The Priest Jan Klein Medal is an award given by the Szubin Cultural Society to social activists and figures who are active in cultural creativity, cultivation of regional traditions, as well as distinctive organizational and dissemination activity in the field of culture. This is the seventeenth year the medal has been awarded, previously to 32 people.
This year two new laureates have joined this group. The first laureate, canon Leszek Kroll, the parish priest of St. Vitus in the village Słupy, was recognized for his outstanding and long-lasting social activities promoting culture in rural areas. The second laureate, Dr. Mariusz Winiecki, a research scientist at the Institute of Technology at Casimir, the Great University in Bydgoszcz, was recognized for his persistent scientific activity propagating knowledge about Oflag 64 and other former P.O.W. camps located in Szubin during WWII. The presentation of the medals took place on June 8th, 2017 during a special ceremony at the Regional Public Library in Szubin.
The patron of the medal, Jan Klein, was born in 1885 in village Szwederowo (German: Schwederowo), currently an estate of the city of Bydgoszcz. He was a Catholic priest, librarian, museumologist and historian. His priestly ordination was received on January 30, 1910 in Poznan. In December 1920 he began working as an archivist in the Bydgoszcz City Hall. On April 1, 1921, with the approval of the City Council of Bydgoszcz, he began working in the city administration as a city librarian, with the title of archivist. Until July 31, 1921 he worked as a curator in the City Library and at the same time as deputy director. On July 1, 1923, he was entrusted with organizing the Municipal Museum with the title of director. In this position he turned out to be a good organizer, working primarily on organizing museum collections. In addition, he was involved in social work, working in Polish scientific societies.
On January 27, 1926, he left the Bydgoszcz city administration. In 1928 he was appointed the rector of the presbytery in Chomętowo near Szubin, where he worked until the outbreak of World War II. On 5 November 1939 he was arrested by the Nazi-Germans. He was imprisoned in the camps in Szubin, then in Grupa (German: Gruppe) near Grudziądz and in Nowy Port (German: Neufahrwasser), district of Gdansk. In 1940 he was taken to the Nazi concentration camp in Sztutowo (Konzentrationslager Stutthof) and from there to Sachsenhausen-Oranienburg (Konzentrationslager Sachsenhausen), where he was tortured to death. He died on May 27th, 1940.
Memorial plaque on the wall of the church in Chomętowo.
© Mariusz Winiecki
Photos by Joanna Winiecka
Press Coverage (in Polish):
Regional Public Library (photos)
More Press Coverage (in Polish):
About Jan Klein (in Polish)
PS: BTW, the message from former POW of Oflag 64, Donald Waful, sent on his 101st Birthday, Thx to Jefferson Waful