Address at the Unveiling of the Grunwald Monument (1910)

by Ignacy Jan Paderewski [1]

translated by Maja Trochimczyk


The work that we are looking at did not emerge out of hatred.[2] It was born out of a profound love of Motherland,[3] not only in Her past greatness and present misfortune, but also in Her bright and strong future. It was born of a love and gratitude for those of our forebearers who went to the battlefield, who took up their victorious weapons not to loot, not to fight for riches, but in the defense of a good and right cause.

The creator of this monument and all who assisted him in this work,[4] pay an homage of gratitude to the holy memory of their forefathers; they offer this gift on the altar of Motherland as a pious votum, while beseeching the forefathers’ noble, light-filled spirits, for centuries united with God, to intercede for us and request for us the power of faith and the serenity of hope, the gifts of wisdom, reason, patience and that kind of good will without which neither tranquil virtues nor famous acts could come into being.

Thus, let the nation, personified by the highest official in all Polish lands, gracefully accept this offering, given from our hearts.[5] We sincerely wish that every Pole and every Lithuanian, whether from the vast regions of our glorious Motherland, or from beyond the Ocean, would look at this monument as a sign of a common past, a testimony of shared glory, and the herald of better times. Let them look at this monument as a part of their own souls, strengthened by faith…

We give this work for eternal ownership to our ancient, beloved capital. To the eminent Council of the capital City, to the City’s brave and distinguished President, we bring this passionate and heart-felt request: please, place this monument under your protection; please, bestow on this monument your kind and attentive care.



[1]. Original publication data: Ignacy Jan Paderewski, “Przemówienie Ignacego Paderewskiego podczas odsłnięcia pomnika grunwaldzkiego w Krakowie w roku 1910,” in Życie muzyczne i teatralne vol. 2 no. 5/6 (May-June 1935), 16. The speech was also reprinted in Vol. I of Józef Orłowski, ed, Ignacy Jan Paderewski i odbudowa Polski, [Paderewski and the rebuilding of Poland], 2 vols. Chicago: The Stanek Press, 1939-1940. Reprinted in 480 numbered copies, Chicago: Carl O. Jevert & Associates, 1952. [Back]

[2]. The monument was commissioned by Paderewski to celebrate the 500th anniversary of battle of Grunwald (known in German culture as the battle of Tannenberg), held in the summer of 1410. During this battle the united Polish-Lithuanian armies, led by Lithuanian-born Polish king Władysław Jagiełło, and including numerous peasant volunteers who fought to defend themselves from the hardship imposed upon them by the Teutonic Knights, defeated the powerful Teutonic Order which had to, henceforth, pay homage to the Polish kings. However, this victory was not politically explored to Poland’s advantage and the Teutonic Knights power continued to grow. Paderewski selected the location – in Kraków, the capital of Galicia, a semi-autonomous province in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. [Back]

[3]. Paderewski uses the word “Ojczyzna” which literally means “Fatherland.” [Back]

[4]. The monument was designed by Antoni Wiwulski, a young Polish sculptor and paid for by Paderewski. [Back]

[5]. The unveiling was an important patriotic event, attended by political leaders, aristocracy and peasants from Lithuania, Ukraine, as well as Polish emigrants from the U.S. Over 150,000 people gathered at the monument for the unveiling ceremony. [Back]