what_i_remember.pdf : original Vanda Sruoga’s typewritten report in Polish about the Pawlowicz family. Translation notes.
The Pawłowicz family could already be found in Lithuania in the 17th century. They used to have a property near Rosien (Raseiniai). My great-grandfather Józef had a home in Powyrwicie. There, he built a solid wooden house. According to what I was told by an elderly inhabitant of Wieksznie (Viekšniai), Powyrwycie (Pavirvytės), in the days of old, used to be called Žaliońe, pronounced Žalonie.
His son, our grandfather Edward, was the headmaster of the gymnasium in Kalisz, but after the 1863 uprising1 the school was closed, so he moved to Powyrwicie, most probably after the death of his father. Edward was an extremely enlightened and cultivated man. I read his letters to my other grandfather Rajnold Dowgierd (Rainoldas Daugirdas/ Bugis estate), in which he tried to persuade him that it was absolutely necessary to abolish serfdom for humanistic and economic reasons – a free labourer would work better thus the land would gain more value. Unfortunately, this letter, together with other old and valuable documents we had stored, was destroyed during the war in the autumn of 1944.
Grandfather Edward had an active role in building the house for the school in Szawlach (Šiauliai). At home he had a huge library, from which not only the family took advantage but also the local intelligence, among whom, very close friends of the family like the sons of Doctor Antoni Biržiška from Wiekszn (Viekšniai): Michał (Mykolas), Wacław (Vaclovas) and Wiktor (Viktoras), Lithuanian National Revival activists – three professors, two of them lawyers or better, historians and humanists, and the third one a mathematician. But this was later, after Edward’s death – I think he died in 1893.
He educated his sons Kazimierz, Jan and Józef, though I think only Kazimierz finished his university. I do not know what studies Jan followed. Józef did Pomology and I have read that he planned and took care of gardens in Jasznach (Jašiūnai), the former property of the Sniadeckis near Wilno (Vilnius) I think that after the death of his father, Jan ran Powyrwycie. Although Powyrwycie was known as the “Golden Apple” in the community, he was a spendthrift and not familiar with management so he was very quickly covered in debt and the property had to be sold.2
While Edward was alive he cared a lot about the education of his children. He taught his daughters and none of them went to school. They were well-read and intelligent, especially the two elder ones: Marja and Jadwiga. The father demanded his daughters also taught the servants how to read and write. In the winter evenings, they would retell the most important facts in history, geography and even astronomy. They were used to helping the peasants, caring after them when ill. My mother (Jadwiga) was very much at ease dealing with the peasant girls. She even helped a deaf-dumb girl for she managed to communicate with her. I must confess that I heard from a Pawłowicz neighbour that grandfather was a typical colonizer who taught the servants the Polish language, even though both the daughters and sons spoke well the Samogitian dialect and were interested by and sympathised with the Lithuanian national movement.
I know that uncle Józef planted a lot of fruit trees and firs from the South in Powyrwicie. The youngest son, Edward did not receive the same education as the daughters. Grandmother, Maria Szaniawcka Pawłowicz, suffered from diabetes and from heart problems. After Powyrwicie was sold, she lived alone in a hut in Wieksznie (Viekšniai), almost in poverty. The sons had got married and did not care for her and the daughters did not have the means to help her or, like my mother, either depended on their husbands or were in very dire material conditions. I remember that this was my mother’s explanation.
The eldest daughter, Maria, was very beautiful and got married very young to Zycki, a citizen from the region of Poniewieski (Panevėžys). Several years ago, Danek Pawłowicz told me that during WWI, rather after it, in 1919, he was in the Polish Army when they occupied Wilno (Vilnius). In his hands he had a Lithuanian officer, a son of this Zycki. Danek freed him from captivity and never saw him again. His mother had died very young, still in the 19th century.
My mother Jadwiga got married to my father, Kazimierz Dowgierd (Kazimieras Daugirdas), at the age of 19. At that time this was how the family name was twisted. The correct spelling is Daugirdas and the wife would be Daugirdiene, the daughter – Daugirdaite. My father came from a very old Lithuanian family. He descended from WKs Witold’s (Vytautas) Marshal, the evidences of which can be found in the Lithuanian Metrica and other documents, also in the family’s tradition. My father’s grandfather, Antoni (Antanas), liquidated the Old Dowgierd estate near Wosyliszek (Vasilishki), pow Lidzki and bought a property in Żmudź (Samogitia), near Wieksznie (Viekšniai). He built a magnificent house in Antonov (Antanavo), which he left to his eldest son Aleksander (Aleksandras). Young Rajnold got the Bugis (Bugiai) folwark.
My father was expelled from the school in Szawlach (Šiauliai) for his participation in the Lithuanian national movement and he finished class 7 in Stavropol and later went to the university in Charkow (Kharkiv) and as a veterinary he did his practice in the Caucasus. In 1895 he travelled on holidays to see his parents and married my mother. I was told that his grandfather Rajnold was very annoyed with this. He did not like my mother because when he was younger, he was snubbed by grandfather Pawłowicz when he proposed to his sister.
Mother travelled to the distant Caucasus and I do not know whether she was happy with my father. He was a very honest, righteous and dutiful man, but he had a harsh personality, like his own father. Mum was always very good-natured and joyful, people liked her. She was very hard-working and although she was self-taught, she was a guest in aristocratic homes in Podolia until 1903 when my father was transferred for his work. He worked for the state stud farms – “konnozawodstwo”. I also visited the Staropinskis, Giżyckis, Potockis. In spite of this atmosphere at home, all was very democratic. I was taught to respect working people, teach the servants and play with the peasant children. We had close contact with the Ukrainian youth. Wherever my mother lived, be it in the Caucasus, in Southern Russia or in Podolia – everywhere, from a desert, with my father, she would create a beautiful abode. They looked carefully after my education. I was given a French and a German nanny and a private teacher who would prepare me for the 4th class at the gymnasium. Exactly at the time of the exams, my mother died after a 9-day infection. I became an orphan and stayed alone with father, who loved me a lot but who did not understand me. My childhood ended in tears.
It was very pleasant when my aunts came to visit us in Podolia. Aniela, the eldest after my mother, was my godmother, whom I loved deeply. In 1910, she spent the summer with us in Balin with her whole family. Hers was not an easy fate. After her father’s death, she became a teacher in some property near Kurszan (Kuršėnai). There she fell in love with a great idealist, Paweł Wyszyński (Povilas Višinskis) , who became a famous patriot of the national Lithuanian movement. Under his spell, she dreamt of getting married to a rich person so as to publish a Polish-Lithuanian dictionary…She was not corresponded by Wyszyński, who suffered from tuberculosis and died young. Poor Auntie appeared at my parents in the Caucasus and there she got married to a French Pole called Vernordin, a widower with 3 daughters. Auntie was a very caring mother to his daughters but did not get their gratitude.
Among my mother’s sisters, my father liked Aunt Wanda most. For a long time, most of her life really, she shouldered poverty… She was very kind-hearted, warm and sacrificed herself for the others. The saddest fate was Zofia’s. She was called the devout and she never had any luck with people. I think she was only once at our place in Podolia.
My father took care of uncle Edward, searched work for him in the manors, but he was not capable, he did not have any skills and always changed jobs.I liked him a lot. He was my companion. I almost did not know the other uncles. I must have seen Józef only once during my childhood and never met Kazimierz.3 I heard that this family were “great lords”. It is true that in 1930 I visited the family in Warsaw.4 , and met Jan and his wife in Vilnius between 1930-1940. During the time of the German occupation, Krysia, the wife of the governor in Lutsk ((Aleksander Hauke-Nowak B.D. )), visited us and afterwards Maniusia with Mieczyk. These were sad times.
In 1911 my mother, with the help of her sisters, scraped some money and they erected a monument to their parents – Edward and Maria Pawłowicz in the Wieksznie (Viekšniai) cemetery, where they were buried. The cross fell during WWII, but the grave and the fence are still there. Mother’s brothers did not contribute to the monument … they did not join the effort… and a year later, my mother died…
I last saw Aunt Aniela in Warsaw and Aunt Wanda in Olesin in July 1939. I corresponded with Aniela from America and sent her parcels – very modest ones as at that time we also faced hardship. I worked very hard as a cleaner in mansions, shops and laboratories. Miraculously I managed to find a job at the university, where I gave classes of Russian and French, and later history for 12 years. At that time, my aunts had died.
I remember that someone from the Pawłowicz family, a brother or a cousin of my grandfather committed suicide still in 1911. I was shown the cross and the woods near Powyrwicie, where he was buried. Uncle Edward also shot himself several times – for some romantic reason. He was saved by Doctor Antoni Biržiška.
In the cemetery in Wieksznie (Viekšniai), next to my grandparents’ grave there is my grandfather’s sister’s grave. I think her name was Emilia. She died very young and when grandfather was being buried, her grave was opened and her body was found completely intact. Legends started, which are retold until this day.
Powyrwicie was sold to the Nagurskis. They had one daughter, Halina, who got married to Ukinswki. Mrs Nagurski was deported to Siberia and died there. Sam Nagurski (spelt with a “ u” and not with a “ó” ) was a wealthy lawyer and a good manager but he died young. Halina with her husband and daughter are presently living in Warsaw. From her I got a photograph of the house in Powyrwicie.
There is a lot about what Mother told me about her family that I have already forgotten, as I was only 12 years old when I became an orphan. If I received questions I might be able to answer them.
- The school was founded in 1873 and Edward left Kalisz in 1883, right after Alexander III promoted the policy of Russification. B.D. [↩]
- Jan managed Powyrwicie for 3 years after his father’s death but it was Józef who lost it. B.D. [↩]
- Kazimierz died in 1927. B.D. [↩]
- According to my mother, Vanda and her husband Balys came to see the family in City Garden Czerniaków and left immediately, angered that the children did not speak Lithuanian/Samogitian. B.D. [↩]