Osiek residents encounter their own history

It truly was a real history lesson for all those for whom the fate of Osiek and its inhabitants is near to their hearts. Over one hundred people came together to hear the incredible stories of the heroic inhabitants of their town, and all that in a unique atmosphere in a beautiful and historical setting. The event “We will remember it all. The fate of Osiek inhabitants in WWII” was organised by the Remembrance Museum of Land of Oświęcim Residents and W. Jagiełły Primary School nr 1 in Osiek.

Primary School nr 1 pupil Natalia Pierkel set the scene for the audience with the song “Panie” by Michał Bajor during which guests could admire scenes from Osiek and its surroundings kindly provided by Krystyna Czerny – the chief editor of the local paper ECHO OSIEKA.

Following Remembrance Museum director Dorota Mleczko’s opening speech, Izabella Miłkowska from the constituency office of Krzysztof Kozik, MP read out a letter written especially for the occasion and handed the document to the Remembrance Museum director, Dorota Mleczko and the head teacher of Primary School nr 1, Monika Rycerz.

As Mrs Rycerz notes, the school is among the most active and creative in the area and is proud of its long tradition of bringing up children and young people in a spirit of patriotism.  She says, “We know how important patriotism is in the upbringing of a young person. We were honoured to accept the Remembrance Museum’s invitation to co-organise this event dedicated to the incredible people of the Land of Osiek, people who proved that even in the darkest moments, it is worth remaining human. This evening event commemorates the people who retained their humanity and who, in the face of a major catastrophe – WWII, – found in themselves goodness, resistance against the occupying forces and the will to fight on many fronts, whether by joining Anders Army, the partisan ranks or the underground structures of the Home Army or the Peasants’ Battalions (…). They showed that they were standing up for the whole world, for their own freedom and for ours.”

Remembrance Museum director, Dorota Mleczko, thanked Osiek residents and the speakers who so willingly and enthusiastically helped organise the gathering. She highlighted the fact that this event is one of a cycle of “encounters with history” which are being held in places around the Land of Oświęcim. “We would like to build relationships with the local community because remembrance is most important. That word carries great significance for us. We want our Museum to be co-created by locals. We see Osiek residents as our friends and friends must be visited – hence our visit to you today! We would like this relationship to be built on mutual trust and friendship.” She added that the Osiek event is a continuation of the September conference organised in Oświęcim by the Remembrance Museum where one of the topics was the fate of Osiek inhabitants who fought at Monte Cassino. So much valuable information came to light there warranting a separate event. The Remembrance Museum therefore decided to build on this during the gathering in Osiek.

Taking part in the event were Member of the Board of the District Council, Jerzy Mieszczak; District Secretary, Beata Chmielowska; the Head of the Osiek Municipality, Marek Jasiński, as well as representatives of local government authorities, cultural and educational institutions, befriended museums and representatives of Oświęcim District and Osiek Municipality.

During the first part of the meeting, Adam Hałatek, editor of the local newspaper ECHO OSIEKA, author of many publications connected to the history of Osiek and director of Primary School nr 9 in Oświęcim presented the history of Osiek inhabitants who fought in Anders Army. Andrzej Kacorzyk, director of the International Center for Education about Auschwitz and the Holocaust and director of the Osiek Landlovers’ Society, told the story of Kazimierz Jędrzejowski – pseudonym Kazek – who was the patron of the junior school in Osiek. Local hero Kazek was born in Osiek and, risking his own life, helped KL Auschwitz-Birkenau prisoners during WWII. He was arrested in 1943 and in mid-May 1944 he was taken to block 11 at Auschwitz where he was sentenced to death. 26thMay 1944, he was killed in an Auschwitz-Birkenau gas chamber. He died for the freedom of many.

Monika Rycerz, Primary School nr 1 director, gave a presentation of Karol Kruczała who was head teacher of the Osiek Primary School between 1926 and 1941. During the war, as part of Gestapo action against teachers, he was arrested in April 1940 and taken to Mauthausen-Gusen, one of the most terrible concentration camps, where he was killed on 21st March 1941.

During the event, guests had the opportunity to view a display of WWII militaria on loan from the Carp Valley Regional Chamber Museum located in Osiek courtesy of local collectors – Marian Kocemba, Leszek Masa and Krzysztof Urbańczyk.

In addition, former conductor of the Głębowice Brass Band, Adam Sala, told guests of inhabitants’ daily life under the occupation. He presented the life of ordinary people and their heroic actions. For those people those actions were a matter of course.

Young people from Primary School nr 1 in Osiek entertained the guests with the song “Biały Krzyż” from the repertoire of Czerwone Guitary sung by pupil Julia Mrozik and “A jesli nie wrocisz” by Anita Lipnicka performed by pupil Marlena Klęczar.

Our thanks go to all our guests for turning out in such high numbers and for the very warm welcome in the Land of Osiek!

#We want our Museum to be co-created by local people, we want to present topics which are important to our local communities. We have just been privileged to share in a unique event in Osiek and soon we will meet again in another of our local towns. Please visit our website and check out social media (Facebook, Instagram and Twitter) to find more information about our activities and plans for the future!

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