History

2020 - Start of a Grand Adventure

The Diary of Carolyn Dawley

In June 2004 the Roselle Sister Cities committee traveled to Bochnia, Poland for the formal signing of our sister city relationship. Ten committee members flew together. Mayor Gayle Smolinski and her husband met us in Bochnia as they had come earlier that month to Europe for a personal vacation. The committee members were Joe, Christina, Linda McDermott, Ron Sass, Mary Ann and her husband, Yolanta and Mark Kaftanski and Carol and Vic Dawley.

 

Wednesday, June 23, 2004: The start of a grand adventure. A positive sign – a double rainbow over Chicago’s O’Hare airport! The group gathered at the international terminal and checked in with LOT airlines. While waiting to board, we enjoyed the luxurious VIP lounge. Yolanta had already started the photographing of our trip – group photo in front of a LOT plane model in the lounge! Some of the group was fortunate enough to be upgraded to the business section of the plane. Linda McDermott sat next to a woman from Roselle. She seized the opportunity to recruit a new sister city member! Thursday, June 24th, 2004: A safe and on time arrival in Balice Airport Krakow at 2 P.M. A friendly LOT representative escorted the group through customs to our greeting committee – Mayor Smolinski and her husband, Anna Kocot from Bochnia (our translator and escort for our visit), and a friend of Mark Kaftanski’s (who brought flowers for Yolanta). Onto the mini bus and off we go – minus one piece of luggage – a suitcase for Mark and Yolanta (this was not located as of the day of our return]) Though the distance between Bochnia and Krakow was not too long, the trip was lengthened by traffic jams due to road construction and the fact that the roads are only 2 lanes wide – it only takes one slow tuck to hold everyone up! However, we all enjoyed the beautiful countryside, especially the bright red poppies that dotted the fields.

 

Hotel Sutoris – our home for the next few days – is located adjacent to the famous salt mine.

Barbara Rajska-Kulig’s daughter was at the hotel to greet us. Time to settle in – unpack, quick shower and we are off! Barbara leads the way as we walk uphill to her parents’ house. There her family has prepared a delightful al fresco repast. We are welcomed by Barbara’s father (her mother is in the USA preparing for her US citizenship test., her younger brother Christopher, her sister and brother-in-law Alex (a school teacher), another sister and her husband and their children.

 

The food – each dish was delicious – so much variety and so tasty! There were salads, perogies (cheese and meat), cabbage rolls, wiener schnitzel (my personal favorite), and homemade pickles. Yes, we left room for the dessert!!! The beer and wine flowed. it was a pleasant evening.

 

Sunday – June 25, 2004

Breakfast at the hotel – European style – rolls, cheese, meats, etc. Some of the group ambled out into the city to exchange currency.

 

10 am the official tour began. The city museum curator, Daniel Duda, was our guide for the walking tour of Bothnia. We began at the city square. Bochnia was established in 1253. It was at the crossroads of trade and was an “international” city. It originally had three salt mines – mine carts to transport the salt are located at the now closed entrances to the mines – there are 2 on the plaza and 1 in another city park. One salt mine is still open – but for uses other than mining (more about this one later). Under the stone plaza is the “basement” of the city. A statue in the plo7  is King Kazirnierz the Great (4333 -1370). It is said that he found a Poland built of wood but left one made of brick. At one time there was a pole in the plaza that listed all the laws – this pole is now gone.

 

The oldest standing building dates from 1777 and was a convent for Dominican nuns. Since 1959, it has served as the city historical museum. In 1877 a new city hall was constructed. In 1964, the surface of the plaza was leveled out so that it was no longer hilly but flat.

 

The wood bell tower is not the original but a replica. A fire (so strong it melted the bells) destroyed the original. The tower is the pictorial symbol of Bochnia. The original was built in the 14th Century and was one of the first towers throughout Poland.

 

We enter St. Nicolas Basilica – built over a salt mine. Above the altar is a 1771 painting of the bishop at that time. Construction of the original wooden church (Gothic style) started in the 13th Century and was completed in the 14th century. During the Swedish occupation of Poland in the 17th century, the church was destroyed. It was rebuilt of stone in the baroque style. The side benches up front in the church were donated by the city officials and wealthy city families. 17th Century paintings are located above the benches. One side depicts the life of John the Baptist. These paintings were gifts from Bochnia businesses and trade unions. Paintings on the other side show the life and-death of Stanislav – the 13th bishop. Every year on March 8th there is a procession in Bothnia honoring Stanislav. Stanislav was born and raised near Bochnia. He is the patron of the salt mine officials. St. Nicholas is the patron of the salt miners and his day is December 6. At the rear of the church there is a picture of St. Nicholaus in stain glass. A special section of the church is fenced off it is the only part of the church that survived the fire. In the chapel of St. Kinga (daughter of King Bela IV of Hungary) there is a painting of her done by the famous Polish artist, Jan Matejko. The story is that she married a prince of Bochnia. She dropped her wedding ring into a salt mine in Hungary. When she arrived in Bochnia and the salt mines were opened here, her ring was found. The Chapel of Mary of the Rosary has a crown above the painting – this was given to the church by Pope Pius XI.

 

We pause to look at the Peace Pole (gift to Bochnia from Roselle) – official dedication is tomorrow.

 

Onto the high school that Barbara attended. It was established in 1817 and in 1886 a new building was constructed. One of the teachers from the school (1920/301s) became a famous director and actor in Hollywood. There are two huge chestnut trees opposite the building. The students know these trees well – when they are flowering, exams are close. Today is the last day of school – the students are wearing black and white.

 

Another famous person who was born in Bochnia is General Dombrowski. He wrote the Polish national anthem.

 

Onto the bus and off to Nowy Wisnicz. We pass by a high school for students majoring in the arts. Their works are being used to adorn buildings in the area. In fact, sculptures located at O’Hare airport are made by a man who went to school there. The town of Wisnicz, population 5,000, was started in the 17th Century by two wealthy noble families who rented a salt mine from the king In the center of the plaza (which is also a park) is a statue of Jan Matejko, the famous painter. He is known for his paintings of the Polish kings, among other works. The city hall is located on one side of the plaza. There is a castle in the town – originally built of wood, it was destroyed by fire and rebuilt of stone. At one time there was a large Jewish population in the town, but after the fire, they all relocated to Bochnia. On the side of a building in the plaza is a relief fresco. It shows a church in old Wisnicz, city hall, the castle, a church in new Wisnicz and a church that no longer exists. The latter was located near a Carmelite convent. The church in New Wisnicz was built in the 17th Century. The noble family, Labroninski, hired an Italian architect to design it.

 

The Wisnicz castle is 600 years old and was owned by a noble family (advisor to the king of Poland). Construction started in the 14th century and it took 200 hundred years to complete. Many kings came to visit the castle, including Sigmund the Old. The walls surrounding the castle, used for protection, are in the shape of a pentagon. Years after the original owner died, the castle was sold, and the new owner restored it to its original glory. It took 20 years, but a second story was added to the family house. Inside there is a chapel as well as the usual living quarters. The servants had a separate building for their living quarters. At one time there were 600 people in residence and 200 horses. The convent on the grounds has now been converted to a prison. Fire destroyed the inside of the castle. After World War II, restoration began. Inside the castle is an open courtyard__ One of the sides has windows painted on the stone walls. Artwork from the students of the high school of the arts is found here. A small room has the bronze with gold coffin of General Stanislaw Lubomirski(d. 1649), head of the Polish army. This sarcophagus was originally stored in the convent on the grounds but was removed to the castle. Upstairs there is an “echo room.” You can stand in one corner and whisper to the wall and a person standing in the opposite corner can hear you. Another room holds miniatures of castles throughout Poland. Onewing is for Queen Bona. She was an Italian princess who married King Sworza of Poland. It is said that she changed the menu of the Polish people. She was from the Borgia family and is said to have poisoned her daughter-in-law. A painting of her hangs on the wall. The entrance to her “court” has a marble doorway. Ovals in the ceiling have family portraits in them. In the ballroom of the castle, there is a display of Medieval and Renaissance apparel.

 

A short walk to the house of Jan Matejko (1838 – 1892). It started as a summer home but later became a year-round residence. Set in the woods, it is surrounded by a lovely garden. One story about him – he was late arriving in Bothnia to catch a train to Krakow so he returned to Wisnicz. He wiled away his free time by drawing sketches of the castle. All that is known visually of the castle is from these drawings. Matejko married the sister of the original owner of the house. The great great-great grandchild of the first owner lives in the house today. The front section, open to the public, has a two-room museum. In the entrance is a picture of Matejko. One room has Matejko’s piano, a crewel pillow his wife made portraits Matejko painted of his future in-laws, smoking pipes, and a tea urn. The second room, his bedroom, has the diary of his niece when she was thirteen. This niece wrote biography of Matejko and his painting of this niece is on a Polish bank note. Matejko also did caricatures and some of these adorn the walls. We sign the guest book and head back to our tour bus.

 

Next stop – the village of Lipnica Murowana. The father of King Kasmir the Great established this village. Lipnica Murowana is on the route between Krakow and Hungary. Surrounding the small village plaza are wooden houses with poles in front supporting the 2nd floor overhangs. In the center of the plaza is a monument to St. Simon. It was a gift from the association of Polish immigrants to the US (founded in Chicago in 1913). St. Simon died in the 15th Century in Krakow. From this village of Lipnica Murowana, the pope has canonized three saints. The village has an orphanage which was established and is supported by the Polish association in Chicago. The bell tower is also a gift from this association. There is also a statue of King Casimir the Great. He was a short man. Palm trees are located here and some of their branches grow as long as 27 meters.

Lunch is at a new restaurant. Its wooden rustic decor is delightful. We all enjoy a variety of soups – some of which come in their own bread bowl. Back in Bochnia, the group divides in half. Some go to City Hall and have a tour, personally escorted by the mayor. Others visit the “Igloo” factory. This plant makes refrigerated display cases. Their catalog shows the types and their names – i.e. Anna, Jola, Basia, Wiktoria, and Romeo.

 

5:45 and we are all ready for supper at the mayor’s house. He lives high on a hill – we were all grateful for the ride there – it looked like a long uphill walk. A group from Bad Salzdetfurth, Germany are also present. Bothnia has 2 other sister cities besides Roselle, Illinois – Kezmarok, Slovakia and Bad Salzdetfurth, Germany. Awnings and canopies cover the sumptuous garden party. Good thing – the rain did come! However, afterwards there was a beautiful sunset. First course included shish-kabobs, kielbasa, blutwursts (kaszanka) and salads. This was followed by roasted venison and pig (whole on spit with apple in mouth), potatoes and sauerkraut. There was lots of toasting with vodka. Gifts were exchanged. All attendees received special sister cities T-shirts as well as Bochnia T-shirts and umbrellas.

 

Saturday – June 26, 2004

The Big Day

After breakfast at the hotel, we gathered, all dressed up in our finery, at 9:30 am. It’s cool in the salt mine so we all brought wraps or jackets. Rode the double decker elevator down and then took the tram to St. Kinga Chapel. What a gorgeous room!!! Our group sat up front with the special guests behind us. There was a band that played stirring music. First a mass to consecrate the occasion. Of course, it was all in Polish – but we did receive a translation of the homily. Upon the conclusion of the mass, we walked to a huge room (Komora Wazyn) for the formal signing of our sister city relationship. As we entered the room we passed under crossed swords. Mayor Smolinski and Mayor  Cholewa sat at the head table. Above them, carved in wood, are the symbols of our respective cities. Bochnia has gone all out for this occasion. The signing ceremony commences – first the official signatures on the partnership papers – Mayor Cholewa talks – Mayor Smolinski talks -Burgerrneister from Bad Salzdetfurth, Germany talks – mayor of Kezmarok, Slovakia talks – William Bellis, US Consul for Press and Cultural Affairs (from US Consulate in Krakow) talks – gifts are exchanged – two students who received scholarships to come to Roselle in September were introduced and receive logo watches -string quartet plays. Bochnia gave Roselle a large statue of a miner made out of salt. Bad Salzdetfurth gave Roselle a picture of their town. A bounteous buffet ensued. AND there were waiters wandering around carrying trays of champagne and beef stroganoff soup. Souvenir bags of salt were available. Upon completion, we walked back to the elevator – pass the rooms of beds (the salt mine is now a rehabilitation center).

 

Next on the agenda was a talk at the Bochnia museum about Polish immigrants to the US. The majority of our group was exhausted (jet lag has reared its ugly head) and opted to return to the hotel for some rest. However, a few hardy souls, including the mayor’s husband, sallied forth.

 

4 pm – Mayor Cholewa officially opens “Bochnia Days”. (Note: In mentioning the 2 students coming to the US, Lake Park High School was called repeatedly Salt Lake City High School!) Over to the Peace Pole where the mayors of the four cities – Bochnia, Bad Salzdetfurth, Kezmarok and Roselle – cut the ribbon and dedicate the Peace Pole.

 

Back to the hotel and time to change to more casual attire – sister cities T-shirts. A short walk to the Millennium Hotel for an evening for food and camaraderie. Under a wood pavilion, food was cooking, vodka was flowing, and friendships were being solidified. At 7:30 the swimming competition was held. An indoor pool is nearby, and we all went over to witness the event. Mayor Cholewa, a representative from Bad Salzdetfurth and Mark Kaftanski competed. The rest of us cheered them on – including four horns being blown!!! Back to the festivities – with a Polish band playing spirited music, we ate, and we ate. Then we danced and we danced. The band was replaced by a Di and individual and group dancing as well as a conga line were happening!!!

 

Monday – June 27, 2004

Farewell Bochnia. Mayor Cholewa visits us at breakfast with parting gifts. With promises to stay in touch and return trips, our bus departs for Krakow. During the ride we are entertained by a video that Krystyna has brought of the visit of Jan and last year.

 

Krakow – half the group is staying at the Holiday Inn and the other is staying at the Hotel Ibis. We are dropped off at our respective hotels, check-in and then reconnoiter at the Holiday Inn where we meet our city guide. She speaks excellent English, having spent several years in the US as a taxicab driver.

 

As we walk through Planty, we get a brief history of this wonderful city. Krakow was founded in 1254 and was the capital of Poland until 1609 when Warsaw became the capital. The “Old City” is surrounded by a green belt of public garden known as Planty, built on an ellipsoidal plan, the only example of its kind in the world. The bronze plaques along the avenues indicate the 15th and 16th century sites of the towers that protected the city and that together with the city walls were demolished to create the Planty. There were 7 gates and 47 towers and the walls themselves were 3 1/2 meters wide and 3 1/2 meters deep.

 

As we walk up Wawel Hill to the castle, we note the beautiful Vistula River below, wending its way around the city. Across the river we see Mangha, the Japanese Art Center. In the far distance is the Kosciuszko Mound. It is an earth mound built by the Polish people in memory of the hero of their own country and of the United States of America. Built between 1821 and 1823 in memory of Tadeusz Kosciuszko, a patriot and hero of the battle of Saratoga Springs, it is covered in grass and surrounded by a circle of brick buildings. In Poland, Kosciuszko was the leader of the 1794 uprising. He was defeated and seriously wounded in the last battle and was taken prisoner by the Russians and deported to St. Petersburg. After two years he was freed by the Czar and allowed to live in exile in Switzerland. He died in 1817 away from his homeland. The mound in his honor was begun by Poles from all over the country bringing handfuls of soil and laying them in his memory. It stands 34 meters high and is surmounted by a boulder, brought from the Tatra Mountains, inscribed with his name. The mound contains soil from the battlefields of Poland and America.

 

Our guide points out a statue of a dragon. At the base of the square Thieves’ Tower, below the city walls, is the Dragon Opening. The oldest account of the Wawel dragon legend is in the Polish Chronicles (Chronika Polonorum) compiled by Vincent Kadlubek on the orders of Duke Casimir, the Just (1138-94). In it we learn of a terrible dragon who ate cows and men, frightening inhabitants of Krakow. One day prince Grakch, whom the locals came to call Krak (and hence the city’s name), arrived from Carinthia and on being proclaimed king decided to kill the monstrous dragon. Grakch’s sons threw a cow stuffed with sulphur inside the beast’s cave: he ate it and died.

 

We view the remains of a building discovered during excavation which is thought to be the earliest castle constructed on Wawel Hill. It was of stone and was built between the 10th and 11th centuries. At the beginning of the 12th century a Romanesque fortified castle stood on the hill, while the first gothic building, fragments of which have been incorporated into later constructions, was built by Wladyslaw the Short who sought to strengthen Krakow’s role as a capital city. His son, Casimir the Great (1333-70), responsible for the construction of a large number of castles in Poland in the 14th century, built an impressive gothic castle on the hill of which only the tower Kurza Stopka (Chicken’s Foot) remains. Beside it stands the gothic pavilion with a large terrace: this was added during the reign of Jadwiga of Anjou and Wladyslaw Jagiello as part of the alterations made to Casimir’s building. The most notable changes were made at the beginning of the 16th century, when, after the disastrous fire of 1499, King Alexander and his son Sigismund undertook the reconstruction of the castle in the renaissance style. When the court was transferred to Warsaw the castle suffered a period of decline. The loss of Poland’s independence and her occupation meant that the castle served as an Austrian garrison which caused it considerable damage. Efforts were later made to restore the castle , the symbol of independent Poland, to its former dignity. We walk through to the courtyard of the castle. The castle courtyard is one of the finest examples of Italian renaissance architecture in Poland. Built in such a grand style the royal castle on Wawel was intended to reflect the magnificence of Sigismund the Elder and the extent of the power of the Jagiellonian dynasty, which at the beginning of the 16th century extended over Poland, Lithuania, Bohemia and Hungary, covering an area from the Baltic to the Adriatic.

 

The portico and the first two orders of arcading surrounding the courtyard form covered walks which on the ground and first floor are protected by renaissance arches, while on the top story protection from the damp climate is provided by a steeply sloping roof with gutters, supported by slender columns. Fragments of 16th century frescoes are still visible on the walls. We next visit Wawel Cathedral. (Note: Some of the group will tour the castle itself tomorrow). The gothic cathedral we see today is the third ecclesiastical building erected on Wawel. Work began in 1320 and it was consecrated in 1364. Over the centuries the Cathedral has been enlarged, new chapels have been added and the building has been made higher_ Between 1895 and 1910 the last major reconstruction was carried out. From 1320 onwards all the Polish monarchs were crowned in the Cathedral with the exception of the last Stanislaw Augustus Poniatowski, As well as providing the resting place for many of the Polish kings, the great Polish poets Adam Mickiewicz and Juliusz Slowacki and national heroes such as Tadeusz Kosciuszko, Count Józef Poniatovvski and Józef Pilsudski are also buried here. The south facade of the Cathedral is interesting for the variety of architectural styles and elements it incorporates from the Romanesque to modem additions. Projecting from the main gothic structure are two chapels, remarkable for their similarity: the renaissance Kaplica Zygmuntowska. (King Sigismund Chapel), covered with a gilt dome, and the baroque Kaplica Wazow (Vasa Chapel), a hundred years later than the first but with an identical ground plan.

 

They were both built as funerary chapels, and members of Poland’s two ruling dynasties during the “golden century” were buried there. While the two chapels are remarkably similar from the outside they differ greatly on the inside. The black stone portal with wooden doors covered in metal bearing one of the great coat of arms of Krakow, the initial K of King Casimir the Great surmounted by a crown, leads into the Cathedral. In the great nave we are immediately confronted with the St. Stanislaw Mausoleum. The silver sarcophagus containing the remains of the saint is a masterpiece of 17th century goldsmiths’ work. It was made in 1670 and is decorated with twelve reliefs depicting scenes from the Saint’s life together with the miracles attributed to him after his death. St. Stanislaw was bishop of Krakow from about 1030 until his death in 1079. The dramatic conflict between the Bishop Stanislaw and King Boleslaw II the Bold was of a political nature and ended in the Bishop’s death by quartering. Legend attributes the responsibility for his death directly to the king and states that Boleslaw himself gave the order “to have him quartered” but that afterwards the saint’s body was miraculously reunited. The saint’s reunification was interpreted as a prophetic sign of the imminent reunification of the Polish kingdom which was then divided into small feudal duchies. The Bishop-Martyr was canonized in 1253.

 

Some of us climb to the top of the bell tower. There we are greeted with a striking view of Krakow. We also each touch the clapper of the big bell with our left hand to make our wish come true. The bell was founded in 1520 and is rung on rare occasions. The “Zygmunt”, 260 cm in diameter and 195 cm high, weighs about 11 tons (the clapper alone weighs 300 kgs) and eight to ten men are needed to ring it. It was founded by Jan Behem with bronze from canons taken in Walachia.

 

Back in the church proper, we enjoy seeing the different ornate chapels. At Bishop Gamrat Chapel, some of us light candles. Mine is for my German cousin’s wife whose funeral is today. The sculptural effigies on the tombs of the kings and bishops are carved by both Polish and foreign sculptors. Antoni Madejski (1869-1939) was responsible for two of the funerary monuments: those of Wladyslaw III and Queen Jadwiga. The tomb of Wladyslaw is empty. The body of the young king killed in the battle of Varna (1444) was never recovered. The remains of Queen Jadwiga were placed in her tomb of white Carrara marble in 1949. The daughter of Louis d’Anjou, King of Hungary, and granddaughter of Wladyslaw the Short, she succeeded to the Polish throne at the age of ten. She was renowned for her saintliness during her lifetime, and after her death at the end of the 14th century, her fame spread. The places she is known to have visited and everything connected with her life (including the black gothic Crucifix in the north aisle before which she frequently prayed) became objects of veneration. In 1987 Pope John Paul It presided over her beatification ceremony. Down to the catacombs. Czartoryski Chapel is the entrance to the crypt with the tombs of the kings.

 

Leaving the Cathedral, we walk along the Vistula River to Kazimierz. In the 14th century an independent community developed which in 1335 was awarded Locatio Civitatis by King Casimir the Great. This meant that it gained recognition as an independent city and was given the name Kazimierz. It remained independent until 1796 when it became part of Krakow. In 1872 a tributary of the Vistula bordering the city to the north was filled in and a large avenue was planted, now it is a road, the Planty Dietla. We can see the remains of the old city wall.  In this area is a church founded by Casimir the Great, Corpus Domini, on the northeast corner of plac Wolnica. It has never suffered from fire, unlike so many churches in Krakow, and the gothic structure of the nave of the church is perfectly preserved. Construction began in 1340 and lasted more than 60 years. In the second half of the 15th century the west facade was castellated on the gable, while its unusual bell-tower was built sometime later.

 

By now we were all looking for a place to get something to eat and rest our weary feet. Off to the Jewish section. From the 10th century onwards caravans of Arab and Jewish merchants began to arrive in the city. The reason for the growth of the Jewish community was twofold: Jews sought refuge from persecution in western Europe, particularly violent at the time of the Black death (1349 -1350), and Poland encouraged urban colonization especially under Casimir the Great. One small Jewish community soon developed into one of considerable size in Kazimierz. The same king who gave his name to that city settled it with Jewish refugees from Germany and France. In 1334 Casimir regularized their legal status in Poland. Throughout the reign of Casimir III, the Great Jewish communities continued to develop without hinderance, unusual in Europe at that time where ethnic-religious conflicts were rife. It is possible that an old word used by Jews for Poland, Polin, meaning “where peace is found” dates from this period. The increase in the population of Krakow and the growth of the German-speaking merchant class, weakened the position of the Jews. While the Kazimierz community continued to prosper, the Jews of Krakow suffered. At the end of the 15th century king John Albert ordered them to leave Krakow after an outbreak of rioting. These Jews moved to Kazimierz, giving birth to the “Jewish City.” The Kazimierz community’s greatest prosperity coincided with the “golden century” of Poland. In the 16th century Poland, in contrast to the rest of Europe torn by religious discord, experienced a period of religious toleration and was defined as the “state without burning at the stake.” The Jewish City enjoyed its own legal system and acted with considerable independence. Kazimierz became the capital of the diaspora welcoming refugees from the whole of central Europe, the old synagogue, built at the end of the 14th century was rebuilt in the 16th century by Matteo Gucci in the same style as the synagogues of Ratidsborn, Worms and Prague. During the last war, the building was very badly damaged but has been reconstructed and now houses art and artefacts from the History Museum relating to Jewish culture in Krakow. At the outbreak of WW II, the Jewish community in Krakow amounted to 60,000 members, about 23% of the population. On 13 March 1943 the ghetto was destroyed: some if the inhabitants were transported to the extermination camp at Plaszow, while all the others were murdered in the confines of the ghetto. The old synagogue is at one end of the plaza. No time to visit it. Time to rest and get a bite to eat. We enjoy a delicious lunch at the Ariel Cafe in the main plaza of Kazimierz. While dining al fresco, we notice a chair in the middle of a parking space – just like in Chicago!

 

Our feet, though rested, refused to walk much further, so we all hopped aboard a streetcar traveling down Starowislana street and back to Rynek Glowny (the market square). This 13th century quarter of Krakow has survived unaltered to the present day. Rynek Glowny, one of the largest squares in medieval Europe, was laid down in 1257 as a slightly irregular square some 200 meters on each side. The surrounding houses were built in the 14th and 15th centuries and have over the centuries been restored and, in some instances, rebuilt. The classical facades on a large number of the houses were built during restoration work from the 17th to the 19th centuries but many retain renaissance and baroque stone doorways, together with the original beams, porticoed courtyards and sections of the attic stores.

 

Among the notable buildings on the square are the Sukiennice, the Town Hall tower, the church dedicated to St. Adalbert, the especially fine Church of the Virgin Mary and the monument to Adam Mickiewicz. The present level of the square is some two meters higher than the original one, as we can see by the sunken level of the church of St. Adalbert. The square, like most of the old city, is closed to motorized traffic (residents’ vehicles and public transport excluded), making both it and the surrounding streets extremely pleasant to stroll in.

 

We first visit the Church of the Virgin Mary (Kosciol Mariacki). For centuries this church was the most important church in the city, frequented by the merchant classes, while the Cathedral on Wawel was officially the main diocesan church. It was built on the site of a Romanesque church founded at the beginning of the 13th century by Bishop Iwo Odrowaz. It is built entirely of hand-made bricks on a basilica plan with a high central nave and two lower side aisles. The main body of the church was built between 1350 and 1397. It took the entire 15th century to complete the structure with the erection of the towers, the addition of the chapels and the completion of the golden crown, symbol of the Virgin as Queen of Poland was added in 1666. The legend says that the builders of the towers were two brothers who were eager to outdo each other, and each strove to make his own tower the higher. The elder, when he finished the north tower, murdered his brother to prevent his finishing the south tower. Remorse however soured his success. After a public confession of his crime he committed suicide by leaping from a high window of his own tower. His knife, the fatal weapon, was displayed as a sign of atonement at the entrance to the Sukiennice where it is still to be seen today. The higher tower has served as a watchtower since the middle ages. In the past the guards were obliged to raise the alarm in the case of fire or of attack by the enemy. Today the firemen on duty must be vigilant in the prevention of fire but have also to play on the hour a musical phrase “hejnal mariacki.” Hejnal is a word of Hungarian origin meaning morning, the phrase might then be interpreted as “awake”, a sort of military reveille to wake the town, a theory reinforced by the sprightly tune. Every hour a trumpeter sounds the hejnal to the points of the compass. The sound of this tune, echoing as it has done for years among the old city walls around the church gives the old quarter a character that is quite unique. Naturally the hejnal is also linked to a legend. During the Tartar invasions a watchman, having sighted the enemy approaching, began to sound the tune but was shot in the throat by a tartar arrow, at which point the alarm abruptly ceased. The hejnal mariacki still appears to end halfway through the phrase. Although the watchman died the people of Krakow were able to repel the attack and after pursuing the enemy captured some rich booty.

 

The decoration of the church interior, its paintings and stained-glass windows are in a range of styles: from the gothic to 19th century revival. The most remarkable object in the church is the altarpiece by Weit Stoss. Wit Stwosz, born in Nuremburg, arrived in Krakow in 1477 having been commissioned by the city’s merchants to carve the altarpiece for the church of the Virgin Mary. (This was to replace the altar destroyed by an earthquake in 1442.) The work, a monumental wooden polyptych, is considered one of the finest pieces of European late-gothic sculpture. It is 13 meters high and 11 meters wide. Carved in limewood it is made up of a central section with four wings; the two fixed Ones can only be admired when the two central mobile ones are closed. the lower part of the central panel depicts the Dormition of the Virgin with the Apostles while the upper section is devoted to the Assumption. A carved baldachin above the central panel frames the scene of the Coronation of the Virgin by the Holy Trinity. The mobile wings depict the Annunciation, the nativity, the Adoration of the Magi, the resurrection, the Ascension and Pentecost.

 

The predella panel is carved with the Tree of Jesse to show the genealogy of the Virgin. The figures in the central panel are larger than life-size. Completed in 1489, the polyptych is open from noon to 6pm. During WW II it was dismantled by the Nazis. In 1945 it was found again in Nuremburg Castle. And in 1956 it was filially restored. Above the main entrance is a beautiful stained-glass depicting scene from the Bible.

 

Leaving St. Mary’s church, we retire to Plac Mariacki (St. Mary’s Square). As this square is completely enclosed by high buildings it has extraordinary acoustic properties. The hejnal tune is heard here to perfection when it is played in a southerly direction, while waiting for the trumpeter we admire the attractive fountain in the middle of the square. Our group now bids farewell to our guide and to each other. Some head back to the Holiday Inn and to Roselle in two days. The rest of us will remain in Europe for another week.

 

Vic, Carol, Mark, Yolanta and Krystyna head for the Sukiennice. We pass the monument to Adam Mickiewicz, the greatest romantic Polish poet (b. 1798 in Lithuania d. 1855 in Constantinople). Krakow council’s decision to build the monument coincided with the return of the poet’s ashes, when they were laid in Wawel Cathedral. In 1890 Teodor Rygier (1841-1919) won the competition with his design for the monument. The statue stands on a high pedestal. The front of the pedestal shows the Homeland depicted as a young woman raising her arm with the figure of poetry on her left, holding a lute in his hand. The elderly figure teaching a boy is an allegory of Science, and the young knight symbolizes Patriotism. During the second world war the monument was dismantled, and the statue of the poet was taken to Germany. Fortunately, it was not melted down and in 1955 when it was rediscovered it was reassembled in Krakow. The statue is an extremely popular memorial and on 24 December, the poet’s name-day, all the Krakow florists pay tribute to the poet.

 

The Sukiennice (warehouse)stands right in the middle of Rynek Glowny, with its extremities at the north and south ends. It has been enlarged and altered over several periods, from the very earliest to the present day. In 13th century stands were set up in the center of the square for the sale of cloth (hence the buildings name). The original building dates from the reign of Casimir the Great who in 1358 ordered the construction of a large covered brick market, 100 meters long. In the 16th century a renaissance-style attic story was added to the structure and the building was further decorated with masks. A staircase was built at the end of the building to unite the two floors. The last large-scale reconstruction of the building was between 1875 and 1879 when Tomasz Prylinski added the neogothic arcade with the capitals on the columns designed by Jan Matejko. (Where have we heard this name before???) It was then that the upper story was converted into a picture gallery. The entrance on the east side, looking onto the monument to Adam Mickiewicz appears to be the more important: above the main archway is the city’s coat of arms. Inside the building the ground floor is full of wooden stalls and shops selling local crafts, gifts and souvenirs from the Krakow region such as dolls in regional costume or the costumes themselves. Amateur artists display their works in the transept. There is even a fortune teller. Vic, Mark and Krystyna enjoy some liquid refreshment while Yolanta and Carol do some serious shopping.  Again, we are all too tired to walk back to our hotel. Yolanta to the rescue – she negotiates for a tour cart to take us there. Back at the Ibis, Yolanta to the rescue again – she has drinks for us in their room – we all enjoy some gin and tonic as Krystyna’s brother joins us. Dinner time. A short walk across the Vistula to enjoy the panoramic view of Wawel and then a pleasant meal.

 

Due to the length of some of the pages, I am not re-typing them but making a copy of them and they will be mailed to you.

 

Sunday, June 27, 2004:

Rise and shine – time for a quick early breakfast and at 8 AM the group is headed for Zakopane. it is a lovely scenic ride – we pass fields of wildflowers – white, purple, blue and of course, the bright red poppies. Haystacks abound – where is Monet when you need him?

 

First the tram ride up the mountain. What a fantastic view! One mountain is called the sleeping knight. Another mountain, Giewont, had a huge cross on its crest. Back down the mountain and time for lunch. Most of us dined al fresco and enjoyed the special mountaineer’s soup. Time for some serious shopping. Some of the group opted to people watch. Some enjoyed culinary delights such as waffles with ice cream. Some of us went on the great amber hunt! You name it and the item was for sale – including St. Bernard puppies. There was a street performer who remained motionless until someone gave him some money. Ail too soon it was time to leave. A quick pause as we entered Bochnia for a photo op by the sign listing sister cities and Roselle!

 

A special farewell dinner – first cocktails at Jan, the mayor’s house what a gorgeous garden and then off to a restaurant that looked like a castle. Another wonderful meal. After saying our fond farewells, the group separated – some went into Bochnia’s main square to hear a concert. Some just retired. Carol and Vic joined Werner Krause from Bad Salzdefurth (another of Bochnia’s sister cities) for some beer. Vic was distributing Roselle/Bochnia pins to those around us. One person gave him a gift in return – a tea candle holder made from salt.

2020 - A Sentimental Journey

Interview with Gayle Smolinski 3 Aug. 2020

 

Q: How did the idea of a Sister City got Roselle come about?

A: In October of 1999, Carol and Vic Dawley (former Roselle residents) came to a Village Board meeting and introduced the Sister City program and asked if we were interested.  The Village Board was supportive of the idea and Trustee Ron Sass and Village Clerk Linda McDermott volunteered to head a committee to proceed.  They placed an article in the Village Newsletter and asked for volunteers.  Krystyna Wojcik, Mark and Yolanta Kaftanski and Tom Kocur came forward.  Originally the thought was for a German Sister City, but Tom suggested Bochnia, Poland because he was familiar with the town. In July 2000, after much correspondence, the Village Board approved the plan to form a Sister City with Bochnia, Poland.

 

Q: Can you tell us some of the calendar events as the process continued?

A: In April 2001, Bochnia invited a delegation from Roselle to witness their signing of a Sister City agreement with Bad Saldzetfurth, Germany. I attended, along with Linda McDermott, Ron Sass, Krystyna Wojcik and Yolanta Kaftanski.  This gave us a chance to understand what the Sister City Program was all about and to meet the representatives of Bochnia in person.  It was then that we pledged to become Sister Cities with Bochnia. In preparation of our official signing we had two peace poles made.  In July 2003 we installed our peace pole in the municipal complex and sent the second peace pole to Bochnia.  Two delegates from Bochnia arrived in August and on August 3, 2003 Mayor Wojciech Cholewa and I formally signed the Sister City agreement in the ballroom of the Itasca Country Club. Also present was Bochnia Council President Jan Olszewski.   This occurred during out Taste of Roselle and both men enjoyed this festival.  They were not able to travel with their wives as Poland had travel restrictions at this time. In June 2004, a large delegation from Roselle traveled to Bochnia to again formalize our agreement.  Witnesses from Kezmarok Slovakia and Bad Salzdetfurth Germany traveled to Bochnia to also witness the signing.  We were able to visit our Peace Pole, which is installed in Bochnia’s Town Square.

 

Q: What are some of your favorite memories?

A: On our first visit to Bochnia, I saw a nation coming out from under Soviet rule.  The stores were pretty empty, with few groceries on the shelves and most residents did not speak English.  But the people were very friendly and generous with their meager resources. Another memory was of Ron Sass.  After touring Bochnia he came back and wanted a cold glass of water.  It took a while, but he was finally presented a glass with one ice cube!  Everyone was so proud that they had found the ice cube and Ron was just overwhelmed by their pride in what they could do for their guests. In 2001, when I arrived to witness the Sister City agreement between Bochnia and Bad Salzdetfurth, I thought I would just watch.  Instead I was asked to give a speech and was a little freaked out.  There were about 300 people there and I had nothing prepared. Krystyna had to translate my English into Polish and she was also nervous.  I spoke of Roselle and the similarities between our two communities.  I got thunderous applause when I mentioned that Roselle had its own winery! One of the most moving memories is our visit to the town cemetery, for a tree planting ceremony.  The cemetery contained the graves of Bochnia residents who died during the German invasion in WW II. The Mayor of Bad Salzdetfurth apologized for the atrocities committed and pledged that this Sister City bond would never let that happen again.  Everyone present was moved to tears.

 

Q: Have we had visitors from Bochnia here in Roselle and what do you recall?

A: When the Bochnia representatives came for the first official signing in August 2003 they stayed at the Lynfred Winery and went to the Taste of Roselle.  Mayor Cholewa and President Olszewski spent a great deal of time with Fred Koehler, owner of the Winery, who was happy to show how his award-winning wines are made.  Fred loved the opportunity to share this with our overseas partners. In August 2013, new Mayor Stefan Kolawniski, and his wife, (travel restrictions were relaxed by then) visited and enjoyed Roselle, Chicago and the Taste of Roselle.

 

Q: Tell us about the signing in 2004, In Bochnia.  How did that go?

A: Bochnia Mayor Cholewa and President Olszewski, plus the members of their town council were there, as well as representatives from Bochnia’s other Sister Cities.  There was much excitement and anticipation in the air.  We were about 600 feet down in their salt mines.  We began with a Mass, held in the Chapel, and proceeded to their large gathering hall.  I had Barbara Raiska-Kulig translate my speech and then she read in into a tape recorder.  I wrote in back down phonetically, so I could say the words properly and make all the natural pauses. It worked!  After the speech, the audience came up to me and spoke in Polish, thinking that I could understand them. They were impressed that I memorized a speech just for them. The delegation from Roselle needs special recognition as they were so supportive.  They are Vic & Carol Dawley, Joe & Mary Ann Allivato, Mark & Yolanta Kaftanski, Ron Sass, Linda McDermott, Barbara Raiska-Kulig (our member who grew up in Bochnia), Krystyna Wojcik, my husband Don and me.

 

Q: Any other visits you recall?

A: My husband and I went with Jim and Lina McDermott, Barbara Raiska-Kulig, and Wayne and Joan Domke in 2008.  We were invited for Bochnia’s Partnership Days.  The Mayor then was Bogdan Kostekevitch.

 

Q: Any other funny stories?

A: The last day of our initial trip in 2001, we had a BBQ.  The Mayor brought out the vodka and was going to propose a toast—not the sipping kind—but a throw it back in one gulp kind.  I don’t drink so Linda McDermott came to my aid.  She got a shot glass and filled it up with water.  About eight “toasts” later, I was still standing and everyone was amazed! Two years later, when Bochnia was here in Roselle we had an American picnic in my backyard.  Linda again helped me with the water shots, until my husband brought out the Jack Daniels.  I was discovered and we all had a good laugh.

 

Q: From your unique position and viewpoint of the Roselle Sister Cities, how do you see us moving forward?

A: I see the present organization continuing to thrive because of the dedicated and interested people involved.  The opportunity to add other Sister Cities should help pique the interest of other residents with ties, or interest, in those cities and strengthen the program. Hopefully the Sister Cities program can come back under the Village umbrella as representation by members of the Village Board give it status to other countries.

 

Q: Can you share future plans?

A: Don and I would love to continue our travels once this pandemic abates.  I’d like to go to Europe once more.  We’ve been to Germany, England, Belgium, Austria, Spain, Italy, France, Croatia and Poland.  I’d like to visit Ireland and Scotland, and Bochnia once more. I have seen how connecting with people, understanding each other and seeing their culture taught me that we have more in common with others than we have differences.

2016 - Bochnia Visits Roselle

This year we decided to invite the Director of Park District and Cultural Center in Bochnia Anna Kocot-Maciuszek. The reason for the invite – she is with us from the very beginning of the Sister Cities Organization! It was Anna who always arranged the visits between Mayors – both ways. She always was the person to prepare all details of the trips and visits. We had the pleasure to have her in USA since August 4th and the 15th, she arrived right in time for Taste of Roselle! This was the reward for all the years of her commitment to the organization. The members of the Sister Cities made sure that she would see all there is to see in Roselle, Downtown Chicago, the suburbs and even the country side. We all had a day or two with her to take her around interesting places.

 

Just to name a few: The Roselle Village Hall, The Library, The Roselle Park District, a boat ride on the Chicago River and Lake Michigan, Millennium Par, Navy Pier, Lake Geneva, Morton Arboretum, Cantigny Park in Wheaton, shopping malls, Boomers baseball game and a drive out into the country including a variety of point of interest, not to mention the variety of food Anna got to enjoy. She was also invited to members’ homes for drinks and a relaxing evening to complete her busy days. She learned a lot about our community and said she will want to implement some of it in Bochnia. She was impressed that the citizens of Roselle could come to the meetings and voice their opinions! Anna enjoyed every bit of it all! She is a wonderful person and we look forward to visit Bochnia in a couple of years. We know, she will arrange a perfect stay for us.

2013 - Bochnia Visits Roselle

The Mayor of Roselle Gayle Smolinski, Roselle Village Board and the Sister Cities Commission, invited mayor of Bochnia Stefan Kolawinski to visit Roselle in 2013. The objective was to meet the new mayor of Bochnia and introduce him to our town. The visit lasted one week and included the Taste of Roselle weekend! The mayor and his wife had a great time –  packed with formal meetings with Roselle’s Government Officials, attending Roselle Village Board meeting, as well as with entertainment to celebrate our Sister Cities Partnership. During the visit they were treated to sightseeing tours in Chicago, Museums, a trip to Lake Geneva, a full day at the Taste of Roselle, backyard picnic at Joan and Wayne’s home to celebrate the Mayor’s Birthday, and a wine tasting party at Lynfred Winery – just to name a few. We were invited to visit Bochnia this year for World Youth Day but decided to visit some other time”

2004 - Roselle Visits Bochnia

June 2004 From Mayor Smolinski: It was with high spirits that 12 of us arrived in Bochnia on June 24, 2004 invited by Mayor Cholewa, to affirm the Sister City agreement we signed here in August 2003. At that time, Mayor Cholewa and President Olszewski experienced our Taste of Roselle, visited all the Village departments, schools, and library, and spent a day sightseeing in Chicago. Now it was our turn to tour Bochnia and its surrounding area, and participated in a second formal signing, witnessed by the residents of Bochnia.

 

We were pleased to meet those we considered old friends. Joining me was my husband, Don, Trustee Ron Sass, Village Clerk Linda McDermott and members of our Sister City Commission: Mary Ann and Joe Allivato, Mark and Yolanta Kaftanski, Carol and Vic Dawley, Barbara Rajska-Kulig, Krystyna Wojcik, and Joe Czyzyk. From the arrival at the hotel to our final dinner, the people of Bochnia opened their homes and hearts to us. The Sister City program is an international movement, to promote peace through partnerships between communities through education, cultural and governmental exchanges. Roselle is Bochnia’s third Sister City, already having established partnerships with Bad Saldzenfurth, Germany and Kezmorek, Slovakia. Bochnia is our only Sister City.

 

We began our adventure the evening of our arrival at Barbara’s childhood home. We are fortunate to have someone born and raised in Bochnia on our Sister City Commission. We enjoyed a beautiful evening relaxing from our travels, meeting Barbara’s family, and eating traditional Polish food. On Friday we walked around Bochnia and learned about its history, including a stop at City Hall. The City’s master plan looks very much like Roselle’s and includes areas for residential and industrial development, as well as the sites for water and sewage treatment plants. We ended the evening at a cookout hosted by Mayor Cholewa and his wife. Representatives from Bochnia’s other Sister Cities joined us to help celebrate our partnership. Saturday was the official signing ceremony. We were all taken 600 ft. down into Bochnia’s salt mine, which is over 700 years old. It is still a working salt mine. The mine includes a chapel, a gymnasium, and a spa. We began the ceremony with a mass at St. Kinga’s Chapel – one of the differences between Poland and USA.

 

In Poland, there is little separation between church and state and most of their official ceremonies begin with a mass. Over 250 people attended the signing ceremony, which was broadcast on Polish television. Mayor Cholewa and I signed two identical documents and ours is on display at the Village Hall. Roselle presented Bochnia with a peace pole, very similar to the one “planted” during the signing ceremony here. It was donated by the Roselle Chamber of Commerce and is installed in their town square.

 

In return, Roselle received a beautifully carved statue of a salt miner that symbolizes Bochnia’s beginnings and current heritage. It is carved from. . . salt of course! The statue is on display in our boardroom. My most nerve-wracking moment came when I made my speech. I do not speak Polish but chose to say the last paragraph of my remarks in that language. With much help and practice, I successfully delivered my message! Sunday our group traveled to Zakopane, a resort town at the base of the Tetra Mountains. While on the bus we saw the Polish landscape dotted with fields of poppies, small well-kept farms and charming towns. A short tram ride to the top of the mountain resulted in a panoramic view of the countryside, followed by great shopping opportunities in the town itself. That evening we ended our visit with a lovely dinner, where we said good-bye to the representatives of Bad Saldzenfurth and Kezmorek. After dinner we enjoyed a concert and fireworks at the town square. This was also the end of Bochnia’s Festival days and it was nice to be part of their celebration. We began our trip back home on Monday morning. Mayor Cholewa and President Olszewski came to see us off with many hugs and a few tears. Partnerships are established person by person. Through our relationship with Bochnia we’ve expanded our friendships to towns in Germany and Slovakia.

2003 - Bochnia Visits Roselle

The Village Board and Sister Cities Commission welcomed two representatives from our Sister City – Bochnia, Poland during the Taste of Roselle. What a great time it was for them to visit and for us to showcase our Village! Mayor Wojciech Cholewa and Jan Olszewski, Chairman of the Bochnia Town Council, arrived to sign the formal agreement making us official Sister Cities. The Roselle delegation met both the Mayor and Mr. Olszewski in Bochnia in 2001. During their visit, they stayed at the bed and breakfast courtesy of the Lynfred Winery.The delegation was treated to an all-American picnic, an evening at the Taste of Roselle,a day sightseeing in Chicago and a formal dinner where the official agreements was signed.They also toured Village facilities and other government facilities. Highlights of the Bochnia Delegation visit included the dedication of the Peace Pole Friday, August 1, 2003; which is located near the Village Hall. The Dinner/Signing Ceremony was Sunday, August 3 at the Itasca Country Club.

2001 - Roselle Visits Bochnia

The Village of Roselle Sister City Delegation, Mayor Gayle Smolinski, Trustee Ron Sass; Village Clerk Linda McDermott, and two members of our Sister City Commission-Krystina Wojcik and Yolanta Kaftanski-flew from Chicago to Krakow on April 19, 2001. They left not knowing what to expect of what Sister City relationships cand accomplish, and returned in awe.

 

The officials of Bochnia, Mayor Wojciech Cholewa (executive function) and Council President Jan Olszewski (legislative function) invited Roselle to their “Partnership Days” (Bochnia City Hall), which are held yearly to celebrate their Sister City Partnerships. This year they were signing their third agreement with Bad Salzenfurth, Germany and the Roselle delegation was invited to witness the signing, and to meet their other partners from Croatia and Slovakia.

 

The adventure began with a 9+-hour flight to Krakow. Luckily, a delegation from Chicago Heights was on board, visiting their Sister City of Wadowice, Poland. The delegations passed the time learning about their common experiences with Sister City International and were pleased with their positive responses. The guides for the delegation greeted them at the Krakow airport. The cars in Europe are much smaller than what they are used to, but the guides managed to secure a Dodge Caravan to drive them to Bochnia, over 30 km (18 miles) away.

 

The city of Bochnia is a mix of historical architecture, communist utilitarianism and new growth. Its large, open town square is the place for concerts and festivals, ringed by quaint shops, services and museums. These buildings are hundreds of years old and reflect the glorious past of Poland-before Communist rule. Surrounding the inner circle of town are the post-war buildings of the last 50 years, mostly serviceable apartments and multi-family units, built during a time of economic frugality. All the Sister City delegations were housed in a new hotel-in fact, it had not yet been open to the public. It was a first-class facility with art deco styling-evidence of the emerging entrepreneurship of a people no longer under oppression and a community serious about moving forward and rebuilding.

 

As U.S. delegates, they were sought out, to have questions answered and to trade stories about their towns. While the officials of Bochnia were busy with all the formal activities, the Roselle delegation still had many opportunities to discuss with them how the Sister City partnership would work. The signing of the agreement between Bochnia and Bad Salzenfurth took place in an abandoned salt mine, which is their main tourist attraction. It is now used as a spa and recreational center. The signing ceremony was held in a chapel, 23 stories below the ground. They were transported in a double-decker mineshaft elevator, which held five people in each car. Poland is 95% Catholic and now that Communism is gone, government officials begin every formal function with a mass. The chapel is carved into the side of the salt mine and holds about 250 people. Beautifully carved religious statues, of salt, are set into the walls.

 

They enjoyed the bands from Germany and Bochnia as they entered the gymnasium to witness the signing. Present were representatives from all Bochnia’s Sister City partnerships, officials from Bochnia, members of the International Sister Cities Commission, residents of the town and the five-member Roselle delegation-about 200 people in all. Polish and German translators repeated the speeches for the public and the Sister City Commissioners translated for the Roselle members. Being told they were witnesses, Mayor Gayle Smolinski did not expect to speak. She was caught off guard when Mayor Cholewa unexpectedly asked if she would like to “say a few words” to those present. The Mayor did the requisite thank-you’s, but her biggest applause came when she announced that Roselle’s tourist attraction is the Lynfred Winery. No matter what nationality, they all approved!

 

Later that day, they were part of a ceremony at the memorial for those Bochnians killed in two mass executions, during the German invasion of the town in December 1939. Trustee Ron Sass, Clerk Linda McDermott and Mayor Smolinski laid a wreath at the base of the memorial. Then Mr. Sass, representing Roselle and the United States, along with a representative from Poland, Germany, Croatia and Slovakia each planted a tree. It will serve as a reminder of our pledge to move forward in understanding and that our friendship will grow as our trees do. The ceremony ended with the Mayor of the German city apologizing to the Bochnians for the atrocities committed by his grandfather’s generation and a pledge to never let it happen again. They were truly honored to be part of that historic moment.

 

The Roselle delegation learned that the officials in Bochnia are interested in our education system, our water and sewer distribution systems, and our use of community-oriented policing to deliver services. There is an opportunity for some of our businesses to explore new markets and to be part of the revitalization occurring there. The Roselle public officials found out that the challenges of being an elected official are not so different, no matter where you live in the world. More importantly, it was an opportunity for them to listen to opinions of world events through non-American voices, to open doors for educational exchanges and to establish the personal connections which will humanize our ever-expanding global community. The Mayor and Council President of Bochnia hope to visit Roselle within the next year. It is much more difficult for them to obtain permission to travel here. The Village will publicize the details of their visit as soon as it is finalized. The Roselle Sister City Commission wants them to meet the wonderful people that make up Roselle and have a chance to return their gracious hospitality.