president of the VFB Ka-           probably concerns the beginning      ticipate actively in the meetings
 rasiewo. Jerzy Grajwski-Gągła           of the Comunal National Council.     arranged by the firefighters. The
 performed the duty of chief. Apart      In the year of foundation the unit   members left Chmielówska only
 from them the management con-           counted 13 members. In 1966 this     to the fires which occurred in the
 sisted of: Wiesław Wądołowski           number grew up to 25.                surroundings of their village. They
 (sekretary), Stanisław Czarniecki           From January 27 of that Lear     did not set off twice because there
 (treasurer) and Władysław Po-           Jan Sofinowski held the office of    were not horses.
 jawa (host). After the 2002 elec-       president, Stanisław Miler was           The members of the VFB Stara
 tions Władysław Pojawa was still        the chief, Antoni Danowski, vice-    Chmielówka also took part, within
 president, Jerzy Grajewski-Gągła        chief; Ryszard Szostak, secretary;   the framework of community work,
 - chief, Wiesław Wądołowski - sec-      Tadeusz Brodowski, treasurer;        in the construction of their fire sta-

                                                              AT THE BEgINNINg IT WAS SzPICHAW

tion. It is estimated that they gen-
erated 110 thousand zlotys (50%
of investments). They built an en-
try mound and graveled 1.5 km of
the road in their village. They also
had their own building, rubbered
wagon, firefighting hoses, 14 uni-
forms, 10 pairs of trousers, 4 sets
of overalls (protective) whereas
the further 5 had been ordered.
What was missing was: a canister,
a drying-room for the hoses, and a
person to run the common room.
The chief of the VFB Chmielówka
was Stanisław Miler.
   As far the year 1971 is con-
cerned, we know the fighting
stuff of this unit: Stanisław Miler,
Antoni Danowski, Jan Sofiński,
Tadeusz Brodowski, Piotr Wal-          Władysław Walendzewicz, host.         in 1972. 21 people joined it then.
endzewicz,       Józef   Nalewajko,    The Board of Audit comprised          The first president of this unit was
Józef Walendzewicz, Mieczysław         Antoni Domin, Stanisław Balczun       elected Benedykt Tomkiewicz. The
Perkowski, Tadeusz Wasilewski,         and Wiesław Paciorkowski.             first chief became Tadeusz Urba-
Ryszard Szostak, Stanisław Miler           On February 23, 2006 the re-      nowicz. Edward Kaszuba was ap-
syn Władysława, Piotr Skoniec-         port-election General Assembly        pointed his vice-chief. Stanisław
zny, Józef Dyczewski, Franciszek       was held in Chmielówka. The           Gorlo (secretary) was to deal with
Kaczanowski, Władysław Ferenc,         Management have consisted of          paper work. A person responsible
Serafin Moczulski, Józef Ku-           Czesław Staniszewski, president;      for finances was made Ryszard
kowski, Mieczysław Danowski            Leszek Kaszuba, chief; Jan Sofi-      Żukowski (treasurer). Another
and Henryk Aleksandrowicz. At          nowski, secretary; Tadeusz Bro-       member of the management was
the beginning of the 1980s, Stara      dowski, treasurer and Władysław       also Wacław Kłos performing the
Chmielówka had its own common          Walendzewicz, host. The Board         duty of host.
room in the local fire station.        of Audit is constituted by the fol-       The other first Skazdubian fire-
   From 1991 on, new manage-           lowing: Antoni Domin, chairmen;       fighters in history were: Władysław
ment embraced: Jan Sofinowski,         Stanisław Balczun, secretary and      Grochowski, Franciszek Kłos, Wi-
president; Leszek Kaszuba, chief;      Wiesław Paciorkowski, member.         told Złotorzyński, Antoni Radzaj,
Piotr Walendzewicz, secretary;         Like in other units, delegates were   Romuald Dwojakowski, Józef Fer-
Tadeusz Brodowski, treasurer; Ta-      elected for Assembly of the Com-      enc, Józef Naumowicz, Józef Tom-
deusz Paciorkowski, host and An-       mune Branch of the VFB: Czesław       kiewicz, Ryszard Górny, Wacław
toni Domin, chronicler.                Staniszewski, Leszek Kaszuba,         Urbanowicz, Józef Grzędziński,
   By force of the record in the Na-   Tadeusz Brodowski, Wiesław            Czesław Milewski, Piotr Naumo-
tional Court Register of Feburary      Pacirokowski oraz Tadeusz Pa-         wicz, Józef Dobko and Franciszek
6, 2002, the content of a new man-     ciorkowski.                           Reczkowski. All the above-men-
agement and audit committee was                                              tioned signed an application, on
confirmed. The president of man-       Voluntary Fire Brigade                December 15, 1972, to the Provin-
agement was Czesław Staniszewski                                             cial Headquarters of Fire Brigades
whereas Leszek Kaszuba became          in Stary Skazdub                      in Białystok, for legal registration
a chief, Jan Sfinowski, secretary;        The Voluntary Fire Brigade in      of the VFB Skazdub Stary. The
Tadeusz Brodowski, treasurer;          Stary Skazdub was established         Provincial Headquarters did it


 on December 29 the same year,
 giving it number 1049. In the
 following years some new mem-
 bers were admitted: Stanisław
 Wasilewski, Antoni Kibitlewski,
 Bolesław Grygo, Jan Urbanow-
 icz, Jan Czesław Grygo, Fran-
 ciszek Grygo, Czesław Bobowicz,
 Mieczysław Kozłowski, Eugen-
 iusz Brzęk and Józef Ferenc.
     In the first years of its existence
 the unit had just basic fire equip-
 ment. The unit did not possess its
 own car, and the firefighters were
 transported to the fires on horse-
 drawn carts and tractors being
 private property of kind farmers.
     An important date in the his-
 tory of this Fire Brigade was the
 year 1975 when a new fire-station
 was built. It was constructed by
 the villagers themselves, doing
 the so-called “community work.”           work of the Management. As the         40 firefighters today. However,
 In addition, a common room and            result of the report-election Gener-   only 8 of them can see action.
 some local roads came to existence        al Assembly of February 22, 2006,      They are the members possessing
 in a similar way, As late as 1982 the     which was attended by 20 mem-          insurance.
 VFB in Skazdub received a light           bers, the present management of           The existence of Voluntary Fire
 fire engine with the motor pump           the Voluntary Fire Brigade in          Brigades in small towns and vil-
 Żuk GLM 015 E of 1974. The ma-            Stary Skazdub embraces: Tadeusz        lages have been of invaluable im-
 chine has been in use up till now.        Milewski,      president;   Ryszard    portance for many generations.
     From 1991 on, the new manage-         Górny, chief; Edward Dobko, sec-       The units have often been the only
 ment stuff was as follows: Benedykt       retary; Jan Milewski, treasurer and    non-government associations in
 Tomkiewicz, president; Ryszard            Kazimierz Urbanowicz, host. The        local communities. Common par-
 Górny, chief; Edward Kaszuba,             Board of Audit is constituted by       ticipation in firefighting created
 vide-chief; Stanisław Gorlo, secre-       Jan Jasiński, chairman, Mirosław       sense of bonds and service for the
 tary; Czesław Milewski, treasurer;        Darda and Jan Kosiński, members.       little homeland.
 Franciszek Kłos, host and Tadeusz         Also delegates for the Meeting of         In addition to their purely fire-
 Tomkiewicz, chronicler. In 2002           the Commune Division of VFB            fighting responsibilities, the mem-
 next elections for the Management         were elected: Tadeusz Naumowicz,       bers also participate in preventive,
 and the Board of Audit were held.         Ryszard Górny, Jan Jasiński, Jan       rescue and educational actions.
 The following people were elected         Kosiński and Mirosław Darda.           The climax of the service is an
 for the former: Tadeusz Naumo-               The equipment, apart from the       inauguration at the beginning of
 wicz, president; Ryszard Górny,           fire engine, comprises two motor       May, on St. Florian’s Day, saint
 chief; Edward Dobko, secretary;           pumps 800, protective overalls,        patron of firefighters. During the
 Jan Milewski, treasurer and Kaz-          helmets, belts with axes, a hydrant    skill competition held then, in one
 imierz Urbanowicz, host. On the           stand with a key, gate Ys and fire-    of the villages the local commu-
 other hand Eugeniusz Brzęk, Jan           hose nozzles, lift-and-force hoses,    nity gathers to participate in the
 Kosiński and Jacek Kibitlewski            ladders and a water pool. The          contest.
 were appointed to control the             VFB Stary Skazdub counts about                           Tomasz Naruszewicz


Lithuanian meads, liqueurs and sekaczes
  The previous parts of our short history of the Lithuanian cuisine treated on already classic dishes. At the
end of my story I want to offer you something for the soul.

  In the past, the geographic lo-       eas, mostly forested, of the North-      As Mieczysław Jałowiecki de-
cation, natural and environmental       East. Abysmal forests not only        scribes it: “(…) With forest in back-
conditions affected dramatically        protected but also clothed and fed.   ground the history of this country has de-
the peculiarity of regional cuisines.   This is hence the Lithuanian meads    veloped, its beliefs, its songs and traditions.
Especially it may be seen in the ar-    and cold meats originate.             There isn’t probably a nook, as Lithuania


 and Belarus long and wide, where, where         Sweetish and refreshing, it was           Actually, it has nothing to do with
 a dark stripe of forest wouldn’t blacken on     drunk fresh. And if there was a sur-      trees, except the wooden roller for
 the horizon.                                    plus of the juice, it was poured into     baking. Simply, as usual in the case
    To the borderland man the forest was         barrels and soured into acid. Fer-        of many popular regional special-
 what sea is to the sailor, dessert to the Be-   mented juice was used as beer.            ties, countless legends are made
 duin, something which has permeated                As recently as the period be-          up around it. As one of them has
 deeply his body, his soul and mentality         tween the World Wars this bever-          it, sękacz was introduced to the
 and melted into a unity. Isolated from the      age was very popular in our lands.        courts of the whole Europe in
 rest of the world with overflowing waters,         It was children who were busy          the 16th century by Bona Sforza
 sawn with hundreds of rivers, brooks and        with the birch juice extraction,          d’Aragona, the Mother-Queen
 streams, swamps and marshes, covered            since it was their great delicacy.        of Italian origin. Fascinated with
 with eternal forest, this country a sort of                                               this amber-gold cake with which
 petrified in its primeval existence, jeal-      Alus with garlic                          she was treated during her trop
 ously protecting its customs, beliefs and                                                 through the forest spaces of the me-
 idiom.”                                         bread and rue                             dieval Eastern Europe, she decided
                                                    The taste of the Lithuanian beer       to add splendour to her son, King
     Trejos devynerios and gira                  alus was already emphasized by            Sigismund August II’s wedding
    Very important distinguishing                Oskar Kolberg: “Every Lithianian          table serving sękacz. The crowned
 marks of the Lithuanian cuisine                 woman, with no great effort, just could   heads from all over Europe arrived
 were beverages. Although in truth,              brew it in a pot.”                        in Cracow, as it became the royal
 old fine saturated meads has be-                   On special occasions a profes-         wedding, and … developed taste in
 come history now, what remained                 sional brewer was invited. The            this specialty.
 is perfect liqueurs, with the lead-             Lithuanian beer was much lighter             The tradition and craft of bak-
 ing best known trejos devynerios                than that brewed in the Crown,            ing sękacz originates for the former
 (three nines – “999”) – liqueur                 and a favourite addition to this          eastern borderlands of the Com-
 based on 27 medicine herbs.                     dark beer were (and still are) piec-      monwealth and is still cultivated in
    One may find it in two versions:             es of toast made from dark bread          the Suwalki region. The legend was
 • medical – as herbal liqueur rec-              rubbed with garlic.                       invented by the biggest company in
    ommended for strengthening                      The Lithuanian cuisine brought         Poland producing the export ver-
    and purifying the body                       in a lot of herbs to the borderland       sion of sękacz. What is definitely
 • consumption – bitterish-tart                  culture, including its, almost na-        not a legend is the fact that this roy-
    herb vodka.                                  tional, rue. The Lithuanians knew         al amber-gold cake “finds its way to
                                                 its beneficial effect resulting from      the tables of Vienna, St.Petersburg,
    Whereas the Lithuanians belong               the glycoside threrein, which             Berlin and New York. It is served in
 to hospitable peoples, though                   strengthened blood vessels, pre-          Swiss resorts, Washington confec-
 practical and thrifty, there is noth-           vented from scurvy and lowered            tioneries and Warsaw coffee-shops.”
 ing strange that they developed a               blood pressure. At quite a fatty          It has become a flagship product of
 recipe for the perfect bread acid               diet, ample of drinks, it was of im-      the region.
 (Russian: kvass, Lithuanian: gira),             portance.
 made from bread biscuits.                                                                 Sekacz
    Birch juice used to be drunk in              Tree cake or gnarled
 Lithuania with equal pleasure, also                                                          This recipe comes from the bro-
 by the nobles. The Crown made                   delicacy poured off a roller              chure “Przysmaki Kuchni Region-
 fun of the Lithuanians, “fed on the                And, finally, it is time for some-     alnej – Suwałki i okolice” (Delica-
 birch blood.” The juice was ex-                 thing sweet or sękacz, traditionally      cies of Regiona Cuisine – Suwałki
 tracted in spring. Usually, a wood-             baked in north-eastern Poland.            and Surroundings), published
 en pipe of white lilac or a reed was            This sweet delicacy probably comes        by the Suwałki Town Office and
 stuck into cut or countersunk bark              from the German cuisine, where it         the Suwałki Agricultural-Tourist
 and the juice dripped into jugs.                is called Baumkuchen – a tree cake.       Chamber.

                                                   LITHuANIAN MEADS, LIquEuRS AND SEKACzES

   To bake a sękacz you need a          fire was used, there was a grate in-   ily removed; hence the two ends
wooden roller – thicker at the butt     stead of the electric machine. The     of the roller: the thicker one and
stuck therin, thinner at the other      fuel was dry alder or birch.           the thinner one. This also affects
end where a rod is fixed. The roller       Those who prefer baking on real     the shape of the cake resembling
lies horizontally on special support    fire say that this is a real sękacz!   a miniature spruce. How to get to
forks and is rotatable. Electric spi-   That is why not everybody turned       work?
rals are heating on the sides. Un-      to electricity.                           You should prepare 40 fresh
derneath is a bowl for the super-          The roller must be rubbed with      eggs, 1 liter of sour cream, 1 kilo
fluous mass dripping during the         butter and wrapped in special pa-      of flour, 1 kilo of sugar, half a kilo
baking. In the past, when natural       per so that the sękacz could be eas-   of butter, the same amount of mar-


 garine (some apply 1 kilo of but-
 ter with no margarine), 2 lemons,
 2 double packets of vanilla sugar, 4
 flavour oils (whatever).
    Rub the fats and the sugar until
 thoroughly mixed, add the yolks
 (without the whites!). Then add
 the flour and the cream and rub
 until air bubbles appear. Add the
 vanilla sugars, the lemon juice and
 the flavours. Mix the ingrediences.
 Beat the whites until foamy by por-
 tions (8 portions), but not at once,
 because the sękacz is baked for 3
    The dough so prepared is divid-
 ed into 8 portions and to each the
 fresh foam of 5 whites is added.
    Whereas to rub, beat and mix
 the dough you need a wooden
 spin, to sprinkle this dough you
 need a spoon, an almost flat ladle,
 so that the rare dough flowed eas-
 ily therefrom. One person is spin-
 ning slowly the roller, fatted and
 specially wrapped, another pours
 the dough. And so for three hours.
    A lot depends on the dough
 preparation, a lot depends on the
 spinning and the pouring. Experi-
 ence and a “good hand” are indis-
    The knots beautifully baked on        of the Polish noble cuisine, which      “Its plebeian origins with dishes
 the move from the dripping dough         dominated in Lithuania at that          and flavours characteristic of this
 are the sękacz’s decoration. It takes    time. Both the composition and          area, matched more not only the
 it half a day to stiffen and only then   the layout is extremely similar to      new social, ideological and politi-
 can it be taken off the roller. The      the book “365 Dinners” by Lucy-         cal conditions, but, because of the
 tasties sękaczes are baked by the        na Ćwierciakiewiczowa.                  peculiar, partly archaic, techniques
 owners of agrotourist farm baking           In reality, the Lithuanian cuisine   of dish preparation, this cuisine
 them by fires.                           is neither noble nor magnate. It is     could survive and be a living con-
                                          rather a cuisine of lower layers of     veyor of memory between the old
    Currently, the Lithuanian cui-        society of peasant villages, poor       times and the new times as well.
 sine is associated with Wincenta         nobles’ settlements or towns. As        Simultaneously, it contributed to
 Zawadzka’s book “A Lithuanian            we would say it in the past: it was     the change in the historical myth
 Woman-Cook” written at the be-           the cuisine of the second or even       of the Borderlands, from a land
 ginning of the 19th century. How-        third table.                            of a homogeneous political nation
 ever, after a thorough reading one          Zbigniew Opacki, in his book         to the country integrating various
 conclusion comes to mind: it is,         “The Legend of the Borderland           cultures and peoples.”
 unfortunately, more a description        Cuisine” sums this up as follows:                            Andrzej Fiedoruk


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