The name Gnatowski is not only of old origin, but in the wide spread branches of this family exceptional personalities can be found again and again. Here, three remarkable characters of the past [Jan, Antoni, and the Prelate Jan] will be introduced.

All three are completely different personalities with different career/development and different interests. Common to them is an extremely strong commitment for the respective cause, which they followed earnestly and with supreme effort. Even when their names are a little faded today, they are still a part of Polish history. For this reason the memory should be refreshed here.



Polish Legionnaires

On 25 November 1795 the Kingdom of Poland fell prey to her stronger neighbors Russia, Prussia, and Austria, and the third partition ended the existence of the sovereign state of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. The elected King of Poland, Stanislaus Augustus, was forced to abdicate and retire to Russia.

France alone opposed Poland's treatment and became the natural refuge of all Polish exiles. Among those in Paris was General Jean-Henri Dombrowski (Jan Henryk DÄ…mbrowski) who on 11 October 1796 formed the "Polish Legion" with Napoleon's aid. On 20 January 1797 Dombrowski published a proclamation in four languages calling on Poles to enter his new Legion. Two weeks later the Legion consisted of 1,200 men in Polish uniform. By April 1797, 5,000 men had enrolled.


Polish Revolutionary

Polish Revolutionary

He graduated from the railway school in Wilna. He participated in the organized revolutionary circle of Appelberg and was arrested in 1882. After serving his sentence he stood under police surveillance until 1885. In the years 1886 to 1887, he was an activist in the political circle "Narodnaya Volya" under the leadership of the functionary Dembo.



Clergy Member

A significant member of the family was Jan Gnatowski. He was a clergyman and at the same time a well known writer.

At the Collegium Canisianum in Innsbruck, where he had studied, today one can find his name as "Prelate Johann knight of Gnatowski" whereas his literary pseudonym was simply Jan Lada.



Prima Ballerina

A personality of recent history no less famous than the just named gentlemen, was Waleria Gnatowska. She started a career at the theatre and charmed her public as a dancer. We find the following personal record in the biographical dictionary of the Polish theatre:

"Gnatowska Waleria, married name Suzin (04/14/1883 - 02/17/1974 Warszawa/Warsaw), dancer. Daughter of Stanislaw Gnatowski and Agnieszka born Kowalska, wife of Bronislaw Suzin (marriage 07/24/1922)."



The Zakopane Style In Polish Architecture

Another known person with the name Gnatowski was Zygmunt Gnatowski. He became famous in connection with the Koliba House, a summer mansion in Zakopane in the High Tatra, which had been designed by the famous Polish painter and writer Stanislaw Witkiewicz and became style forming for a whole number of other houses. According to Witkiewicz's idea, in 1894 the completed house should become even the germ cell of a Polish national style. Zygmunt Gnatowski was the purchaser and first inhabitant of this house.



Polish Scouting and Guiding Association (ZHP)

When the Second World War broke out, many ZHP leaders left the country to continue Guiding/Scouting activity among émigré youth. The Guiding/Scouting communities which remained in the Nazi-occupied country formed an underground organisation linked to the Home Army. "Trefoil Union" was one of the underground cryptonyms of the Guide Association and became well known, earning high respect from Polish society. Guides helped the weak, the poor, the homeless and children in need in different ways, and they participated in the Resistance Movement all over Poland. Polish Scouts continued their duty underground under the name of "Grey Ranks". Depending on the age they helped in distributing underground press, organised mail service and undertook many other tasks including armed fighting.



World War Veterans

Remembering those who served.