This article includes a list of references, but its sources remain unclear because it has insufficient inline citations . (February 2014) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
Poland's Wedding to the Sea was a ceremony meant to symbolize restored Polish access to the Baltic Sea that was lost in 1793 by the Partitions of Poland. It was first performed on February 10, 1920, by General Józef Haller at Puck (Putzig). In the early spring of 1945, following the Polish-Soviet advance into Pomerania, a number of such ceremonies took place in several locations. The most famous 1945 Weddings to the Sea were performed by the soldiers of the Polish Army on March 17, 1945 in Mrzeżyno (Regamünde), and on March 18 in newly captured port of Kołobrzeg (Kolberg).
Poland, officially the Republic of Poland, is a country located in Central Europe. It is divided into 16 administrative subdivisions, covering an area of 312,696 square kilometres (120,733 sq mi), and has a largely temperate seasonal climate. With a population of approximately 38.5 million people, Poland is the sixth most populous member state of the European Union. Poland's capital and largest metropolis is Warsaw. Other major cities include Kraków, Łódź, Wrocław, Poznań, Gdańsk, and Szczecin.
The Baltic Sea is a marginal sea of the Atlantic Ocean, enclosed by Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Sweden, northeast Germany, Poland, Russia and the North and Central European Plain.
The Partitions of Poland were three partitions of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth that took place toward the end of the 18th century and ended the existence of the state, resulting in the elimination of sovereign Poland and Lithuania for 123 years. The partitions were conducted by Habsburg Austria, the Kingdom of Prussia, and the Russian Empire, which divided up the Commonwealth lands among themselves progressively in the process of territorial seizures and annexations.
As Venice so symbolized its marriage with the Adriatic so we Poles symbolize our marriage with our dear Baltic Sea.
The Republic of Venice or Venetian Republic, traditionally known as La Serenissima was a sovereign state and maritime republic in northeastern Italy, which existed for over a millennium between the 7th century and the 18th century from 697 AD until 1797 AD. It was based in the lagoon communities of the historically prosperous city of Venice, and was a leading European economic and trading power during the Middle Ages and the Renaissance.
The Marriage of the Sea, sometimes referred to as the Marriage of the Adriatic, was an ancient ceremony which used to symbolize the maritime dominion of Venice.
In October 1920, General Jozef Haller was named commandant of the Pomeranian Front of the Polish Army, a unit created to peacefully recover former German Empire's province of Pomerelia, which was granted to the Second Polish Republic by the Versailles Treaty. On 18 January 1920, units of the 16th Infantry Division entered Torun (Thorn), and in the following days, Polish soldiers moved northwards, finally reaching the Baltic Sea coast on February 10. Their progress was slow but steady, with a few incidents of sabotage, carried out by the retreating Germans.
Pomerania is a historical region on the southern shore of the Baltic Sea in Central Europe, split between Germany and Poland.
The German Empire, also known as Imperial Germany, was the German nation state that existed from the unification of Germany in 1871 until the abdication of Kaiser Wilhelm II in 1918.
Pomerelia, also referred to as Eastern Pomerania or as Danzig Pomerania, is a historical region in northern Poland. Pomerelia lay on the southern shore of the Baltic Sea, west of the Vistula river and east of the Łeba river. Its biggest city was Gdańsk. Since 1999 the region has formed the core of the Pomeranian Voivodeship. Gdańsk Pomerania is traditionally divided into Kashubia and Kociewie.
Early in the morning of February 10, General Haller and his staff, on the way from Torun (Thorn) to Puck, met at Danzig Hbf. rail station with members of Polish community of the Free City of Danzig. Haller, fearing a German provocation, stayed in the train, which was entered by Dr. Jozef Wybicki, grandson of Jozef Wybicki, who handed to him two platinum rings, funded by Polish families of Danzig. One of the rings was later thrown into the sea in Puck.
The Free City of Danzig was a semi-autonomous city-state that existed between 1920 and 1939, consisting of the Baltic Sea port of Danzig and nearly 200 towns and villages in the surrounding areas. It was created on 15 November 1920 in accordance with the terms of Article 100 of the 1919 Treaty of Versailles after the end of World War I.
After the meeting, the train with Haller and other Polish officials headed for Puck, where it was welcomed by crowds of Kashubians. At the Puck Rail Station the General mounted a horse, heading towards the sea with a unit of uhlans. The symbolic event was witnessed, among others, by Wincenty Witos, Stanislaw Wojciechowski, Maciej Rataj, Pomeranian Voivode Stefan Laszewski, Polish envoy to Free City of Danzig Maciej Biesiadecki, General Kazimierz Sosnkowski, Dr Jozef Wybicki, and the "King of the Kashubians, Antoni Abraham". Main point of the ceremony was marked by a Roman Catholic service, with a sermon told by Reverend Jozef Wrycza. Flag of the Polish Navy was blessed, and then, to the salvo of 21 guns, it was raised on a mast by sailors Eugeniusz Pławski and Florian Napierala. This symbolically meant that from then on, Polish seacoast was guarded by the Navy.
The Kashubs are a West Slavic ethnic group native to historical region of Pomerelia (Kashubia) in modern north-central Poland. Their settlement area is referred to as Kashubia. They speak the Kashubian language, which is classified either as a separate language closely related to Polish, or as a Polish dialect. Analogously to their linguistic classification, the Kashubs are considered either an ethnic or a linguistic community.
Wincenty Witos was a prominent member of the Polish People's Party (PSL) from 1895, and leader of its "Piast" faction from 1913. He was a member of parliament in the Galician Sejm from 1908–1914, and an envoy to Reichsrat in Vienna from 1911 to 1918. Witos was also a leader of Polish Liquidation Committee in 1918, head of the Piast party, and member of parliament in the Polish Sejm from 1919-1920.
Maciej Rataj was a Polish politician and writer.
General Haller in his memoirs (published in 1964 in London) wrote that on that day, the Bay of Puck was frozen, so local fishermen cut an ice hole, into which Haller threw the ring. Before it fell into the water, the ring rolled on the ice: "Several fishermen ran after the ring, but none of them managed to catch it, and it fell into the icy water. When I asked why they did not catch it, the fishermen prophetically answered they would catch it in Szczecin". After throwing the ring into the water, Haller said the following words: "In the name of the Holy Republic of Poland, I, General Jozef Haller, am taking control of this ancient Slavic Baltic Sea shore". Wojciech Kossak, inspired by these events, painted in 1931 "Polish Wedding to the Sea".
London is the capital and largest city of both England and the United Kingdom. Standing on the River Thames in the south-east of England, at the head of its 50-mile (80 km) estuary leading to the North Sea, London has been a major settlement for two millennia. Londinium was founded by the Romans. The City of London, London's ancient core − an area of just 1.12 square miles (2.9 km2) and colloquially known as the Square Mile − retains boundaries that follow closely its medieval limits. The City of Westminster is also an Inner London borough holding city status. Greater London is governed by the Mayor of London and the London Assembly.
The Bay of Puck or Puck Bay, is a shallow western branch of the Bay of Gdańsk in the southern Baltic Sea, off the shores of Gdańsk Pomerania, Poland. It is separated from the open sea by the Hel Peninsula.
Szczecin is the capital and largest city of the West Pomeranian Voivodeship in Poland. Located near the Baltic Sea and the German border, it is a major seaport and Poland's seventh-largest city. As of June 2018, the population was 403,274.
The 1920 wedding to the sea took place north of the Port of Puck, in the area which belonged to the Naval Airforce. A commemorative post was later erected there, with a Polish eagle and the date. The post was destroyed during the 1939 German Invasion of Poland. Its replica now stands in the Port of Puck, next to the bust of General Haller.
On February 11, 1920, a day after the symbolic wedding, Kashubian fishermen invited Haller to Wielka Wies (now Władysławowo), to carry out another ceremony, this time in the open waters of Baltic Sea. Haller accepted the invitation, and entered a cutter "Gwiazda Morza" ("Star of the Sea"). This made the General a very popular person among the locals. Haller himself purchased a plot of land near Wielka Wies, founding a district called Hallerowo. The town of Władysławowo was created after a merger of Wielka Wies and Hallerowo.
In the early spring of 1945, a number of symbolic Weddings to the Sea took place along the Baltic Sea coast. The most well-known such ceremonies were on March 17, 1945, at the town of Mrzeżyno (Regamünde), and on March 18 at Kołobrzeg (Kolberg). This is what Polish historian Hieronim Kroczynski wrote in his book "Polskie tradycje morskie 967-1945" ("Polish Naval Traditions 967 - 1945"):
"In early 1945, the First Polish Army, formed in the Soviet Union, and subordinated to the Soviet 1st Belorussian Front, reached Pomerania, the ancient land of the Piasts, which was to become Polish again. During the Pomeranian Operation, as our units approached the sea, Polish soldiers remembered the historic 1920 Wedding to the Sea. The 1945 ceremony took place in war situation, as until the end of the war, the 10-kilometer wide strip of coast was officially regarded as frontline. The headquarters of the First Army decided that its units were to organize their own weddings. These ceremonies took place from March 15 to April 6, along the Baltic Sea coast from Dziwnow (Berg Dievenow) to Gdynia (Gdingen). In the spirit of the 1920 tradition, rings were thrown into the water, and oaths of allegiance to the sea were sworn by the participants. Furthermore, in several cases flags of military units were dipped in water. On March 17, 1945, First Warsaw Cavalry Brigade had its own ceremony at Mrzeżyno, and on March 18, main ceremony of both First and Second Army took place at Kołobrzeg".
Polish historian Hieronim Kroczynski from Kolobrzeg, who has been investigating Polish weddings to the sea says that the first ceremony of this kind in 1945 took place on March 8, near the village of Grzybow, west of Kolobrzeg. On that day, a patrol of the 16th Infantry Regiment reached the shore. Colonel Wladyslaw Jurak, who had been a schoolteacher before the war, told the soldiers about the 1920 wedding, and the group spontaneously decided to repeat the ceremony.
News of this event reached headquarters of the 6th Infantry Division, to which the 16th Infantry Regiment belonged. Soon, General Michal Rola-Zymierski found out about it, and on March 10, 1945, text of the oath taken during weddings to the sea was printed by a Polish Army newspaper "Zwyciezymy": "I swear to you, Polish Sea, that I, a soldier of the Homeland, faithful son of the Polish nation, will not abandon you. I swear to you that I will always follow this road, the road which has been paved by the State National Council, the road which has led me to the sea. I will guard you, I will not hesitate to shed my blood for the Fatherland, neither will I hesitate to give my life so that you do not return to Germany. You will remain Polish forever".
Soon afterwards, a number of weddings took place:
On March 17, 1945, two fully armed regiments of uhlans of the First Warsaw Cavalry Brigade stood ready at the main market square at Gryfice (Greifenberg). Following the order of their commandant, Major Stanislaw Arkuszewski, the soldiers headed towards Mrzeżyno, via Trzebiatow (Treptow an der Rega). After reaching the coastline, corporal Sochaczewski and uhlan Kobylinski rode their horses into the water, throwing two rings, which they had received from Major Arkuszewski. At the same time, uhlans of the 2nd and 3rd Regiments said the following words: "We swear eternal allegiance to the sea". Some sources claim that the oath was taken only by Major Arkuszewski.
The tradition of the 1945 wedding is still alive in Mrzeżyno. Every year, patriotic events take place on March 17, and the ceremony is repeated by mounted reenactors, with rings thrown into the sea.
First Soviet units appeared in western suburbs of Kołobrzeg (Kolberg) on March 4, 1945. The Battle of Kołobrzeg began on the same day. By March 17, the Germans were pushed back to the beach and the sea, and in the night of March 17/18, the defenders of the city decided to abandon their lines, and evacuate most units to Swinemünde. The ceremony took place on March 18 in the evening. Polish historian Pawel Pawlowski, manager of the Museum of Polish Weapons at Kołobrzeg says that the town was chosen for the main 1945 Wedding to the Sea due to its symbolic importance, as the Germans turned it into a fortress (Festung Kolberg). Furthermore, Nazi propaganda turned the 1807 Siege of Kolberg into a myth, making an expensive film about it.
The decision about the main Kołobrzeg ceremony was taken on March 18 in the morning, after the hostilities had ended. On the same day in the evening, soldiers of the 7th Infantry Regiment of the First Polish Army were to take part in the wedding, which was organized by Colonel Piotr Jaroszewicz, who later became the Prime Minister of Poland. The ceremony began at 4 p.m. Central European Time, or at 6 p.m. Moscow Time, which was used by Soviet forces and Communist Polish troops. At this hour, some 200-300 soldiers of the 7th Regiment stood by the ruins of a fort near the entrance to the Port of Kołobrzeg. Specially constructed stand was filled with political officers, while the nearby lighthouse was in ruins, blown up by German engineers. The evening was cloudy, and soon it became to get dark. The ceremony began with a Roman Catholic service, then Polish national flag was raised, followed by a speech of Major Stanislaw Russijan, commandant of the 7th Regiment. The orchestra played Polish anthem, and another speech was given by Jaroszewicz, who said, among others:
"Remember this day, as it is history. Future generations will talk about this event with respect, like we talk about our great ancestors. You are creating history, like once it was created by Boleslaw Chrobry and Wladyslaw Krzywousty. You have gone the right way, from the Oka river to the Baltic, you have not chosen the wrong way, through the sands of Iran, and the swamps of Italy. That is why you have captured Kołobrzeg".
The ring was thrown into the sea by Corporal Franciszek Niewidziajlo, who himself was born in Kresy, near Zbaraz. Niewidziajlo also gave a speech, saying: "We have come here, to the Sea, after a hard and bloody effort. We see that our effort has not been wasted. We swear that we will never leave you. By throwing this ring into your waves, I am marrying you, because you have always been and always be ours".
Kołobrzeg is a city in the West Pomeranian Voivodeship in north-western Poland with about 47,000 inhabitants. Kołobrzeg is located on the Parsęta River on the south coast of the Baltic Sea. It has been the capital of Kołobrzeg County in West Pomeranian Voivodship since 1999, and was in Koszalin Voivodship from 1950 to 1998.
Józef Haller von Hallenburg was a lieutenant general of the Polish Army, a legionary in the Polish Legions, harcmistrz, the president of the Polish Scouting and Guiding Association (ZHP), and a political and social activist. He was the cousin of Stanisław Haller.
The Battle of Komarów, or the Zamość Ring, was one of the most important battles of the Polish-Soviet War. It took place between 30 August and 2 September 1920, near the village of Komarowo near Zamość. It was the last large battle which cavalry was used as such and not as mounted infantry.
The Polish–Swedish War of 1626–1629 was the fourth stage in a series of conflicts between Sweden and Poland fought in the 17th century. It began in 1626 and ended four years later with the Truce of Altmark and later at Stuhmsdorf with the Treaty of Stuhmsdorf.
The Battle of Kolberg or Battle of Kołobrzeg was the taking of the city of Kolberg, now the city of Kołobrzeg, in German Pomerania by the Soviet Army and its Polish allies from Nazi German forces during the World War II East Pomeranian Offensive. Between March 4 and March 18, 1945, there was major urban fighting of the Soviet and Polish forces against the German army for the control over the city. The Germans succeeded in evacuating much of their military personnel and refugees from the city via sea before it was taken by the Poles on March 18.
The 9th Infantry Division was a unit of the Polish Army in the Second Polish Republic. The division was originally formed in 1919. Stationed in Siedlce, it took part in the Polish September Campaign under Colonel Józef Werobej. The history of the 9th Division dates back to early summer of 1919. It was formed on June 12 of that year, in the region of Polesie, out of units of Operational Group Polesie, commanded by General Antoni Listowski. At that time, it was divided into two Infantry Brigades and one Artillery Brigade:
The Siege of Kolberg ( } took place from March to 2 July 1807 during the War of the Fourth Coalition, part of the Napoleonic Wars. An army of the First French Empire and several foreign auxiliaries of France besieged the Prussian fortified town of Kolberg, the only remaining Prussian-held fortress in the Prussian province of Pomerania. The siege was not successful and was lifted upon the announcement of the peace of Tilsit.
The 13th Wilno Uhlan Regiment was a unit of the Polish army between World War I and World War II.
15th Poznań Uhlans Regiment – unit of Polish cavalry, part of Greater Polands Army, Polish Army of Second Republic and Polish Armed Forces in the West during World War II.
The Battle of Lida took place on 16 and 17 April 1919 around the city of Lida during the Polish–Soviet War of 1919–20. During World War I Lida was occupied by the German troops. In 1919 the Red Army briefly established Soviet power here.
The Charge of Rokitna was a charge of a cavalry squadron of the 2nd Brigade of Polish Legions, fighting for the Austro-Hungarian Army. It took place on June 13, 1915 near the village of Rokytne, which at that time was part of Bessarabia Governorate. A Polish squadron of 70 uhlans, led by Rittmeister Zbigniew Dunin-Wasowicz, attacked positions of the Imperial Russian Army. The battle resulted in a Polish pyrrhic victory: out of 70 soldiers, Poles lost 17 KIA and 23 wounded. Russian losses are unknown.
The First Krechowce Uhlan Regiment was a mounted unit of the Polish Army, active in the Second Polish Republic. Its traditions were continued during World War II, by a regiment of the same name, which was part of Polish Armed Forces in the West. 1st Krechowce Uhlan Regiment was formed in 1915, as a unit of the Imperial Russian Army. It fought in World War I, Polish–Soviet War and the Invasion of Poland, as part of Suwalska Cavalry Brigade. Until 1939, the regiment was stationed in Augustów. It ceased to exist in 1947. First commandant of the regiment was a Tsarist officer of Polish ethnicity, Colonel Bolesław Mościcki, who was killed in 1918 near Łuniniec. Last commandant was Colonel Leon Strzelecki.
The 9th Lesser Poland Uhlan Regiment was a cavalry regiment of the Polish Army, formed on November 21, 1918. Its first commandant was Rittmeister (Rotmistrz) Józef Dunin-Borkowski. The regiment fought in the Polish–Ukrainian War, Polish–Soviet War and the Invasion of Poland. In the Second Polish Republic, it was garrisoned in the towns of Czortków and Trembowla, and in 1939, it was part of Podolska Cavalry Brigade. The 9th Regiment was named after historic Polish province of Lesser Poland.
The 2nd Grochow Uhlan Regiment of General Jozef Dwernicki was a cavalry regiment of Polish I Corps in Russia, Polish Army in the Second Polish Republic, and the Home Army during Operation Tempest (1944). The regiment was formed in November 1917 in Volhynia, and in 1921–1939, it was garrisoned in Suwałki, in the barracks of former Imperial Russian Army's 2nd Pskov Dragoons Regiment. In the 1939 Invasion of Poland it was part of Suwalska Cavalry Brigade.
12th Podolian Uhlan Regiment was a cavalry unit of the Polish Army. It was officially formed in 1919, and existed in various forms until 1947. The regiment fought in Polish-Soviet War and World War II. In the Second Polish Republic, it was garrisoned in the village of Bialokrynica near Krzemieniec, Volhynia. The regiment was part of Wolynska Cavalry Brigade.
14th Jazlowiec Uhlan Regiment was a cavalry unit of the Polish Army in the Second Polish Republic, also a unit of Polish Armed Forces in the West and the Home Army. Stationed in the interbellum period in the garrison of Lwów, it was named after the village of Jazlowiec, where on July 11–13, 1919, one of the battles of the Polish-Ukrainian War took place.
17th Greater Poland Uhlan Regiment of King Boleslaw Chrobry was a cavalry unit of the Polish Army in the Second Polish Republic. Formed in 1919, it was garrisoned in Leszno. The regiment, whose patron was King Boleslaw Chrobry, fought in the Polish–Soviet War and the 1939 Invasion of Poland, as part of Wielkopolska Cavalry Brigade.
18th Pomeranian Uhlan Regiment was a cavalry unit of the Polish Army in the Second Polish Republic. Formed in April 1919 in Poznan, it fought in the Polish-Soviet War and the Invasion of Poland. In the interbellum period, the regiment was garrisoned in Grudziadz. Pomeranian uhlans became famous for the legendary Charge at Krojanty, after which the unit ceased to exist.
The 27th King Stefan Batory Uhlan Regiment was a cavalry unit of the Polish Army during the Second Polish Republic. Formed in July 1920, it fought in the Polish-Soviet War and the 1939 Invasion of Poland. The regiment was garrisoned first in Wloclawek, to be moved in August 1921 to Nieswiez. In 1939, it was part of the Nowogrodzka Cavalry Brigade. It fought in several battles in September 1939, capitulating to the Red Army near Wladypol, on September 27, 1939.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Poland's Wedding to the Sea .|