• WL100/55: Death of Lutosławski’s Father
Thursday, 5 September 2013 2 Comments
It is 95 years since Lutosławski’s father Józef and uncle Marian were shot dead in Russia: ‘In April 1918 they were arrested in Murmansk by the Bolsheviks, taken to Moscow and there charged with counter-revolutionary activities and the alleged forgery of secret diplomatic documents. On 5 September of the same year, without a trial, the brothers were killed in a mass execution in Vshekh-Shvyatskoye, a village outside Moscow. Five-year-old Witold visited his father in the Butyrki Prison just before the execution.’ (Witold Lutosławski. A Bio-Bibliography, 2001, 1-2).
A few days later, the news reached Warsaw. The twice-daily Nowa Gazeta printed three items on Wednesday 11 September 1918, and I am very grateful to Elżbieta Szczepańska-Lange for sending me the front pages of both the morning and afternoon editions from that day. The morning edition included a prominent funeral notice:
The official communication of the loss in Moscow of our two distinguished countrymen, the brothers Marjan and Józef Lutosławski, has undoubtedly filled the whole of Polish society with absolute indignation, horror and grief. Giving voice to this sentiment, the Office of the Civil Regency Council extends an invitation to the requiem mass for the repose of their souls, on Thursday 12 September at the Church of the Holy Cross at 11.30 a.m..
In the afternoon edition, there were two front-page items, the longer of which focused on the lives and careers of Marian and Józef, with a concluding paragraph on what was then known of the the circumstances of their deaths:
Obituary. The Lutosławski brothers, who have died such a tragic death, were known in circles across our city. The late Marjan was born in 1871 in Drozdowo, in the Łomża district. By profession an engineer, and settled in Warsaw, he developed energetic activities as both an engineer and an inventor, as well as in the field of social welfare. From 1904, he played an active part in the work of the National Democratic Party. After the outbreak of war, he was a member of the Cent[ral] Cit[izens’] Com[mittee] and with it he went to Minsk and then to Moscow. In 1916 he went to London, Paris and Italy, after which he returned to St Petersburg.
The late Marjan Lutosławski leaves a wife Marja (née Zielińska) and four children.
From his writings dedicated mostly to industrial-economic issues should be mentioned his major work, “Electric Current”. He was also the author of the comprehensive handbook, “The Art of Conducting Debates”.
The late Józef Lutosławski was born to the same Drozdowo family in 1882. After completing his agricultural studies in Zurich, and his socio-economic studies in London, he returned to this country and founded and edited for two years the political weekly “Polish Thought”. He subsequently lived in Drozdowo, where he took over the management of local industrial plants. In 1915, he was forced by the retreating Russian army to leave Drozdowo and found himself in Moscow. There he became the plenipotentiary of the CCC [Central Citizens’ Committee] for the Ryazansky region and during his brother Marjan’s visit to the West he became his proxy for the central district. In 1917 he took an active part as a working journalist in the columns of “Gazeta Polska” and also contributed to the creation of Polish army units. He leaves a widow, a doctor of medicine (née Olszewska), and 3 children.
The Lutosławski brothers were arrested half a year ago in connection with the disbandment by the Bolshevik authorities in Moscow of the Bartosz Głowacki regiment. The commander of the regiment, Colonel Kazimierz Majewski, was arrested along with the Lutosławskis. A few weeks ago, rumours began to circulate that Colonel Majewski had been shot. Faced with the execution of the Lutosławskis, this is seems highly probable.
The third item is dedicated principally to the memory of Marian Lutosławski:
Commemoration. Opening yesterday’s sitting of the city council, the President, Eng[ineer] P. Drzewiecki, in brief words full of gravity, informed those present of the news that had reached Warsaw of the crimes committed on the persons of the brothers Marjan and Józef Lutosławski in Moscow. Paying tribute to the victims of this bloody terror, the speaker highlighted the merits of the late Marjan Lutosławski, who, in his position as a member of the former citizens’ committee in the first period of its existence, had been of great service to the city. The council commemorated the late Marjan Lutosławski by rising.