Polish House in Zakrzewo – mainstay of Polish national thought. Journey in the footsteps of artist Janina Koluboka and priest Boleslav Dominski
I visited the Polish House in Zakrezo, a unique place on the map of Poland and relatively unknown in Wielkopolska. However, in the shadow of the frescoes of Janina Kłopocka, coming from Koźmin Wlkp. History is naturally associated with the present. There would be no visit to Krajno and this special corner of the Polish, if it were not for the artist relative and author of the Rodło label, Krzysztof Kłopocki.
This well-known bibliophile from Poznań, a writer documenting the history of the Union of Poles in Germany and at the same time a multiple world record holder in strength sports, inspired me to follow in the footsteps of history, not far at all, because even 84 years ago, on the northern border of Wielkopolska, people They mainly spoke German (Złotów was called Vlato at that time), although there was no shortage of people who continually and persistently sought the repatriation of Polish lands.
See also: Krzysztof Kłopocki started to have great successes at the age of over 60
We started our history lessons with the Krajeńskie Land Museum in Złotów. In a 250-year-old building, we talked about the history of the area and the role of Father Boleslav Dominski, for 36 years (1903-1939) parish priest in Zakrzew (Buchdorf in German before the war).
– Consciously, the German authorities sent him to a provincial parish of the then Second Reich. Their intention was to exclude the priest from public discussion and to limit his influence. However, life wrote a different scenario and it turned out that the authorities took a hint, because Father Dominski definitely gained popularity and became one of the leaders of the Confederation of Poles in Germany – explained Kamila Krzanek-Duranovska, director of the museum in Zloty.
The only living congressman
Then a trail of memories from the struggle for the Poles leads us to 104-year-old Alphonse Tomke, the last surviving participant in the only pre-war congress of the Confederation of Poles in Germany, at the De Volks Theater in Berlin.
– When I was nineteen years old, I had a head full of fantasies and ideas, so I didn’t think about Father Dominsky’s proposal for a long time. I got on the train in Pila and went to Berlin with other Poles. At that time, there was no harassment of us in the streets or in the building itself, because the authorities had given permission for the conference and had to tolerate our presence. I remember that Zakarzio’s delegation had reserved seats right next to the platform, but since the priest was the head of the guild, it would hardly be the case otherwise. During the discussions it was possible to take food, and after they ended, each visitor was delegated to a different private apartment – remember one of the oldest residents of Wielkopolska, whose biography could serve as the basis for the script of the film. If anyone has any doubts, it suffices to point out that the honored warrior of Zacchario spent five years in Russian military camps, and was sent to the Eastern Front as a soldier of the German army twice.
– For five years after the war, I did not see a piece of meat, only dry bread. Meeting the ration in the mine allowed 700 grams of bread a day, and without that you only get 400 … – said Alphonse Tomke with tears in his eyes.
According to him, life in Zakarzio was not governed by the slogan “Beat the Germans”. We all lived in harmony. My neighbor was an evangelical and faith was never an issue for us. Of course, at the same time, Father Dominski and all Poles fought against the authorities at various levels for the rights of minorities, as pointed out by the Rudza Medal winner.
Polish Rite Year
From Alfons Tomke’s family home, you can reach the Polish House in 10 minutes, a beautifully restored building consisting of a reception hall, a small hotel and a concert hall with wonderful frescoes made in 1937 by Janina Kłopocka.
She was raised and educated in the Berlin Empire, but within the walls of Zachrysio’s Polish home, she locked her love for Poland, its centuries-old traditions and culture.
The biggest art project of her life required an enormous amount of effort. Therefore, in her creative work, the famous Wielkopolska girl had to be supported by her friend from college, Jadwiga Koniuszewska, and Roman Sulicki, an artist belonging to the Union of Poles in Germany.
Watching 16 scenes from the Polish ritual year is an amazing experience. Frescoes dominate the hall, although they are only set in the ceiling portion. Sometimes, they seem to be entering the stage. The first is the jubilant image of the Mother of God, the second is the procession of candles, the third is the greeting of spring, the fourth is the Easter lamb, the fifth is the blessing of the cows, the sixth is the sowing of grain, the seventh. is the Corpus Christi procession, the eighth is leaving wreaths, the ninth is the harvest festival, the tenth is the beehive, the eleventh is the blessing of herbs, the twelfth is the Feast of All Souls, the thirteenth is the Christmas Eve dinner, the fourteenth is the nativity scene, the fifteenth He is Boys with a Star, and Sixteen is Fashion with a Goat.
– There was a time, recently, when the work of the Polish House was under threat. Fortunately, the mayor and the council members came to their senses in time. This is a historic place that also serves as a cultural center, common room, and concert hall. There is no denying that we rarely book tickets for events, but today attendance in the countryside is based on unconventional methods, not a business plan – explained Henryk Szopińska, husband of Dom Polski manager Barbara Matysek-Szopińska and director known for many years for the Blues Express festival in Zakrzewo.
The head of the Polish House told us about how the past is connected to the present.
– Father Domański wanted to create a cultural institution and take the next step in promoting Polish after establishing Polish schools in Germany. We refer to pre-war traditions, because we have dance groups headed by “Rudlani”, we have a choir of old people “Wrzos”, we have a backyard band and we also have a theater group. We stand on our heads, although this is often a basis, based on enthusiasm and the constant lack of coaches – explained Barbara Matysek-Szopińska.
Unveiling of the murals
An interesting fact is that Janina Kubuka’s frescoes were destroyed by the Nazis for many years. It was accidentally discovered by a local painter, Eugenius Zawada in 1972.
– During painting, the plaster did not fall off, only part of a thick layer of lime and sticky paint. Had it been in stucco, there would have been no chance of preserving the paintings. We saw the first pieces of frescoes and the renovations stopped immediately, as the then director of the Polish House, Jerzy Panay, had asked us to do. I remember that we had to wait a long time for the resumption of work, because the matter had already reached wider circles – said Eugeniusz Zawada.
The re-unveiling of the “Year of the Polish Rite” took place on Thursday, August 24, 1972. The author appeared in Zakrysow the day before in the company of Joanna Stroka, the journalist of Trebona Opolska and the photojournalist for this newspaper, Jerzy Grzegorzewicz. Unfortunately, the television recording of this event has been lost in the TVP archives.
– I hope that in time we will be able to find them, because it is my duty and all of us to an outstanding artist, and for sure that was Janina Kubuka. Rodło’s author loved Poland unconditionally, even in times when it was persecuted by the communist authorities for its pre-war participation in the Zadruga Pan-Slavism movement of Jan Stachniuk, a philosopher and writer who did not agree with the communist vision of Krzysztof Kolobucky argued in post-war Poland .
Before the war, Kłopocka also designed – with graphic artist Tadeusz Cieślewski – the Church of Our Lady of Joy, which was to be erected in the garden of the Polish house. In the end, the theatrical decoration was during the Congress of the Association of Poles in Germany, because the Nazi authorities did not allow it to be held in Zakrzyw.
The people of Krajna returned to the idea of building it back in the 1970s, but for political reasons only in 1989, at the crossroads, in the center of Zakrzyw, a chapel was built. In this way, more than 50 years later, Father Dominsky’s will came to pass. However, the church has a completely different modern form.
– Janina Kłopocka’s most important works were created in Zakrzewo. “The Year of the Polish Rite” is actually her life’s work. I love coming back here not only because of the timeless feeling of art and the personal involvement in discovering the artist’s destiny. I know that Dom Polski is in good hands and that the spirit of Polish still radiates from it, – concluded Krzysztof Kubuki.