Wierzbiccy of the Jastrzębiec Crest
The protoplast of the Wierzbicki family was Jakub Wierzbicki. He lived at the turn of the 16th and 17th centuries, in the territory of Polish Inflants.
It was the territory of Latgale that was their place on earth for the Wierzbicki generations.
The largest city in Latgale is Dyneburg, the main concentration of Poles in Latvia. At the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century, a very active group of Polish intelligentsia gathered in Dyneburg. One of its representatives was Jan Wierzbicki, who was born in 1888.
Jan Wierzbicki graduated from law school. At the age of 33, he ran for the Latgalian district court, but chose to practice law. In 1922 he was vice-president of the Dyneburg City Council and vice-president of the Union of Poles in Latvia. In the first term of the Latvian Parliament, the Union of Poles won one seat. The Pole's candidate was Father Bronislaw Wierzbicki (his brother), but he refused to run and Jan Wierzbicki became an MP. In the parliament, Jan Wierzbicki, fighting for the cause of the Poles, for the development of Polish education and Polish social and political activity, was, after a speech in the parliament, accused of treason and even briefly arrested. After the case was cleared up, he actively worked in the parliament, agricultural and local government committees. In the second election, Jan Wierzbicki was also elected as a deputy together with the president of the Union of Poles in Latvia, Yaroslav Wilpiszewski. In 1928 Jan Wierzbicki became deputy minister of the interior. In the third and fourth terms of the Latvian parliament, Jan was also a deputy. During the elections, all internal conflicts among the Polish community as well as in Latvian-Polish relations became apparent. Thanks to Jan Wierzbicki's political activities, it was easier for Poles to preserve their national identity within the Latvian state. Jan was an advocate of correct relations between the Polish community and the legal order of the state where Poles had lived and co created its history for almost five centuries. Latvia was a young, multinational state - Latvians, Russians, Germans, Jews, Poles, Lithuanians, Belarusians and multi-religious, and maintaining correct relations between nations was not easy. Nationalism began to come to the fore, resulting in the suspension of the Union of Poles in Latvia in 1931, the closure of several Polish schools and other cultural centers and the newspaper "Bell." However, as a result of internal actions and the intervention of the Polish authorities, other organizations were formed in 1932, which were the continuation of the previous ones, such as the Polish National Union, with which Jan Wierzbicki actively cooperated. However, as a result of the political upheaval in 1934, Kārlis Ulmanis took dictatorial power. The Diet was dissolved and Latvian nationalism began to prevail. Most political, cultural and educational organizations were abolished, Polish teachers, civil servants were dismissed, priests were banned. Jan Wierzbicki, was an active lawyer throughout his political and social activity.
Another prominent representative of the Wierzbicki family during this period was the aforementioned Bronislaw Wierzbicki. He was a priest in Dyneburg, among other places. Bronislaw Wierzbicki was a person very involved in Polish affairs and respected among Poles living in Latvia. Because of his involvement in Polish affairs, he was chosen as a candidate for a deputy to the Latvian parliament, which he refused to do and named his brother, Jan Wierzbicki, as his replacement.
During World War II, Poles living in Latvia were greatly affected by the drama of the war. Both the Russians and the Germans dealt with citizens of Polish nationality in an exceptionally cruel manner. Underground organizations were active in Latgale. As early as 1940, the secret anti-German and anti Soviet organization Liberation of Poland under the command of Franciszek Chekhovich, whose active member and co founder was Wiktor Wierzbicki son of Jan, began its activities in Dyneburg. Wiktor Wierzbicki was arrested in 1941 for his activities. Immediately after a nearly year long stay in prison, he became active in the partisans. He became a member of the underground diversionary organization of the Union of Armed Struggle and the Home Army under the code name Wachlarz, which was formed in the summer of 1941 in connection with the outbreak of the German Soviet war. Historian Cezary Chlebowski, in his book "Wachlarz," created a detailed monograph of this segregated diversionary organization, describing, among other things, the activities of Wiktor Wierzbicki.
With the end of the war, most of the Wierzbicki family left Latvia. Wiktor Wierzbicki settled in Poland in Pomerania. He was a committed social activist and an avid angler. To this day, a memorial event named after Wiktor Wierzbicki is organized every year by the Municipal Circle of the Polish Angling Association in Kołobrzeg.
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