February 16th, 2020, 3 PM
hosts: Elżbieta Iwaszko, Agnieszka Kajdanowska
We hope that the exhibition, which we have been presenting at the Ludwik Zamenhof Center, enabled all interested parties to get to know Seweryn Nowakowski, one of the most outstanding local government officials of Białystok in the years of the Second Polish Republic. We also hope that the exhibition closing organized by us will enrich the knowledge of the last pre-war president with new, often less official information.
We invite you to a curatorial guided tours of the exhibition and a meeting with Krystyna Nowakowska, daughter-in-law of Seweryn Nowakowski and her daughters and grandchildren. During the meeting we will learn about, among others the fate of the Nowakowski family after leaving Białystok in 1939, we will learn how they managed to save family souvenirs from the president’s villa, and above all, what the search for Seweryn Nowakowski was like after the war. We will also hear the memory about an outstanding father-in-law, grandfather and great-grandfather cultivated in the Nowakowski family.
Seweryn Nowakowski (1894-1939) was the last mayor of pre-war Białystok. He was renowned as a great organizer and host. In the memory of contemporaries and the following generations, he is viewed as an energetic man with a vision of the development of Błalystok. It was during his tenure and on his initiative that, among others, Planty park, Marshal Piłsudski People’s House (later known as Aleksander Węgierski Drama Theater) or Market Hall in Bojary came to life. He stayed with his inhabitants to the very end, paying with his life.
Initially, in 1931, he was appointed to the position of the city’s governmental commissioner. He was doing his job well. He found recognition in the eyes of Białystok residents, among various elites of the city and central authorities, and the confirmation of this status was taking office as a mayor of Białystok in 1934. Seweryn Nowakowski restored the city budget balance, started building sewage system, electrified the city, ordered chaotic buildings. During his term of office, many investments were initiated and completed, which changed Białystok from a neglected and devastated by Russian occupiers place into a real city, where living became more pleasant and safe. This constructive work was interrupted by the outbreak of World War II. The Russians arrested the mayor. To this day, we do not know how and where he died.