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2009 | 1 | 61-74

Article title

'EMBARRAS DE RICHESSE', OR THE HISTOTY OF A RUINOUS LEGACY (ATTEMPTS AT CREATING A POLISH CENTRE IN LECHÂTELET NEAR DIJON) (Embarras de richesse, czyli historia rujnujacego spadku (próby stworzenia .. osrodka polskiego w Lechâtelet k. Dijon)

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In June 1937 Rosa Bailly, the founder and general secretary of 'Les Amis de la Pologne Association', inherited from Olga Grabowska the Lechâtelet estate near Dijon. Adhering to the will of the donor, she decided to offer the estate, worth more than 130 000 franks, to a Polish institution, organisation or government, in order to create a centre for Poles living aboard. The search for a new owner who would undertake the realisation of Rose Bailly's plans and would take on the burdens associated with the maintenance of the estate, which exceeded her financial means, took place between June 1937 and September 1939. None of the institutions conducting the negotiations (the Polish Academy of Learning, the Krzemieniec Lyceum, the Society of Christ) regarded itself strong enough for taking over the legacy; thus, up to the outbreak of the World War, not a single plan launched by Rose Bailly could be implemented. The subsequent years, both wartime and post-war, did not alter the status of the estate despite its turbulent and variable history (assumption by one of the agencies of the ministry of agriculture of the Vichy government, a lease by the Polish Union of War Invalids in France, two court trials, and debt collector's injunctions enjoining the illegal residents to leave). They contributed to the financial ruin of Rose Baillie as well as to the degradation of the estate, which reduced the possibility of its use for Polish cultural or social activity. Ultimately, after more than twenty years, burdened by excessive optimism towards people and institutions, and ending with a failure of Rose Bailly's efforts to make use of the legacy for the sake of the Polish cause, in 1956 the estate was sold to an entrepreneur from Dijon, ending the futile attempts at creating a Polish centre at Lechâtelet.







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  • Malgorzata Nossowska, Uniwersytet Marii Curie-Sklodowskiej w Lublinie, Instytut Historii, pl. M. Curie-Sklodowskiej 4, 20-031 Lublin, Poland.


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Publication order reference


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