REMEMBRANCE ABOUT ZOFIA KOSSAK

ANNA JANOWSKA

From the initiative of a senator Artur Warzocha, a conference and an exhibition commemorating Zofia Kossak, known as Kossak-Szczucka and Kossak-Szatkowska are going to be organized. The event will be held on 24-25 April this year in the Senate of Poland and on 30 April – in the Academy named Jan Długosz in Częstochowa.

In this way Zofia Kossak - a famous writer and Catholic activist will be honoured, who during the war occupation was a co-creator of two conspiracy organizations: Frontier of Poland Renewal and Council for Helping Jews ‘Żegota’.

Zofia Kossak came from a famous family of the Kossak, and was a relative of the artists: Juliusz, Wojciech and Jerzy Kossak, and with a poet Maria Pawlikowska-Jasnorzewka. She studied painting in Warsaw and Geneva, and after she got married she moved to Wołyń. She described her traumatic experiences of 1917 – bloody fights and the Bolshevik invasion in her book entitled: ‘Conflagration’ (‘Pożoga’). Later she moved to Górki Wielkie where she got engaged in conspiracy activity, charity activity and saving Jewish people. Arrested by Gestapo, she was in the Auschwitz camp, from where she was transported to Pawiak in Warsaw. She was freed just before the outbreak of the Warsaw Uprising, in which she took part.

Like many people of culture, she and her daughter found a refuge in Częstochowa. Here Zofia Kossak was writing the book ‘From abyss’ and also made an effort to re-start publishing the Catholic Weekly ‘Sunday’ (‘Niedziela’), which had not been published during the war occupation. In February 194 she asked the bishop of Częstochowa Teodor Kubina to help her re-start publishing the ‘Sunday’. The bishop accepted that initiative and soon appointed Fr. Antoni Marchewka the editor-in-chief of the weekly. Zofia Kossak-Szatkowska and Fr. Marchewka began to organize the editorial office and began publishing their texts on pages of the ‘Sunday’. The first issue of the weekly came out with the date of 8 April 1945. This prominent writer also belonged to the editorial team. Living in a temporary flat in the presbytery of the parish under invocation of St. Barbara in Częstochowa, Zofia Kossak and her daughter attended the morning Holy Mass in front of the Miraculous Image of Our Lady at Jasna Góra every day. Memories from her stay in Częstochowa can be found in the book by Anna Szatkowska – a daughter of the writer, entitled: ‘There was a house…’. The time of the writer’s life in Częstochowa is also recalled in his memories by Fr. Marchewka. The volume entitled: ‘There will be one day of freedom’ was published in the series of Library ‘Niedziela’ (‘Sunday’). Zofia Kossak was on emigration later, where she earned her living by working physically. Having returned to the country, she moved to Górki Wielkie again. She died on 9 April 1968. She was distinguished with the medal the Just One among the World Nations.

In the Academy named Jan Długosz in Częstochowa, on 24 January 2018 there was a meeting of the Academic Committee which is prepared a conference devoted to Zofia Kossak. It was attended, among the others, by: the rector of the academy dr. hab. Anna Wypych-Gawrońska – a professor of the Academy, a chairperson of the Senate Commission of Culture and Mass Media senator Jerzy Fedorowicz, senator prof. Jan Żaryn, a MEP for the Polish Seym and the president of the Management Board of the Law and Justice party in Częstochowa Szymon Giżyński, a granddaughter of the writer Anna Fenba Taylor, and the director of the Museum of Zofia Kossak in Górki Wielki Diana Pieczonka-Giec.

The idea of organizing the conference had been accompanying me for a few years, and the full anniversary of death of the writer seemed an excellent occasion for it. Works of Zofia Kossak, her rich literary achievements and, first of all, universal message which her literature brings for the Christian civilization, the Polish nation, Europe and even nations of the world, imposes a duty on political and social elites in Poland feeling responsible for the fate of Poland and Poles, to undertake all these aspects anew – said the senator Artur Warzocha.

Translated by Aneta Amrozik

Niedziela 7/2018 (18 II 2018)

Editor: Tygodnik Katolicki "Niedziela", ul. 3 Maja 12, 42-200 Czestochowa, Polska
Editor-in-chief: Lidia Dudkiewicz • E-mail: redakcja@niedziela.pl