Origin and family of Zygmunt Gnatowski

from "Die Gnatowskis. Die Geschichte einer masowischen Familie" by Alfred von der Lehr

ISBN-Nr: 3-00-005311-5


Mrs. Jablonska points out that the birth year and the place of birth of Zygmunt Gnatowski is not well known. Probably Zygmunt is born in the year 1854. He attended an agriculture training school in Dublany and died in 1906 in Jakimowice 1).


The family property Jakimowice

Modern_Jakimowka_m Jakimowka_m

About the manor in Jakimowice there is a report in "Wies Ilustrowana" (The illustrated village), which gives a very good impression not only of the house, but also of the Gnatowski family 2). The author, by whom we know only the initials Z.R., visited the property approximately around 1912, thus after the death of Zygmunt Gnatowski. From Zygmunt the property passed on to Pawel. The report reads:


(Government Kiev, district Taraszczan).


If your fate, dear reader, through emergency or accidentally, leads you in the area of the earlier district Braclaw, near the family estate of the Counts Czetwertyński and Zbaraski - to Zywotow, you will find a wavy landscape, contrasting with the bordering Humanszczyzna with its steppes.

Like into an oasis on a hot summer day, the travellers are attracted by closely spread, beautiful, Ukrainian settlements with their green fruit gardens with crystal-clear river water, as usually found in quiet canyons.

One can see them very often, even though the new conditions and the American way of farming are bringing out, especially close to the sugar factories, a new kind of people, mostly of a non-descriptive character. But one can here also find such estates, where tradition and simplicity, combined with comfort of living and, sometimes amenities, are cherished, without claiming to be lordship residences.

One can feel that people living here didn't just see themselves as followers of the saying "ubi patria - ubi bene", but that they really loved their homeland, in which they also saw their emotional home. By building such spacious estates they didn't think just about themselves but also about always welcome guests and the motto "dulce et utile" which they followed all through their lives. The aesthetics of those estates, though functional, hasn't been forgotten.

One of such typical land estates in the Ukraine is Jakimowka, at present owned by Pawel Gnatowski. Earlier Jakimowka was part of the town Zywotow, from which it is now separated by the stream Ros.

The estate stands for a link between the old and new demands. Then even though the new owner of the distillery has seen to its improvement and progress through modification, has established rectification, has reconstructed watermills and built a roof tile facility, supplying sought-for and solid tiles, this all didn't hinder him in keeping consequently to already mentioned tradition and piety in its rare form.

The founder of this estate was the very much-liked Henryk Gnatowski. He has used so many creative ideas and his natural good taste by the construction of the family estate and has decorated the house in such an aesthetic way that the settlement belongs doubtlessly to the most beautiful in the whole area.

The admired Henryk Gnatowski was also the first owner of Jakimowka, its creator and at the same time its founder. He was truly a patriarch, loved and valued by everybody. This was the reason why, throughout some generations of the family, closer and distant relatives and acquaintances, it was customary to kiss the hands of the aged, hospitable man, especially on the occasion of his birthday 3).

On this great day they all came to Jakimowka, sometimes from far away, drawn not only by the famous hospitality of this man, but also because for them he was the embodiment of many bourgeois- and old polish virtues, marking this wonderful person.

Now a few words about the picture of this village. Special attention must be given to the path, leading in natural windings, between meticulously groomed roses and hedges, to the manor house.

It ends in front of the big manor house, with multi-storey building attached on the side. This building is characterized by simple and architecturally quiet lineaments and is totally embedded into green area. Its separate parts fit so well into an ensemble so that it looks like a friendly housekeeper, adorned festively to receive guests.

The mansion house fits the whole surroundings area. Behind it an old lime tree avenue leads in terraces down to the pier on the lake, on the horizon taking the form of a crest, running to a group of Italian cottonwood trees in the background. In this wondrous place, shortly before sunset, terrific water bird concerts, surprising the most demanding connoisseurs, can be heard.

The furnishing of this house corresponds with its outside picture in its meaning and charm of architecture. Among the inherited pieces the collection of honour awards takes a special place. "Virtuti Militari", "The French Legions of Honour", "Napoleon's Star" and many more, which have once belonged to the Grandfather of the present owner and his namesake, the honoured Pawel Gnatowski.

These high valued awards he has received during the besiegement of Saragossa, in the canyons of Samosierra and on other battlefields and in unaccounted combats. Through his heroic death near Daszow, he has left a name clothed in glory for the ascendants of his family branch.

I lack the space to write many more interesting details, concerning the whole estate of this wonderful settlement and building a very impressionable oneness. I dedicate this short report to my unforgettable recollections of the time I have spent there. 4)"

In this report, concerning on the beauty of the estate and settlement, there is no mention of the year since when the mansion was owned by the family. The text lets one believe that Henryk Gnatowski has bought or received the estate. Anyway has Pawel, in the year 1912 owner of the estate, seen to the "industrial" development of the family property. A picture of the estate is among colored photos.

Another source is the "Słownik Geograficznz Krolestwa Polskiego i innych krajów słowianskich (Geographic Dictionary of the Kingdom Poland and Other Slavic Countries)". The article about Jakimowka there is not only much shorter, but also less romantic.

"Jakimowka. Suburb of Zywotow, the river Rosia separates both municipalities; district Taraszczan, earlier Kiev, so called because the village lies on the street between Zywotow and Kiev.

614 inhabitants of the Greek-orthodox faith. Orthodox parish church, distillery. 1124 Dessjatinen5) of fruitful soil. Possession of the family Hnatowski. Local administration in the city Zywotow, police station in the city Tetyjow. 6)"

So the estate already belonged to the family in 1882. Accordingly, already Henryk Gnatowski has run the distillery and possibly also the farm. Remarkable, because especially rough is the mistake in the spelling of the name: Gnatowski in this dictionary has been changed into Hnatowski 7).

1) Jablonska, Introduction, page 7, footnote 1

2) "Wies Ilustrowana" (The illustrated village), 3. Class: 1912, No. 5 (May), Warschau, page. 23f. The report contains four photos the property and the environment.

3) Translator's note: in the original text the house owner was called "Amphitrion". This term comes from the Greek "Amphitryon" - mythological king of Thebes.

4) The translation was provided by Mrs. Mazur from Nürnberg.

5) Translator's note: Dessjatine - old-Russian square measure = 1.0925 hectars.

6) Słownik Geograficznz Krolestwa Polskiego i innych krajów słowianskich (The Geographical Dictionary for the Kingdom of Poland and other Slavic countries), Warsaw 1882, page. 376

7) The spelling mistake is understandable when one knows that in the Russian language the letter "G" is shown as "H". The estate Jakimowka was in the Ukraine, thus on a Russian speaking territory, the common spelling of the name was Hnatowski. Still the author of the Polish text failed to adjust the Russian spelling in a Polish text.