Daily Prompt: The Polish General

I have polished enough silver and furniture, and even some shoes, in my life, but let’s do something different. The well-known (at least amongst the Polish people) Tadeusz Kociuszko happened to die in our local town of Solothurn. He was some sort of hero in Poland and died in Solothurn at age 71 after falling from a horse, developing a fever, and suffering a stroke a few days later.

The house where General Kosciuszko stayed in Solothurn
The photo is my very own and the plaque is sort of half way up the wall. This guy was quite a hero in Poland, but I am not going to give you a history lesson, you can read all about it on the Wikipedia link. I have no idea why he was in Solothurn when he died, although it seems there was a bit of a thing about him not being bured here, so they eventually transferred his remains to Warsaw for his last resting place.

I was then just a year or so in Solothurn and I had an english friend also living here, so we would make various excursions in the neighbourhood.  We noticed there was a Kociuszko museum in Solothurn (who? never heard of him) so we decided to have a look and do something for our historical knowledge of Poland. Mr. Swiss was not yet in my life. I just asked him if he had ever visited this museum and he said yes in the dark ages when he was still at school, so it seems to be a compulsory exercise for school children in the Kanton of Solothurn.

It was and still is I believe, situated on the first floor of one of the older houses in the middle of Solothurn. My friend and I entered the main door of the house and discovered the museum was on the first floor. We had to knock at the door of an appartment and an elderly lady answered. No she was not elderly, she was ancient, and hobbled to the door. When we said we would like to visit the museum, I am sure she had tears in her eyes. We were probably the first visitors that year, perhaps for a couple of years. It seems she was living with her look alike sister, and they were now both completely in awe of the fact that we had decided to visit the museum.

I was probably naive, as I was of the opinion museums were open places for the public, but it seems this was not so. The older of the two sisters (I assumed they were sisters, although age was not so apparent, as both had a walking stick and white hair) opened the door to the museum and invited us into these  hallowed Polish walls. I like to have a look around these places, but as we were the first visitors for a few years, most probably, she had found suitable victims for a guided tour. Of course, she first of all asked if we were Polish, as it seems they have many polish visitors who seem to make a pilgrimage to the town where this famous Polish General drew his last breath after falling from his horse.

We were shown writen documents, various uniform pieces and the smell of dust and unaired rooms accompanied us all the way, mixed with the smell of cooked food of lunch from the appartment of the two elederly ladies which was next door. The curtains were of a heavy thick long-not-washed material, and enhanced the smell considerably. As these ladies must have then been at least 80 years old, I assume they are now no longer in charge of the museum, probably have now joined their hero in the polish department of the sky.

So no polished furtniture, although I must say it was obvious that the life’s work of these two elderly ladies was to keep the memory of General Kociuszko in a well polished condition in case that a polish visitor, or even two english girls, might chance to pay a visit.

Daily Prompt: The Polish General

15 thoughts on “Daily Prompt: The Polish General

  1. One of the things I loved about my few years in Germany were the museums. We spent a lot of time going to them all over. It seemed every large town in Germany had a museum or two. The ones in Germany were far more expansive and interesting than what I had seen in the US. I do miss them. Hugs

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    • I knew the museums of London very well. I spent my younger years in many of them. I would pay regular visits to the Science museum, the natural history museum (with the dinosaur skeletons) and also the Victroia and Albert Museum with all the Victorian relics. We had a branch in Bethnal Green, where I grew up in the East of London, with the Victorian dolls houses for the childre. It has now also been renamed as the Museum of childhood.

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      • Sadly there is no push to put money into museums. If they can’t be made into big money makers then no town or city will sponsor them. When you think of the many inspiring things in museums that kids could have seen but won’t see, the loss to our future is clear. Hugs

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  2. Andrzej Tadeusz Bonawentura Kościuszko was also an American Revolutionary War hero and there are two big bridges named after him that travel between Manhattan and Brooklyn. When America was losing its war, he was one of the guys who came over from Europe and taught us how to use weapons and organize our military. He was actually quite a big deal here, too.

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    • Yes, that’s the guy, it’s all in the internet. That’s why I included the link, as I didn’t want to write a history of his talents. But he died in Solothurn.

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  3. There is a bridge named after him in New York. Back when I was able to drive I used to drive across this bridge a lot.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kosciuszko_Bridge_(New_York_City)

    Thaddeus Kosciusko Bridge
    Through arch bridge in New York
    The Thaddeus Kosciusko Bridge, commonly referred to as the Twin Bridges, or just “The Twins”, located in the United States, is a pair of identical through arch bridges, made of steel, which span the … Wikipedia
    Opened: 1959
    Location: Halfmoon
    Body of water: Mohawk River
    ID number: 4033181, 4033182
    Daily traffic: 115,000 vehicles (average weekday)
    Bridge type: Through arch bridge, Deck arch bridge

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    • There seem to be many places in the world named after Kosciuszko, even a mountain in Australia. He was a co-called freedom fighter and quite a figure in history. I must admit I only heard of him when I noticed that he was a name in our little market town of Solothurn, because he died there.

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