Social rehabilitation through history
Project „Social rehabilitation through history” was about renovating a few mass graves located at the Military Cemetery in Płock, by Norbertańska Street 25. Funding for the project was received from the ORLEN Foundation.
Thanks to the received funds we managed to restore proper appearance of five mass graves and one individual grave – captain Mieczysław Głogowiecki’s. There were five students of the Płock prison school engaged in these activities who, under the supervision of the school teachers-members of the association, spent seven working days at the cemetery, bringing back proper appearance of the graves. The works included meticulous cleansing of all concrete elements (edges of the graves and crosses) off dirt and moss, digging the soil and removing all unnecessary items – roots, tree branches, chestnuts, stones, etc. We also painted all concrete elements and brought new soil.
Works were conducted in quite difficult conditions but thanks to the common engagement and put efforts we manager to finish them very efficiently and the final result, in our opinion, is very effective.
It is worth mentioning that when about our initiative heard students of the Grammar School of the Płock Educational Association, they decided to come and help us. Altogether twelve students of this school came to the cemetery and we worked for one full day together. Young people worked very productively and in fact helped us significantly in our efforts.
Possibly, in the future we will manager to run more activities at the cemetery, since several dozen of graves still need restoration. Within this edition of the programme “Czuwamy! Pamiętamy!” („We stand by! We remember!”) we managed to do as much as the budget and our capabilities allowed us to do.
Hereby, we would like to thank all who supported us! We hope that together we have a feeling of a well done job!
An additional activity that we introduced within the project was a history lesson which was prepared by our school history teacher. Participants of the lesson found out how and when the Military Cemetery was brought into existence and why there are graves of German, Russian and Polish soldiers.
Why did we get engaged in the project?
The Military Cemetery in Płock, which is located at Norbertańska Street 25 is fenced with a wall and for many years, generally speaking, it is maintained in an orderly manner. There are over fifty individual graves and many mass graves. The Cemetery was set up at the end of XIX century by Russians. Since the very beginning, the element of our interest were mass graves of the Polish soldiers who died fighting for the freedom of our motherland in 1920, as well as the individual grave of captain Mieczysław Głogowiecki, the commander of the Reserve Battalion, 6th Infantry Regiment of the Legions, who died near Płock (namely in Trzepowo) on 18 August 1920, who was repelling the attack of the 14th cavalry squadron of the enemy’s 3rd Horse Corps.
In the area of our interest we had a few Memorial Sites in Płock. At the beginning we were interested in graves located at the cemetery at Kobylinskiego Street in Płock (so called “old cemetery”). There are quite a few graves there, that are very well maintained and there is no need to put funds in their proper maintenance. Other graves, on the other hand, are in such a bad condition, that the amount of money that we would apply for within the programme “Czuwamy! Pamiętamy!” („We stand by! We remember!”), would definitely be insufficient to conduct proper and thorough renovating works of these graves. That is why we decided to pick the Military Cemetery in Płock, where mass graves are in such a state that it would allow us to put enough effort so that the final outcome could be satisfying for all sides – the donor, which is the ORLEN Foundation, the Municipal Council, as the institution responsible for maintenance of Memorial Sites in Płock and our association as the beneficiary of the programme “Czuwamy! Pamiętamy!” („We stand by! We remember!”), since thanks to the participation in the project we are able to fulfil our constitutional objectives and the objectives that we chose when applying for the funds (more about them – below). A very important is also the fact that we enagaged in the project voluntary workers who were doing the works – namely prisoners from the Płock prison. Their advantage was that thanks to their engagement they had a chance to temporarily leave prison premises and spend their time in a more effective way to the benefit of the local community.
Care and upkeeping of the Military Cemetery in Płock is mainly the responsibility of the Płock Municipal Council but because of the fact that there are relatively quite a lot of different Memorial Sites in Płock under their management, not all of the works may be done in a proper way. Moreover, until recently, many Memorial Sites in Płock were taken care of by pupils of Płock schools (the Military Cemetery was also under such supervision). Unfortunately, nowadays, this practice has been abandoned, because of which many Memorial Sites (among which the mass graves in question) do not receive proper care, which they obviously deserve.
Taking into consideration all of the above, we have chosen the mass graves in question as well as the grave of captain Mieczysław Głogowiecki which can be found at the Military Cemetery in Płock, at Norbertańska Street 25.
Objectives of the project.
– commemorating soldiers who died fighting for the freedom of the motherland in 1920
– taking care of the mass graves of the mentioned above soldiers and carrying out cleaning and renovating works at the Military Cemetery in Płock, at Norbertańska Street 25.
– carrying out named above works,
– developing knowledge about history of Płock and fights for freedom of Poland among inmates from Płock prison,
– developing respect for history of Płock and Poland among inmates from Płock prison,
– shaping patriotic attitude among inmates from Płock prison,
– social rehabilitation through history,
– awakening prosocial attitude among inmates from Płock prison.
An additional objective, a very important from the point of view of the ones who were engaged in the activities at the cemetery (namely, prisoners) was enabling a chosen group of students-inmates a possibility to temporarily leave prison premises to renovate mass graves at the Military Cemetery. An option to temporarily leave the prison is one of the most important social rehabilitation factors, since thanks to this, prisoners have a chance to spend their time in conditions different from the ones they face in penitentiary isolation. It has a huge, positive impact on the social rehabilitation factor itself as well as it is a very important educational and psychological element.