Gnatowski, Jan, of the coat of arms Lada, 1780-1831, captain in the Polish military, organizer of a resistance committee in Borysow.

It's absolutely certain that he was the son of Thomas Gnatowski who possessed goods in Duby in Wolhynien. After the invasion of Napoleon in Poland, he traveled to Warsaw and applied to the light guard cavalry. As a lieutenant, he took part in the campaign against Austria in the year 1809. At the beginning of 1810, he departed with his regiment to Spain, where he was an aid to captain Rostworowski. He returned to Warsaw and organized a recruitment office. On 06 April 1811, he was nominated as captain of the second regiment of the Vistula Ulans (lancers), which were organized in Sedan. This regiment now calls itself the eighth regiment of the French-Polish Ulans. In this regiment he led the business as a captain. He participated in the campaigns of 1812 and 1813. In the year 1814 Gnatowski was a paymasters with the Brigadier General Krasinski. After Napoleon's resignation, he left and returned back to Poland.

Since he could not return to his family goods, he fled to the estate of prince Radziwill, where he worked as manager of the property "Borysowszczyznie" in the vicinity of the city Borysow. He gave much effort and invested a lot of work into this property. Above all he protected the goods against Borysow's autocratic administration. With his wife Josefa, he created a center of Polish culture there.

On the basis of messages of 20 December 1830 that in Warsaw a resistance was being organized, together with his wife and nine other persons he established a resistance committee and became its head. Several landowners from the area belonged to this committee. The committee collected weapons, ammunition and spread verbal propaganda. Later, through Gabriela Czapski, they got in contact with the resistance of the district Oschmianz and other districts. Through a denouncement, one became aware of him and the Russian police conducted a raid. They were not able to prove his conspiracy, and neither the weapons nor the ammunition stock could be found.

Nevertheless Gnatowski was sent to Petersburg for further interrogation. During the interrogation and the torture, he betrayed no one and died there as a result of the interrogations. Only after his death in the year 1831, the Russian authorities discovered the magazine with the weapons and the ammunition. The other suspects now laid all the blame on Gnatowski and thereby received only a small punishment and police surveillance[1].


  1. [^] Author of this article in Polski Slownik Biograficzny (Polish biographical vocabulary) is Jan Pachonski. To this period of Polish history see also: Poland, a Historical Panorama, Warszawa 1983, P. 91 FF. This work is to be considered, as the publisher writes, "a first contribution... for the historical row "panorama of Polish history. Facts and myths " i.e. as a series of essays about Polish history, written by outstanding Polish historians, who present... the long lasting consequences of these events on the consciousness of the people and on Polish culture." It is however helpful for the understanding of the motivation of Jan and Anton Gnatowski to supplement the historical background from a rather national perspective.


  • von der Lehr, Alfred. Die Gnatowskis. Die Geschichte einer masowischen Familie. Fürth : Selbstverlag 2000. ISBN-Nr: 3-00-005311-5