Volunteers serving in Poland get a unique opportunity to stay at a beautiful and comfortable 200-year-old restored manor house named Reymontówka in Siedlce County. It is, for many volunteers, a highlight of their service program. Reymontówka has a very rich history, having been purchased with award funds by Nobel Laureate Władysław Reymont’s widow, later being taken over by the communists, and since 1999 serving as a cultural center in Siedlce County. Read on for more details about its fascinating history.
Stanisław Władysław Rejment was born in 1867 into an impoverished noble Polish family. Although his parents sent him to Warsaw to be educated by his brother-in-law to become a master tailor, he ran away as soon as he passed his examination and received his journeyman tailor title. It turns out that he loved to travel. He traveled across various Polish provinces and even to Paris and London as part of a theater troupe, but he wasn’t particularly talented and had to look for other jobs. He worked as a gate man and even as a medium, but he had inherited a talent for storytelling from his mother. After writing various short stories and a few novels which received positive reviews, he published Ziemia Obiecana (The Promised Land) in 1899, his first widely-praised novel. When publishing his works, however, he changed his surname from “Rejment” to “Reymont.”
Soon after publishing The Promised Land, Reymont had an accident on the Warsaw-Vienna railway which left him severely injured. Aurelia Szacnajder Szabłowska oversaw Reymont’s care during his recovery. She was a great caretaker and Reymont fell in love with her. In 1902, after paying for the annulment of her earlier marriage, Reymont and Aurelia got married. In 1904, Reymont published Chłopi (The Peasants), his best known novel and the work for which he would be awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1924. Reymont passed away the following year.
In 1926, Aurelia Reymont used part of the Nobel Prize money to buy a 741-acre manor house built for the Różański’s family in the middle of the 19th century and located twelve miles west of Siedlce, Poland. She lived there for thirteen years until 1939 when the mansion together with the manorial estate was bought by Feliks Tymieniecki, the chairman of the “Węgloblok” Coal Company. When the communists took over Poland after WWII they confiscated the property from its owner and the manor house fell into ruin. It wasn’t until 1981 that the communist authorities, through the Culture and Art Department of the Provincial Office in Siedlce, started renovations. A “House of Creative (artistic) Work” was established on the property as a place for artists and scientists to rest and work. “Reymontówka,” as it has since been known, became the cultural center of Siedlce County. Years after the fall of the communist regime, in 1999, ownership of the manor was transferred to its current owner, the County Government of Siedlce.
Reymontówka is now a historic manor featuring a hotel and recreational facilities (including tennis courts, a horse stud, a children’s pool, and a mini open-air museum); a beautiful park with historic trees and ponds; and facilities for cultural, educational, and artistic activities. It has been beautifully restored and is very well kept. Throughout the year Reymontówka holds many cultural events and concerts. Blessed by the natural beauty and charm of the Polish countryside, Reymontówka showcases the beauty, history, and cultural richness of Poland. And it is right at this gorgeous manor house that volunteers can stay when they serve with Global Volunteers in Poland. In fact, it’s so comfortable and beautiful that for many volunteers it’s a highlight of their service program in Poland.
More importantly, Reymontówka is where volunteers can learn about Polish culture and serve local students in English language camps. The County Government of Siedlce itself talks about the importance of our work when describing Reymontówka: “An important element in the activity of the House of Creative Work is cooperation with the American organization Global Volunteers. Americans have been implementing the English language curriculum and care for children with special needs and children from orphanages since 1990 at “Reymontówka”. In total, over 3,000 American volunteers have worked in “Reymontówka” over the past 25 years.”
“An important element in the activity of the House of Creative Work is cooperation with the American organization Global Volunteers. Americans have been implementing the English language curriculum and care for children with special needs and children from orphanages since 1990 at “Reymontówka”.– County Government of Siedlce
If you are thinking about your next service abroad opportunity, you may want to consider serving in Poland and enjoying everything Reymontówka has to offer. The beauty of the manor house, the richness of Polish culture, and the warmth of the Polish children will provide you with sweet memories to treasure forever.
Here are some photos of this gorgeous manor house where Global Volunteers lodge in Siedlce, Poland with activities conducted during service programs:
You may also like: