134th birthday of Tekla Tomaszewska-Dembińska – participant in the Września children’s strike
September 12, 2022 is the 134th birthday of Tekla Dembińska née Tomaszewska – a participant in the Września children’s strike. The protest was an expression of opposition to the Germanization of Polish schools during the Prussian Partition.
During this year’s visit to the USA, the Minister of Education and Science, Przemyslav Czarnik, laid flowers at the grave of Tecla Tomashowska-Dempinska. A participant in the Września children’s strike is located in a cemetery in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Tekla Dembińska née Tomaszewska
Tekla Dembińska was born on September 12, 1888 in Września. There was a patriotic atmosphere in her family home. Under her father’s auspices, secret meetings were organized for young people learning Polish and Polish history.
In 1901, she was a student in the last class of the Catholic Folk School in Warzenia. On May 20, 1901, Tekla was flogged with other children who protested the teaching of a catechism in German. Years later, her sister Helena remembered that Takla had come home several times with bloodied hands, and had fainted from physical injuries. On May 6, 1901, Father Takla, along with other parents, sent a letter to the school principal, in which he protested the daily confinement of children in confinement for two hours for not answering in German during religion lessons. On Easter 1902, Takla and other children were extended as punishment for education.
Bani Warzania strike
The protest of students of the Catholic Popular School in Września (Katholische Volksschule) from 1901-1902 is referred to as the Września Children’s Strike. The children protested against the Germanization of the schools, especially the teaching of religion and prayer in German. The most famous incident occurred during the strike on May 20, 1901, when German teacher Schulchen sentenced 14 children to corporal punishment for refusing to answer in German during religion lessons. In response to this incident, the students’ families gathered in front of the school, and the German authorities punished them with imprisonment and fines.
Education through classes
The invaders tried to Germanize the Poles and trove them by all means. One of them was fighting the Polish language. In the Prussian division, the official language was German, and in the Russian division – Russian. In schools, students were punished with corporal punishment for using the Polish language during breaks between lessons, and their parents were fined. The only exception was the possibility of speaking Polish in religion lessons. However, it so happened that the students were forced to learn to pray in German. Due to disobedience – refusal to pray in German, children were beaten, detained after school and forced to do overtime.
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