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Conflicts during 1880-1885

Replies: 1

A documented 1848 conflict.

Posted: 1350114627000
Classification: Query
Edited: 1350114977000
Surnames: Kieramuszeski Sadowski
I'm not able to offer any 1880-1885 examples. But, perhaps the following lengthy excerpt from the Introduction (written by me) of my 1996 book A Compilation of Births for Select Families from the Baptismal Records of Gora (Znin) Parish, Poznania, Poland, 1853-1881, published [ISBN 1-8871-2415-2] by Historyk Press, Baltimore, MD, will prove of some interest to you, regarding an 1848 incident in the area. ALL text that follows is from the aforementioned Introduction. (Be aware that there's a substantial section, falling within the body of my writing, that quotes from an account penned by a Father Albin Kieramuszeski. It's the section with numerous "..." and "...." editing indications. In my book Fr. Kieramuszeski's text is made obvious via indentation and italics, though I'm not able to use such formatting here.)

Best regards,

Dave Wilson

....Throughout the 19th century, anti-Polish measures were placed into effect at varying times and to differing extents by the Prussian, then German, administrations. Tolerance of the Poles was occasionally the norm. After 1830, however, germanization of language and of the educational system was aggressively pursued. Attempts were intermittently also made to promote subsidized colonization in Poznania by German citizens. All of this was designed not only to stamp out the nationalistic Polish identity but also to demonstrate that the Germans truly were in charge.

During most of the 1840s, though government-sanctioned oppression of Poznania's Polish peasantry was slightly relaxed, conditions for the peasantry nonetheless remained dire and embittering. The majority had already been evicted from their properties and had been badly exploited. The rich were now richer, while many of the poor had lost everything. The biased Prussian land reform laws then in place were held to blame. Additionally, with the heavily promoted, ever-increasing German colonization of ancestral Polish land, the Poles were understandably resentful. Harvests had recently been poor, and hunger and spiralling poverty was rampant. The province was seething with tension.

By this time, there had been a surprising and sweeping change in the attitude of the Polish nobility; it was now openly siding with the peasantry against both the government and the German people.

In mid-March of 1848, unwilling to tolerate their plight any longer, the Polish inhabitants of Poznania lashed out against Prussian domination. A volunteer national army was enlisted, and violent armed clashes began to take place against the German citizens who now made up more than one-third of the province's population. Within two weeks, many Poles had been disarmed, and Prussian forces were retaliating in the most brutal manner.

On October 25, 1848, Gora Parish's pastor, Father Albin Kieramuszeski, penned in the death registry book an account of just one chain of events that had taken place earlier that year only eight miles north of Gora. His report is titled: "For the information of Poles to the last generation."

Father Kieramuszeski begins his account by explaining that, on Sunday, April 24, an incident of civil disobedience occurred when the Polish residents of Slupy..., believing that the Prussian commissioner of Szubin county (the administrative district into which their village fell) was about to arrest their pastor, decided to take action. When the commissioner arrived in Slupy that day, the Polish peasants surrounded him, threatening him with death if their priest was in any way disturbed. At this, the commissioner fled to the nearby manor of the Sadowski family. Throwing himself to the mercy of Stanislaw Sadowski, he was given refuge in the family's home. The crowd of irate Poles eventually dispersed.

Two days later, in apparent reaction to this incident, the Prussian chief of county administration (among whose duties was the maintenance of order) came to Slupy accompanied by several Prussian soldiers, the Prussian county court assessor, and a band of armed German peasants. When it quickly became evident that the local Polish populace outnumbered them, the intruding group retreated. No further incidents occurred on that or the following day.

Father Kieramuszeski's account concludes on the morning of Thursday, April 28. Having decided by that time that decisive control of Slupy must be taken, and a firm lesson taught the Poles, the Prussian authorities acted. Though no explanation is offered for why Stanislaw Sadowski was singled out for punishment, having earlier saved the life of the commissioner, it is clear that he was a known insurrectionist.

....[Mrs. Sadowski] and her sick son [Stanislaw, who had been stricken with fever] were sitting quietly that morning on the sofa when the rustle of sabers was heard in the hall....(T)he doors to the room opened and about ten Prussian hussars entered...rifles and pistols in their hands. The ill Stanislaw...asked...what they wanted, and one hussar, addressing the sick man's mother, pointed at...[Stanislaw] and said, "Is this your son who was in Paris, or is it another?" Mrs. Sadowski got up from the sofa and said [that] this was her son...who...[had been] imprisoned in Berlin [Prussia's capital]....(A)t that, the hussars shouted [in German], "That's who we're looking for; he's the right one!," and cocked their guns and aimed them at him.

The mother threw herself at them with her arms open, standing before the aimed guns, and thus kept several from firing, crying for mercy for her unarmed, ill son....(A)t the same time, several shots were fired from the side, and the sick Sadowski, hit in the arm and shoulder, went into the next room....(T)he hussars followed him [there] and pierced him with six [more] shots. He fell lifeless, and the hussars beat his head with the butts of their guns.

At the mother's cries, the executioners finally stopped abusing the corpse. At the sound of the shots, a few soldiers of the infantry also came into the room and struck the corpse with bayonets....This base, vile Prussian mob [eventually] dispersed, saying, "Now you have your freedom, you damned Polish dog!"....

At the time when the above happened, [the] Prussian court assessor...and his other band guarded the courtyard, so that none of the Poles could hinder the execution of this Prussian justice. There were a great many such crimes in this and the following month....

Father Kieramuszeski's report further indicates that an additional detachment of Prussian soldiers was sent to Slupy that day and that one German on the scene remarked to Mrs. Sadowski that the same fate would befall her younger son, Nepomucen, whenever they found him.

By mid-May of 1848, the Poznania uprising had ended. While the Prussians had clearly won, the Poles nevertheless considered their insurrection to have been a nationalistic victory of sorts; they had fought together for a common cause against the hated enemy. All along, their Church had remained steadfastly on their side, supporting the Poles in their fight against the mostly-Protestant enemy....
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soaringsoftly 1350056578000 
DavidWilsonUS... 1350114627000 
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