New interest inspired

[b]Tadeusz Kosciuszko’s life revealed via old postcards[/b]Tadeusz Kosciuszko lived a life full of trials and adventure. He was born in the village of Marachevshchina (today known as Kosovo in Ivatsevichi District of Brest Region) in late 1845 or early 1846, to a middle class gentrified family. Following in the footsteps of his father, Colonel Ludwik Kosciuszko, our hero chose a military career, studying first in Warsaw, then at military school. Later, he perfected his military engineering skills in practice, studying in Paris, but lacked funds to buy his officer’s commission in the army of the Rzecz Pospolita. Kosciuszko then went into farming, giving painting lessons to the daughters of magnate Jуzef Sosnowski; elder daughter Ludwika fell in love with her teacher but the marriage was never to take place. Kosciuszko sailed first to Gdansk, then to Paris, before setting off from Le Havre to America in 1776 to join the American Independence Army as a volunteer. On 18th October of the same year, American Congress admitted him into the army at the rank of colonel and Kosciuszko became friendly with Thomas Jefferson — the main author of the Declaration of Independence. With all his heart, he adopted freedom-loving, democratic ideas...
Tadeusz Kosciuszko’s life revealed via old postcards

Tadeusz Kosciuszko lived a life full of trials and adventure. He was born in the village of Marachevshchina (today known as Kosovo in Ivatsevichi District of Brest Region) in late 1845 or early 1846, to a middle class gentrified family. Following in the footsteps of his father, Colonel Ludwik Kosciuszko, our hero chose a military career, studying first in Warsaw, then at military school. Later, he perfected his military engineering skills in practice, studying in Paris, but lacked funds to buy his officer’s commission in the army of the Rzecz Pospolita.
Kosciuszko then went into farming, giving painting lessons to the daughters of magnate Jуzef Sosnowski; elder daughter Ludwika fell in love with her teacher but the marriage was never to take place. Kosciuszko sailed first to Gdansk, then to Paris, before setting off from Le Havre to America in 1776 to join the American Independence Army as a volunteer. On 18th October of the same year, American Congress admitted him into the army at the rank of colonel and Kosciuszko became friendly with Thomas Jefferson — the main author of the Declaration of Independence. With all his heart, he adopted freedom-loving, democratic ideas...
His escapades fighting for American independence are well documented and published widely. He was promoted to general and then helped lead the uprising of 1794 for the independence of the Rzecz Pospolita. The life of Andrzej Tadeusz Bonawentura Kosciuszko is now open to all via a unique album entitled Tadeusz Kosciuszko in Old Postcards and Drawings (Minsk, Tekhnalogia, 2011). It is authored by Vladimir Lihodedov, winner of the prize ‘For Spiritual Revival’ — long term collector of postcards and historical researcher. His works are already known in Belarus and throughout the CIS.
His latest book shows not just the iconography of the legendary freedom and democracy fighter, but takes us on a tour of the places where Kosciuszko lived more than two centuries ago. Chapters include Hero’s Biography, Path to Life, The Struggle Begins, Return to Motherland, Leading the Uprising, Glory to the Defeated! and In Descendants’ Memory.
As the foreword tells us: ‘The name of Kosciuszko unites various people on different continents. The national hero of Belarus and of the United States of America is also an honoured citizen of France. Everybody claims him for their own and he is remembered everywhere. This is a wonderful foundation for strengthening understanding between peoples, developing fruitful relations at an inter-personal and inter-state level’.
Scrutinising images of Kosciuszko — as described by several authors and reaching us through reproductions of photos — we gain a sense of a bright, diverse personality. He is enduringly attractive and intriguing: in general’s uniform or civilian clothes; on the sofa at home or in the prison cell where he was visited by Tsar Pavel I; next to Jefferson and Washington; being sworn in on March 24th,1794 in Krakow; and during the battles of Raclawice and Dubienka.
Hundreds of books have been devoted to the freedom fighter, with over two hundred today stored in the US Congress Library — one of the leading world book treasuries. This edition is the first worldwide to contain such rich illustrations of Kosciuszko, however. More surprising is the fact that these illustrations are presented in the form of postcards and graphic work reproductions from the collection of just one person. Vladimir Lihodedov has spent two decades collecting postcards relating to Kosciuszko’s name, travelling across Russia, Ukraine and Europe to attend auctions and contacting many collectors from the USA. Clearly, he is a passionate collector. We can only guess at how much physical and emotional effort has been devoted to the cause.
The postcards closing the book vividly testify to the significance of the man who made such a serious attempt to change the history of Europe as the 18th century ended and the 19th began. In Descendants’ Memory shows the military and political career of our hero, whose deeds are marked by so many monuments in Belarusian towns and villages — Mir, Kobrin, Baranovichi and Brest among them. Streets in Pinsk, Slonim and Volkovysk were named after the hero and, back in 1905, a monument to our fellow countryman was unveiled in Chicago. Milwaukee citizens have commemorated Kosciuszko’s memory via a statue of him on horseback, placed in a park named after the US Army Brigadier General. US Congress not only conferred high military rank on the Belarusian but awarded him a 250-hectare lot, with a life-term pension.
There is even a town of Kosciuszko in the USA and Kosciuszko Mountain in Australia. More such examples can be found in Poland and Ukraine. A magnificent monument to the freedom fighter was erected in Lodz but demolished in 1939; its photo can be found in the album.
The cover of the book bears the words of world famous politician Zbigniew Brzezinski: ‘It is an interesting and educational story of the life of a wonderful hero of the two fraternal nations — Poles and Belarusians, who fought not only for their freedom but also for the freedom of Americans. Kosciuszko’s devotion to the idea of human rights, social justice and national independence is an eternal testimony to his historical greatness’.
The book by the Belarusian collector has already received high recognition from the European Hall of the US Congress Library and I’m convinced it will prove popular. It may inspire new interest in the personality of Tadeusz Kosciuszko in Belarus and far beyond.

By Alex Karlyukevich
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