Explorations and choices

 
 
1. Rodzice Wojciecha Korfantego, Karolina z domu Klecha i Józef Korfanty (zbiory Muzeum Historii Katowic)
Wojciech Korfanty’s parents
Karolina née Klecha and Józef Korfanty
(collection of the Museum of the History of Katowice)
2. W latach 1895–1896 Wojciech Korfanty jako wolny słuchacz studiował na politechnice w Charlottenburgu pod Berlinem (zbiory prywatne)
In the years 1895–1896, Wojciech Korfanty studied at the technical university in Charlottenburg in Berlin as an auditor
(private collection)
3. Witold Korfanty (1910¬–1938), najmłodszy syn Wojciecha Korfantego (zbiory Muzeum Historii Katowic)
Witold Korfanty (1910-1938)
Wojciech Korfanty’s youngest son
(collection of the Museum of the History of Katowice)
4. Elżbieta z domu Sprott (1882–1966), żona Wojciecha Korfantego (zbiory Muzeum Historii Katowic)
Elżbieta née Sprott (1882-1966)
Wojciech Korfanty’s wife
(collection of the Museum of the History of Katowice)
5. Uroczystość zaślubin Marii Bolesławy Ulmann (1908–1996), córki Wojciecha Korfantego, 1931 (zbiory Muzeum Historii Katowic)
Wedding ceremony of Maria Bolesława Ulmann (1908-1996)
Wojciech Korfanty’s daughter, 1931
(collection of the Museum of the History of Katowice)
6. Halszka Aleksandra Rupp (1904–1990), córka Wojciecha Korfantego (zbiory Muzeum Historii Katowic)
Halszka Aleksandra Rupp (1904-1990)
Wojciech Korfanty’s daughter
(collection of the Museum of the History of Katowice)
7. „Elżbiecina” – willa Korfantych w Zakopanem. Wojciech nazwał ją tak na cześć swojej żony (zbiory Muzeum Historii Katowic)
"Elżbiecinia"
Korfanty family’s villa in Zakopane. Wojciech named it in honour of his wife
(collection of the Museum of the History of Katowice)
8. Zbigniew Korfanty w Ojcowie, 1937 (zbiory Narodowego Archiwum Cyfrowego)
Zbigniew Korfanty
in Ojców, 1937
(collection of The National Digital Archives)
9. Korfanty w towarzystwie m.in. swojej żony Elżbiety (zbiory Biblioteki Śląskiej w Katowicach)
Korfanty
in the company of his wife Elżbieta, and others
(collection of the Silesian Library in Katowice)
10. Sadzawki, miejsce, gdzie urodził się Wojciech Korfanty, 1902 (zbiory Archiwum Państwowego w Katowicach)
Sadzawki settlement
in which Wojciech Korfanty was born, 1902
(collection of the National Archive in Katowice)
12. Dom Korfantych przy ul. Powstańców w Katowicach, pocztówka z początku XX w. (zbiory Muzeum Historii Katowic)
Wojciech and Elżbieta Korfanty
wedding photograph, 1903
(collection of the Silesian Library in Katowice)
11. Zdjęcie ślubne Wojciecha i Elżbiety Korfantych, 1903 (zbiory Biblioteki Śląskiej w Katowicach)
Korfanty family’s house
at ul. Powstańców in Katowice, postcard from early 20th century
(collection of the Museum of the History of Katowice)
13. Wojciech Korfanty z synem Witoldem, pierwsza połowa lat trzydziestych XX w. (zbiory Muzeum Historii Katowic)
Portrait of Wojciech Korfanty with his son Witold
early 1930s
(collection of the Museum of the History of Katowice)
14. Elżbieta Korfanty w Zakopanem (zbiory Muzeum Historii Katowic)
Elżbieta Korfanty in Zakopane
(collection of the Museum of the History of Katowice)
15. Wojciech Korfanty z rodziną, druga połowa lat trzydziestych XX w. (zbiory Biblioteki Śląskiej w Katowicach)
Wojciech Korfanty with family
late 1930s
(collection of the Silesian Library in Katowice)

Explorations and choices

Wojciech Korfanty’s road to Polish identity was not simple. Born in 1873, he was faced with a difficult choice of national identity in his youth. At that time, Upper Silesia had belonged to Germany for a hundred years, which necessarily imposed a model of upbringing desired by that state. Thus, Korfanty’s declaration of national identity was a result of his conscious choice. It was undoubtedly affected by Germanization activities, which encouraged him to learn about the culture and history of the nation whose language he spoke at home. Already during his years in middle school in Katowice, he formed a group where he promoted Polish history and literature to ’instil love to Poland and pride in its past‘. In the years 1895–1896, he was an unenrolled student at the Technical University in Charlottenburg near Berlin. He most probably passed an external matriculation exam in Berlin in mid-1896. Then, he enrolled in the Faculty of Philosophy at the Royal University of Wrocław. Korfanty’s university years gave a final shape to his personality. He turned his Polish identity into one of the key elements of his political activity.

Wojciech Korfanty married Elżbieta, née Sprott. Despite the obstacles put in their way by the unfriendly bishop of Wrocław, Georg Kopp, the wedding ceremony finally took place in Cracow in October 1903. Elżbieta, who was faithful to her husband’s ideals, became involved in social and educational activities such as the Reading Room for Women, the Association of Women’s Societies, and also the Association of Polish Women’s Catholic Societies. She took an active part in the Third Silesian Uprising and conducted pro-Polish canvassing activities during the plebiscite. In the years 1930-1935, she was an MP for the Silesian Parliament of the third term. After her husband’s death, she emigrated abroad with her children. In a condolence letter she received from Ignacy Paderewski, the politician emphasized that Poland had lost a great citizen, a devoted son of the church, and a fearless knight of the Republic, who would find the place he deserved on the pages of history, although it was denied to him during his lifetime. After World War II, Elżbieta returned to Poland. In the new reality, she was forced by the government to waive the rights to her property in return for a pitiful pension. She settled in Katowice. She died in 1966.