by Cyryl Ratajski [1]

translated by Wanda Wilk

In newly-born Poland, Ignacy Paderewski wished, above all, to be a citizen dedicating himself in service to his country with sacrificial devotion. Summoned by the head of the state to preside over the ministers and the Foreign Affairs Minister on January 16, 1919, two days before the opening of the peace talks in Paris, he forms a government of national unity, consisting of representatives of all the regions in Poland.

He devoted everything he possessed: confidence and friendship of the wealthiest people of the world, a name known on both continents and his whole fortune earned through hard work and a craft unmatched by others. His name was programmed externally and internally, identified by foreigners with the concept of Poland. The strict collaboration between the National Committee in Paris and the Polish government in Warsaw, expressed in a homogeneous representation of Poland at the Paris Congress, creates favorable conditions for Poland as a victorious nation in the world war. In an accelerated frame of time the first Polish Congress made up of representatives of all conquerors meets on February 9, 1919 to form the groundwork for the Polish government. From the beginning of April 1919 Paderewski defends Poland’s rights by pointing out the limits of the Treaty. On 28 June, 1919 together with Roman Dmowski [2] he signed the Versailles Treaty, which served as the basis for Poland’s independence and her present status in the international world.

Thus he created Poland, as the leader of the Polish government, in the deciding moments of her historic future. However, we have not welcomed Paderewski in Poland for more than ten years now. He did not visit the National Exhibition of 1929 nor did he see the monuments that he personally funded, of President Wilson in Poznań and Colonel House in Warsaw.[3]

Whose fault is it? Certainly not Paderewski’s.

The Poles didn’t know any better in acknowledging the civic merits and priceless value of Paderewski and did not offer him what he deserved, what is owed to distinguished guests and dignitaries. Next to many historical errors of today’s Polish generation it is one of the most painful wrongs, because it attests to the ungratefulness of Poles to its most worthy citizens.


[1]. Original publication data: Cyryl Ratajski, “Niedoceniony,” in Życie muzyczne i teatralne vol. 2 no. 5/6 (May-June 1935): 28-29. The monthly was published in Poznań by Wieńczysław Brzostowski; copy in the PMC Collection. Cyryl Ratajski (1875-1942) was a politician and attorney, active in Poznań. He served as the president of the city of Poznań in 1922-1934 and since 1939; in 1940-1942 he was the representative of the exiled government in Poland. [This and all subsequent notes are by the editor, Maja Trochimczyk]. [Back]

[2]. Roman Dmowski (1864-1939), the leader of the National Democratic movement in Poland; during World War I he attached hopes for Poland’s independence to Russia’s support (similarly to Paderewski). Due to his strongly anti-Semitic stance he lost Paderewski’s support. Dmowski was a delegate to the Peace Conference at Versailles, in 1923-26 the minister of foreign affairs. [Back]

[3]. Thomas Woodrow Wilson (1856-1924), American president and co-creator of the League of Nations; recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. Wilson supported Paderewski’s idea of including Poland’s independence in the peace negotiations after World War I. Edward House (1858-1938), American politician and presidential advisor; one of the main advocates of Poland’s independence during World War I. [Back]