Dziennik Chicagoski -- January 02, 1892Huge Mass Meeting Held Polish Citizens Protest against Russian Violence
With the coming of the new year, a meeting was held yesterday for the uplifting of the common good of the Poles in this country and abroad. It was held in the spacious Polish hall at Bradley and Division Streets. This meeting of inquiry and investigation was held in grand style and dealt with things of major importance.
The out-of-doors was cloudy and filled with sadness. A light drizzle was falling, and the air was sharp and cold. Verily, a day one would not care to be on the outside. Yet, in spite of this, the large Polish hall was filled to capacity. Over two thousand people gathered here. Men of importance and serious minded youths brushed shoulders. Apropos of the new year, the majority of the people were garbed in attire of the day. From observation one could easily see the serious expressions on the faces. This of course was in line with the problems to be discussed.2
On the stage were several priests and a committee of fifteen, which took up the matters of the entire assemblage. This committee was selected from the various administrative bodies of societies, from reliable and noted citizens who were interested in the welfare of the Polish people on the Northwest Side of Chicago. The pastor of the parish of St. Stanislaus Kostki called upon the leading man of the meeting, Mr. Peter Kiolbassa, City Treasurer, who in turn called upon the speakers and introduced them to the crowd.
The initial speaker, one of the members of the committee of fifteen, was Anthony Rudnicki. In his discussion he brought out the aim of this gathering was to seek a resolution, as soon as it is agreed upon, protesting against the mistreatment of Poles by the Moscow government.
He said in part: "In order to bring about an effective protest, we more fortunate Poles must get together not only as a group but as a strong force that will be able to ward off any further unjustified treatment of our brothers under the Russian rule. If other nationalities could accomplish their ends by organizing, by working together, we also can duplicate this among ourselves. We are all brothers, whether 3abroad, no matter what part of the country, of here."
The next speaker was none other than our own professor and accomplished poet, Szczesny Zahajkiewicz. In his flowery, poetical language he explained with much ardour the crisis the Polish people are facing under the Russian rule. He pointed out with emphasis that we, as a common group, must and should do something to alleviate the condition of the oppressed Poles under the iron regime of the Russians. Anything that will be accomplished now, no matter how little, will be the establishment of a solemn protest against the Russian violence, which will re-echo around the world. The importance of this should not be misjudged, for during Biblical times the mighty Goliath fell before little David. This too, can hold true for us.
The third speaker was Father Vincent Barzynski.
Amidst elaborate explanation and heated ardour, Father Barzynski pointed out under what conditions the protests should be made.
"The dominance of the Tsar and the Tsar's administrative body, along with the 4entire Russian forces, is the greatest and most outrageous that has ever existed, " he declared and continued: "These inhuman transgressions are against the will of God, against international policies, and against the forces of nature. It is a well known fact that the killing of others is reverently opposed by Christian and pagan peoples, for it is the law of God. Yet our brothers are being constantly preyed upon and mercilessly murdered, despite the fact that the Russian nation considers itself Christian. International laws prohibit wars of extermination (wiping out completely), yet the Muscovites are waging such a war among our people. Therefore we must make our protests against this violence quickly, enthusiastically, and constantly, so that it may take on greater proportions and be recognized by nations throughout the world. Let us ask God, let us ask our people, and our pleas will be answered at the end."
Called upon by popular demand, Ignacy Machnikowski, editor and professor, brought out to the people the latest atrocities committed by the Russians. He pointed out how the protests should be made.
"The right kind of protest," declared Professor Machnikowski, "is by word of mouth, through the press, and by arousing world wide public opinion we can bring 5about advantageous and efficacious results. The Jews have helped their oppressed people through the medium of the public press. We, therefore, should be unafraid to raise our voices and continue doing so from our side until our calls are heard. Let us make this our duty and our people's duty," concluded Mr. Machnikowski.
Mr. Kiolbassa began his discussion in his own inimitable style. With his flowing words he pointed out that the purpose of this meeting is neither secretive nor is it one that would jeopardize the life of the Tsar.
"We are gathered here as a free people, in a free country, who desire to see the preservation and promulgation of democracy," averred Mr. Kiolbassa. "It is not wrong for us to express our opinion and protest against something which is undemocratic. We, as free loving citizens, have a right to ask for assistance and moral support of other free citizens of this country who favor democratic justification."
His pleas were sincere and warmhearted and were presented as earnestly as those of the other speakers. Not once did he veer from the path of immediate and constant 6action against the horrors of the Russian government.
After the completion of the City Treasurer's speech, the veteran of Chicago's Southwest Side since 1863, Mr. Smietanka, was called upon. It was his contention that it would be much better to petition the European powers to assist in our cause than by merely protesting. He pointed out that continued protests only increased cruelty by the Russians, as evidenced by the recent violences. On the other hand, he also pointed out that we ought to correct our own blunders in this country. We should see that better immigration laws are introduced, turn our attention and protest against the misunderstood and unjustified misinterpretations in some of the journals of the press, and even among our own people. These statements were received with great applause and enthusiasm by the crowd.
The following episode was not pleasant, although it did break up the high tension of those present. Mr. Tanillo, from the Northwest Side had voluntarily requested a half hour to speak upon something of which he knew very little. He did start his talk, but was out of order and taken off the stage.
Mr. Karlowski suggested that in our protests we should not only be against Russia 7but against Prussia and all other oppressors. However, Father Barzynski pointed out that this would be a fatal step because we would lose the support of the German press and the sympathy of many people. Secondly, this protest would be unjustified because the iron rule of Bismark has come to an end, and Wilhelm II has taken more interest in the people. Already he has permitted Polish to be taught in the schools. Right Reverend Father Stablewski, a true Pole, was appointed archbishop of Posen and Gniezno (cities) and in general most of the privileges were restored to our people. Therefore, since the world does not understand our struggle for freedom, it would not understand our protest and its sympathy would be denied us.
It has been suggested that a general mass meeting be held, the general press invited, and German and English speakers be asked to participate. Our committee of fifteen would reopen the grievances we have heard here. Thereby enabling the other nationalities to understand our protests which would at the end gain their wholehearted support. It would also be advantageous for our committee to get representation and support in other cities. At the termination of the meeting all went to church to express supplication.
The afternoon has passed away and darkness enveloped the city. In St. Stanislaus 8Koskis Church all the lights were put on and the altar took on a solemn appearance when all the candles were ignited and began to glow. In the august ceremony Father John Radziejewski, pastor of St. Albert's Parish assisted in the supplication. Afterwards vespers were held.
Last year on the third of May, when the 100th anniversary for the freedom of Poland was held in one of the churches of Warsaw, a constable shouted down the singing of "Holy Father." This was not true here. Everyone who has attended this solemn ceremony here yesterday was stirred to the roots of his soul by the pleading sound of the 2,000 masculine voices begging in their singing for an answer, for relief, for a solution of the unjust violences to our people by the Russians.
"From disease, from famine, fire hazards, war and the barbarity of the Muscovites deliver us, O, Lord!" prayed Father Barzynski. It was repeated by the choir and reiterated by the audience.
"We beg thee, O, Lord, to have mercy upon our people and preserve them from evil and answer our prayers ." These words concluded the ceremony.
After the blessings were received by all, the people left with lighter hearts, 9better hopes and somehow felt gratified for their efforts to help their oppressed brothers abroad. And above everything else, all had hopes that their prayers would be answered.
By Stanislaus Szwajkart
III H, I C, III A, III B 1, III C, IV
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