After Danuta Ombach died in February 2001, it fell to George to clear her Warsaw flat at 52 ul. Kasprowicza, where she had lived for very many years with her mother, Irena Ombach. The flat was small, and Danuta was a hoarder – threw nothing away. This was fortunate, as it turns out, because among all the useless possessions scattered throughout the flat George came across this collection of documents, most of them ranging in date from 1872 to 1918.
All of the documents relate to George’s grandfather Marjan Dudziński (and his wife, Elżbieta, and their children, Irena and Zbigniew) and to two of Marjan’s brothers, Czesław and Józef. The first two were employed by Tsar Alexander III and later by Tsar Nicholas II as Смотритель Дворцовыхъ Зданий, which translates literally as Keeper of the Palace Buildings; a better translation might be Chamberlain. Each in turn – that is, Marjan and Czesław – worked first at the Tsar’s Hunting Lodge in Spała and then at the Tsar’s Palace in Skierniewice. Marjan’s son Zbigniew was certainly born at Spała (in fact at Nowa Spała, which apparently no longer exists, but was presumably close by), though his older sibling Irena was born in Warsaw. Czesław, by the way, never married – and neither did his brother Józef. Many of the documents bear two dates: the earlier one being according to the Julian calendar and the later one according to the Gregorian calendar, first introduced in 1582 and now used in most of the world. Russia, however, did not formally adopt it until 1918.
Note: The documents are presented in date order, starting with the earliest.
CLICK ON ANY DOCUMENT TO VIEW IT. CLICK ‘GO BACK’ (or Alt+Left arrow) TO CLOSE THAT DOCUMENT.
Document 4 | 9 November 1881 – Marjan Dudziński – To do with his military service. Interestingly, it shows his father’s name to be Jan (Russian Ivan) and that he lived in Głuchów (20 km south of Skierniewice and 42 km east of Łódź), then in the Russian part of Poland – or, strictly speaking, part of Russia
Document 9 | 19 October 1888 – Marjan Dudziński – Letter from the Imperial Court telling Marjan that he no longer has charge of the palace at Spała and is instead appointed Intendant of Skierniewice Palace at an annual salary of 1200 roubles, plus an apartment
Document 10 | 15 February 1889 – Czesław Dudziński – By order of His Imperial Majesty Tsar Alexander III’s Cabinet, to the Intendant of Skierniewice Palace Czesław Dudzinski a gem ring is given. This is odd, because in the previous document Marjan was appointed Intendant, yet the ring is being presented to Czesław!
Document 11 | 31 December 1890 – Czesław Dudziński – Given a gem ring by order of Tsar Alexander III. Strangely, the document doesn’t specify which Dudziński is getting the ring; but since it is addressed to the Intendant, and as an earlier document states, the Intendant is Marjan. Probably.
Document 12 | 25 April 1894 – Marjan Dudziński – Letter from the Imperial Court to say that the Intendant of Skierniewice Palace Marjan Dudzinski has been awarded the Order of St. Stanislav (so long as he makes a contribution of 15 roubles to the Treasury of the Duchy of Łowicz!)
Document 13 | 4 May 1894 – Marjan Dudziński – By the Grace of God, we, Alexander the Third, Emperor and Tsar of Russia, Tsar of Poland, Grand Duke of Finland, etc., etc., etc., to our Intendant of Skierniewice Palace, Marjan Anton Dudzinski, for your earnest and diligent service, award you Chevalier of our Imperial and Tsarist Order of our Saint Stanislav, third class… (presumably exhausted by this act of generosity, Tsar Alexander died six months later!)
Document 15 | 1 May 1900 – Czesław Dudziński – By the Grace of God, we, Nicholas the Second, Emperor and Tsar of Russia, Tsar of Poland, Grand Duke of Finland, etc., etc., etc., to our College Registrar, Bookkeeper, and Treasurer of the Administration of the Duchy of Łowicz, Czesław Dudzinski, for your earnest and diligent service, award you Chevalier of our Imperial and Tsarist Order of our Saint Stanislav, third class
Document 17 | 13 August 1905 – Marjan Dudziński – Essentially a CV, listing all his appointments at the Imperial court, salaries, emoluments and Imperial gifts from 1882 to 1912, probably for the purpose of justifying receipt of a pension following 25 years’ service
Document 20 | 9 March 1906 – Marjan Dudziński – Letter on behalf of his Imperial Majesty’s cabinet to Marjan about the arrangements for him to receive some back-pay of pension and other entitlements. At this point he is 48 years old
Document 21 | 26 April 1910 – Józef (Osip in Russian) Dudziński – Made a member of the “Imperial and Tsarist Order of Saint Stanislav third class for his “earnest and diligent service” as “Titular Councillor, Secretary Senior Assistant of the Chancelleries of the Warsaw Police”, whatever that may have entailed!
Document 24 | 14 July 1910 – Elżbieta Dudzińska – Letter from the Imperial Court relating to provisions for Babcia D. to collect 50 roubles by way of contributing to the cost of her late husband’s funeral (kicked in the head by one of his Imperial Majesty’s horses, so it was an industrial accident!). Interestingly, the cashier’s office was only open for 3 hours on two days in the week
Document 25 | 3 August 1910 – Elżbieta Dudzińska / Irena Dudzińska – Acknowledgement from the office of the Court of Empress Marya Fedorovna of the receipt of an application by Elżbieta Dudzińska for her daughter Irena Dudzińska to be accepted as a pupil at Warsaw’s Alexandrinsky-Mariinsky Institute (an academy for budding ballet and opera stars)
Document 26 | 25 September 1910 – Elżbieta Dudzińska / Irena Dudzińska – Further to the letter of 9 August, the application on behalf of Irena Dudzińska is turned down on the grounds that she doesn’t have a scholarship
Document 27 | 14 October 1910 – Elżbieta Dudzińska / Irena Dudzińska / Zbigniew Dudziński – Letter from the Ministry of Finance setting out (as far as I can make out) the pension arrangements following the death earlier that year of her husband Marjan Dudziński. Instruction to pay the two children of Marjan Dudziński a pension (allowance?) of 300 roubles a year, presumably due to the death of the father earlier the same year
Document 29 | 19 October 1910 – Elżbieta Dudzińska – Letter from the Cabinet of His Imperial Majesty explaining pension and allowance arrangements following the death of her husband Marjan on 8 June 1910 (that is according to the Julian calendar; according to the Gregorian calendar he died on 21 June 1910)
Document 33 | 28 December 1910 – Elżbieta Dudzińska / Irena Dudzińska – Letter containing a voucher representing one-half of the educational allowance for the year 1911 for her daughter Irena Dudzińska
Document 35 | 8 February 1912 – Elżbieta Dudzińska / Irena Dudzińska – Letter containing a voucher representing one-half of the educational allowance for the year 1912 for her daughter Irena Dudzińska
Document 39 | 16 February 1913 – Elżbieta Dudzińska / Irena Dudzińska – Voucher for Elżbieta to collect a non-recurrent allowance, as decreed by His Imperial Majesty. She is also informed that Irena has been placed on a list for obtaining an educational allowance
Document 41 | 5 November 1913 – Elżbieta Dudzińska – Voucher enabling Elżbieta to collect 50 roubles as an educational allowance for her daughter Irena – on the occasion of the 300th anniversary of the Romanovs’ reign!
Document 45 | 1916 – Czesław Dudziński – Undated certificate stating that Czesław, having been released from his duties due to wartime conditions, is nevertheless first in line to take up any post that becomes available at the Imperial Court
Document 48 | 23 September 1916 – Czesław Dudziński – According to this extract from register of the Roman Catholic church in Nizhny Novgorod (a city lying 418 km east of Moscow), Czesław died, aged 56, of pneumonia on the Kursk – Moscow –Nizhny Novgorod railway on 17 September 1916. Buried in the Russian Orthodox cemetery in Nizhny Novgorod on 20 September 1916. The letter states that Czesław was “hereditary nobleman of Warsaw Province, Court Councillor of the Cabinet of His Imperial Majesty of the Duchy of Lowiec”
Document 49 | 9 December 1916 – Czesław Dudziński – List of persons to whom various medals were awarded, including Czesław who, as Bookkeeper/Administrator of the Duchy of Łowiec, received the medal of the Imperial Order of Saint Stanislav, second class
Document 50 | 29 November 1917 – Józef Dudziński – Form card from the Red Cross responding to an enquiry from Józef concerning Elżbieta Dudzińska (his sister-in-law). Not clear if she was a ‘captive’, ‘hostage’ or simply an ‘inhabitant of the occupied territories’. This being after the October Revolution, anything was possible
Document 56 | 25 December 1918 – Józef Dudziński – Laissez-passer allowing Józef to return from Moscow to his home in Warsaw, plus a parallel document allowing him to take his goods and chattels with him