This year, on the 21st of July, there is the 226th anniversary of the creation of ‘Dąbrowski’s Mazurek.’ It is a significant occasion for the nation as they also celebrate the 96th anniversary of adopting this patriotic anthem as their official national song. The journey of ‘Dąbrowski’s Mazurek’ is intertwined with the life and contributions of Józef Rufin Wybicki, its revered author.
Józef Rufin Wybicki: From Lawyer to National Hero – A Journey of Struggle and Inspiration
Born on September 29, 1747, in Będomin near Kościerzyna, Józef Rufin Wybicki was a man of many talents. Educated as a lawyer, Wybicki embarked on his political career at the young age of 20, serving as a Member of Parliament in the First Polish Republic. Little did he know that his path would lead him to become a key figure in Poland’s struggle for independence.
The turning point in Wybicki’s life came during the Kościuszko Uprising, a significant Polish insurrection against foreign powers. It was during this time that he crossed paths with General Jan Henryk Dąbrowski, who would later become the founder of the Polish Legions in Italy. The meeting between these two influential figures marked the beginning of a partnership that would shape the destiny of ‘Dąbrowski’s Mazurek.’
Following the defeat of the Kościuszko Uprising, Wybicki and Dąbrowski sought refuge outside of Poland. Together, they embarked on a mission to establish the Polish Legions in France. Their efforts culminated in a pivotal moment on January 9, 1797, when Wybicki and Dąbrowski signed an agreement with the government of the Lombard Republic, marking the official formation of the Legions. This event laid the foundation for Wybicki’s most celebrated work, which would go on to inspire generations of Poles.
Honoring Józef Rufin Wybicki: ‘Dąbrowski’s Mazurek’ and the Eternal Spirit of Polish Patriotism
Sadly, Wybicki’s life was cut short on March 10, 1822, when he passed away unexpectedly. He was laid to rest at the church in Brodnica near Śrem. However, his significance in Polish history could not be forgotten. In a solemn ceremony on October 11, 1923, Wybicki’s remains were exhumed and transported to Poznań. Alongside other participants of the Napoleonic Wars, he found his final resting place in the Crypt of Merit of Greater Poland, located in the basement of the church of St. Wojciech in Poznań, commonly known as the “Skałka Poznańska.”
Today, ‘Dąbrowski’s Mazurek’ remains an enduring symbol of Polish patriotism and resilience. Its rousing melody and stirring lyrics continue to unite the Polish people, reminding them of their shared history and the unwavering spirit of their ancestors. As Poles gather to honour the 226th anniversary of this remarkable composition, they reflect upon the contributions of Józef Rufin Wybicki and pay homage to his legacy.