On November 9, 2018 the finals of the “Contemporaries of Independent Poland” competition to celebrate the Centenary of Regaining Independence by Poland was held at the History Meeting House in Warsaw.
There were short video presentations of the projects, and talks with the Project Teams by Agnieszka Kudełka of Ośrodek KARTA and Krzysztof Willmann, a literature scholar and an expert of the Polish Declarations of Admiration and Friendship for the United States. Next Zbigniew Gluza, the President of Ośrodek KARTA announced the Competition Committee’s decision, and the prizes were presented to the winners.
The “Contemporaries of Independent Poland” competition was announced by the Ośrodek KARTA as part of the Infinitely Independent project to celebrate the Centenary of Regaining Independence by Poland. It was based on the Polish Declarations of Admiration and Friendship for the United States. The document, posted on the “Infinitely Independent – People” website, consists of 111-volume album of greetings for the American people to acknowledge American support for regaining independence by Poland and humanitarian aid after World War I. It consists of 30,000 pages with signatures of 5.5 million Polish citizens of all nationalities, collected in 1926. The youngest of those who signed the Declarations were 7 years old – they were born in 1918 and were the contemporaries of Independent Poland. Hence the title of the competition that was addressed to young people. Its organizers assumed that every community, every school, every student might find a close, important or interesting person among those who signed the Declarations and telling their stories trace also a piece of Poland’s history. It was assumed that the stories would make a collective portrait of the society of Second Republic of Poland and would be an original way of celebrating the Centenary of Regaining Independence, also at a local level.
Originally, the new authors working within various institutions (schools, libraries, cultural centers, but also informal groups, family, etc.) were offered to choose one of the two paths – either to use collected source material for presentation of their hero’s biography or to carry out activities stimulating their local community with reference to and inspired by their hero’s life. Since most of the works submitted to the competition had elements of both paths, the Competition Committee decided to assess all works without breaking them down into different categories.
Some of the works submitted to the competition described the fate of quite a number of people whose signatures had been found by the authors of the work in the Declarations and who had been residents of the community or students at a local school. The other works presented extensive, well-documented life of a single person. Some of the source material was researched as far away as Eastern Borderlands of the Second Republic of Poland, and some – at place, in the family or school archives. The material found was presented in various forms – as multimedia presentation, documentary, video recording, historical reconstruction, exhibition, or published as a book, newspaper article, comics or even outdoor game. Several works combined various elements.
The Competition Committee concluded that the projects brought a lot of new knowledge and had permanent impact on local communities, while many of them turned out to be only the starting point for further historical exploration of the Declarations.
Working in two stages, the Competition Committee awarded the following prizes:
1st Prize: PLN 4,500
- Jakub Dzik from Startowa Non-public Junior High School in Warsaw, Maja Dzik of No 359 Elementary School in Warsaw, Michał Dziergas, Mikołaj Szostak, Nikodem Nycz, Patryk Góra of High School Complex in Bestwina, for The Contemporaries of Independent Poland From Janowice – 100 Years Of Service For The Big And The Small Homeland project presenting the lives of 41 relatives of the project authors; the supervisors – Katarzyna Dzik from Warsaw and Dorota Surowiak from Bestwina.
- Paulina Basek, Krzysztof Bogusz, Karolina Kosil, Olga Łukasiewicz, Dawid Nagadowski, Igor Pazura, Wiktoria Podstawka, Miłosz Rosa, Julia Wiśniewska of the Municipal Public Library in Stoczek Łukowski, for The Contemporaries of Independent Poland From Stoczek Łukowski video based on the school photo. The video tells about the Stoczek community in the period between WWI and WWII as illustrated by the lives of teachers and 12 Jewish students who had signed the Declarations; the supervisors – Agnieszka Barej, a librarian at the Municipal Public Library in Stoczek Łukowski and Hanna Stosio – the president of Friends of Stoczek Łukowski Society.
2nd Prize: PLN 3,500
- Szymon Konik, Miłosz Dąbrowski, Patrycja Poznańska, Zuzanna Nienałtowska, Milena Urbańska, Amelia Wiszenko of Rev. Wacław Rabczyński Elemantary School No. 1in Wasilków, for Józef Fiedorowicz – On The Traces Of Clandestine Education project in form of historical reconstruction commented by the historians/students; the supervisor – Mariusz Sokołowski – a history teacher.
- Barbara Orzeł and Milan Koczar of Karol Miarka Senior High School No. 1 with Bilingual Classes in Żory, and Błażej Konsek of Nicolaus Copernicus Construction and IT School Complex in Żory for Augustyn Wróbel – One Of 5.5 Million project consisting of a video, biography book and exhibition (with the elements of a happening) presenting typical and untypical life of a Silesian; the supervisor – Elżbieta Koczar , an employee of the Municipal Cultural Center in Żory and mother of a Team member.
3rd Prize: PLN 2,500
- Franciszek Podłęcki, Dawid Reczek, Dariusz Piotr Sapeta, Magdalena Borowiec, Zuzanna Gemza of Nicolaus Copernicus Senior High School at High School Complex No.1 in Brzesko for biographical documentary With Work and Truth – Baron Jan Albin Götz Okocimski (1864–1931) on the life of founder and the supervisor of the school in Okocim who was mentioned in the Declarations; the supervisor – Piotr Paweł Duda, Ph.D., a history and social sciences teacher.
- Ewelina Banaszek, Jakub Kosakowski, Dominik Gałązka of School Complex in Dobre Miasto, for They Left A Trace – About Students Of Junior High School In Drohobycz project consisting of video and exhibition showing lives of four students and their teacher – Bruno Schulz; the supervisor – Alina Ślimak , a Polish teacher.
Book awards consisting of sets of books for institutions supervising the Teams of Authors work, worth PLN 300 each, went to:
- Patrycja Letkiman, Weronika Kaczorowska, Maria Kołaczkowska, Zuzanna Gierwatowska of John Paul II School Complex No. 2 in Narzym for Narzym – Generations project presenting several of 60 Narzym residents who signed the Declarations; the supervisor – Anna Szambora-Jaszewska.
- Klaudia Łojewska, Mateusz Kujawski, Mateusz Kazanowski of Witold Pilecki Senior High School No.4 in Piaseczno for Jan Stryczyński in Memories and Photos multi-media presentation; the supervisor – Izabela Kłagisz, a history teacher.
- Mateusz Nowak, Wiktor Zagozdon, Jakub Chromiński of Witold Pilecki Senior High School No.4 in Piaseczno for the History of a Woman project in format of a journalistic interview; the supervisor – Izabela Turlejska, a librarian.
- Aleksandra Oskierko, Julia Kołakowska, Wiktor Kłobuchowski of Witold Pilecki Senior High School No.4 in Piaseczno for Freedom Is Priceless fiction film presenting the story about two brothers – members of Home Army, prisoners of a concentration camp and Stalinist prisons; the supervisor – Dariusz Wasilewski, a history teacher.
- Jan Marszałek, Lena Mazurkiewicz, Nikodem Leś, Izabela Bigos, Izabela Hajec, Klaudia Rataj of No.3 Senior High School at the School Complex in Przecław for Władysław Żątowski – a Contemporary of Independent Poland project consisting of the Independence Evening multimedia presentation and an outdoor game; the supervisor – Stanisław Wilczyński, a history teacher.
- Maria Lichograj, Mikołaj Łupiński, Julita Łyś, Michalina Moszyńska, Klaudia Soszyńska, Piotr Prekurat, Klaudia Rombel, Justyna Szczygielska of Komisja Edukacji Narodowej No.1 Elementary School in Siedlce, for Haunted House and The School Sweethearts projects consisting of artistic variations on history; the supervisors – Ewa Wysocka, a Polish teacher, Jolanta Hardej and Małgorzata Olczak, librarians at No.1 Elementary School in Siedlce.
- Natalia Irek, Aleksandra Szot, Kacper Trzaskowski of No 124 Senior High School at Father Jakub Falkowski Institute for the Deaf in Warsaw for Ludgard Hendzel – a graduate of the Institute for Deaf in Warsaw; the supervisor – Ewa Czerkawska, an English teacher.
- Iga Pękul, Patrycja Suwała, Małgorzata Konecka, Olga Durjasz, Maciej Malczewski of Jan Kiliński No 31 School Complex in Warsaw for What We Haven’t Learned at Our History Lessons project consisting of an interview with a 103 years old person who signed the Declarations; the supervisor – Igor Białostocki, a history teacher.
- Piotr Pytlarczyk, Klaudia Burs, Joanna Grzegorczyk of Prince Józef Poniatowski No. 5 Senior High School in Warsaw for presentation on the school graduates prepared for the 100th anniversary of the School; the supervisor – Romualda Kuśmierczyk, a history teacher.
The Polish-American Freedom Foundation was the Partner in the competition.
For more information visit: nieskonczenieniepodlegla-ludzie.pl