"The Sułkowski School in Rydzyna 1928-1939. Teachers and Alumni"
The history and achievements of a famous Polish experimental school .

      This book has been published, in 2006, after four years of work. It contains over 400 biographies and 220 photos of the staff of the Sułkowski Foundation, the teachers and its alumni, as well has 20 reflections and memoirs.

Biogramy Biogramy inside

This book is an important contribution to the history of national education in Poland.
Prince August Sułkowski established a school for impoverished gentry in 1774, adjacent to his palace in Rydzyna, western Poland. He created the Sulkowski Foundation in 1783, deeding the entire estate for the purpose of education upon the death of the last of his family. This occurred in 1909 when this part of Poland was occupied by Prussia. After Poland regained its independence in 1918, the entire estate, consisting of 17,648 acres and all the buildings, was returned to the Sulkowski Foundation in 1924. Finally, in 1928 the Sulkowski School was opened, a boarding school with six classes up to Matriculation.

     Tadeusz Łopuszanski was the prime motivator and organizer of this school with a special program. He was a man with a mission. He wished to create a group of young men who would become leaders. They should strive for excellence in chosen fields, with high ethical standards and tolerance, to become examples for others. He believed that by immersing young boys in an isolated environment, in which learning and team sports were almost the only available activities, he could achieve this. Students were required, in addition to excelling in the normal curriculum, to work independently in various study clubs, such as physics, chemistry, biology; and also to participate in social activities to bring education to the population in the adjacent villages.
     114 graduated from the Sulkowski school in Rydzyna and went on to university, another 109 were enrolled in five classes in 1939 when, within hours of the outbreak of World War II on September 1, 1939, Rydzyna was occupied by German troops. Thus ended this unusual educational experiment.

     The Polish communist government confiscated the estates and set up state farms in 1952. In spite of the return of Poland to democracy in 1990, the Polish government continues to hold the property of the Sulkowski Foundation. All efforts of the Łopuszanski Foundation (organized by old students, their families and supporters), which has continously petitioned for restoration of the 200 year old Sulkowski Foundation and for return of its properties, remain so far without success.

     The Sulkowski School has been called an "elite school". It was "elite" in the sense that its educational and behavioral requirements were unusually high. In fact, even those 170 students that left the school because of their failure to meet these standards, excelled at any school they subsequently attended, and together with the Rydzyna alumni went on to unusual achievements in their later life. However, it is important to note that the income from the Sulkowski Foundation provided full or partial scholarships to gifted sons of poorer families. Over 50% of the alumni came from such families. These included 14 peasants, railroad and postal workers;, 13 low level government officials.
     Alumni have received 150 patents in several countries, and have written over 1000 books, articles and scientific papers in 14 languages. Over 80% of the Rydzyniaks fought on the fronts of World War II, and at least 50 perished in battle or in Nazi and Soviet prisons and concentration camps. At least 29 Polish and 33 Australian, British and French top military medals have been awarded to Rydzyniaks.

     Many Rydzyniaks settled abroad as a result of the war and subsequent communist takeover and have made significant contributions to the industries and universities in their new homelands, including North America. For example, the Dean of Architecture at the University of Florida, professor and Founding Director of Institute for Sensory Research at Syracuse University, professors at Boston University and U.C.L.A., have all been Rydzyniaks.

For more information see http://biega.com/rydzyna.html and the links from that page.

"Gimnazjum i Liceum im. Sulkowskich w Rydzynie 1928-1939. Wychowawcy i wychowankowie",
ISBN 920513 (Poland), Hard cover, 422pp. is available from:

In North America: Syrena Press
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