Daily Inkling: A Head of its Time

General Andrzej Tadeusz Bonawentura Kościuszko

You’re going about your everyday life when you happen upon the perfectly preserved head of a famous historical figure. Who is it, and why is it there? 

Everyday life does not exist in the days of a golden oldie. We have variations like going shopping, visiting doctors and wondering if you will survive until the next day.

I have Mr. Swiss to thank for the head of General Andrzej Tadeusz Bonawentura Kościuszko. I can hear you: who?? He was a Polish General and there is even a mountain named after him in Australia. His connection to our town of Solothurn was that it was his place of death. I am not going into big details about his life, you can read it all in our good old Wikipedia General Kosciuszko.

Mr. Swiss happened to be in town and notice that we have a new statue near our concert hall, so took a photo. I have not yet found it myself, but am still searching. He seems to have been some sort of super general in Poland and now and again we have polish people visiting our town on a quest for him. We also have a museum. Many years ago, in my first years in Solothurn, I was still unmarried, I visited the museum with a colleague of mine. It was in a large room in a very old building midst in town.

Gurzelngasse 05.09 (4)

There is even a stone memorial on the wall of the building in memory of this famous Polish general. The museum is full of various items concerning his battles and written documents. I remember two very old ladies were caring for the museum. They were very dedicated and insisted on following us around explaining it all.

As if it was an omen, I now have a photo of his head (actually the complete body, but it is only the head that is requested). When I saw the photo I was quite impressed by the details, it was almost as if he was embalmed and not just carved out of stone. I have now been living in Solothurn in Switzerland for 50 years and the general died in 1817 in our town, so it took quite a few years to have him commemorated with a statue.

It seems that his embalmed body was deposited in the crypt of the Solothurn church. In 1818, Kościuszko’s body was transferred to Kraków in Poland where he now is.

Me,  have nothing to do with Poland. Born a London cockney, but we always learn something new don’t we?

Daily Inkling: A Head of its Time

8 thoughts on “Daily Inkling: A Head of its Time

  1. Yes we do. That’s what I always hope for! Great story. Love the detail. I will pass on this info to my husband, whose ancestors were Polish (he may want to explore why there is a mountain named after him in Australia…)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Had I not settled in Solothurn I would never have heard of him, but in Poland he was quite a hero with his various battles. Would be interesting to hear what your husband knows about him

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ll have to read up on him to discover why a Polish general has connections with Australia and the USA and died in Switzerland. I guess they commissioned the statue for the centenary of his death. He must have been a big deal in his day.

    Liked by 1 person

    • In Internet there is a lot about him, but I have no idea why he was known in Australia. Perhaps there were polish immigrants. He fought for a while in the American civil war and was given the title of general. In his last years he lived in our town of Solothurn where he fell from his horse and died. His internal organs are in the Zuchwil cemetery, a village next to Solothurn, his body now in Krakow and his heart in Warsaw

      Liked by 1 person

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