On the anniversary of Poland’s Marriage to the Sea
Fr Ireneusz Skubis
In order to commemorate the 88th anniversary of Poland’s Marriage to the Sea Ceremony and the 68th anniversary of the mass transportations of Poles to Siberia, the Eugeniusz Kwiatkowski Polish Maritime Economic Association organised a symposium in Puck on 9 February 2008. There was also the ceremony of giving the awards of the Association, a ring and statuette. The awards honour the winners’ social involvement.
Pages of history
I had the privilege and honour to preside over Mass in the collegiate Church of St Peter and St Paul in Puck. I also delivered the homily. After the Mass there was a symposium in a conference hall. The introduction was given by Captain Engineer Zbigniew Sulatycki. It was entitled ‘Two dates’, reminding us of the anniversary of the Marriage to the Sea Ceremony and the tragic transportations of Poles to Siberia. Professor Marian Grzeda delivered an important talk entitled ‘Does Poland still need the sea?’ He presented Poles’ attitudes towards the sea. He pointed to the little interest of Poland in our Baltic Sea. Perhaps various decision-makers are not aware of the meaning of Poland’s access to the sea and its values. In turn, Prosecutor Andrzej Witkowski spoke about the crimes against the Polish nation committed by the Bolshevik Russia. The presented material is of an enormous historic value for the Polish nation. We were cruelly treated and the Bolsheviks did much evil. However, we do not possess necessary knowledge concerning the harm and crimes against Poles. During the war and the German occupation our nation was oppressed by Stalin and his subordinates on the one hand and by the Nazi Germany, through the activities of the German diplomacy, based on the Ribbentrop-Molotov pact, on the other hand. That pact wronged Poland to the greatest extent since it brought about expulsions, deportations and murders of Polish people. We cannot forget the Soviet crimes of 1939 and the ones committed afterwards. Currently, when the problem of the expelled has increased one should recall the events when Poles were uprooted, thrown to the furthest ends of Russia, deported in horrible conditions, in cattle train cars. No traces were left after thousands of Polish people. And now, when Erica Steinbach, President of the Association of the Expelled in Germany, tries to show the harm against the Germans who had to leave our lands, one should notice how cruel and horrible the crimes against Polish people were, how much degradation and affliction they experienced and how many of them were murdered. I think that the latest history does not devote enough attention to this issue.
Polish identity yesterday and today
When Jan Tomasz Gross, the author of the book ‘Fear: Anti-Semitism in Poland After Auschwitz’, accuses Poles of the so-called anti-Semitism we must realise that the Polish nation experienced a hundred times bigger harm when it was destroyed. Furthermore, the history of its destruction has been wrongly transmitted. The author, blaming us for anti-Semitism, does not notice how much Poles defended what was just and honest. It would be good if we see the harm that the German occupant and the Soviet aggressor did to Poland. These issues should be analysed by historians, scholars and experts in this subject. These people are obliged to defend our national identity; they must know how to examine the sources showing our difficult past. Since our unfortunate situation under the communist rules, the government of the Polish People’s Republic, brought about plunder and it deprived us of the sources that witness to our painful situation. It was the regime that dominated over our national history of the 20th century. We should not let the Germans, the Russians or any other nation tell lies about us. We must see and show our true history. Poland is a righteous and honest nation. Therefore, one cannot let anyone slander our history and us.
During the conference the awards were given to following people: Rev. Msgr Jozef Obrembski from Vilnius and Minister Zbigniew Ziobro as well as the undersigned. I was personally to receive the statuette. It is an expression of respect for the Editorial Board of ‘Niedziela; and its editor-in-chief, an expression of gratitude for arousing and deepening the notion of patriotism. It has an inscription ‘Animus et Semper Fidelis.’ On behalf of Rev. Obrembski the award was handed to the deputy mayor of the Vilnius district Dr Jan Mincewicz, and on behalf of Minister Ziobro - Piotr Stanke, MP. The ceremony was solemn and showed dedication to the idea of patriotism. It is known that both the Association and all those who want to serve the latest Polish history focus on the ideas of the patriotic attitude towards many issues. Summing up, one should realise that such a meeting can be a subject of many reflections and meditations. One should pay homage to the Polish Maritime Economic Association for commemorating and reminding us of the figures of Eugeniusz Kwiatkowski, the constructor of Gdynia seaport and Polish maritime industry, who is also the patron of the Association.
About Polish sea and people of the sea
I would like to add a few thoughts about fishermen whom I met in Jastarnia. They told me about their pain connected with their profession. They showed photos concerning the maritime industry. They recollected the situation when the communist authorities drastically controlled their cutters, even puncturing them to check whether they did not carry people instead of goods. Polish fishermen always followed sincere labour ethics since they knew that the ethic rules were the most important things that witnessed to the honour of Poles. One retired fisherman said his colleagues were lost in those days, and the current situation of the Polish maritime industry was difficult since Brussels controlled it making us the EU subordinates. The fishermen mentioned that they had had to defend their posts during the communist times and also the present sea economy was not rightly developed. The ministry dealing with this field of industry was liquidated. They sadly confessed that the maritime industry was going into liquidation. That does not sound optimistic. Thus, we appeal to the Polish society to react to various signs and symptoms of bad situation in fishery. It is worth asking about the Polish reason of state, which is managing the sea resources. The fishermen - the people of Kaszuby - have always shown concern about this field of industry. Their dedication to the Polish sea has always been visible. 88 years ago Jozef Haller expressed that in a special ceremony. He wanted the Polish sea to play an essential role in every aspect: ideological, political and economic. One should know the significance of this branch of industry for the functioning of the Polish state and its industry. The nation should know the history of the Polish sea and all the things related to it. Shipyard workers, fishermen and other people employed in various departments of the maritime industry would like to serve the interests of our homeland. We should hep them.
Eugeniusz Kwiatkowski Polish Maritime Economic Association
The Association was founded in 1996 by an environment of Polish patriots. Captain Zbigniew Sulatycki became its President. Then many other people joined the Association, including Engineer Zbigniew Wysocki and those Poles who show concern about Poland’s fate. The issues concerning sea economy, Polish industry and politics, were the background that formulated the idea of creating an association. But soon the Association enlarged its interests and set distant aims, embracing all economic events, assuming the position of defending the Polish national economy. The Association is a non-profit organisation and has a legal identity. It aims at social work to rebuild sovereign Christian Poland, which would have strong economy and which would be faithful to tradition and national culture. The Association has branches in many Polish voivodships and contacts with Polish immigrants in both Americas and numerous European countries. It has many secretariats dealing with various branches of our national economy. More information at: www.psmg-kwiatkowski.pl
Eugeniusz Felicjan Kwiatkowski
He was born on 30 December 1888 in Krakow. He completed the Jesuit gymnasium. He studied at the Faculty of Chemistry of the Technical Polytechnic in Lvov. He received the engineer’s diploma at the Polytechnic in Muenchen, Germany. In 1921, he became a lecturer at the Warsaw Polytechnic. He lectured on the chemistry of coal and gas industry. When Ignacy Moscicki became the director of the State Factory of Nitrogen Compounds in Chorzow he asked Eugeniusz Kwiatkowski to become the technical director (in the year 1923). In the years 1926-1930 he was the minister of industry and trade and he succeeded in developing our industry. He is merited for building the seaport and city of Gdynia as well as for developing the Polish merchant navy. In 1935 he was appointed a Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Treasure. He was the co-founder of the Central Industrial Zone. After World War II he was actively involved in rebuilding the country, having the same enthusiasm and energy he had while constructing the seaport Gdynia. His maritime programme, prepared in 1945, was long-termed but the communist system regarded the right to initiative as the sole monopoly of the party. Kwiatkowski did not allow being part of the communist propaganda, which increased hostility against him. At the beginning of 1948 he was recalled and commanded to leave his house. He was forbidden to settle in Warsaw, Poznan and on the coast. He moved to Krakow where he experienced a lot of insults. When he began teaching at the Jagiellonian University he was deprived of the right of lecturing. The censorship did not permit him to publish the second volume of ‘Dzieje gospodarcze swiata’ [The History of the World Economy]. In 1952 he was deprived of the right to a retirement allowance. He died on 22 August 1974 at the age of 86, several weeks after the University of Gdansk had awarded him the honorary doctor’s degree in economic sciences. Cardinal Karol Wojtyla of Krakow had the coffin of Eugeniusz Kwiatkowski covered with the national flag and exposed for public veneration in the Wawel cathedral for five days.