5. Warszawska Street
7. The Cathedral

[Kochanowski Street ]

We get to Kochanowski Street and turn left. In Anna Kahan’s time, Kochanowski Street was called Szpitalna Street. From this street, Anna and her friend Itka watched a parade commemorating the celebration of the Constitution of May 3.

During the First World War, three important events took place in Siedlce. In front of the Ogiński Palace, which was then a governor’s seat, where the Act of 5th November 1916 was read. It was a declaration of the Emperors of Germany and Austria-Hungary in which they promised the creation of the independent Kingdom of Poland out of the Polish lands under Russian rule. The conditions were that the Poles joined their armies and participated in the war with Russia.

A year later, on the 100th anniversary of Tadeusz Kościuszko death, at the square between the old church and the old town hall, a monument dedicated to him was unveiled.

However, the most important event was the permission to organize in Siedlce the celebration of the 125th anniversary of the Constitution of May 3. That is how Anna Kuć-Staniszewska, a participant, described this event in the life of the city in her memoirs,

“After long years of foreign rule, the City Council commemorated the first anniversary of the Constitution of May 3 by changing the name of Stodolna Street to 3 Maja Street and approving the renovation of the Ogiński Gate. On this National Day, the German governor, General von Wallenberg issued a confidential order, which guaranteed that there would be no German military intervention on the streets of the Polish city. On this day, the Polish Guard of Honour who wore the national cockades, the Fire Brigade, and the Militia were responsible for maintaining order and security during the patriotic parade.”

Before these events, Anna and her friends had more work than usual as residents of Siedlce ordered new hats to look festively. On this day, Anna wrote in her diary,

“We decorated the balcony over our store with red-white and blue-white banners in honor of the Polish holiday. We also hung up a blue and white Star of David. All the balconies and windows are decorated with banners andthe Polish eagle in a wreath old flowers and leaves. On some balconies there are signs: “God save Poland!”, on others – “Awake!”

After leaving the Mass held in the new church, Anna with her friend Itka stood on Szpitalna Street to watch the parade walking down Długa Street (currently Bishop Świrski Street). The girls saw militiamen at the head of the parade, carrying Polish banners. Then came priests in their vestments, carrying holy pictures. Behind them marched a student band playing Polish patriotic songs, followed by delegations from Polish and Jewish organizations and children from all schools. Firemen were the last in the parade and behind them were the residents of Siedlce.

Anna watched the celebration from one of the oldest streets, whose name “Szpitalna” (Hospital) comes from the military hospital that was built on it in 1829. In the 1920s, the street was renamed Kochanowski Street. Bolesław Sadowski had his photography shop here until 1939.

Walking down Kochanowski Street in a northerly direction, we get to Bishop Ignacy Świrski Street then known as Długa Street. In front of us, we see the building, which now houses The Diocesan Museum and Catholic Radio Podlasie.  When we turn left, soon we reach the cathedral that dominates the majority of the surrounding buildings. In Anna Kahan’s time, it was a new church. Anna mentions the cathedral in her notes made after returning from Pińsk.

5. Warszawska Street
7. The Cathedral
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