Katarzyna Raczyńska was honored with the Commander’s Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta. The daughter of the President of the Republic of Poland in exile, Edward Bernard Raczyński, received a distinction in recognition of her outstanding contribution to the popularization of cultural heritage. The ceremony took place from the Rogalin Palace.
Katarzyna Raczyńska (born 1939) is the youngest daughter of Edward and Cecylia Raczyński. He lives in Great Britain. Nevertheless, he actively supports the family estate in Rogalin, taking care to popularize the memory of his father. Three decades ago, her father handed over the property to the Polish nation, creating the Raczyński at the National Museum in Poznań, in which Katarzyna Raczyńska sits. Today she was awarded for her activity and commitment.
“Thanks to families such as the Raczyński family, we survived”
President Andrzej Duda awarded the decoration to Katarzyna Raczyńska in recognition of her outstanding services in the preservation and popularization of Polish cultural heritage. The Commander’s Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta was presented to her by Minister Andrzej Dera. The minister recalled that in June the same decoration was awarded to the second daughter of President Raczyński, also present at the Thursday ceremony, Viridianna Rey. – It is thanks to such families as the Raczyński family that we survived what those who demolished Poland planned. Poles were proud to be Poles, knew the language, knew history, respected the Church – everything that was our nation’s tradition survived thanks to the thoughtful actions of many patriots, including the ancestors of the sisters present at the ceremony – emphasized Dera.
The minister recalled that Katarzyna Raczyńska’s father, after Poland regained independence, established, with the full approval of his daughters, the Raczyński at the National Museum in Poznań. The Foundation was equipped with works of art that survived the war and the communist period, belonging to the collection created by Katarzyna Raczyńska’s grandfather, Edward Aleksander, consisting of approx. 450 paintings and other works of art in the Rogalińska Gallery.
– Ms. Katarzyna has been working in this foundation from the very beginning so that the achievements of the generations of the family will be passed on to posterity. I would like to thank you for your heart, work, time and money, which you have put here in Rogalin to make this place look so beautiful – said Dera. Katarzyna Raczyńska asked the minister to convey thanks to President Andrzej Duda. – I feel very unworthy (of this award – editor’s note) – so many people have done a lot for Poland, I don’t really see my merits. The merits were mainly for my father, we agreed with his provisions. It was obvious to us that he created the foundation. We loved our father, we thought that we should do something like that – it was a natural thing – she told journalists. She admitted that she enjoys the memory of her father in Poland. – It is very touching, and this whole ceremony today is also touching. I think my father would be happy to be so honored in Wielkopolska; he felt like a son of Greater Poland – added Katarzyna Raczyńska.
The award ceremony was preceded by the laying of flowers in the mausoleum of the Raczyński family in the basement of the church in Rogalin and the opening of an intimate exhibition devoted to the merits of the president and his wife for the Polish military and civilian fleet, entitled “Oaks from Rogalin and the Polish Sea. Cecylia and Edward Raczyński”.
President of the Republic of Poland in exile
Edward Bernard Raczyński (1891-1993) held the office of the President of the Republic of Poland in exile in the years 1979-86. Previously, he was a long-term diplomat working for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (1919-45). During his service to the country, he was a permanent delegate of the Republic of Poland to the League of Nations in Geneva (1932-34) and an ambassador to the court of St. James in London (1934-45). His most outstanding achievements include: the preparation of the procedure to withdraw from the Little Treaty of Versailles (1934), the signing of the Polish-British Mutual Aid Agreement (1939) and the issuing of a note to the governments of the United Nations regarding German crimes against the Jewish population in German-occupied Poland ( 1942). After Great Britain withdrew its recognition of the Polish government, Edward Raczyński remained in London and continued to be active in the political life of Polish emigrants, including as a member of the Council of Three (1954-72). Raczyński was also the founder and president of the Polish Institute for many years. General W. Sikorski in London.
In 1991, he handed over the property in Rogalin to the Polish nation, creating the Raczyński at the National Museum in Poznań. He died in London and was buried in the family crypt in Rogalin.
Main photo source: PAP, Jakub Kaczmarczyk