Los rodziny Antoniego Mysakowskiego w pierwszym roku Wielkiej Wojny
The history of the family of Antoni Mysakowski in the first year of the Great War
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For the author of this publication, the hundredth anniversary of the outbreak of World War I became an opportunity to look at its first dozen moths in the south of the Lublin Land in the context of both military activities and the fate of civilians on the example of the family of the exiled Antoni Mysakowski, an organist from Huta Krzeszowska. The article was written on the basis of available publications referring to military activities in that area as well as unpublished family archives from early 20th century. The sources comprise the letters and documents confirming the imprisonment of Antoni Mysakowski by Russians in 1914 and his exile to Siberia, as well as parts of the diary of his daughter Janina, containing, among others, short reports from the front and its back-up in the territory of the southern Lublin Land – the places where she stayed with her family at that time. As the registers of births, marriages and deaths specify, the family of Antoni Mysakowski was connected with the Lublin Land from at least the 18th century, initially with the region of Chełm and Krasnystaw. Jan Mysakowski, the grandfather of the author of the diary, came with his family to Huta Krzeszowska which, at that time, was located in the district of Biłgoraj, around 1880. Their son, Antoni, spent many years in Huta with his wife, Stanisława nee Nowakowska. In 1894, their daughter, Janina, was born there. When the war broke out, Janina Mysakowska stayed in the area of Zwierzyniec and Szczebrzeszyn. When she stayed in the forester’s lodge in Nowiny near Nielisz, she found herself in the area of fights between the Austrian 4th Army of General Moritz von Auffenberg and the Russian 5th Army of General Pavel von Plehve. At that time, between 26 August and 2 September 1914, there was a great battle, referred to as the Battle of Komarów. Janina recollects the fights of 28 August. At that time, Eugenia Dominiowa nee Aleksiewicz (1872-1917), the wife of a clerk employed with a local sugar factory lived in Klemensów, where ordinate Zamoyski had his residence. In her diary, she described the military activities in Klemensów and in other places in the southern Lublin Land. Parts of that diary were published in 1938 in “Teka Zamojska”. Antoni Mysakowski’s family, staying in the area of Szczebrzeszyn, did not know his fate or the fate of other inhabitants of Huta Krzeszowska after the Austrians had marched into the area. It was only after her return home in 1914, when the Austro-Hungarian army was forced behind the San, that Janina got to know that her father had accepted the Austrians’ proposal to take over the post of a head of the village and, as a result, he was arrested by Russians. Janina described briefly the situation in Huta, where Russian troops were deployed permanently, she mentioned the fights by the San river which lasted over three weeks, until the Russians had crossed the river. At that time, the situation of Antoni Mysakowski, which was subject to military jurisdiction, was dramatic. After the proceedings conducted in April 1915 in the Dęblin Fortress, he was brought to the prison in Lublin, from where he was to be exiled. Some of the letters addressed to him, as well as the notes of his daughter Janina, were written in that period. After his departure, Antoni lost contact with his closest family remaining in the Lublin Land – his ailing parents, his wife, exhausted with pregnancy and labour, and all his children, of which one died when he was in prison. In May and June 1915, there were fierce fights in the region of Nisko between the Austro-Hungarian and Russian forces. Janina recollects them in some parts of her diary written in Huta Krzeszowska. The Austrian-German forces which, at the beginning of May 1915 began their offensive in Galicia and managed to break off the Russian front near Gorlice, forced the Tsar’s forces to withdraw from the territory of the Kingdom of Poland. In the territories which the Russian army was leaving, the evacuation of civilians began. During the evacuation, which comprised the inhabitants of eastern provinces, not only the state property, Russian offices and officials with their family were taken away. There were cases of mass expelling of people from villages and towns and destroying everything that could not be taken to Russia. The expelled civilians were exiled to Russia. Janina writes about it in her diary. The following pages of the diary describe the war-time experiences of the family, written from the end of June 1915 during the stay at the forester’s lodge in Nowiny near Nielisz. For the second time, Janina had to spend dramatic days under the rain of gun and cannon bullets. She writes about the fights of enemy armies, in this case, from the position of Austro-Hungarian and German armies fighting with Russian forces. The offensive of the allied forces under the command of General Mackensen ended at the end of July and resulted in defeating the Third Russian Army in the territories to the south of Lublin. Another stop during the wartime journey of Janina Mysakowska and her family was a village Zawadki near Susiec, where, among others, her grandfather, Jan Nowakowski, stayed. The author of the diary gives a brief account of the news from the front. Some of the information was brought by Austrian soldiers, who were still deployed in Zawadki as late as in September 1915. At the end of August, those exiled to Russia began to return, among others, to Huta Krzeszowska and other places near Biłgoraj. They were those who stayed behind the Bug River, in Volhynia, that is, the closest to the area they lived in. More people began to return as late as in mid-September, mainly those from the Lublin Land and those who were relatively close to the home country. Those who were taken far into Russia either died of hunger and epidemics or returned later, since they had to travel longer distances. In October 1915, after wandering during the war for several months, Janina with her family returned to Huta Krzeszowska. In 1918, the mother, Stanisława, died after a long illness and, two years later, a chronic disease resulted in the death of the author of the diary. Antoni Mysakowski, expelled to Siberia, settled in a small village Prospichina near Achinsk. As his situation was dramatic, he was helped by one of the organizations active in Russia – the Central Citizens’ Committee. His return to the homeland became possible as late as in September 1923. After that, he lived for 25 years, since he died in 1948 in Biłgoraj. He was buried in a local parish cemetery, near the place where, years before, his wife and daughter, the author of the diary, had been buried. The family of Antoni Mysakowski was one of hundreds Polish families which experienced trauma during the Great War. Presenting their history in the light of the war-time events was possible mainly thanks to preserved family documents and the recollections of Jadwiga, one of Antoni’s younger daughters, who died a short time ago.
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