The 70th anniversary of the shooting of Captain Tadeusz Ziolkowski
Glittering in the sun, the Memorial to the Defenders of the Polish Coast at Westerplatte and the military dress uniforms of the Border Guard Maritime Unit orchestra provided a picturesque setting for the commemoration ceremony of the heroic Commodore at the Port and Waterways Board in the Free City of Gdansk, Captain Tadeusz Ziolkowski. 26 March saw the gathering of those who cherish the ideas which are more important than death.
- No words are too grand to commemorate the remarkable commitment of Captain Ziolkowski - stated PGA SA President of the Board Ryszard Strzyzewicz.as he opened the ceremony. - In a time of bold, black-or-white choices, during the struggle against the German Nazism, the manifestation of the Polish raison d'état was often synonymous with persecutions - or even tantamount to passing a death sentence on oneself.
A similar reflection was voiced by Ewa Kaminska, Deputy Mayor of the City of Gdansk and Henryk Bajduszewski, Vice-Chairman of the section of the Polish Veterans' and Former Political Prisoners' Association in Nowy Port. It is 70 years today since the criminal act of a collective murder was perpetrated by Germans on the Polish community activists in Gdansk. On 11 January and 22 March 1940, in the woods nearby the Stutthof death camp, 89 Poles were executed, among them Tadeusz Ziolkowski. The direct cause of his arrest was his lack of approval for the entering of the German battleship "Schleswig-Holstein" into the Gdansk port. During his lifetime, he demonstrated on many occasions his Polish consciousness. Let us bring to mind his actively taking part in the formation of the Polish Maritime School in Tczew - a predecessor of the present Maritime Academy in Gdynia, the time when he was in command of the school sailing ship "Lwow", or another time when he worked at the Port and Waterways Board of the Free City of Gdansk.
The flowers laid in honour of Master Mariner Tadeusz Ziolkowski symbolize the appreciation and gratitude for his achievements and sacrifice of his life. It is a positive sign that among the guests invited by PVFPPA and PGA SA -- representatives of the local administration and maritime authorities, port companies, sail clubs, the clergy, police, Border Guard and the Port Security Guard - the event was attended by the youth of the Maritime Schools in Nowy Port. It was the young people, their up-bringing and education that were the focus of Captain Ziolowski's dedication and effort for the best time of his life. The young people of today seem to lack the role models or examples for them to follow as the bold black-or-white choices are not only relevant in a time of war.
The commemoration ceremony at the Gdansk port was also attended by Janina Szalla, village leader of Wiskitno where 124 years ago this most Prominent Sailor of the Polish Republic was born. She brought with her an invitation for all those who have great reverence for the Captain to visit his birthplace on 5 June 2010 when Wiskitno holds the birthday celebrations of Tadeusz Bonifacy Ziolkowski.