Bucharest honours the father of Polish independence
In 2018, Poland celebrates the centenary of regaining its independence. To mark this occasion, the Polish Institute in Bucharest has joined forces with the Museum of the City of Bucharest to organise the "Józef Piłsudski. A Polish & European Statesman" exhibition. It was opened by the Speaker of the Polish Senate Stanisław Karczewski.
It is difficult to find a more famous figure in the twentieth-century history of Poland than Marshal Józef Piłsudski (1867-1935). The famous commander and politician became a symbol of Poland’s successful efforts to regain its independence in 1918. The latter event saw Poland reappear on the map of Europe after 123 years of annexation. During this time, Polish lands were divided and plundered by Russia, Prussia and Austria, which tried to deprive Poles not only of their homeland, but also their language, tradition and culture.
Piłsudski also played a big role in shaping Poland after 1918. The internationally acclaimed leader stood at the helm of the reborn Polish state, created its army and civic foundations (for example in November 1918, he granted women the right to vote in elections). He ruled with a tough hand, often sparking controversy, but also admiration even among political opponents. As the creators of the exhibition in Bucharest emphasise, Józef Piłsudski was on good terms with the Romanian royal family, he visited Romania on long holidays and on four occasions during official visits in 1922, 1928, 1931 and 1932.
“Józef Piłsudski. A Polish & European Statesman” exhibition is part of the Romanian celebrations marking the 100th anniversary of Poland regaining independence. It also fits into the centenary of the so-called Great Unification of Romania, which the country is celebrating in 2018. This was stressed by Stanisław Karczewski, the Speaker of the Senate, in his speech opening the exhibition: “This anniversary unites us. We are also united by care and attention to maintaining peace on the European continent and in the world, so that we will never again have to experience tragedy or world wars,” Marshal Karczewski said opening the exhibition.
The exhibition dedicated to Józef Piłsudski is presented in Romania by the Polish Institute in Bucharest, organised in cooperation with the Polish Embassy in Romania: “Thanks to the fantastic resources of Polish archives, we were able to complete the exhibition, which is being shown in various countries around the world, with pages devoted to Romania. They remind us of the very close contacts between our countries in the interwar period and spark special interest among the Romanian audience, for whom characters such as Queen Maria and Prime Minister Nicolæ Iorga, visible in these photographs, are perfectly recognisable,” adds Agnieszka Skieterska, Director of the Polish Institute in Bucharest.
The exhibition, prepared in cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland, the Józef Piłsudski Museum in Sulejówek and the Polish Institute, can be visited at the Suţu Palace in Bucharest until May 20.