Zygmunt and Prelate Jan Gnatowski

from "Die Gnatowskis. Die Geschichte einer masowischen Familie" by Alfred von der Lehr
ISBN-Nr: 3-00-005311-5


While Pawel Gnatowski took care of Jakimowka through Zygmunt's absences and later after his death, it seems that he has never visited Zakopane or the documents confirming his visit there have not been kept. But next to Zygmunt Gnatowski appears another member of the Gnatowski family, one we already know: the Prelate Jan Gnatowski.

He has not only inaugurated the Koliba house at the end of July 1894, but at the same time performed the marriage ceremony of his niece Janina Lewandowski and Antoni Helzel: "After a solemn mass and blessing of the house, the young married couple was blessed with cordial words by the bride's uncle Jan Gnatowski1)."

Jan Gnatowski didn't just coincidentally bless the Koliba house, but was without doubt a close relative of Zygmunt Gnatowski, the building owner. And as he is talked about as the bride's uncle, the mother of the bride must have been his sister, otherwise the bride's name would have been Gnatowski, too.

The procedure is being reported further on: "On Mr. Lewandowski's initiative, to remember this event, the families Lewandowski, Gnatowski and Helzel have sponsored an altar at the Church of the Holy Jan in Zakopane. The church, the altar and Koliba have all been built in the same Zakopane style2)."

Thus the church in Zakopane became almost a family church, because Zygmunt has not only supported the construction of the church, now the church received also an altar to remember this marriage. Later, in the year 1900, Jan Gnatowski has also blessed the chapel, which Zygmunt had had constructed inside the church. There are no more details in Jablonska's reports or in the Museum's archives3).

An interesting letter from prelate Kaszelewski has been kept, in which he forwards Jan Gnatowski's request for a leave to visit his brother (!) in Zakopane during Christmas:

Kaszelewski_m "To the dignified, royal bishop's consistory in Cracov!

Last year the religion teacher from gymnasium in Lvov (Lemberg), prelate Jan Gnatowski has been allowed to perform a Christmas Mass at the house of his ill brother Zygmunt Gnatowski in Zakopane. As he plans to visit his brother during next Christmas vacation, he asked the signer of this letter, if it would be possible to provide permission like the one last year. The signer of this letter takes the liberty to forward this request to gracious consideration, while being free to mention that Zygmunt Gnatowski has had a bad peritonitis a short while ago and, as a result of it, is not able to visit the church. This Christmas Mass, held by his brother, would be a great solace for the patient. He has received the Holy Sacrament several times during his illness and a few years ago he has contributed the money to build a chapel in the church, which proves that he is a religious man.


Zakopane, 15 December 1902
Signature: K. Kraszelewski, priest"4)


According to that, Jan and Zygmunt Gnatowski were brothers! We know that Jan Gnatowski was born in Skarzynowka (see "Prelate Jan Gnatowski"). In the ""Słownik Geograficznz Krolestwa Polskiego i innych krajów słowianskich (Geographical Dictionary for the Kingdom Poland and other Slavic Countries)" there is an mention of this place:


"Skarzynowka, by mistake also called Skarzenowka, a village at the banks of river Kublicz, a tributary of Sob, district Hajsyn, Police department Teplik, municipality Krasnopolka; catholic community and court in Granow (20 werst away, 27 werst to Jajsynow, 100 werst to Balty, includes 81 settlements, 754 inhabitants, 609 dessjatine farmland, 650 dessjatine estate land and 34 dessjatine owned by the orthodox church5).

The orthodox St. Michael's Church, built 1784, community counts 989 persons. There is a distillery, founded 1850 and employing 13 people, in 1886/7 1,013,370 st.6) have been produced here, two watermills, black soil, Skarzynowka belonged to families Czartoryski, Opacki and now Gnatowski7)"


Possibly Zygmunt Gnatowski was born here. By the way worth mentioning is the notice that in Skarzynowka as well as in Jakimowka there has been a distillery. A considerable part of the wealth of this branch of Gnatowski family should be due to alcohol production, as even on the assumption that the contraction st. stands for just a little more than one litre, we are talking about a year's production of considerably more than one million litres of spirit! It must have probably been Vodka.

As Jan Gnatowski opted for a religious office and Jakimowka belonged to Zygmunt, the question is: who was the owner of Skarzynowka (CONNECTION FOUND: see notes for January Boleslaw Gnatowski - owner of Skarzynowka)? Possibly it also belonged to Zygmunt or maybe to another brother of member of the family. This gets us to the question of the origin of Zygmunt Gnatowski.

1) Jablonska, page 52

2) Jablonska, page 52

3) Jablonska, page 112

4) Source: XXXII The request of the Prelate K. Kaszelewski to receive permission to celebrate a mass at the house of family Gnatowski, APZ I Cracovia, L 553.

5) Translator's notice: Dessjatine - old Russian measure of area ~ 1.025 hectare.

6) Translator's notice: this contraction could mean "sztof" = 1.229 litre or "stagiew" / jug 200 litres

7) Słownik Geograficznz Krolestwa Polskiego i innych krajów słowianskich (Geographical Dictionary of the Polish Kingdom and other Slavic countries), Warsaw 1889, page 658