“Work” – an art persecuted by the communists

In the years 1945-1953 in Czestochowa, a special factory for ceramic products “Dzyach” was created, which, despite the difficult post-war times, successfully sold religious products in Poland and abroad, which are distinguished by a high technical level, and at the same time created employment for professional artists . Gazeta Częstochowska is the media sponsor of the upcoming exhibition this year on the company’s activities, organized by the Częstochowa Museum under the direction of art historian Dr. Katarzyna Sucharkiewicz. In 2021, the museum received funding from the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage to implement the project (an exhibition with an accompanying comprehensive catalog). We have a conversation with Agata Ostaszewska, an eyewitness to the events of those years, the daughter of Stanisław and Kazimiera Ostaszewski, who directed the poster.

Agata, what are the beginnings of the “Dziach” ceramic products factory? Who was the originator? Who was responsible for the label?

– In the Mujahideen. St. Rocha 38 existed before the war “Porcelain Factory”. Wytwórnia Figur Porcelanowych Spółka z o. O. to Jadwiga Sulatycka, who wanted to sell it immediately after the war, and intended to emigrate to Canada. My father returned from the war and was looking for a job that would allow him to support his family (after the September campaign, he fought almost the entire German occupation in the Home Army units in the Kielce region, as of November 1944 he was imprisoned by the UBP in Lublin Castle for several months). On the part of the Sisters of the Resurrection, an initiative came out that takes over the organization and management of the “Porcelain Factory …”. Specifically, the initiators were S. Jozafata Bogolubow and S. Aniela Józefowicz, a graduate of the Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts. My mother knew the latter since before the war, conducting educational activities and organizing art performances for the soldiers of the 27th Infantry Regiment (Czestochowa, in which my father served). For this, they both received the 27th PP badge, while Sister Angela was the only religious sister to be adorned with this badge. S. Aniela has also taken care of artistically gifted children and she is also known as Mrs. Sulatycka. At that time, the artist Wanda Szrajberówna (a graduate of the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw, also studied in Paris and Mulhouse), Zofia Trzcińska-Kamińska (also after the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw and educated in Vienna), appeared in Czestochowa, the Boszalczow family was present in Czesto Also joining the team were Irina Lachovich, a native of Vilnius, and her sister Joanna Ornina, with whom was the painter and stained-glass artist Zofia Badoin de Courtenay, known as the author of the stained-glass window of Divine Mercy, which we can admire in St. Peter’s Basilica. Exaltation of the Holy Cross in Czestochova.

Until 1931, Szrajberówna was the Artistic Director of the Experimental Station of People’s Ceramics, founded in 1924, of the Society for the Promotion of Popular Industry. The facility was located in Wiśniewo near Tarchomin, in the immediate vicinity of Warsaw. However, in Shestoshova, she probably appeared in 1942, joining the secret education system – the SS. Josavata Bogolobo and Anjela Josifovic ran the experimental educational center called “Buda”, where there were artists interested in religious art. You can read about it in E. Miecznikowska’s book Wanda Wanda’s Wiśniewska Bowl, published by the Płock Museum in 2019.

I would like to note that the real sister of Mrs. Solatica was the sister of the Resurrection Alicia Kotowska, who was shot in Piašnica and called “Pomeranian Katyn” in Gdansk-Pomerania at the end of 1939, when the Germans carried out mass killings of Poles, especially those involved in them. In independence activities during the birth of the Second Polish Republic.

Finally, the lease agreement for the factory and occupied premises in the office of lawyer Tadeusz Zyzeki in Czestochova was drawn up on October 28, 1946, despite the establishment of the “bond” in 1945.

How was the relationship with the communist government at that time? Does the poster contain free production?

From the beginning, they made activities difficult, oppressed with high taxes, and revolted the workers through their “men” in the trade unions. They did not like the private initiative itself, but they also did not like the sacred nature of the products. In order to “confuse the opponent”, products of a secular nature were introduced into production, such as brooches or animal figurines (Agata shows an intricate statue of a saluki).

How were the products evaluated by pilgrims interested in art?

The best evaluation indicator was massive demand and selling of products. 10 thousand copies of Our Lady of Częstochowa were sold to the United States, and large shipments were shipped to Japan. It is worth emphasizing that both countries do not belong to the Catholic circle of culture. The factory’s products were recognized during the 1948 Paris Exhibition, receiving a gold medal. Of course, it was also sold in Czestochova.

What materials are the products made of?

– They were mainly: clay, plaster, ceramics …

We know that most of the products left by the factory belong to the Ostaszewski family. What is the role of the Ostaszewski family in this work?

– My father ran the whole company, my mother ran the management with Emilia Jagusiakówna, who lived with her brother Zygmunt at the factory. Contrary to appearances, the fact that they held management positions did not translate into a high standard of living, these were very difficult times, all the company’s revenue was quickly spread out in current liabilities, and the factory cash register was often empty.

Why did the label end its activity?

– One day in 1953, representatives of the communist authorities came, ordered them to stop their activities, smash products and other things that were at their disposal. The factory was nationalized, the mothers offered a job there as a labourer, which she did not agree to, and Wanda Szrajpirona worked there only for a few more years as a labourer, and the factory produced only products of a secular nature and of little artistic value. For the next six years, that is, until his death, my father worked in the administration of the State Secondary School of Fine Arts in Chistochova.

What happened to the post-factory buildings after the factory closed in 1953?

From the memories of the Mujahideen residents. Sikorskiego, it seems that after the closing of the “Deed” from the side of Sikorskiego Street, where it was easy to get to the factory buildings, apparently several people came and took the statues. Thus many products were acquired by random people, often saving them from destruction (the communist authorities had one plan for these products – destroy them!). Even after 40 years of closure, sometimes near Jasna Góra it was possible to buy “Dynasty” products, also abroad, at various online auctions, you can now find them, for example in Germany The last purchase I know happened …

Thank you very much for this interview.

Announcer: Maciej Schwerzy

Agata Ostaszyuska (born in 1938), from birth with short breaks, lived in Czestochova, psychologist by education and profession, all his career associated with our city, prominent anti-communist opposition activist in the ranks of the NSZZ “Solidarno”, during both the period of legal activity of the union, but rather Private in underground work (material assistance to families of people held under martial law, distribution of underground press, organization of secret lectures on the modern history of Poland, independent film screenings and other activities), co-founded the Czestochowa Citizens Committee in 1989, which was honored on December 2 2016 by the President of the Republic of Poland Andrzej Duda with the Cross of Freedom and Solidarity.

Gazeta Częstochowska

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