The Ledóchowski Family herb2 Ród Ledóchowskich

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

Halka Ledóchowski Family History

Herb Mieczyslaw

 

Ledóchowski family history starts with the legendary tenth century Halka, who brought Greek Orthodox Christianity to Kiev, capital of the Principality of Ruś or Ruthenia.  The family included many historic figures from then on, and a thousand years later they were known as prominent Catholics in Poland, Austria and Italy.

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Contents

I.     West-East division of Christianity
II.    Constantine the Great
III.   The Latin Roman Catholic world
IV.    The Greek Orthodox world
V.      Ruś or Ruthenia
VI.    Origin of the Halka
VII.   Halka & Wladimir the Great
VIII.  Later Halka
IX.    Grand Duchy of Lithuania
X.     Nestor & four Ledóchowski family lines
XI.    Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth & Wołyń
XII.   Stanisław & the Silent Sejm
XIII.  Antoni & the Partitions
XIV.   Maria Rozalia & the Cardinal
XV.    The General, the Politician & November Uprising
XVI.   Blessed Maria Teresa, St. Urszula & two Generals
XVII.  Late Partitions & Twentieth Century
XVIII. Who are we?



I. The West-East division of Christianity


The “Western” Roman Catholic world and the “Eastern” Orthodox world were divided by events very long ago.


 
II. Constantine the Great


Chi RhoConstantine the Great (272-337 AD) changed the world:

● Before a decisive battle outside Rome in 312, he saw a vision and ordered his soldiers to paint X (the Greek letter Chi, pronounced like a hard "h" sound in English or "Ch" in Polish) superimposed on P (the letter Rho, pronounced R), the first two letters of Χριστός or Xpistos, Greek for Christ, on their shields.
● He won the battle.  His escaping enemy Maxentius drowned and his head was cut off.
● Constantine eventually became Emperor of the entire Roman Empire.
● He changed the name of the city of Byzantium, strategically located on the Bosporus, to Constantinople, after himself. 
● His first language was Latin, but he could also read speeches in Greek, as Constantinople was becoming the “new Rome” and centre of the Greek speaking world.
● He decreed that Christianity would be tolerated and Sundays would be a day of rest. 
● He invited bishops from the whole Empire to the first ever Ecumenical Council, at Nicaea, near Constantinople, in 325.  It reached agreement on the main beliefs of Christianity and codified them in the prayer known as the Credo (“I believe”), or the Nicene Creed.  Written in Greek, it declared inter alia that we believe “in the Holy Spirit”.  Bishops who disagreed with the Council’s conclusions were excommunicated.  A later Ecumenical Council, in Constantinople in 381, added that the Holy Spirit “proceeds from the Father”.
● Constantine was baptised before dying.
● He left two worlds: (a) based in Rome in the West, and (b) based in Constantinople in the East. 

The political division was finalised in 395, when the Emperor Theodosius left one son, Arcadius, as Emperor of the Western Roman Empire, which lasted less than 100 years, and his other son, Honorius, as Emperor of the Eastern Byzantine Empire, which lasted over 1,000 years.

Roman Empire divided

 

 

III. The Latin "Roman Catholic" World


The Roman Catholic Church, headed by the Pope in Rome, survived the fall of the Western part of the Roman Empire, and produced revised editions of the Credo in Latin.  From the late sixth century it started praying  “Credo ….in Spiritum Sanctum… qui ex Patre Filioque procedit”  i.e. “I believe … in the Holy Spirit …. who proceeds from the Father and the Son.”  This is the Catholic prayer until today.  

HostThe Catholic Church also started using unleavened bread in the communion "host" (from the Latin word hostia for sacrificial victim) inspired by the Jewish use of matzos unleavened bread during Passover.

As the “barbarians” who overran Western Europe converted to Christianity and built new Empires, Rome remained the religious capital of the West.  Missionaries were sent to convert Central Europe.  Mieszko "Famous for his Sword" I, ruler of Poland, was baptised and converted to Christianity in 966.   From then on Poland was part of the Roman Catholic world. 
But the Ledóchowski family was not there.




IV. The Greek "Orthodox" World


Constantinople was the largest and wealthiest city in Europe and capital of the Byzantine Empire, which still considered itself to be "Roman " (6, p315).  The Greek speaking Church, headed by the Patriarch of Constantinople, considered Constantine the Great to be a Saint and the 325 and 381 versions of the Nicene Creed to be decisive statements of faith.  It believed the Holy Spirit proceeded from the Father and definitely not from the Son.  It also stuck to the use of leavened bread at Mass, arguing that the ancient texts use the Greek word for leavened bread (surely Christ was not talking in Greek?) and that at the Last Supper Christ was introducing the "new", i.e. leavened bread.  In any event the Greek Church rejected both the Filioque version of the Credo and unleavened bread for communion as heresy.  (Much later on, most Protestant churches inherited the Roman Catholic position on these two points.  They differ on other matters.)

This was also a power struggle over who was boss.  The final break came with the Great Schism of 1054, when Pope Leo IX, head of the Roman Catholic Church, and Patriarch Michael I Cerularius of Constantinople, head of the Greek Orthodox Church, excommunicated each other.
Horses

In 1204 armies from Western Europe, instead of helping the Byzantine Empire defend itself against Moslem invasion, besieged and sacked Constantinople themselves, murdering, raping and pillaging, stealing the horses of St. Mark, horrifying the Greek world and catastrophically wounding East-West Christian relations until Pope John Paul II apologised 800 years later.  Historian Sir Steven Runciman wrote with only some exaggeration: "There was never a greater crime against humanity than the Fourth Crusade".  As the Byzantine Empire found itself gradually being destroyed by the Turks, it received very little help from the Christian West.  The "Roman" Empire finally ended when Constantinople fell to the Turks in 1453.

 

V. Ruś or Ruthenia


During the 8th and 9th Centuries the Vikings spread all over Europe, settling in Iceland, Sicily and (fatefully for the English) Normandy.  In Eastern Europe they were also known as Varangians and arrived in the middle of today’s Ukraine.  They established trade routes from the Baltic, going up rivers such as the Dvina, taking a short land crossing, and then coming down the Dnieper river past Kiev to the Black Sea.  In 882 Prince Oleg the Wise captured Kiev and moved the capital there from Novgorod.  With time the Vikings were absorbed, practically without a trace, into the local population, who are not at large “descended” from the Vikings any more than the English are “descended” from the few thousand Viking Normans who conquered them in 1066.  There in Kiev a powerful Principality was formed, known variously as Rossia by the Latin and Greek speakers of Constantinople, Ruś (pronounced a bit like Roossh) or Księstwo Kijowskie in Polish, and The Principality of Kievan Rus or Ruthenia in English, and stretching from the Black Sea to Poland and Lithuania.

There are various theories explaining the origins of the name Ruś / Rossia.  First, legends state that there were once three brothers: Lech, who founded Poland, and Czech and Ruś, who founded those two nations.    However, since the earliest of these legends dates back to the twelfth century, it is highly likely that the author named the brothers Czech and Ruś after those nations and not vice versa.  Second, in his book The Origin of Russia, Henryk Paszkiewicz (4) supports the so-called “Normanist” theory, that Ruś was the name of those Vikings.   Perhaps, but he does not explain why.  In Danish this word does not exist and in Swedish it means intoxication or ecstasy.  Perhaps, like Zulu warriors, the Vikings took drugs before battle.  There is a fourth theory that the word comes from Roden, meaning “Rowing” or the “Men who row”, the name of the East Coastal area of Sweden, as rowing was essential propulsion for Viking longboats.  The Finns and Estonians still call Sweden Ruotsi or Rootsi.  Fifth, in his book The Ukrainians, Unexpected Nation, Andrew Wilson mentions the “anti-Normanist” theory that the Iranians came up with this name as Rhos means light in Iranian (5, p31).  He does not explain why the Vikings were associated with light.  Sixth, another anti-Normanist theory, is that Ruś was named after the river Ros in the Ukraine.  But this is not a particularly important river.  These theories have other problems: The Norse / Swedes / Vikings themselves called the Ruś states by a Norse name, Gardariki, (derived from forts, courtyards or farms) and Byelorussian scholars claim to have been unable to find any ancient Slavonic chronicles of the time (up to ninth century) in which these people call themselves Ruś at all (5, p9).  Interestingly, Norman Davies wrote as late as 2011 that Ruś "is often related to a word for 'ruddy' or 'red-haired', as the Varangian overlords could have been" but does not say which word (6, p243).  He also says that this was a derivative for the Latin term Ruthenia, but there is no "th" sound in classical Latin, only in Greek, or in later Latin words derived from Greek.

Now it is my turn: an unusually high proportion of Vikings, wherever they arrived, were red-haired.  Until today there are an above average number of red-haired people in Denmark, Norway and Sweden.  You also get red hair in countries settled by Vikings, including Iceland, Ireland, Poland, Russia, Portugal and Spain. 

Constantine IXThe Vikings from Kiev who attacked Constantinople, starting with the arrival of a “swarm” of 200 Viking longboats in [860AD/ from 850AD onwards] were described by the Greek and Latin defendants as being huge “red-haired" barbarians  [15, add note from history of Byzantium], suggesting the attackers were red-haired and not the defendants.  In Latin Russus means reddish or ruddy, or such a person, and Russi such people.  In today’s Italian Rosa means red as in red wine, Vino Rosso.  In classical Greek the word for red or ruddy is ερυθρός or erythros as in οίνος ερυθρός or winos erythros for red wine.  Note the last syllable ρός or ros.  The Greek name for the Ruś people was ρός or ρως, i.e. ros.  The name for the state Ρωσία or Rossia was clearly a Greek and Latin word, like Gallia (France), Anglia (England), Germania and Polonia.  Note also the middle syllable of the Greek word for red, erythros, could with imagination be corrupted into Ruthenia, particularly as the second vowel y is written υ in Greek.

Later, more friendly relations developed between the Byzantine Empire and Ruś.  When the Ruś authorities started official written communications in Latin and Greek, they may simply have borrowed the name Rossia for their state.  After some dynastic marriages, Byzantine imperial families were partly descended from the Ruś.  Frescoes and mozaics in the great Agia Sophia basilica and other churches in Constantinople (today Istanbul) often do not show them as dark Mediterranean people at all, but rather as fair skinned and blonde … or red haired.

RossiaThe Vikings eventually adopted the local language, as did the Barbarians who conquered Italy after the Roman Empire, and as did French-speaking invaders of England.  The Ruthenian language was known in Polish as Ruski, closely related to Old Slavonic.  It later developed into today’s Ukrainian.  The people were still called Rusini by many Poles up to the Second World War, although by then Ukrainian had become an alternative description.  Although it has some Baltic influences according to Norman Davies (6, p243), the language was and is Slavonic, like Polish to the West and Russian to the East, and with effort some words can be mutually understood, like for example between English and Dutch.  As it covered a huge area, it can be expected that there were different accents and dialects.  It stretched all the way to today's Wilno or Vilnius (4, p46), which could help explain why in 1914 it had far more Belarussian speakers than Lithuanian speakers (6, p300) why the City considered itself Polish until the population was expelled in 1945, and why the local peasants consider themselves Polish until today. 

Note that the area where Lwów (officially founded in 1256) is today was also part of Ruś at the time.



VI. Origin of the Halka


Traditionally, the Halka Ledóchowski family has a double-barrelled surname, but the first “barrel” is not normally used, perhaps because for many people the second "barrel" is already long enough.

Having a first barrel in their surnames is common among Polish families, and one theory is that this first barrel represented the clan from which they originated, in which case there may have been a clan called Halka.  According to other legends these clans were originally “Sarmaci” or “Sarmatians” from South Eastern Europe or perhaps Asia.  In the 17th Century there was a great fashion for men to wear exotic looking oriental “Sarmatian” clothes.  Another, possibly compatible, theory, supported by reports of some medieval battles, is that the first barrels were the names of heraldic groups – the coat of arms painted on the shields of different battle units so they knew where to congregate and the Commander-in-Chief could tell which unit was where.  

In medieval times it was often the tradition for men following their lord into battle to wear his coat of arms on their breastplates and/or shields.

 

Wladimir the GreatVII. Halka and Wladimir the Great


Wladimir the Great (pronounced in English Vladimir) (958-1015) ruled and expanded the power of Ruś in the late tenth century.  Władza or similar means power in Polish and other slavonic languages, and mir means either peace or esteem, so Wladimir may have originally meant "Power and peace" or "Respected for his rule".

The first known Halka was, according to legend, a knight and relative of Prince Wladimir sent as Ambassador to Byzantine Emperor John Tzimiskes in Constantinople to research Christianity.  Halka returned from his meeting with the Emperor expounding on the splendours of Constantinople, reported that the interior of the great Agia Sophia (Saint "Wisdom") basilica was like heaven, and recommended that Prince Wladimir convert himself and his nation to Christianity.  

According to one story, three of Prince Wladimir’s courtiers laughed at him, and according to another story Halka discovered the courtiers were hatching a plot to assassinate the Prince.  Both stories agree that Halka then put his faith in God and challenged them to a simultaneous duel.  He drew a circle in the ground and marked it with crosses, possibly indicating where the three were to stand, surrounding himself in the middle.  Halka killed all three. 

St SophiaPrince Wladimir also sent emissaries to investigate Islam and the Latin Church based in Rome, but persuaded by Halka he chose to convert himself and his nation to the Greek Church in 988.  He signed an alliance with John Tzmiskes' successor, Emperor Basil II, was baptised in a Crimean city he had captured earlier, married Basil II's sister Anna, and sent 6,000 troops to help Basil put down a revolt.  Halka led Wladimir's campaign to convert his entire state to Christianity and became known as Nawrotyński, or the Convertor.  Prince Wladimir founded the splendid St. Sophia's Cathedral in Kiev in 1010, named after the great Agia Sophia basilica in Constantinople, and was later himself declared a Saint.  In early 2020 his was the first name of two Presidents: Vladimir Putin of Russia, and Vladimir Zhelensky of Ukraine.

ConversionSo it was that, while Poland had taken its Christianity from Rome in 966, Ruś took its Christianity from the Greek world of Constantinople just 22 years later, in 988.  After the great schism in 1054 the Poles were Roman Catholics with their rites in Latin and the Ruś were Orthodox with their rites in Old Slavonic, compiled by Orthodox Saints Cyril and Methodius the previous century.  In the eleventh century Ruś law was codified in the Ruski language, in the so-called Ruska Pravda, (5, p7).

Prince Wladimir was so impressed by Halka’s achievements, and in particular his victory in the duel against three enemies, that he awarded him the coat of arms known in Polish as Szaława (pronounced in English Shawava), a golden ring with three crosses against a blue background (7).  In the 2000s while sailing in the Mediterranean I discovered by accident that Halka means ring in Turkish (for example, an O-ring in an engine).  It also means ring in Mongol.  It could possibly have had the same meaning in the ancient Sarmatian language.  So perhaps it is not a coincidence that the Ledóchowski coat of arms Szaława is dominated by a ring and that the clan that used it was called Halka.


Szalawa coat of armsVIII. Later Halka

Rafał Halka (Rafael), grandson of the first Halka, valiantly served the Polish Prince, later crowned King, Bolesław I Chrobry (“Famous for his Anguish” the Brave).  King Bolesław attacked Ruś and captured Kiev in 1018.  Legend does not explain why a Halka was fighting for Poland not Ruś at this time.

Teodor Halka (Theodore), was Wojewoda or Prefect of Kiev.

The Fourth Crusade and sack of Constantinople in 1204 led to the establishment of new East-West trade routes in the Mediterranean which severely weakened trade routes to North Western Europe through Ruś, and thus the Ruś economy.   In 1240 Kiev was captured and the Ruś state destroyed by a devastating invasion of the region by Asiatic people excelling in archery and horseback warfare, known as Tatars in Polish and Mongols in English.  After a while the Ruś learned to live with the Tatars / Mongols, who continued West to attack Poland, sometimes helped by the Ruś.

Piotr Halka (Peter) was Hetman (Commander-in-Chief) of a Ruś force which, supported by Tatars, led an attack on Sandomierz and besieged Lublin in Poland around the year 1300.  He was the first "historic" Halka, i.e. mentioned in an independent source, namely Marcin Bielski's Polish Chronicle (2, p3).  According to him, Piotr Halka was eventually defeated.  The Chronicle does not explain why a Halka was fighting against Poland at this time.  Otherwise little is known about the Halka during this period.

In the meanwhile the Prince of Novgorod, Aleksander Newski (Nevsky), allied himself with the Tatars / Mongols and won a series of victories against the Swedes, Germans and Estonians, whom he considered the greater enemy.  He took on the title of Prince of Kiev and Prince of Wladimir.  He was later also declared a Saint.  His state gradually moved its base to Moscow, became known as the Principality of Moscow or Muscovy and later became independent of the Tatars / Mongols.  Its version or dialect of the old Ruski language developed into the language known in Polish as rosyjski and in English as Russian.  Muscovy, now known as Russia, has, with varying degrees of success under different regimes and leaders, been trying to claim the legacy of Wladimir the Great or even the Roman Empire (the word Tsar comes from Caesar), and establish hegemony over the Slavic or even Orthodox worlds, ever since.  In 2018 it challenged the role of the Patriarch of Constantinople as head of the Orthodox Church.

 

 

IX. Grand Duchy of Lithuania

In the 14th Century, Lithuania, which for some time had been a small state on the Baltic coast, and whose ancient Baltic language is incomprehensible to Slavs or practically anyone else except possibly Latvians, suddenly expanded very rapidly into the whole area previously devastated by the Tatars or Mongols.  At first they defeated the Ruś, and later with their support they defeated the Tatars / Mongols or the Golden Horde at the Battle of Blue Waters in 1362.  The new state, known as Wielkie Księstwo Litewskie (or Great Principality of Lithuania) in Polish and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania in English, then included the whole of Ruś (representing about 90% of this new combined state) as well as Lithuania (representing about 10% of the combined state) and literally stretched from the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea.  The head of state was known as Grand Prince (Wielki Książę) in Polish and Grand Duke in English.

The small victorious minority of Lithuanians used the language of the conquered majority - Ruski was the official language of the state.  While the area West of Wilno (Vilnius) always spoke Lithuanian, it now appears that the Wilno area itself always spoke Ruski.  Andrew Wilson states that “the official language [of the Grand Duchy] …was ‘chancellery Ruthenian’ …closest to the dialects around Vilna”.   It would also have been easier for the Wilno elite to impose Ruski on the small Lithuanian speaking area to the West than to impose Lithuanian on all the Ruś to the South.  The legal code was a direct descendant of Ruska Pravda (5, p16).

At this time there were growing conflicts between the Lithuanians and the Crusader Order known as the Krzyżacy or "Knights of the Cross" in Polish and Teutonic Knights in English.  Having been thrown out of Palestine, they were expanding into Lithuania and Poland, “converting” the locals to Christianity.

Battle of GrunwaldThe Lithuanians were pagans.  To form an alliance against the Knights, it was agreed at the Union of Krewo in 1385 that Grand Duke Władysław (“Famous for his Power”) Jagiełło of Lithuania would convert himself and his country to Catholicism, marry the Polish Queen Jadwiga and be crowned as King Władysław II of Poland.  Lithuania and Poland would thereafter have the same monarchs.  This was known as the “Personal Union”, a bit similar to what happened when King James VI of Scotland became King James I of England in 1603.  For her great charity (or marriage to a much older man?) Queen Jadwiga was later declared a Saint.  Pagans then had to convert to Catholicism en masse, and lived mostly in the Northern part of the Grand Duchy, while the South, a majority of the total population, remained mostly Orthodox.

Lithuanian forces (including Ruś) and the Poles then defeated the Teutonic Knights at the Battle of Grunwald in 1410, one of the biggest battles in Europe at the time and remembered by both countries as a major joint victory until today.  Germany remembered it as a major defeat, and even celebrated the German victory of Tannenberg in 1914 as the "Teutons' Revenge" for the Battle of Grunwald (6, p302, illustration no 36, also p xi).

Marcin Bielski’s Polish Chronicle says that "…all the excellent Szaławites [i.e. the people with the Szaława coat-of-arms] ..even those who won fame under the name Swirski, were included in the Ledóchowski group,... with two of the Lithuanian commanders, Chlebo and Janussio, who broke the power of the Teutonic knights“ (2, p3).  So it appears that the Halka / Ledóchowskis and their coat-of-arms were there in strength.

Poland and Lithuania


Note that Lwów and areas to the South East had by now been absorbed by the Kingdom of Poland.




X. Nestor and Four Ledóchowski Family Lines

Nestor Halka Ledóchowski is the first “historic” Ledóchowski, although from the above it is conceivable that he or his father was already called Ledóchowski at the Battle of Grunwald.  In any event, 31 years later, he was formally awarded the estate and/or little town of Leduchów, on the map above, by the then Prince/Grand Duke of Lithuania, Kazimierz Jagiełło or Casimir Jagiellon - on 12th January 1442 according to research by a Ukrainian historian, Wołodymyr (Wladimir!) Sobczuk (27, p138), who is himself from Leduchów (9, p11).  Grand Duke Kazimierz Jagiellon was the youngest son of King Władysław II, who won the Battle of Grunwald.  In 1447 he became King Kazimierz IV of Poland, after his elder brother King Władysław III was killed by the Turks at the Battle of Varna.

Leduchów is about 100km East of Lwów, very near the town of Krzemieniec, as shown in the map above.  This part of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania was not far from the border with “Poland proper”, which had included Lwów since 1340.  Ledóchowski was officially part of the family name from at least then.  The “ski” operates a bit like “de” in French – it means “of Ledóchow”.  

It is thought that most leading “Lithuanian” pagan families converted to Catholicism during the years after the Battle of Grunwald.  The Ledóchowskis as Ruś may have remained Orthodox for another century or two before also becoming Catholic.

Nestor had four sons: Kuźma, Wasko, Denys and Hasko (Ivan or Jan), in that order according to Barącz (2, p5) and Mieczysław Ledóchowski (3, p15).  According to Stanisław Ledóchowski, Sobczuk believes that Kuźma was Nestor's younger son (9, p11), and that Nestor had an unnamed elder son who was the father of Wasko, Denys and Hasko.  These four men then left four branches of the Ledóchowski family:

Wasko's line included Bohdan (1528-1558), mentioned in a resolution of the Wilno sejm or parliament in 1528.  Bohdan's grandson Fedor seems to have been the last of this line (2 p171, 27 p147).

Denys' line is initially described by Sobczuk (27, p148) and continued at least until the 19th century and included several well known people.  For further detail read Barącz (2, pp171-187).  Perhaps the most well known was the leading politican during the November 1830 Uprising, Jan Ledóchowski, whose descendant Paweł Kwadrans is still living today.

SmordwaHasko's line, sometimes known as the Second Wołyń line, presumably because they stayed in Wołyń (9, p11), is described by Barącz (2, p188) .  They acquired Smordwa, on the map above, where they redeveloped the palace in the nineteenth century.  

Kuźma's line is the senior according to Barącz (2) and Mieczysław Ledóchowski (3).  Sobczuk however (27, p138), noting that Kuźma appears to have inherited half of Leduchów, believes that he was one of two sons of Nestor, and his three "brothers" mentioned above were really sons of Kuźma's unnamed brother, i.e. the other son of Nestor.  Kużma's son Iwan (or Jan) died fighting the Tartars at the Battle of Sokal in 1519.  Mieczysław's family tree starts with Iwan's son, i.e. Kuźma's grandson, Gniewosz (1539-1567).  In 1546 Gniewosz showed a Polish-Lithuanian commission where the boundary between Poland and the Grand Duchy lay, just West of Leduchów (27, p140).

For the next two centuries Ledóchowskis such as Makary (1568-1611) were prominent as mayors or prefects of Krzemieniec, Leduchów and the surrounding area.  Some bought Łosiatyń , called themselves Łosiatyński for a while, and started another line using a different coat of arms (14, pp154, 159).  

Our Lady, PodkamienBy the seventeenth century, Ledóchowskis also owned Krupa, on the map above, which was the property of one of the most famous of them, Stanisław Ledóchowski (1666-1725). 

Stanisław funded a column to Our Lady outside the Dominican Monastery near Leduchów to commemorate the victory of the Tarnogród Confederation, which he had led (11).  

Lwów, Leduchów, Smordwa and Krupa are known as Lviv, Ledihiv, Smordva and Horyńgród in Ukrainian today.

Barącz (2), Mieczysław (3), Stanisław Ledóchowski (9), Sobczuk (27) and others have recorded the lives of several hundred of Kuźma's descendants.  Being "our" line we know most about them.  

On this website I have written or included separate articles about the Ledóchowskis closest to me, or who seemed most to deserve more information than is available in other sources, and you can read how the family ended up all over the world.


 

XI. Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and Wołyń

Republic of 2NOtherwise known as the “Commonwealth of Two Nations” or “Republic of Two Nations” (the Polish word “Rzeczpospolita” is sometimes translated as “Commonwealth”, but it literally means “Republic”), the Commonwealth of Poland-Lithuania was formed by the "Lublin" Act of Union signed between Poland and Lithuania in front of the Sejms or Parliaments of both countries in Lublin in July 1569, an arrangement a bit similar to the later Act that created the United Kingdom of England and Scotland in 1706.  As a result there would be a common Sejm, a common foreign policy, and a common ruler, with the King of Poland (elected by the szlachta) automatically becoming Prince / Grand Duke of Lithuania.  However the countries would continue to have separate armies, laws, treasuries and civil services.  Polish and Ruski would be the two official languages.  This was the legacy of the aging last Jagiełło King, Zygmund II August, who wanted the two states united after he died.  As part of his earlier "negotiations" to persuade the Lithuanian nobles to agree to it, he transferred the Czerwona Ruś  or Southern “Red” Ruthenia provinces (including Kiev, roughly equivalent to today's Ukraine) from the Grand Duchy of Lithuania to the Kingdom of Poland, whereas Biała Ruś or Northern “White” Ruthenia (roughly equivalent to today's Belarus) remained in Lithuania (6, p272)... pending the outcome of the negotiations.  Click to enlarge map.  In his will, he bequeathed "love, harmony and unity" to his two countries (6, p274). 

There was a tradition of relative religious tolerance in the Commonwealth of Poland-Lithuania.  Catholics, Lutherans and Greek Orthodox could co-exist (depending on the policies of the local Bishop), and many Jews expelled from Spain, England and elsewhere in Western Europe came to settle.  This happy state of affairs was upset shortly afterwards inter alia by Polish nationalism, the Counter Reformation and Russian aggression.  Everywhere in Europe the Catholics were trying to recover states and populations lost to Protestantism earlier.  Inspired by the Jesuits, the Poles pressed the Ruś Orthodox Church to form a Union with Catholicism.  Most of the Ruś Orthodox bishops were receptive to this as they were also being harrassed by the Russians to accept the authority of the Patriarch of Moscow, a struggle that continues today.  These bishops formed a special new “Uniate Church", also known as the Greek Catholic Church, at a Church Council at Brześć in 1596, combining the Byzantine Orthodox liturgy in the Old Slavonic language with loyalty to the Pope - the "Union of Brześć".  

St Andrew BThe methods used to persuade recalcitrant Orthodox clergy to switch to the Uniate Church were often rather cruel.  Many Ruś and the Cossacks strongly resisted this, and the Ruś ended up divided between supporters of the Union, Unici or Uniates, and those who wished to continue as independent Orthodox, the so-called Dyzunici or Disuniates.

Resentment against the transfer from Lithuania to Poland, against the wealth and power of the magnates and large landowners generally, and against the "treachery" of their Polonised élite, which mostly went along willingly with the new arrangements, led to a series of bloody rebellions by Ruski peasants, Cossacks and their Tatar / Mongol allies, culminating in the bloody rebellion led by Bohdan Chmielnicki (1648-1657).  Partly driven by resentment against the imposition of the Uniate church, these were also Religious Wars between the Catholic West and the Orthodox East.  The widespread atrocities included the massacre of 100,000 Jews and the Cossack martyrdom of the Jesuit priest Andrej Bobola.  Despite nearly simultaneous devastating invasions by Muscovy and the Swedes known as The Flood, the rebellions were eventually and ruthlessly put down, but they embittered Polish-Ruś relations (and later Polish-Ukrainian relations) forever. 

Wolyn VolhyniaIn 1566 the Grand Duchy of Lithuania created the Wołyń Województwo, or Volynia Province in English, where the Ledóchowskis were based, together with e.g. the Czartoryskis at Czartorysk and Klewań.  In 1569 this Province was also transferred to the Kingdom of Poland.  Leading families who had not already done so seem to have swiftly Polonised, and become Uniate or Catholic.

Makary Ledóchowski (died 1612) and his son Samuel Ledóchowski (died 1640) were judges for the Krzemieniec area. Samuel built a castle at Leduchów. Mieczysław Ledóchowski's family visited the ruins in more recent times and perhaps it would be worth taking another look (3, p19).  

Stefan Ledóchowski (died 1676), Samuel's second son, studied in Kraków, fought on the Polish side against the Chmielnicki rebellion, and was taken prisoner at the disastrous (for Poles) Battle of Korsuń in 1848.  He was appointed Kasztelan or Constable of the Wołyń province in 1675 and worked on a number of important missions, including negotiations with Muscovy and the Sultan of Turkey. 

Marcin Ledóchowski (died 1676), Samuel's third son, founder of the First Wołyń line (3, p22), had several prominent descendants described by Barącz (2, pp14-18) and Stanisław (9, pp23-5,33).

There were also terrible wars with Muscovy, Sweden and Turkey during this period.  Ledóchowskis do not seem to have been prominent in these, due perhaps to being already pre-occupied with the local Cossack wars.

 


XII. Stanisław and the Silent Sejm

Stanisław Ledóchowski (1666-1725), the fourth son of Stefan (died 1676), was the first Ledóchowski of whom portraits survive, and perhaps the most prominent ever outside the Church.  At the age of 17, together with his elder brothers, Kazimierz, Felicjan, and Franciszek, he fought under King Jan III Sobieski in the wars defending Europe against Turkish invasion, culminating in the largest cavalry charge in history, spearheaded by Poland's winged hussars, at the Battle of Vienna in 1683.  Austria reaped the fruits of this victory while Poland squandered them.  Kiev and areas further East were lost to Russia.  

Battle of ViennaKazimierz (died 1685) was promoted to Captain after the Battle and then Ensign of the Czernihowskie Województwo or Province.  This can be seen if you click to enlarge the map above, find Wołyń and then the second province to the right.  He then disappeared without trace, probably killed in one of the later battles, around 1685.

Felicjan died in 1683 on the field of glory at Vienna.

Franciszek (died 1715) was active as adviser to the Regent and later the King, was Constable of Wołyń, and led Wołyń fighting in the Sandomierz Confederation against the Swedes.  More.  His descendants include most of the later well known Ledóchowskis such as General Ignacy I, Cardinal Mieczysław, Blessed Maria Teresa, Saint Urszula, Wladimir General of the Jesuits and General Ignacy II.  


Stanisław Ledóchowski

Stanisław MarshalStanisław (1666-1725) became famous.  Like his elder brother Franciszek he fought in the Sandomierz Confederation, which allied with Peter the Great against the Swedish invasions of Poland and Russia.  The Ruś / Ukrainians under Mazepa used this as another opportunity to rise up against Poland and Russia, but in the end the Swedes and Mazepa were defeated at the historic Battle of Poltava in 1709.  The Swedish invasion, known as the Second Flood, left Poland thoroughly weakened and exploited by the Elector of Saxony, who had been elected King Augustus II the Strong of Poland and had three hundred children.  He allowed his Saxon armies to ravage his own Kingdom, Poland, after the Swedes left.

The Poles who had previously supported their King oppose the Swedish invasion, were so antagonised by the later depredations of his Saxon armies that they now rose and allied against him.  Stanisław was elected Marshal of the Tarnogród Confederation, which proceeded to fight a bitter war against King Augustus II and eventually won.  To defend himself, the King asked Peter the Great to intervene, leading to three-cornered negotiations and the Treaty of Warsaw, signed in November 1716.  Saxon armies had to be withdrawn from Poland, the King's constitutional powers were severely limited, and a Polish-Lithuanian standing army would be established.

Silent Sejm, 1717

Coffin portraitThe Treaty had to be approved by the Sejm or Parliament, which was a very risky requirement, because under Poland's liberum veto tradition which had recently come into vogue, any deputy had the right to veto all acts passed by that session.  Stanisław was elected Marshal of the Sejm, or Speaker of Parliament.  No-one was allowed to speak and the Treaty's provisions were all passed in one day!  So it became known as the Silent Sejm or Dumb Parliament.  Peter the Great visited Stanisław at Krupa in 1718 and Russian forces were withdrawn the next year.  Stanisław later received various Polish honours and was appointed Wojewoda or Governor of Wołyń Province in 1724.  He died in 1725.

Poland-Lithuania then enjoyed 15 years of peace, the longest in history until the twentieth century.  However the country was severely weakened by falling markets for its grain exports, by repeated exercise of the liberum veto, and by the increased antagonism of the Ruś / Ukrainians, which was not helped by a law abolishing Ruski as the Republic's second official language in 1697.  The reason given was that the Lithuanian elite did not understand Ruski any more (13).  It was not blocked by Ruś deputies exercising their Liberum veto either, suggesting they also had been thoroughly Polonised by then (or bribed?).

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XIII. Antoni and The Partitions

Adam Ledóchowski (1685-1754), son of Franciszek (died 1725), was appointed Captain of Heavy Cavalry at the young age of 19, and Kasztelan or Constable of Wołyń in 1745 (3, p27-8).

Gorki mapFranciszek Ledóchowski (1728-1783), son of Adam (1685-1754), signed the election of King Stanisław August Poniatowski in 1764 and received various Court honours, including Knight of the Order of the White Eagle.  A major achievement was persuading Sejm or Parliament to pay him the rest of the huge compensation awarded to his great-uncle Stanisław (died 1725) for his contribution to the costs of the Tarnogród Confederation's war against King Augustus II the Strong fifty years earlier.

Decisively for the future of his part of the family, Franciszek married Ludwika née Denhoff or Dönhoff (1730-1794), whose substantial dowry included Górki, Klimontów and Ossolin near Sandomierz in Central Poland, and Tetyjów in Eastern Poland, near Kiev.  Franciszek's own properties were at Krupa, but he seems to have spent a lot of time at Klimontów, where he made substantial donations to the renovation of St. Joseph's Church.  In Franciszek decorationthe church today you can still see a memorial and a decoration in his memory, showing both the Szaława coat of arms of his Halka Ledóchowski family and the coat of arms of his wife Luwika Denhoff's family, the black head of a boar.  

Poland-Lithuania, the Republic of Two Nations, continued to weaken in the face of its aggressive neighbours intent on dividing it up.  It received scant support from the Ruś Nation, which was increasingly calling itself Ukrainian, whose language was no longer one of the two official languages of the Republic, many of whom resented the Uniate Church and still remained loyal to the tradition Orthodox Church, and who resented their Polonised landowners.  After the First Partition of Poland in 1772, Franciszek became increasingly depressed, handed the management of his estates over to his son Antoni, and retired to Vienna.  

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Antoni Ledóchowski

Antoni Ledóchowski (1755-1835), son of Franciszek (1728-1783) and Ludwika Denhoff, was born at Krupa.  He participated in the Great Four Year Sejm and fought hard to defend Poland-Lithuania's independence.  He supported the 3rd May Constitution (the first in Europe), the struggle against the pro-Russian Targowica confederation, who called him szelma, or "scoundrel", and supported the Kościuszko Uprising.

The efforts of King Stanisław August Poniatowski and others to reform and bring the Enlightment to the Republic of Two Nations eventually failed with the Final Partition of Poland in 1795.  

Partitions TetPoland somehow survived and re-emerged as an independent country in the twentieth century.  The Grand Duchy of Lithuania vanished forever.  When Belarus communist leaders wanted Wilno to be the capital of their country again, Stalin had them shot.  It is highly unlikely that Russia will allow the legacy countries of Ruś, Lithuania, Belarus and Ukraine, ever to reunite again unless as part of another enlarged Russian Empire.  

Antoni was strongly opposed to conditions in the Russian partition, particularly oppression of the Uniate Church.  In a second decisive move for the future of his part of the family, he sold most or all of his properties at Krupa and permanently moved West to his Górki, Klimontów and Ossolin properties, now in a new province "West Galicia", in the Austrian Empire.  Click to enlarge map.

Antoni Order of LAntoni was elected by the West Galician landowners to represent them at an audience with the Holy Roman Emperor of Austria, Francis II.  Despite wearing Polish, not Austrian, costume, he appears to have made a good impression.  He was then active in Austrian affairs and earned the gratitude of the Austrian Imperial family by, amongst other things, sheltering prominent refugees from the French Revolution, such as the families of the Prince de Bourbon, the Prince de Rohan and the Duke of Enghien.  In 1800 he was awarded the rank of Count and in 1808 he was awarded the Grand Star of the Order of Leopold.

Antoni followed his father's example and contributed considerably to more renovations of St. Joseph's Church in Klimontów, where he was buried in 1835.  He married Julia née Ostrowska.  More.  Their sons were sent to a prestigious boarding school in Vienna.  For the two eldest, Józef (1786-1859) and Ignacy (1789-1870), see below.  The third, Tadeusz, became an Austrian Field Marshal and the fourth, Tymoteusz, a Major of Hussars and Tutor to three Austrian Archdukes, including the future Emperor Francis Joseph.  More.  Antoni is still revered as the common ancestor of his descendants today.

The Partitions of Poland were not recognised by the Vatican or Turkey.  Throughout the 19th century, whenever an official reception was held at the Imperial Palace in Istanbul, the courtiers would announce the arrival of the Ambassadors of the British, French, German, Austrian and Russian Empires.  The Sultan would then raise his eyebrows in mock surprise and ask loudly “But where is the Ambassador of Lechistan?”.  Lachy and Lechistan are the Turkish names for Poles and Poland, after its legendary founder Lech.  According to the Polish version of the story, the courtier would reply “The Lechistan Ambassador has been unable to come”.  According to the Turkish version of the story, the courtier would reply “The Lechistan Ambassador has been delayed, but he will come”.  The Polish Ambassador did eventually come, a century later - see below.

 



XIV. Maria Rozalia and the Cardinal

JuliuszJózef Ledóchowski (1786-1859), eldest son of Antoni (1755-1835), was born at Krupa, but moved to Central Poland with his parents after the Partitions in 1795.  He received Górki and Klimontów from his father in 1818, by when the West Galicia province no longer existed and this area was in the Congress Kingdom of Poland, part of the Russian partition.  He married a remarkable woman, Maria Rozalia Zakrzewska, the same year.  In 1843 he retired and moved to Vienna, leaving Górki and Klimontów to his elder son Juliusz.  They had four other children, Helena, Cardinal Mieczysław (see below), Jan Józef, and Antoni Franciszek (see below).  
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Juliusz Ledóchowski (1820-1844), sometimes known as Julian, eldest son of Józef, was the last Ledóchowski owner of Górki, about whom Barącz writes very little.  It is suspected that Juliusz was rather dissolute and abandoned his wife Karolina née Hulewicz.  He died in Dresden at the early age of 39.  A lot of money was wasted on aggrandising the palace and he or she was forced to sell.

Antoni Franciszek Ledóchowski (1832-1885), youngest son of Józef, moved with his parents to Vienna.  He had 17 children, including Wladimir, Adjutant to the last Austrian Emperor Charles I, and numerous later descendants.  His youngest son Franciszek or Franz is the ancestor of most of today's "Austrian" branch of the family.


Maria Rozalia née Zakrzewska

Maria R KlimMaria Rozalia Ledóchowska née Zakrzewska (1799-1863), wife of Józef and a remarkable woman, was born and brought up in Tetyjów, far away in pre-partition Eastern Poland, not far from Kiev.  It is possible that Józef visited Tetyjów because the family inherited property there from his grandmother Ludwika Denhoff.  Maria Rozalia was cultured and reported to be highly educated, with a good knowledge of French, Russian, Italian, English, German and even Spanish (!).  In 1828, between her fourth and fifth child, she visited Paris and possibly Rome.  She put a lot of effort into bringing up her children as Catholics and giving them a good education.  

After the failure of the Polish November Uprising in 1831, the Russian authorities, reviving the West-East religious war, took their revenge against the Uniate Church and treated Uniates as traitors, trying hard to force, by persuasion or torture, its clergy, monks and nuns to convert back to the Orthodox Church.  Maria Rozalia and the Ledóchowski family, many of whom were probably Uniates not much earlier, and otherwise now as Catholics, were horrified.

In 1843 Maria Rozalia took her second son Mieczysław to continue his studies for the priesthood in Rome, where she met several prominent Cardinals and the Pope.  She gathered that they had been badly misled by the Russian ambassador about conditions in Poland.  So she travelled to Warsaw, Krupa, Podole, probably Tetyjów and other areas in the Russian partition to collect considerable written evidence of the oppression, which she sent on secretly to Rome.  When she applied for a visa to visit her son in Rome again, the Russian security police searched her flat in Warsaw and discovered some papers she still had.  She was arrested and interned for a year.  The story ended well as (a) the Pope used her evidence successfully by protesting at a summit meeting with the Tsar, and (b) her brother-in-law, Field Marshal Tadeusz Ledóchowski of Austria, successfully lobbied for her to be released.  She was then expelled from Russia forever, so she would not be able to see her children living in the Russian partition again.  

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Cardinal Mieczysław Ledóchowski

Mieczyslaw, NuncioMieczysław Ledóchowski (1822-1902), second son of Józef, was the first of four Ledóchowskis to be very prominent in the Catholic Church.  As there had been no saint called Mieczysław (there were some later), his mother Maria Rozalia asked the Bishop of Sandomierz for permission to give him this name, which had not previously appeared in the Ledóchowski family.  The Bishop agreed, because Prince Mieszko I had brought Christianity to Poland and his name was derived from Mieczysław or "Famous for his Sword".

Mieczysław went to a seminary in Warsaw and then to the Vatican's Diplomatic College in Rome.  He was initially sent to Spain, then Portugal, and after a few years to South America, where he was Nuncio (Papal Ambassador) in Bogota, Colombia.  There he had his first experience of oppression of the Church and had to escape.  His next appointment was as Nuncio to the Kingdom of Belgium.

In 1866 Mieczysław was appointed Archbishop of Gniezno-Poznań.  Although this was in the Prussian / German partition, the Archbishop was also automatically the Primate of Poland, and the Vatican had not Poznan tombrecognised the Partitions.  Initially, nationalist Poles were very frustrated because he did not do enough to promote the Polish cause, while the German Government was quite happy - he was invited to balls at the Royal Palace and was awarded the Red Eagle with Diamonds.

However, when Bismarck launched the Kulturkampf aimed at (a) taking control of the Churches and (b) imposing German culture on minorities such as the Danes and Poles, Mieczysław resisted him strongly on both counts.  So he was arrested, became a hero of the Church, and the Pope promoted him to Cardinal.  He was eventually released and, just like his mother was expelled from Russia 30 years earlier, he was expelled from Germany and Russia, and given the message that he was not very welcome in Austria either.  He was now effectively expelled from the whole of Poland and a national hero.

In the 1930s, Fr. Klimkiewicz wrote a book about Cardinal Mieczysław (14).  Klimkiewicz was arrested by the Gestapo during the Second World War and gassed in 1942.  Cardinal Mieczysław used to joke that his mother kept on saying to him “I wish with all my heart that you will die a missionary and a martyr”.  He was brave and ready to be arrested by the Germans, but he did not die a martyr.  Ironically the author of the book about him did.  

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XV. The General, the Politician and the November Uprising


RatisbonGeneral Ignacy Ledóchowski

Ignacy Hilary Ledóchowski (1789-1870), second son of Antoni (1755-1835), was born at Krupa like his elder brother Józef, but after it was incorporated in the Russian Partition in 1795 he moved with his parents to Górki and Klimontów in West Galicia, then in the Austrian Partition.

He was sent to the prestigious Theresianum boarding school in Vienna, where he learnt excellent French, and joined Austria's Third Infantry Regiment as an officer cadet.  

When Austria was attacked by France and defeated at Ratisbon in 1809, Ignacy was one of the last to surrender and be taken prisoner-of-war.  

Maria WalewskaNapoleon approached Ignacy several times asking him to change sides to fight for France and an independent Poland, but the 20 year old Ignacy kept replying that "A soldier should stick to his colours!".

Napoleon's arrival in Central Europe had revived Polish hopes.  The romantic story of his liaison with Madame Maria Walewska (acted by the stunningly beautiful Greta Garbo in the 1937 Hollywood film) relates that the Poles, with the agreement of her elderly husband Count Walewski, asked Napoleon if he would give Poland independence if they gave him the lovely young Walewska.  I prefer the alternative legend that, when the Poles asked Napoleon for independence, he replied “Give me an army of 150,000 men and I will get you independence”.  Napoleon was focused, and a new Polish Army was created under General Prince Józef Poniatowski to fight for him (and an independent Poland).

Austria was defeated again, and Ignacy's home in West Galicia now found itself in the newly created Duchy of Warsaw.  Prisoners-of-war were released, Ignacy resigned his Austrian commission, and he joined the new Polish Army as a Lieutenant and then a Captain of Artillery.  He fought loyally in Napoleon's doomed invasion of Russia and the subsequent desperate retreat in freezing winter.

LabiauDuring the retreat, Ignacy was badly wounded in January 1813 at the Battle of Labiau (Polessk today), not far from Königsberg (Kaliningrad today), and lost his right leg.  He was taken prisoner-of-war the second time in his life.  Following another exchange of prisoners he fought in the Defence of Gdańsk in June 1813, where Napoleon met him again, this time to award him the Legion of Honour.  Totally outnumbered, Napoleon was eventually defeated.  

Poland was reduced to the "Congress" Kingdom, smaller than ever, about 13% of the area of pre-partition Poland-Lithuania, and a protectorate of Russia, with the Tsar as King.  The army was also reduced, but Ignacy was kept on.

Gen IgnacyBy 1830 Ignacy was a Colonel, commander of the Arsenal in Warsaw.  When the "November Uprising" broke out he earned the trust of the Polish rebels by opening the gates of the Arsenal to them.  The Russian army entered Poland and on 6th February 1831 Colonel Ignacy was appointed commander of the Modlin Fortress, which was soon besieged by Russian forces under Field Marshal Diebitsch.  This was followed by historic correspondence between them, which has still survived, in which Diebitsch twice calls on Ignacy to surrender, and Ignacy refuses.  Ignacy was promoted to General, and his fortress Modlin briefly became the capital of Poland, giving refuge to the Provisional Government and military high command escaping from Warsaw.  Modlin only surrendered when the Polish leadership left for internment in Prussia and exile in Paris.

Ignacy was a prisoner-of-war for the third time.  Luckily, the Russian generals respected his bravery and he was not executed or exiled to Siberia, like many other "rebels" and at least one other Ledóchowski (see Fedir's story below).

Ignacy and his wife Ludwika née Górska had four children, including Antoni II (1823-1885), who with his second wife had seven children: Blessed Maria Teresa, Saint Urszula, Wladimir General of the Jesuits, Maria, Ernestyna, Franciszka - who married Mieczysław Ledóchowski - and General Ignacy II.

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de Villain Jan LJan Ledóchowski

Jan Ledóchowski (1791-1864) was descended from the Denys line and so was a distant cousin.  His home also found itself in West Galicia, in Austria, after the first partition and he initially studied at the Military Academy in Vienna.  Later his home was back in the Duchy of Warsaw and he joined the Polish army as a 17 year old.  He also fought bravely for General Prince Józef Poniatowski in Napoleon's invasion of Russia and was awarded the Legion of Honour in September 1812.

After Napoleon was defeated, Jan made a name for himself as an MP in the Congress Kingdom of Poland.  He was a leader of the "extremist" camp calling for independence whenever possible, arguing bitterly with the "moderate" camp led by Adam Czartoryski, which argued that things should not go too far as Poland will simply lose.  The debate came to a head on 24th January 1831 when, with patriotic demonstrations outside the Sejm, Jan started the chanting that the Tsar Nicholas, who was also King of Poland, "must go" and "Down with Nicholas!".  Adam Czartoryski, the acting Prime Minister of the Provisional Government, cried "You have lost Poland!".  However this was too late.  War was inevitable - the Act dethroning the Tsar as King of Poland had been signed both by Jan Ledóchowski and Czartoryski himself.  

Signatures

Soldiers like Ignacy then had to do the fighting.  Jan led a regiment from Kraków province.

After the failure of the Uprising, Jan was active in exile politics in Paris.  He visited Poland, and saw his former girlfriend Agata and their son Franciszek, whose descendants are still living today.  Back in Paris, he was close to Kunegunda Małachowska, who left him a fortune, which he apparently wasted, although he did make a major donation to the Polish school there.  He died in 1864 and was buried in Montmartre cemetery.  According to Zajewski, Jan was "A shouter, a rabble-rouser, exceptionally talkative, he kept changing his mind, but he was a geniune patriot".  On the other hand he has my sympathies, being the only famous Jan Ledóchowski there ever was.

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XVI. Blessed Maria Teresa, St. Urszula and two Generals


Antoni II Ledóchowski

Antoni II Ledóchowski (1823-1885), second son of General Ignacy Ledóchowski (1789-1870), was born in Warsaw and was eight years old when his father fought in the disastrous November Uprising.  Given his father's history of fighting the Russians, Antoni probably felt he had limited prospects in the Russian partition.  

LipnicaIn 1843 he moved to Austria to start a career in the Austrian army, but retired in 1849.  He first married Maria Seilern, with whom he had three sons, Tymoteusz, Antoni Ignacy and Kazimierz, whose descendants mostly live in Austria today, but she died in 1861.

In 1862 Antoni married Józefina Salis-Zizers.  In 1883, homesick, persuaded by the warmth of his Polish relatives and partly funded by his cousin Cardinal Mieczysław, Antoni returned to Poland, where he bought an estate at Lipnica Murowana, South East of Kraków, in the Austrian partition, or "Galicia".  Sadly he died there during a smallpox epidemic only two years later, in 1885.


Jóźefina née Salis-Zizers

Józefina née Salis-Zizers (1831-1909), "Sefina" or "Mother of Saints", wife of Antoni II, was another remarkable mother of Ledóchowskis.  She had seven children, the Blessed Maria Teresa, St. Urszula, Wladimir General of the Jesuits, Maria, Ernestyna, Franciszka and General Ignacy II Ledóchowski, all born in Loosdorf, Austria.

Lebendiges ChrThe daughters of "Sefina" were so grateful to their mother that they arranged a book to be published about her in 1935, Lebendigus Christentum, or Living Christianity, by Sefina's friend Marie Marzani (16).  The Ursulines later published it in Polish in 1983, under the title Matka Świętych, or Mother of Saints (17).  

The children particularly appreciated the fact that their mother, from a well-known Swiss Austrian family, had married a Polish exile, taken on his widow's children, had another seven, and then accompanied him to Poland, stayed there after he died, and continued bringing up their children as Polish patriots even though she herself knew no Polish.  She was also highly religious and accepted the fact that the elder children left home to pursue their vocations.  How many daughters have written books about their mothers?

Maria and Ernestyna died childless.  Franciszka married the Cardinal's nephew, and their descendants include their son Antoni, "father of Polish navigation" and his son Mieczysław, author of the important book about the family (3).

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Blessed Maria Teresa Ledóchowska

Tuscan courtBlessed Maria Teresa Ledóchowska (1863-1922), or "Mother of Africa", first child of Antoni II and Józefina was presumably named after the Austrian Empress Maria Theresa, who was co-responsible for the first partition of Poland in 1773.  She was brought up by her father as a loyal Pole, and by her mother as a faithful Catholic.  Her parents made sure she was well educated by the Loreto Sisters or the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary, where she edited the school magazine.  When her father took her to Poland as a 16 year old, she wrote a diary entitled Mein Polen (My Poland), published in Vienna under a pen name some years later (18).

At the age of 22, Maria Teresa left home after her father's death in 1885 to go to Salzburg as Lady-in-Waiting to Princess Alice, Archduchess of Tuscany.  She was soon using her writing skills in articles for the German newspaper St. Angela-Blatt supporting missionaries in the Third World, remarkable at a time when most Poles were understandably most concerned about the fate of their own country under the Partitions.  

In 1895, at the age of 31, Maria Teresa founded the Sodality now known as the Congregation of the Missionary Sisters of St. Peter Claver, and spent Lady in Waitingthe rest of her life publishing newspapers and magazines calling for support for the missions.  She died of tuberculosis in Rome in 1922.  Today the Claverian Sisters are active in 78 countries and have communities in 23.

After two cures in the 1930s were recognized as miracles, Maria Teresa was beatified in 1975.  I was very pleased to be there, not understanding much at the age of 22.  Several books have been published about her (19).

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Saint Urszula Ledóchowska

MotherSaint Urszula Ledóchowska (1865-1939), "Matuchna" or "Mother", second child of Antoni II and Józefina, left home at the age of 21 in 1886, a year after her father's death, to enter the Ursuline Convent at Starowiślna in Kraków.  Ten years later she went to study for a French language teacher's certificate in France and in 1904 she was elected Mother Superior of the Convent.

In 1907, after an audience with the Pope in Rome, she was sent to found a new convent and girls' schools in St Petersburg and nearby Finland.  In Russia they wore civilian clothes and worked in secret as Catholic religious orders were banned.  Weeks after the First World War broke out in 1914, she was expelled from Russia but went only as far as Sweden in order to remain as close as possible.  In Sweden Urszula was active in helping Polish war victims, and founded a language school for Scandinavian girls and a Polish orphanage in Denmark.

PosterAfter the War, Urszula returned to Poland, started a new convent in Pniewy near Poznań, and in 1923 founded the so-called "Grey Ursulines" or Congregation of the Ursulines of the Agonising Heart of Jesus.  In the next few years the Congregation established more homes including community centres, orphanages, creches, primary and secondary schools, boarding schools, and homes for university students in over a dozen Polish cities including Łódź, Poznan, Sieradz, Warsaw, Wilno and Zakopane, as well as two communities in France and four in Italy.  I have experienced their kindness and warmth in Poland personally.  Today there are about 800 Grey Ursuline sisters in almost 100 communities spread around 14 countries on 5 continents.

Urszula died in Rome in 1939.  After three cures were recognised as miracles, she was beatified in Poznań by Pope John Paul II in 1983 and I was pleased to be there with my father and his sisters.  Urszula was canonised in Rome in 2003.  This time the generations had changed: my father and his sisters were no sadly longer with us, but I was delighted that my wife Joanna, my son Konrad and my daughter Krystyna were with me instead.

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Wladimir, Superior General of the Jesuits

Jesuit GeneralWladimir Ledóchowski (1866-1942), Superior General of the Jesuits or "Black Pope", was the third child of Antoni II and Józefina and, as no earlier Ledóchowskis were so called, he may well have been named after Prince Wladimir the Great of Kiev.  He was educated in German at the prestigious Theresanium Imperial Royal Academy in Vienna, where he excelled in foreign languages, including French and Latin, and was awarded the Imperal Medal.

Wladimir then spent over 20 years mostly based in Galicia, the Austrian Partition of Poland.  He started reading law at Kraków University, but after his father died he changed his vocation and entered the seminary at Tarnów.  In 1887, supported by his uncle Cardinal Mieczysław, Wladimir went to the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, which he completed with a doctorate.  While there he decided to join the Jesuits, and returned to Poland to enter a Jesuit training college.  He was promoted quite rapidly: by 32 he was Superior of the Jesuit house in Kraków, by 36 he was Provincial of the Jesuits in Galicia, and by 40 he was Administrative Assistant for all the Jesuit provinces in Austro-Hungary, Germany, Holland and Belgium, helped no doubt by his excellent German.  He was already a candidate for Superior General and had earned a reputation for diplomatic skills.

In 1915, at the age of 48, Wladimir was elected Superior General of the Jesuits.  Shortly afterwards, Italy declared war against Austria and as an Austrian citizen Wladimir had to move to Switzerland.  After the war he returned to Italy where he could use his language and organisational skills and was considered one of the greatest heads of the Order ever.  His period in office saw a new constitution, a new headquarters building, and new missions in China, Japan, India, Moslem countries and Africa.  The Order grew from 17,000 Jesuits in 27 provinces when he began to 26,000 Jesuits in 50 provinces when he died.  

Older WladimirAs a sign of his loyalty to Poland, the Jesuits persuaded the Pope to recognise miracles by the Polish Jesuit martyrised by the Cossacks in 1657: St. Andrzej Bobola, and he was canonised in 1938.

Throughout these years, the Church saw Communism as its primary enemy, oppressing the Church and murdering priests in Mexico, Russia, Spain and elsewhere.  Its response to rising Fascism in the 1920s and 1930s was ambivalent.  A controversy later emerged over the response of Pope Pius XI and/or Pius XII and/or Wladimir to the German invasion of Poland and the war crimes and Holocaust that followed.  It will continue to run as Pope Francis makes Vatican Archives available to historians.  The Controversy is discussed in my article, which includes a large section with my thoughts on Anti-semitism.  We know in any event, that the Jesuits also suffered, that Jews were hidden in Jesuit seminaries and smuggled to Italy, that Wladimir was accused of running an intelligence network against Germany, that Vatican Radio, run by Jesuits under Wladimir, protested loudly and vigorously against Nazi crimes until muzzled by Pope Pius XII in 1941, and that Wladimir helped a Polish Jew from Germany evade the Holocaust by escaping from Italy to Turkey.  The New York Times obituary of 10th December 1940 reported that he had "earned the bitter enmity of the Nazis".

More.

 

General Ignacy II Ledóchowski

General Ignacy II Ledóchowski (1871-1945) or the "Holy General", was the youngest child of Antoni II and Józefina.  He was educated in German at a military boarding school at St. Pőlten in Austria, at the famous Weisskirchen military school and finally the Vienna Military Academy.  When he was 12 his parents moved to Lipnica Murowana in Poland, so Ignacy went there for his holidays and practised his Polish.  After graduation, Ignacy chose a career in the Austrian Artillery.  From around 1900 he was often posted to Kraków.

Ignacy with familyIgnacy married Paulina née Łubieńśka and had four children: Jadwiga ("Jadzia"), Maria Teresa ("Teresa"), Józefina ("Inka"), and Wladimir.  Paulina's family had estates near Krakowiec.

When the First World War began, Ignacy was sent to fight the Russians in Galicia, where he commanded field artillery and was promoted to Colonel in 1915.  His regiment fought alongside the famous Polish "First Brigade" and he met the future Polish Marshal and commander-in-chief, Józef Piłsudski, several times.  In 1916 he fought on the Italian front, and in 1917 and 1918 again on the Russian front.  He was awarded the Austrian Order of Leopold and the Hungarian Order of the Iron Crown.

After Poland was declared independent in 1918, Ignacy followed the example of his grandfather Ignacy (1789-1870) 110 years earlier and transferred from the Austrian army to the Polish army.  Poland then defended itself against Bolshevik invasion in the 1920 War.  Ignacy fought as a Brigadier General in the heroic defence of Warsaw in August 1920, the subsequent counter-attack and the Battle of Niemen in September.  Russia was defeated and Poland was saved.  Ignacy was awarded the Krzyż Walecznych, or Cross of Valour, and Poland's highest decoration, the Virtuti Militari, as well as the French Legion of Honour, like his grandfather.

Memorial  In 1926 he stayed loyal to the constitutionallly elected government and did not support Marshal Piłsudski when he took power in a military coup.  He was retired early shortly afterwards.  

In 1939 Poland was invaded by Germany and Russia.  Ignacy, living in the Russian sector, was under threat as a retired general - the NKVD were searching for the Polish elite to arrest and deport them, and eventually murder them in massacres such as Katyń.  With the help of Ruski employees on their estate, Ignacy and his wife escaped to the German sector, where he joined the Resistance and was arrested by the Gestapo.  Austria was on the same side as Germany, and his old Austrian friends and former army colleagues tried to rescue him, but Ignacy refused to renounce his loyalty to Poland.  On 6th March 1945 he died at Dora-Mittelbau concentration camp, where he gave his food and medicines to younger men, and the guards called him Heilige General, or the "Holy General".

More.





XVII. Late Partitions & Twentieth Century



Historical Overview

● The Austrian and Tsarist Empires continued to decay while the German Empire reunited and strengthened.
● Britain, France, the US and Russia defeated Germany and Austria in the 1914-18 First World War.
● The Austrian Empire collapsed and broke up into member states such as Czechoslovakia and Hungary.
● Russia was weakened by civil war as the communists or "Bolsheviks" took power.
● This left a vacuum in which Poland regained independence after over 120 years.
● But Bolshevik Russia did not accept this and tried to reconquer Poland yet again.
● The Bolshevik invasion was defeated by Poles such as General Ignacy II in the "1920 War".
● Poland regained quite a bit of its pre-partition territory against resistance by Germany and Lithuania.
● Including Lwów (mostly Polish) and the surrounding area (mostly Ruski), against resistance by "Ukrainians".
● In 1939 Germany invaded Poland from the West and Russia from the East, splitting the country again.
● In 1941 Germany attacked Russia, a serious mistake, and was finally defeated in 1945.
● Britain and the US agreed at the Yalta Conference that Poland would move, taking territory from Germany in the West, and surrendering territory to the Russian Empire, now the "Soviet Union" or "USSR", in the East.
● So Wołyń, Lwów and surrounding areas were lost to Poland forever and are today in the Ukraine.
● So the last Ledóchowskis moved West, from Ruś and the Orthodox world to the Catholic world.
● Britain and the US also accepted that Poland would be under Soviet communist rule.
● Marx was wrong, Communist economics did not work, and the Russian Empire collapsed.
● Led by its Solidarity revolution, Poland was the first communist country to regain independence in 1989.
● Lithuania, Belarus and Ukraine followed, but Putin is now trying to rebuild the Russian Empire.



Galicia

GaliciaUnder the partitions the Southern part of Poland, including the Western part of former Ruś, became a new member of the Austrian Empire called the Kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria, or "Galicia".  Lodomeria meant the land of Wladimir!  The Austrian Emperor was King, starting with Empress Maria Theresa as Queen after the first partition in 1773.

Lwów was mostly Polish and the capital.  Quite a few splendid buildings from that time, including a large opera house, can still be seen today.  They are somewhat faded as Lwów was taken from Poland in 1945 and is now in Western Ukraine, a rather poor region which has not benefited from the fall of communism to any significant extent yet. 

Conditions in Galicia were the mildest of the partitions.  The governor / viceroy was initially an Austrian German, but some self-government was introduced in 1871, after which the viceroy was Polish, and by 1907 there was universal suffrage (6, p471).  The penultimate Emperor, Francis-Joseph, was portrayed as a kindly old uncle and I remember a lot of older Jews and Poles from Galicia remembering him fondly. 

The elite considered itself Polish, with a sprinkling of Austrian, German or Czech landowners, many given land by Austria.  The three universities, Kraków, Lwów University and Lwów Politechnika, taught in Polish.  Most schools taught in Polish and a few in Ruski.  The peasants were mixed everywhere but more likely to be Polish and Roman Catholic in Western Galicia, and Ruski and Uniate in Eastern Galicia.  Jews, many escaping from progroms in the Russian partition, represented about 10% of the population.  There were effectively four languages: Polish, Ruski, Yiddish and German bureaucracy.  My father recounted that small towns in Galicia had two churches, Catholic and Uniate, and a synagogue.  Today, the Poles having been expelled, there are far fewer Catholics, but in Lwów there still is a "Latin" (= Roman Catholic) as well as a "Greek ( = Uniate) Cathedral.  In the countryside there are now many Orthodox, quite a few possibly Russians, imported to be close to the new Polish border after 1945.

On the principle of “divide and rule” Austria permitted the re-emergence of Ruski as the new Ukrainian language, with a revived literary and cultural tradition.  The name “Ukraine” (“u kraina” meaning perhaps “on the edge" or "beyond the border”) became widely used.  The Poles conspired to make Galicia the core of a new independent Poland and the Ukrainians conspired to make Galicia the core of a new independent Ukraine.  Poland's national anthem started "Poland is not yet lost".  The Ruś composed a new anthem "Ukraine is not yet lost".  Some traditional songs in the two languages use the same tunes.  In 1908 a Ukrainian "extremist" assassinated the Polish governor Andrzej Potocki.  By the time Poles regained independence after the First World War, they had to fight the Ukrainians to regain Lwów. 

Poland won the 1920 War and recovered the whole of Galicia.  My father remembered that relations with the local Ruski peasants around his family properties at Krakowiec were friendly, and according to his mother's memoirs they helped her husband General Ignacy II escape the NKVD in late 1939.  Nevertheless there was friction between the Polish and Ruś/Ukrainian populations and there was some rather brutal "pacification" by the Polish Army, particularly when Poles were settled in Eastern areas.  My father once received a letter from Australia: "Dear Włodek, I admire greatly your stand against racism and fascism in South Africa.  You may not remember me, but I am the Ukrainian student whom you saved in around 1930 when a bunch of nationalist Poles tried to beat me up at Lwów Politechnika."  The sister of the famous Lwów actor comedian Henryk Vogelfänger "Tończo" was beaten up and thrown down a stairwell at medical school because she was Jewish, and never returned to her studies.  However things calmed down a bit when Ukrainians realised that conditions in the Soviet Union under Stalin were far worse.

YaltaDuring the Second World War Ukrainian resentment flared up again.  Many Ukrainians welcomed the Soviet invasion in 1939 as "liberation" against Poland, but became disillusioned.  They then welcomed the German invasion in 1941 as "liberation" from the Soviet Union, although many then became disillusioned by Gestapo rule.  The Ukrainian Insurgent Army ("UPA") partisans massacred around 100,000 Poles in attacks such one on the Ledóchowski palace at Smordwa.  It is thought that quite a few distant Ledóchowski relations died at this time at the hands of the NKVD or the Ukrainians.

The Yalta Conference in 1945 moved Poland Westwards into Germany, and Poland was forced to surrender all remaining former Ruś territories such as Wołyń and Lwów to the Soviet Union or "USSR" to the East.  Galicia was divided in two.  Poles were deported to the West, and the Lwów population, the famous Racławicka panorama and half the Ossolineum museum were moved to Wrocław (formerly Breslau in Germany).  

To complete the ethnic cleansing, Ruś / Ukrainians were deported in the opposite direction, from West to East.  

Yalta marked the final exodus of "our" last Ledóchowskis from the Orthodox East to Roman Catholic Poland and Austria.  All of former Ruś is now in Lithuania, Belarus and/or Ukraine, and Ledóchowski family homes such as Leduchów, Smordwa, Krupa, and Krakowiec are lost forever.  The West recognised the Communist government installed in Poland by Stalin, so Lipnica Murowana, inside Poland's new borders, was also lost and may never be recovered.  The town does however generously maintain memorials to our family, many shown on this website.



Ledóchowskis in Austria

Antoni Ledóchowski (1755-1835), his son Józef and his wife Maria Rozalia, and their children are examples of Ledóchowskis who spent a lot of time in Vienna, away from their lands in Galicia or the Russian partition.  There they gained social acceptance and married into the Swiss and Austrian aristocracy.

TadeuszAntoni's third son Tadeusz became a Field Marshal of the Austrian Army.

Three ArchdukesAntoni's youngest son Tymoteusz became a Major, Chamberlain to the Imperial Court, and tutor to three Archdukes, one of them the future Emperor Francis Joseph.  He received the Kriebuher on the right from their parents, the Emperor and his wife.  One of the other Archdukes, Maximilian, became Emperor of Mexico and was shot by firing squad after a revolution.

Maria Rozalia's youngest son Antoni Franciszek (1832-1885) accompanied his parents to Vienna.  

One of Antoni Franciszek's sons, Zygmunt (1861-1944), became Prelate of Olomouc in the Czech part of the Austrian Empire, and died at his residence in Prague in 1944.  He wrote a book about the family in German (22).

Another of Antoni Franciszek's sons, Wladimir, (1865-1933), became Adjutant of the last Austrian Emperor Charles I and accompanied him into exile after the Austrian Empire collapsed in 1918.  After the ex-Emperor died in Madeira, Wladimir accompanied his widow.  He finally returned to Vienna where he died in humble circumstances in 1933.

Another of Antoni Franciszek's sons, Mieczysław (1858-1935), nephew of Cardinal Mieczysław, married Franciszka Ledóchowska and had a career in the Austrian Army as mentioned below.

Another of Anthoni Franciszek's sons, Franciszek or Franz (1876-1954) also had many descendants shown on the family tree.  These include Wladimir (1946- ), who after obtaining a Doctorate of Law from the University of Salzburg, had a long successful financial career, including ten years with Raffeisen Bank in London, and is currently Honorary Chairman of the Gulf Central Merchant Bank Advisory Board.

When I was working at SG Warburg in the City, I used to tell my colleagues proudly that I was "the only Ledóchowski in the UK".  One day they told me they were doing business with someone else claiming to be "the only Ledóchowski in the UK" and I was delighted when they introduced me to my very distant cousin Wladimir!

The first three children of Antoni Ledóchowski (1823-1995), Tymoteusz, Antoni Ignacy and Kazimierz, stayed in Austria as did their descendants.

FranciszkaThere were quite a few transitional figures who moved from Poland to Austria or vice versa and so are harder to label as definitely "Austrian" or "Polish".

Józefina née Salis-Zizers (1831-1909) born in Austria and educated in German, moved with her husband Antoni (1823-1885) to Lipnica Murowana in Galicia and loyally stayed there for the rest of her life.  All their famous children were born and educated in Austria.  Most were later based in Poland, but the lives of two centred outside Poland:

Blessed Maria Teresa (1863-1922), took a Polish passport, but spent most of her life in Austria and died in Rome, as above.   More.

Wladimir General of the Jesuits (1866-1942) an Austrian citizen, spent most of his adult life in Rome as described earlier.  More.

Antoni and Józefina's daughter Franciszka, encouraged by Cardinal Mieczysław, married his nephew and Antoni Franciszek's son, Mieczysław Ledóchowski (1858-1935), mentioned above, who at that time was an Austrian Cavalry Captain.  This was a union between the "junior line", of General Ignacy I's descendants including Franciszka, and the "senior line" of Ignacy's elder brother Józef's descendants, including Cardinal Mieczysław and his nephew Mieczysław.  

Mieczysław bookIn 1914 Franciszka's husband Mieczysław was already 56, considered too old for the frontline, and so was given command of the town of Zakopane.  He finally retired after the War as a Major General of the Austrian Army.

Franciszka and Mieczysław had four children:

Jóżefina married Baron Levetzow, a German Army Major, and had four children, two of them sons who died fighting for Austria / Germany during the Second World War.  My father used to say they died at Stalingrad.

Izabela became an Ursuline nun.  

Antoni, the father of Polish navigation, and General Mieczysław are mentioned under Poland below.

Antoni's son Mieczysław Ledóchowski (1920-2017) performed a huge service by preparing the family tree and publishing his book about the family, in Polish (3).  He was also curator of the Ossolineum Museum, moved from Lwów to Wrocław after Yalta.

Mieczysław was born in Lipnica Murowana, Poland, in 1920, but moved "back" to Vienna in 1960, where he lived for 57 years until his death in 2017.  So his life then became centred around Vienna.  One of his sons, Henryk, stayed in Poland and is mentioned below.  Two others, Leszek and Wladimir, moved with him.  Their children are loyal to their Polish origins and are active in Austria today.

Over the years in Poland and elsewhere I have met various Austrians who were very friendly and greeted me warmly as coming from a “famous Austrian family”.  

 

 

Antoni and Józefina's descendants in Poland

Most descendants of Antoni Ledóchowski (1823-1995) and Józefina née Salis-Zizers (1831-1909) lived in Galicia and so ended up in Poland after the 1920 War.  More .

Saint Urszula (1865-1939) eldest child of Antoni and Józefina, joined a convent in Kraków and after a period in Russia and Sweden returned to Poland, where she founded the "Grey Ursulines" or Ursulines of the Agonising Heart of Jesus, and numerous convents and children's homes as described earlier.  More.

Franciszka (1870-1950), sixth child of Antoni and Józefina, married Mieczysław, who retired an Austrian Major General as described earlier, and lived at her home in Lipnica Murowana until the whole family was expelled by the Communists in 1945.  She was looked after by the local "Grey Ursulines" until she died in 1950.

General Ignacy II Ledóchowski (1871-1945), seventh and last child of Antoni and Jóżefina, transferred from the Austrian Army to the Polish Army after Poland became independent, and eventually died as a Polish resistance hero in a German concentration camp in 1945 as described earlier.  Paulina née Łubieńska, Ignacy's wife, and her mother owned properties at Wólka Rosnowska and nearby Krakowiec, which were lost to the Soviet Union after Yalta.  Paulina died in Poland in 1952.  More.

PAntoni 1895rofessor Captain Antoni Ledóchowski (1895-1972) "the father of Polish navigation", second child of Franciszka and Mieczysław, was born in the Moravian part of the Austrian Empire.  He joined the Austrian Navy in 1913 and in the last year of the First World War served as a Lieutenant on the battleship "Prinz Eugen".    After Polish independence he transferred to the Polish Navy, which promoted him to Captain and then transferred him to the State Maritime School where he taught navigation.  This was in Tczew up to 1930 and then in Gdynia.  

Antoni started by creating navigational terminology in Polish, and then wrote eight navigational text books.  When the Germans captured Gdynia in 1939 they arrested all Maritime School professors and lecturers including Antoni.  He was extricated by the heroic efforts of his first wife Matylda née Warnesius, and then spent the rest of the war at Lipnica Murowana, where he gave secret lessons in mathematics and physics.

AstronavigationWhen Poland was "liberated" by the Soviets in 1945 Antoni returned to the Maritime School in Gdynia, where he discovered that his home had been burnt down.  In 1947 the navigational department of the Maritime School was moved to Szczecin (taken from Germany under Yalta).  However Antoni was soon fired as an act of "class war" as he refused to introduce political "communist party" thinking into his navigational text books.  He had a few difficult years until Gomułka came to power in 1956 and decided that professional people should get their jobs back.  Antoni was then appointed Captain commanding several Polish ships until 1962, when he was given a job as lecturer at the Maritime Fishery School, and retired in 1969.  He died in 1972 and was buried in the Avenue of the Honoured at Szczecin cemetery.  Antoni's name has been given to a naval training ship, the Szczecin planetarium, a street in Szczecin, a street in Gdynia, and a primary school in Szczecin.  His students not only remember him as a great professional and teacher, but are also very grateful for the way he brought them up as honourable and responsible people.

Lipnica for AKMieczysław Ledóchowski (1904-1964), third child of Franciszka and Mieczysław, was based in Lipnica Murowana during the Second World War, where he joined the Resistance.  His unit was arrested on 29th October 1944 in revenge for its earlier liberation of 128 political prisoners.  Most of his colleagues died in various German concentration camps, but luckily Mieczysław himself was eventually released, helped by Baron Levetzow, a German Army Major, husband of Mieczysław's father's elder sister Józefina, and father of two sons who died in the German army, probably at Stalingrad, as mentioned above.

ReleasedMieczysław married Jolanta Czecz and had three children: Jolanta (1931-2006), who married Jan Starzenica-Starzeński; Aleksander Leszek, (1933-1990) who was imprisoned by the communists for a year in 1953, became a journalist and film critic, lived in Warsaw, married Krystyna Grzegorzewska and had a daughter Simona; and Izabela (1938-) who married Kazimierz Malakowski (1927-1998) and lived in London after the war.  Aleksander's book Ulotne Obrazy ("Fleeting Images"), published after his death, was a great success.

Jadwiga Ledóchowska (1904-1994) (aunt "Jadzia"), eldest child of General Ignacy II, joined the "Black Ursulines" as Sister Teresa.  She wrote memoirs of her time in Warsaw during the German occupation.  She was based at the convent at Starowiślna in Kraków, where she died.

Four siblingsMaria Teresa (1906-1992) (aunt "Teresa"), second child of General Ignacy II, studied art in Kraków and married Stanisław Tyszkiewicz in 1933.  After the war, as Teresa Tyszkiewicz, she became a well-known artist and professor at the High School of Applied Arts, now the Władysław Strzemiński Art Academy in Łódź.  
More.

Józefina Ledóchowska (1907-1983) (aunt "Inka"), third child of General Ignacy II, was banned by her father, according to family gossip, from marrying the man she loved before the war, possibly because he was very ill.  She joined the "Grey Ursulines" and looked after her mother Paulina, General Ignacy II's wife, at the convent in Otorowo near Poznań after 1945.  She spent some time in Italy and ended up at the convent at Lipnica, near Otorowo.  I visited her there many times and remember fondly the kindness of the Ursulines (to me of course, but also to orphans).  She wrote a book (21) about her aunt Saint Urszula.

MemoirsWladimir Ledóchowski (1910-1987) (my father, "Włodek") youngest child of General Ignacy II, was educated at the prestigious Jesuit boarding school Chyrów, and studied engineering at the Lwów Polytechnic University.  As he was good at mathematics he was a reserve officer in the Artillery.  After fighting against German invasion in 1939, he was then a courier for the Resistance, was caught and escaped, and fought in the defence of Tobruk in North Africa, where he was wounded.  He then worked for Polish intelligence at the Polish Embassies in Ankara, Turkey, and in Paris, where he trained agents to be sent to Poland.  After the war, Wladimir could not return to Poland as he had worked against the communists in intelligence, and his wife's father Kajetan Morawski, former Polish Ambassador, was a leader of the Polish exile community in Paris.  He and his wife Barbara née Morawska moved to South Africa, where he continued his engineering career.

His writings include his Memoirs of the war period, a book about the agent Krystyna Skarbek, a book about Poles in South Africa, and many articles, for example about communism in Poland or criticising the apartheid regime.  
More.

Mieczysław (1920-2017), son of Captain Antoni (1823-1995) and his first wife Matylda, eventually moved back to Austria with his sons Wladimir and Lech, as described above.

Henryk Ledóchowski (1947-), eldest son of Mieczysław (1920-2017), stayed on in Sopot, Poland, where he is the "senior" of the Ledóchowskis descended from the first Count Antoni's elder son Józef.  He worked for many years as a chemist in Gdańsk, where he was also active in local affairs.  He was mayor of Sopot from 1990 to 1992, and head of the Gdańsk Audit Chamber from 2003 to 2010.

Captain Antoni (1823-1995) and his second wife Anna Mieysztowicz lived in Szczecin and had three sons: Wincenty (1946-), who continued in his father's wake as sea captain, Hubert (1947-) and Wladimir (1949-1997).

 


Other Ledóchowskis

There were and are of course other Ledóchowskis descended from Nestor, the first owner of Leduchów.

Aleksander Ledóchowski, from Hasko's line, was the last owner of Smordwa in Wołyń , which Tadeusz Kościuszko visited in 1792.  He died around 1940, during the Soviet occupation.  There was quite a fight here under German occupation in 1943, when the Ukrainian UPA attacked 60 Polish villagers who sought shelter in the palace.  They managed to repel the attackers, but 15 died in the fight.  After the whole area was given to the Soviet Union in 1945 the palace was destroyed.  Aleksander's widow, Dorota or Doli Ledóchowska née Orłowska, lived in Paris after the war, where she was active in social work among Polish youth (9, p32).  She was highly respected and as a teenager I once visited her with my father.  She and Aleksander had no children, so he was last of that line.

Stanislaw LAdvertisementStanisław Ledóchowski (1874-1940), born in far Eastern Ruś, near Kiev, was descended from Marcin's line.  Stanisław accompanied his father Kazimierz (died 1887), who was exporting sugar, on visits to Odessa and other Black Sea ports.  He decided to go to the maritime school at Chersoń in Southern Ukraine, went to Liverpool for training and sailed as first officer on several ships.  During his travels he met the owners of the Metal Products Company at Przemysłowa street in Warsaw and ended up managing it.  He bought it in 1909 and developed the business with the help of his brother Ignacy (1867-1932).  It became the well known manufacturer of "Ledóchowski" steel netting / expanded metal used for reinforced concrete, facings and fences.  This was used to build Gdynia, the naval port at Oksywa and the reinforcements of the Westerplatte fort.  

In museumStanisław kept his maritime interests, set up a workshop making models of ships and founded the first Polish Maritime Museum, which ended up in Szczecin after the war.  He died in 1940, and in 1945 the business was of course confiscated and the family expelled (9, pp22-25).

Edward Ledóchowski (1905-1944), son of Stanisław, in addition to managing the business, was a Catholic activist and a Cavalry Lieutenant.  He was murdered in front of his family by gangsters on 7th August 1944, during the Warsaw Rising.

Stanisław Ledóchowski (1932- ), son of Edward, was forced to work in the mines after he finished school in 1951 due to his social background.  On release he studied at the Warsaw Academy of Arts and then worked for a long time as a writer and art critic.  He made a huge contribution to our family, including loans to the 2006 Exhibition and writing the first part of the catalogue (9).  He was a great friend of my father Wladimir (1910-1987) and our friendship with him, his wife Elżbieta and son Franciszek continues today.

Teresa Ledóchowska, daughter of Edward and also a great friend of our family, married Dominik Horodyński, whose whole family was brutally murdered by the Germans after a wedding in 1943.  He was another great friend of my father's and had very controversial views about the communist era, which he kindly allowed me to record in my film Uncles and Others.  Their daughter Olga Horodyńska-Garstecka is a well known photographer in Warsaw.

Wincenty LWincenty Ledóchowski, a High Court Judge who died suddenly in 1946, is buried at the Rakowicki cemetery in Kraków, in a tomb belonging to the Schmidl family.  Perhaps he married a daughter of the Schmidls?  Unfortunately none of my immediate family know anything about Wincenty.

Fedir Ledóchowski lives in Lwów (Lviv today).  I met him at the family Exhibition in Warsaw in 2006.  His greatgrandfather and grandfather were killed as young officers fighting for Russia during the First and Second World Wars respectively, leaving young widows who had not had time to learn much about their husbands' family history.  

The result is that Fedir knows just two facts about his family: (a) their surname is Ledóchowski, and (b) after the November Uprising failed in 1831 their ancestor was deported from Warsaw to Siberia.  Subsequent generations lived in Russia before finally moving to Lwów, and Fedir was now very interested to learn about his origins.

Two ladies in Lwów - When I visited Lwów in 2006 or 2007 I explored the city and was shown a house on a hill overlooking a park near the middle of town.  I was told that two Ledóchowski ladies lived there before the War, but no-one could remember anything more.  Perhaps one day I will return and take a photo for this website.

Andrii Lidychowski, who lives in Opole, South East Poland, sent me an email in January 2017 saying his name may be a Ukrainian version of Andrzej Ledóchowski, which is possible as Leduchów is known as Ledihiv today.  He does a lot of work in Ukraine and does translations between Polish, Ukrainian and Russian.  Perhaps we will meet one day.

Telephone directories for major Polish cities used to have a few Ledóchowskis in them in the old days, many of them unknown to my father.  After digitalisation, telephone directories will in future only be in historical archives.

USA - In 1981 I flew to New York for the first time ever to stay with my good friend Franek Rozwadowski.  After landing, I became increasingly frustrated as I queued for ages before passport control.  When I finally got to the kiosk, the large uniformed officer inside started paging through what looked like an enormous telephone directory.  In those days of course there were no computer terminals accessing a central database in real time, as happens for example in Turkey today.  Eventually he got to the desired page (presumably under "L"), dragged his thumb down, comparing it all the time with my passport.  Finally his thumb stopped moving, and he said threateningly in a strong New York accent "Your first name isn't Michael by any chance?".  Being young and cheeky, I finally perked up and replied "Why, what did Michael do?".  He then growled "Do you want to enter America or do you want to be sent back to England?".  I said "...err..visit New York".  He barked "In that case keep your mouth shut, buster!"  So all I can report is that there is or was once a Michael Ledóchowski in the USA.

There is not enough space here to mention all Ledóchowskis and my apologies to those who may feel unjustly excluded.  You can always email me a one paragraph CV on them with a photograph if you wish, but I make no promises.

 

 

XVIII. Who are we?

 

It is not possible for many of us (certainly me) to live up to the expectations created by earlier members of our family.  General Ignacy II was known by his German guards as the Heilige General ("Holy General"), because he refused offers from old Austrian colleagues to get him out of concentration camp, received some pocket money from his Austrian cousins, and then immediately gave it and his food away to men who needed to live for their young children.  Superior General of the Jesuits Wladimir served the Jesuits devotedly.  Saint Urszula founded a new religious order and devoted her life to looking after orphans and other young children up to, during and after the First World War.  Blessed Maria Teresa also founded a new religious order and devoted her life to supporting missionaries in poor Third World countries, quite remarkable for a Central European who would normally be more concerned about her own patch.  Cardinal Mieczysław was imprisoned and expelled from Poland for defending the Catholic Church and Polish culture against Bismarck's Kulturkamp in the German partition.  General Ignacy I received a letter of thanks from 300 officers after his vigorous defence of the Modlin Fortress, the temporary capital of Poland, until the Polish government finally gave up and went into exile.  Over 300 years ago, Stanisław headed a rebellion which defeated the Saxon army pillaging Poland, chaired the Sejm which approved a peace that lasted 15 years, and built a column and a chapel to Our Lady to commemorate his victories.  Many other Ledochowskis did a lot for church and country.  

We should be grateful for the respect they have earned.  Hopefully we are all trying to live decent lives and to contribute to society wherever we are.  We should remember our family motto Avorum Respice Mores or "Follow the customs of your ancestors" to the extent we can.

Today Ledóchowskis are spread around Europe, in Poland, Austria, Ukraine, France, England and Spain, and some as far away as Abu Dhabi and South Africa.  Only a minority now speak Polish as their first language.  Most of the rest speak German and/or English.  We are mostly Roman Catholics.

When Maria Teresa was Beatified in Rome in 1975, the Austrians naturally considered her Austrian, since she had a well known Austrian mother, was born and educated in Austria and lived there most of her life until she came to Rome.  So the Vatican conducted the ceremony in German.  This horrified the Polish bishops present, who naturally considered her Polish, since her father was Polish and she did after all take out a Polish passport.  The Polish Embassy did not arrange anything, Poland being under communism, but the Austrian Embassy did arrange a reception for their heroine, which the Polish bishops boycotted. 

SlipyjOne of the guests was Cardinal Josyf Slipyj, Major Archbishop of the Uniates or Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church.  He had been exiled to the Siberian Gulag for resisting communism and defending his Uniate Church against liquidation and absorption into the Orthodox Church, a continuation of the religious war that has been going on for centuries.  He was only released and returned to the Vatican after 18 years following pressure from Pope John XXIII and President Kennedy.  Now he was a hero in the Vatican and clearly an expert on the Catholic, Uniate and Orthodox churches, Poland, Ukraine and history generally.

Cardinal Slipyj approached our family group joking: “The Poles claim your Blessed Aunt as theirs and the Austrians  claim your Blessed Aunt as theirs.  But you Ledóchowskis are neither Poles nor Austrians, you are really Ukrainians!” 

My father thought this very amusing and wrote an article in the London magazine Wiadomości about it.  This led to letters to the editor, protesting  that no, we Ledóchowscy are really Polish.  Or that our origins were not Ukrainian, because the name did not even exist then.  We are really Ruski.

Or perhaps we are really European.

 

Jan Ledóchowski, 2020

 

 

Sources:

(1) Wikipedia.

(2) Pamiętnik Szlachetnego Ledóchowskich Domu (A remembrance of the noble house of Ledóchowski).  Father Sadok Barącz.  Printed by J. Dobrzański and K. Gromans in Lwów in 1879.  Fr. Barącz (1814-1892) was Prior of the Dominican monastery at Podkamień and a known chronicler.

(3) „… aby pozostał nasz ślad”  („...so we may leave a trace”).  Mieczysław Ledóchowski.  Published by Towarzystwo Przyjaciół Ossolineum,  Wrocław 2002.  ISBN Number 83-7095-051-5.

(4) The Origin of Russia.  Henryk Paszkiewicz.  Published in New York by the Philosophical Library in 1955.

(5) Ukrainians the Unexpected Nation.  Andrew Wilson.  Published by Yale University Press, New Haven and London, 3rd edition, 2009. 

(Gorget6) Vanished Kingdoms.  Norman Davies.  Viking Penguin Group, USA, 2011.  ISBN 978-0-670-02273-1, p243.
[Book on the history of the Byzantine Empire- to be checked and completed]

(7) Szaława coat of arms appears on this old ryngraf or military gorget - a small shield hung on the chest - which our family bought online.  Provenance unknown.  The later full heraldic version of the coat of arms can be seen on the main family website

(8) Central part of Jan Matejko's painting of the Battle of Grunwald.  On the left in a white coat with a black cross and on a white horse is the Grand Master of the Order, Ulrich von Jungingen, being attacked by two foot soldiers.  He was killed in the battle.  On the right in a red coat, holding his sword and shield high in triumph, is Lithuanian Grand Duke Witold, brother-in-law of King Władysław Jagiełło and a key commander in the battle.

(9) The spirit of our history, a detailed article on our family.  Stanisław Ledóchowski.  Catalogue of the Warsaw Historical Museum Exhibition on the Ledóchowski Family in November 2008.  Ed. Barbara Hensel-Moszczyńska.  Wydawnictwo Duszpasterstwa Rolników, Włocławek.  ISBN 978-83-88477-83-6.

(10) Drawing in 1874 of the Smordwa palace (1) by Napoleon Orda (1807-1883), who drew a number of country houses in the Wołyń province.  It is in the National Museum in Kraków.  Wikipedia.

(11) Our Lady's Column at Podkamień, near Leduchów.  Funded by Stanisław Ledóchowski (1666-1725) in 1719 to commemorate the Tarnogród Confederation.  Photograph by Stanisław Ledóchowski (1932-) in 2004 (9, p96).

(12) This painting by an unknown author, shown by Wikipedia, is supposed to be in a National Museum in Kraków or Warsaw, but I have still not been able to find it.

(13) Polska a Litwa, Stosunki wzajemne w biegu dziejów, by Władysław Wielhorski.  Published by the Polish Research Centre Ltd, London 1947.  Page 159: „A. Bruckner twierdzi, że na początku wieku XVII-go szlachta litewska jeszcze czytała po rusku akty sądowe i państwowe, ale pisać już nie umiała, tak zdecydowanie polszczyzna wypierała ten język.  Od połowy wieku XVII poszła w śród niej naogół w niepamięć i znajomość pisma ruskiego, czyli cyrylicy.  Akty w grodzie pisarz zaczynał po rusku, stereotypowym wstępem, oddając należne językowi państwowemu, a tekst dyktowany przez strony, wciągał do ksiąg już po polsku.  Wreszcie Sejm Warszawski w 1697 roku przyjął ustawę orzekającą, że język ruski winien być w aktach państwowych zastąpiony polskim.  Motywacja tej ustawy brzmiała tak:   „...ponieważ język ruski niedostępny jest geniuszom polskim....”  ...Powyższa uchwała jezykowa przeszła w czasach klasycznie stosowanego „liberum veto”...”

(14) Kardynał Ledóchowski na tle swej epoki (Cardinal Ledóchowski against the background of his times.)  Fr. Dr. Witold Klimkiewicz.  First published in 1939.  Reprinted by Księgarnia Świętego Wojciecha, Poznań in 1988 thanks to the support of Cardinal of Poland Jóżef Glemp and the efforts of the latest Mieczysław Ledóchowski (2).  Klimkiewicz died a martyr’s death in Dachau concentration camp on 12th October 1942.

(15) Początki Rodu Ledóchowskich.  The beginnings of the Ledóchowski family.  Wołodymyr Sobczuk.  Przegląd Humanistyczny 1, 2006 r.  Humanistic Review 1, 2006.  Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Warszawskiego.  Warsaw University Press.

(15) - History of Byz Empire

(16) Lebendiges Christentum.  Living Christianity.  Marie Marzani.  Druk und Berlag der St. Petrus Claver=Sodalität, Salzburg 1935.  Printed and Published by the The Sodality of St Peter Claver, Salzburg 1935.

(17) Matka Świętych.  Mother of Saints.  Maria Marzani.  Polish edition by Zgromadzenie Sióstr Urszulanek SJK.  The Congregation of the Ursulines of the Agonising Heart of Jesus.  Rome 1983.

(18) Mein Polen is a 166 page diary written by the 16 year old Maria Teresa of her trip to Poland with her father from 3rd July to 13th September 1879.  It had a gilded canvas cover and was printed and published in Vienna in 1892 under the pen name Alexander Halka (9, p161).

(19) Maria Teresa Ledóchowska, Dama Dworu – Matką Afryki.  Maria Teresa Ledóchowska, Lady-in-Waiting – Mother of Africa.  Fr. Roberto Laurita, translated into Polish by Joanna Zienko.  Editions du Signe, Strasbourg, France, 2012.  ISBN: 978-2-7468-2693-9.  See also article on Maria Teresa, notes 7,8 and 9.

(20) Canonisation poster. Ursulines of the Agonising Heart of Jesus.  Warsaw 2003.

(21) Życie dla innych.  Urszula Ledóchowska.  A life for others.  Józefa Ledóchowska, daughter of St. Ursula's younger brother Ignacy.  Pallottinum, Poznań 1984.  ISBN 83-7014-002-5.

(22) Das Buch von meiner Lebensfahrt (The Book of my Life's Journey).  Prelate Sigismund Halka Ledochowski.  Vlast Prag -an der Jahreswende 1934-1935.

(23) Images including the photograph of Stanisław Ledóchowski (1874-1940) supplied by Stanisław (1932- ).

(24) Story told by Fedir Ledóchowski.

(25) Photograph taken and sent to me by Piotr Chłapowski in January 2019.

(26) Photograph by Pkravchenko in Wikipedia.  Story told in my father's mischievous article Spór o Błogosławioną Ciotkę (Dispute over my Blessed Aunt) published on 1st February 1976 in the Polish émigré London paper Wiadomości (News).

(27) Początki Rodu Ledóchowskich.  The beginnings of the Ledóchowski family.  Wołodymyr Sobczuk.  Przegląd Humanistyczny 1, 2006 r.  Humanistic Review 1, 2006.  Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Warszawskiego.  Warsaw University Press.

(28) Pamiętnik pozostawiony w Ankarze (Memoirs left behind in Ankara).  Włodzimierz - Wladimir Ledóchowski.  Wydawnictwo Ministerstwa Obrony Narodowej (Ministry of Defence), Warszawa 1990.  ISBN 83-11-07820-3. Wladimir wrote his memoirs describing his wartime adventures nearly "real time" and was keeping them up to date at the Ankara Embassy, where he was working in 1943.  He was then suddenly transferred to London and then Paris, leaving his memoirs behind.  The last Ambassador of "free Poland' did not want to leave them to the new Communist regime and so took them with him to New York when he left.  They re-emerged 40 years later, but sadly were only published in 1987, after Wladimir's death.

(29) Stamp on the back unclear.  Possibly H. Haeck sj or JI. Haecky.  Secretariatus Missionum SJ, Borgo S. Spirito 5, Roma 113.

(30) Oral legend passed down the family over the generations.

 

Detailed information on living family members will be included in this website only if submitted or approved by them. Sczegółowa informacja o żyjących członkach rodziny może zostać umieszczona na tych stronach jedynie w wypadku gdy dana osoba wyrazi zgodę. Jan Ledóchowski