Warsaw, German occupation, German victory parade

During German occupation

Tadeusz Paciorkiewicz in Warsaw, 1938

Tadeusz in Krakowskie Przedmieście St. in Warsaw, 1938 /photographer unknown/

During the second year of my study, I found employment as an organist at the Jesuit Church in Świętojańska St. in Warsaw. There, I worked and studied until 1939 when I enrolled in the army. Initially, I was in service in Toruń, and then in Wesoła near Warsaw [2]. After the German attack, my unit was sent eastwards. The well known events happened so fast that I had not shot one bullet when the Germans took control over these areas. Most of my colleagues were imprisoned. I avoided this fate because I had put on civilian attire earlier than others [3]. At that moment, I set off to walk towards Warsaw, anxious about my fiancee Zofia Wiaczkis and her family. Luckily, I found her at a different address where she stayed with her family. Their apartment had been partly destroyed by bombs. I started to seek ways to support us. In Warsaw, I had no chance of succeeding in this, so I decided to visit my father, who was staying with my brother Józef in our family town of Sierpc.

Tadeusz Paciorkiewicz, 1938

Tadeusz in 1938 /photographer unknown/

On the way from Warsaw to Sierpc my train stopped in Nasielsk. It was announced that the stop would take several hours. I took this opportunity to visit Professor Jan Bieniek, my acquaintance who had always been very friendly towards me, and who worked as an organist in Nasielsk [4]. He welcomed me very kindly and even offered me a job as an assistant organist at the then huge Nasielsk parish. Very glad, I went on to Sierpc to my father. I found my family town changed. On many houses, swastika flags were waving. The town was full of Germans in Wehrmacht and SS uniforms. Walking the distance of several kilometres from the train station to the town, I was asked many times to show my ID to the Volksdeutschers. Sierpc and the Sierpc district had always been a home for many German colonists. Now, these people became denunciators bound to destroy the Polish population.

Zofia Wiaczkis, 1938

Zofia Wiaczkis, Tadeusz’s fiancee, 1938. /photo by FOTO MORO Warszawa/

Finally, I reached my father’s home and found father very depressed by what had happened. He was glad to see me back home. After a short stay with my father I took my salvaged clothes and books and went back to Nasielsk. I stayed there for nearly a year, helping Mr Bieniek and giving private piano classes to the local girls. During my stay in Nasielsk, I would cross the green border and go to the General Gubern (Poland under German occupation) several times (Nasielsk belonged to the German Reich under the new administrative division). Perhaps I would have stayed longer in Nasielsk, but it became increasingly difficult to cross the border. Those who were caught were beaten or placed in labour camps.

Tadeusz and Zofia

Wedding ceremony of Tadeusz and Zofia /photographer unknown/

After I had handled all the formalities in Ciechanów (Bezierk Ziechenau), I left the hospitable home of Mr and Mrs Bieniek in Nasielsk and returned to my former place in 14 Freta St. in Warsaw. I remained unemployed for several months, which made my situation extremely difficult, but then, absolutely by chance, I found a job as an organist at the St Martin’s Church in 10 Piwna St. That was a really happy moment in my life. In addition to a small salary, I got a two room apartment with a kitchen, and me and my beloved Zosia Wiaczkis could finally marry, which we did in 1941.

At that time I started a life that was normal, by the standards of the German occupation times. The St. Martin’s was not a parish. It was administered by a kind elderly man, priest Dr. Marcin Szkopowski. In order to support myself somehow, I had to take various jobs, e.g. I taught singing at several schools, including the secret Queen Jadwiga High School (of which Mrs. Zanowa was the headmistress), the Industrial School in Konopczyńskiego St. (where Mr Lipczyński was the headmaster), and the comprehensive schools in 10 Freta St. and in Górczewska St. (both were schools of the Res Sacra Miser Warsaw Philanthropic Society). I also gave private piano classes and managed amateur choirs. All this put me in great danger, because of the incessant street round-ups and the threat of being taken as a slave labourer to the Reich or even worse, to a labour camp.

Tadeusz Paciorkiewicz, 1943

Tadeusz playing organs in Warsaw Conservatory, 1943 /photographer unknown/

The jobs that I had did not overshadow the main purpose of my life, which was to continue my musical education. I established contact with my professors: Kazimierz Sikorski, Bronisław Rutkowski, Artur Taub and Jerzy Lefeld. At that time, all of them were already working at the restored Conservatory, which the Germans had renamed as Staatliche Musikschule in Warschau. According to the invaders’ intent, this was supposed to be a high school, but the professors were secretly teaching the Conservatory’s curriculum. I was anxious to keep expanding my artistic knowledge, which gave me the strength to work and to survive the terrible time of the occupation. In 1943, I graduated from the organ group and got my diploma [5]. Then, I started composition studies under the direction of Prof. Kazimierz Sikorski. I got my diploma in musical composition only in 1951, as I graduated from the State Higher Music School in Lódz.

…in Płock

/Written by the composer in Warsaw, Poland, on November 20, 1995/

Płock, view on Tumskie hill

Becoming a musician

Tadeusz Paciorkiewicz, 1934

Tadeusz during his studies at Bishop’s Organists School. Płock, 1934 /photographer unknown/

Learning at the Organist School absorbed me very much, and for the four years I was an exemplary student. To demonstrate this, let me just say that I hardly ever went home for holidays or vacations. Instead, I stayed in Płock to practice passionately, taking advantage of the fact that the instruments were not occupied. No wander that doing so throughout the period of my studies, I was a much better student than all of my colleagues. Unfortunately, I had to cope with a permanent shortage of funds, a problem that never ended. Although in the second year of my studies I began to earn my food by playing and singing at chapels, first at the St Joseph Hospice for the Elderly, and then at the Chapel of the Holy Trinity Hospital, I failed to pay my tuition starting from the second year on, and I studied on credit. I wasn’t removed from the school, however, perhaps because as a student, I had excellent results.

Tadeusz Paciorkiewicz, 1934

Tadeusz practising in Bishop’s Organists School. Płock, 1934 /photographer unknown/

The task of the Bishop’s Organists School in Płock was to educate future parish organists. During the four years of study, the school taught the rudiments of such musical subjects as organ and piano playing, and theoretical subjects such as the principles of music, solfege, harmony, music forms, history of music, Gregorian chant, choir conducting, etc, in addition to the specific vocational subjects. In the third year, I started to think about what I would do after completing the studies. In no event did I want to become an organist at some country parish, as was the best scenario for a young graduate of our school. I didn’t wait until I finished my studies, but I went to the Warsaw Conservatory. Mainly, I wanted to see Professor Bronislaw Rutkowski. At the Conservatory, I procured the data on the program requirements for the entry exams to the organ class. I had to pass two exams: the piano and the organ. So, I concentrated all my efforts and diligence on preparing for the entry exam at the Warsaw Conservatory, in addition to preparing for the diploma exam at the Bishop’s Organists School. The results of my hard work were good: from among the forty candidates, I was the only one to be admitted to the fourth year of study, while other graduates of similar musical schools were admitted to the first or the second year. This beginning was encouraging. It was 1936.

Now I had to face new problems: I needed a place to live, food, an instrument to practise, money to pay my tuition, clothes and other things. I asked the Conservatory’s secretary office for a certificate to attest that I had passed the entry exams and I went to see my brother Alfred to ask him for financial assistance. At that time, he worked as a doctor in Daleszyce near Kielce. He appreciated the fact that I had passed the difficult exam and that I was admitted to the leading Polish music school. My brother was proud of me. He bought me a new suit immediately, and gave me some money to pay the first installment of my tuition. Unfortunately, his assistance ended at this point. He was a young doctor then, and he was still furnishing his house and his surgery. For this reason, he could not afford to help me more. Anyway, he helped me a lot. I looked around my new environment and got acquainted with my new colleagues, especially with Franciszek Wesołowski who had been a student for one year already. Then, I started to organise my new life. Wesołowski gave me the address of an honest elderly couple who lived in 14 Freta Street. I stayed with them and my sister Maria paid my rent.

…the War

/Written by the composer in Warsaw, Poland, on November 20, 1995/

Plebanka - a house bought by Teofil in Sierpc.


This biography was written by the composer in Warsaw, Poland, on 20th November, 1995

Teofil Paciorkiewicz

Teofil Paciorkiewicz, mid 30′ of the XX century /photographer unknown/

My father Teofil Paciorkiewicz was a milling master recognised in Sierpc and in the Sierpc district in central Poland. My mother, Józefa nee Frejlich, ran a tailor’s shop which was very popular with the ladies from the town and the surrounding area, in addition to rearing her eight children (two died in infancy).

I was born in Sierpc on the 17th of October 1916 as the eighth, youngest child. Alfred, my eldest brother, of whom our parents were very proud, finished the famous Małachowianka high school in Płock and went to study law to Vilnius. Shortly, however, he changed his mind and moved to Poznań to study medicine. After he had completed his studies, he opened a physician practice in Daleszyce near Kielce, which he would then move to Starachowice, Wieluń and Opoczno. My sisters, Jadwiga and Maria, attended the local girl’s high school of Mrs. Piniarewiczowa.

Józefa Paciorkiewicz

Józefa Paciorkiewicz nee Frejlich during WWI. /photographer unknown/

For lack of funds, however, they had to stop their learning and take care of the house and the younger children after our mother died in 1920. My mother passed away during the difficult post-war period, and her death submerged our house in painful poverty [1]. My elder sister Jadwiga got married, and Maria was sent to the Teacher’s College in Plock, because by brother Alfred had convinced our father that being so talented, she should continue her education. This decision was right, because Maria really was very talented and also very diligent. After she had finished the Teacher’s College in Płock, Maria worked for various village schools, and just before the second world war, she got married. When the war was over, a widow now, she finished higher mathematical studies in Warsaw and started to work as a teacher at the Stanisław Konarski Mechanical School in Warsaw where she worked until she retired. The other two brothers, Kazimierz and Józef, got practical vocations. Kazimierz established a butcher’s shop and Józef opened a confectionery.

My childhood after mother’s death was very difficult. Without her attendance, I had to go through almost all possible diseases. After I finished comprehensive school, I stayed for one year with my father and I helped him at home. At that time, it occurred to father that I should go to the Bishop’s Organists School in Płock. At home, we had cultivated music and song amateur style. My father would encourage us to sing together and he even sent us to violin classes. Now, I was to learn to be a professional musician. I passed the exam successfully.

… becoming a musician


Conference poster

Conference poster

On the 30 November 2013 at the Fryderyk Chopin University of Music in Warsaw took place a conference Understanding Music.

The event was organised on the 15 th anniversary of the composer’s death by  the Department of the Theory of Music.

During the conference the following chamber music pieces were performed: Divertimento, 2nd song from Earth’s Burden – for soprano and piano, 3rd and 4th of the 4 Caprices for Clarinet and Piano and Reed Trio.


Winners of the First National Competition of Young Music Personalities play at the Gala Concerto

Gala Concerto

Winners of the First National Competition of Young Music Personalities play at the Gala Concerto

Winners of the First National Competition of Young  Music Personalities will perform at the in Sierpc on the 8 November 2013.

– Płock Symphonic Orchestra
– winners of the competition: Kamila Sacharzewska, Michał Ochab, Wojciech Ulanowski
– and: Agnieszka Kadłubowska, Artur Paciorkiewicz, Rafał Gzella

Programme of the concerto includes compositions by: T. Paciorkiewicz, M. Kamiński, W. Lutosławski, J. Swidr, W. A. Mozart i J. Ibert.

1st National Competition of Young Music Talents named by Tadeusz Paciorkiewicz

Ogólnopolski Konkurs Młodych Indywidualności MuzycznychOn 11-12 May 2013 in Sierpc, the place where Taduesz Paciorkiewicz was born, the 1st National Competition of Young Musical Talents took place. It was organised by:
– Centre of Art and Culture in Sierpc (Centrum Kultury i Sztuki im. Marszałka Józefa Piłsudskiego w Sierpcu) and
– State Music School in Sierpc (Państwową Szkołę Muzyczną I st. im. Marcina Kamińskiego w Sierpcu).

The honorary patronage over the competition was awarded by  Director of the Centre for Artistic Education in Warsaw (Centrum Edukacji Artystycznej w Warszawie).