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The Załuskis

Załuski Crest

The Załuski name dates back to 1436, with a reference to Jan Thabasz Załuski. The family’s chief contribution to posterity was the establishment of the Załuski Library in Warsaw in the eighteenth century.

This remarkable collection of books was originally started by Bishop Andrzej Chrysostom Załuski, (1648-1711), Chancellor to King Jan III Sobieski, and the Bishop of Kiev, Płock and Warmińsk – and a lifelong bibliophile. On his death he left his books to his two nephews, Andrzej Stanisław (1695-1758), who became Bishop of Płock, Chełm and Kraków, and Józef Andrzej (1702-1774), Chancellor to King Stanisław Leszczyński, the Duke of Lorraine and father-in-law of King Louis XVI of France.

The public library had been the brainchild of the Załuski brothers, who spent their lives adding to their uncle’s collection. In 1747, in the spirit of the Enlightenment, they donated the library to the nation, and the 180,000 volumes were housed in a palace in Warsaw’s Miodowa street, where they were made available to the public. Thus the collection became the first and, at the time, the largest public library in the world. King Stanisław August recognised the Załuski Library as a national asset for enlightenment and progress, and in 1780 he decreed that all publishers should donate to it one copy of every book published in the land. The library was ransacked and its contents removed – mostly to the four corners of Russia – after the Final Partitions of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth at the end of the eighteenth century. No trace of it remains.

The modern Załuski story (see Tales from the Family Tree 2), and its extraordinary genetic split, began with Teofil (1760-1832). He was born in Kraków – then in the Austrian Empire – to Ignacy and Marianna Załuski, the proprietors of Ojców Castle, just to the north of Kraków. In 1776 Teofil was sent to Vienna’s Theresianum, the prestigious school instituted by Empress Maria Theresia for the education of the nobility of the Hapsburg Empire under a common, Austrian ethos. That same year Empress Maria Theresia bestowed on his father Ignacy the title of Count, which, through heredity, was automatically passed on to 16-year-old Teofil. The following year Count Ignacy died, and Teofil, having inherited Ojców, houses in Kraków and Warsaw, and a number of estates in Galicia, went to Warsaw to pursue a political career. There he met Honorata, who was born in 1755. She was the daughter of Józef Stempkowski, Governor of Lublin, and was divorced from Count Marcin Lubomirski. In 1784 Teofil and Honorata were married and had two children: Maria Salomea was born in 1786. When she was one year old, she was held at the baptismal font by King Stanisław August, who was visiting Ojców after his disastrous meeting with Catherine the Great on the River Dniepr. Maria Salomea died aged ten, but her brother Józef, born just a few days after her royal Baptism, went on to forge a distinguished military career, reaching the rank of General.

Teofil Załuski
Teofil Załuski

In the months leading up to the 1791 May 3rd Constitution, and the subsequent Wars of the Final Partitions of Poland, Honorata Załuska embarked on a long-term love affair with the Military Governor of Warsaw, Empress Catherine’s appointee General Iosip Igelström, one of the most hated and feared men ever to wield power in Poland. Honorata eventually left her husband, and moved into Igelström’s residence, which was the Russian Embassy in Miodowa Street. There, in 1793, she gave birth to Franciszka, followed by Karol in 1794. As she was still legally married to Teofil, both children were christened, according to custom and legal procedure, as Załuskis, on whose family tree they went on to feature. During the Jan Kiliński Uprising in Warsaw, which led to the Second Partition of Poland, Igelström and his de facto family fled back to Russia, and the two children, as well as late addition Helena, were brought up on the Igelström estates in Lithuania. In 1826 Karol married Amelia, Prince Michał Kleofas Ogiński ’s eldest daughter, in Vilnius.

Karol Załuski Amelia Zaluska
Karol Teofil Załuski Amelia Załuska

Five years later Karol took part in the 1830-1 Uprising: he led the insurgents from Panevezys, in Lithuania, close to his estates, which he had inherited from Igelström. After the suppression of the Uprising, the Załuskis fled to Memel – today Klaipeda – then the northernmost tip of Prussia. After six years of exile Karol, Załuski by name but Igelström by gene, inherited the spa estate of Iwonicz, in the Carpathian Mountains of Galicia, which became the seat of the Załuskis until the Communist take-over in 1948.

In 1804 Honorata, now divorced from Teofil Załuski, married Igelström in St Petersburg. Honorata died in 1819, followed by Igelström in 1823.

Karol and Amelia Załuski developed Iwonicz into an ongoing commercial concern as a health spa whose reputation spread all over eastern Europe. They had nine surviving children (see Tales from my Family Tree 4). Their eldest son, Michał, took over the running of the spa after the death of Amelia in 1858. Their second son, Karol Bernard (1834-1919), became Austrian Ambassador, attaché or special envoy to Prussia, Sweden, Turkey, Egypt, Persia, Siam, China and Japan. He was also an avid traveller and explorer. In addition, he was a virtuoso pianist, composer and friend of Liszt (see Liszt: A Family Connection). He retired from the diplomatic service in 1999 to devote himself to writing and collating and publishing his numerous piano compositions (see Compositions of the Ogiński Dynasty).

Bogdan Załuski (1902-81) was the grandson of Michał. He spent the whole of World War 1 in the comparative safety of Kalksburg, the Jesuit school just outside Vienna. Music was a speciality in which the Fathers demanded – and achieved – a very high standard. Bogdan opted for the piano, theory, orchestration and conducting. Within a very short time he had developed a feel for orchestral colour and interpretation, and shown a particular talent as a conductor. By the time he was in his mid-teens he had become the chief conductor of the school orchestra. His prowess was noted, and arrangements were made for further lessons in conducting from Franz Schalk, a former colleague of Mahler at the Vienna Opera.

Bogdan Załuski Andrzej Załuski Iwo Załuski
Bogdan Załuski Andrzej Załuski Iwo Załuski

Between the Wars, Bogdan took over the administration of Iwonicz. He married Jadwiga Bogucka, and they had two sons, Andrzej (b.1928) and Iwo (b.1939) (see The Brothers Załuski). He took an active part in the estate’s music making, and often conducted the spa orchestra. In August 1934, at the open-air Summer Concert in the Park of the New Palace in Iwonicz , his cousin, Isabela Ostaszewska (see The Ostaszewskis) gave a memorable performance of Mozart’s Piano Concerto No 12 in A major, K 414 while Bogdan conducted the Lvov Philharmonic Orchestra. During World War 2 Bogdan fought in the British Army in Egypt before settling in Great Britain, where he and Jadwiga were divorced, and he married Wanda Stachniewska. After her death, he made frequent trips back to Poland, where he met again a love of his younger days, Jadwiga Bursztyn, whom he married. They re-emigrated to Poland, and lived in Kraków, where both died.

The descendants of Karol and Amelia Załuski, in effect the progeny of Iosip Igelström and Michał Kleofas Ogiński , are today spread in diaspora throughout Poland, France, Great Britain, Sweden, Switzerland and Denmark.

The male genetic line of the Załuskis became extinct after the death of Zygmunt, only son of General Józef Załuski. Zygmunt fathered only two daughters, one of whom, Jadwiga, indirectly reintroduced the Załuski gene into the Igelström line by marrying Hektor Kwilecki: their son, Dobiesław Kwilecki, married Bogdan’s older sister, Zofia, in 1918. Only their progeny, the Kwileckis, and the Kunickis (Zofia was married twice) actually carry the original Załuski gene, passed to them through a lateral, female line.