Lecture of Mr Paul Morrow on the World’s First Peace Museum (1902) in Lucerne presented in the International Peace Museum in Dayton (USA) in June 2022
Lecture of Mr Paul Morrow on the World’s First Peace Museum (1902) in Lucerne presented in the International Peace Museum in Dayton (USA) in June 2022
The Hague is without doubt considered today as the legal capital of the world, the city of peace and justice. The question why, seems to be obvious. The Hague is the seat of many international courts – the International Court of Justice, the International Criminal Court, the International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. If one digs deeper into history one finds out that one of the invisible men to whom the city owes its today's prestigious position is Jan Bloch. In 1899 Tsar Nicolas II initiated the first peace conference which resulted in creation of International Court of Arbitration – the first instrument of modern time for peaceful resolution of the conflicts between the states. A person who inspired and persuaded tsar to call this conference was Jan Bloch, rich industrialist from Warsaw, author of the monumental work "The Future of War". In May 1899, shortly before the opening of the Peace Conference, the Dutch ambassador reported to the minister in the Hague that in St. Petersburg Bloch was called 'the father of the conference'. Indeed his dedication in calling the conference and his activity during it were invaluable and deserve more recognition. Unfortunately his merits are virtually unknown today. During the conference Jan Bloch gave four lectures in Diligentia Theatre, where he expounded his views on the nature of future war, which in his opinion would be suicidal. Evidently, he convinced his audience, as the conference resulted in signing several war conventions, among them one which prohibited the use of chemical gases. In view of the above, the choice of Polish Embassy in the Hague as the place to host seminar on Jan Bloch and launch of the English version of the book "Jan Bloch – Capitalist, pacifist, philanthropist" seems the most appropriate. Particularly, that the embassy is located just a few blocks from the Diligentia Theatre.
On May 5th 2015 Peter van den Dungen, Dutch historian of pacifism and general coordinator for the International Network of Museums for Peace gave a lecture on Jan Bloch's contribution to the pacifist thought and the impact of his pursuits on the international movement against military conflict and peaceful resolution of international conflicts. The lecture was received with great interest by a large crowd of Polish researchers, which was reflected in the discussion that followed. During the meeting Ms. Ewa Szczepańska from the Society of the Francis de Sales Orphanage (Bloch gave land and partially financed its construction) presented the history of the institution and in a broader scope the philanthropic activities of the author of "The Future of War".
On the 10th of March 2015 in the Jewish Historical Institute dr. Andrzej Żor gave a lecture, concentrating on the complicated paths of capitalism development in Poland and the roles, that Jan Bloch and Leopold Kronenberg played in this process. Building capitalism in the XIX century Poland took longer and was more complex than in many other European countries. The reasons were both historical: partitions, diverting paths of capital movement due to the dismemberment of the land, uprisings and changes in the invaders' policies, as well as a specific economic structure, dominated by agriculture and typical attitudes, that remained in the collective consciousness. Knowing this, it is difficult to overestimate the role played by the pioneers of capitalism, among them the most influential and wealthiest businessmen of their time, both unfortunately almost forgotten by the XX century and modern historiography.
During a long and lively discussion many important topics were raised: the role of the Jewish bourgeoisie in the political life of the Kingdom of Poland and their involvement in the January Uprising (Kronenberg, Mikołaj Epstein), the role of women in business, ties, that connected Polish aristocracy to the Jewish financial circles, and the economic activity of other families: Fraenkels, Laskis and Epsteins, among others.
On Thursday evening, 17th of July 2014 in Museum of the History of Polish Jews a meeting took place organised to promote the newest book dedicated to first polish candidate to the Nobel Peace Prize, entitled “Capitalist Pacifist Philanthropist. Jan Bloch (1836-1902)”. The figure of the businessman, active member of the movement encouraging nations to cease further armament and peaceful solutions of international disputes, also promoting many social initiatives and collector of art was introduced by: Daniel Grinberg, Justyna Guze, Elżbieta Mazur and Andrzej Żor. The meeting was conducted by Grażyna Pawlak. It took place the day before 100th anniversary of the First World War and was a good occasion to recall the ideas of Jan Bloch contained in his fundamental work “The War of the Future in its Technical Economic and Political Relations”, in which, long before the outbreak and over 11 years before the well-known in the West book by Norman Angell “The Great Illusion”, warned about the effects of prolonged military conflicts and their consequences in the form of vast devastation of global economy and outbreaks of uncontrolled social revolutions. He was wrong only in one matter: he believed (as did Angell later) that war will not start, due to very strong interdependence of global economy and that the nations and governments will show sufficient rationality to not allow the outbreak of conflict. Unfortunately, the opposite happened.
The panellists presented also information regarding the first War and Peace Museum in Luzern, established on the initiative of Jan Bloch, which gave the start of the global initiative of establishing such institutions around the world to refresh the historical memory and to act as a warning.
The book "Kapitalista, pacyfista, filantrop - Jan Bloch (1836-1902), which was published this April by Wydawnictwo TRIO has received with considerable interest, when presented on the Warsaw Book Fair (22nd to 25th of May 2014) on the Union of Polish Writers stand.
Kapitalista, pacyfista, filantrop" (Capitalist pacifist philanthropist) is the title of the new book dedicated to Jan Bloch, prepared with inspiration from Jan Bloch Foundation by Wydawnictwo TRIO. The book is a joint publication, composed from the articles written by:
*Andrzej Żor, who was also the editor of the book: Kronenberg I Bloch. Studium porównawcze; Postać Jana Blocha w utworach literackich;
*Katarzyna Szwarc: Jan Bloch I Muzeum Wojny I Pokoju w Lucernie;
Elżbieta Mazur and Grażyna Pawlak: Bogactwo w służbie społeczeństwa;
Justyna Guze: Jan Gottlieb Bloch - kolekcjoner rysunków na skalę europejską.
The book also contains bibliography of Jan Bloch's works and publications about the author of "The future of War", which constitutes a valuable source for researchers interested in his biography and work.
The meeting, which took place in Klub Księgarza on Rynek Starego Miasta, 19th of May this year and gathered over 120 participants, conducted by Marek Wawrzkiewicz - President of Union of Polish Writers (Związek Literatów Polskich) .
The book was reviewed by professor (prof.. dr hab.) Krzysztof Mikulski. Andrzej Żor and Justyna Guze presented their opinion on the achievements of Jan Bloch and message of his work.
We encourage you to have a look at the preface of the book available here in Polish
Jan Bloch Foundation, Wydawnictwo Trio and Klub Księgarza invite to the promotion of the book "Kapitalista, pacyfista, filantrop JAN BLOCH 1836-1902" written by Andrzej Żor.
The book will be presented by professor (prof. dr hab.) Krzysztof Mikulski,
the meeting will be conducted by Marek Wawrzkiewicz.
Monday 19th of May 2014 at 5:30 pm at Klub Księgarza, Rynek Starego Miasta 22/24, Warsaw (Entrance near "Kamienne Schodki" restaurant).
The meeting will end with informal discussion with a glass of wine.
Through good offices of Peter van den Dungen we got in touch with Edward W. Lollis, Knoxville, Tennessee, USA,http://peace.maripo.com/ , who maintains a huge on-line database of "peace monuments" from all times and in all parts of the world. We delivered him two pictures of the Jan Bloch Chapel in Powązki Cmetery.
We got the following reply, which we quote in extenso:
"Any monument related to Jan Bloch is a "peace monument" by definition. I have added both of your images to web pages for monuments in Poland (http://peace.maripo.com/x_russia.htm), graves of peacemakers (http://peace.maripo.com/p_graves.htm), and monuments constructed in or near 1902 (http://peace.maripo.com/y_1900.htm).
Please visit these web pages and particularly the one about Poland (which, for the time being, is grouped with other countries in Eastern Europe). I would be grateful if you could identify any missing peace monuments.
Jan Bloch is one of two peacemakers among the 86 identified in red on http://peace.maripo.com/p_peacemakers.htm for whom I do not yet have special web pages about their monuments. (The other one is Mother Theresa.) As you can see, Bloch's name is currently linked to the Jan Bloch Foundation's PowerPoint slide show (http://www.bloch.org.pl/nowy/prezentacjaostat.ppt). I would like to make a web page showing monuments about Bloch, but so far I know of only the chapel in Powazki Cemetery and the site of the International Museum
of War & Peace in Lucerne, Switzerland. Are their any other physical monuments for Bloch (house, statue, plaque, etc.?) which you could identify. Any help would be greatly appreciated."
In Decemebr 2011, launching of the book: "Kronenberg. Dzieje Fortuny" (Kronenberg. History of the Fortune), written by Andrzej Żor, a member of the Board of Trustees of our Foundation, took place. Leopold Kronenberg was a founder and the first president of Bank Handlowy w Warszawie SA. Jan Bloch was one of the main shareholders of this bank, founded in 1870. The book has many references to Jan Bloch - business competitor of Leopold Kronenberg. Out of 404 pages, Bloch's name is mentioned on 57 ones (according to the Index of Names). The book was sponsored by The Leopold Kronenberg Foundation at Citi Handlowy (legal successor of Bank Handlowy w Warszawie SA) and published by Wydawnictwo Naukowe PWN.
Launching ceremony took place in the chamber of Leopold Kronenberg, in the historical headquarters of the Bank Handlowy w Warszawie SA at Traugutt Street in Warsaw. A welcome speech was delivered by professor Marek Belka, the President of the National Bank of Poland. An interview with the author who portrayed Kronenberg was conducted by a well-known Polish journalist Jacek Żakowski.
In January 2010, an article entitled "Zdarzyło się w styczniu" (It happened in January) written by Przemysław Wiśniewski, member of the Board of Trustees of our Foundation, was published in BANK magazine. It briefly introduces the life of our patron, his work for the benefit of Poland and its culture. We invite you to read it (Polish only).
We would like to inform that the electronic version of "The Future of War"(in Polish) by Jan Bloch is now available in the files of the CbN Polona system which is a data base of book scans, provided by the National Library in Warsaw. Every page of the book had been scanned in 300dpi resolution which enables comfortable reading. The National Library does not require any fees for the scans. Every page of the book can be read on-line: www.polona.pl/dilibra.
Presentation under this title has been prepared for a conference in Lucerne in May 2010 by Krzysztof Szwarc, Witold Kmiecik and Katarzyna Szwarc. We invite you to view the presentation Click
In May 2010, our Foundation has received an invitation to a conference promoting the book "Jan Bloch und das Internationale Kriegs-und Friedensmuseum in Luzern," by W. Troxler, D.Walker and M. Furrer. The book also contains a chapter by Andrzej Żor and the foreword by Dr. Peter van den Dungen, of the Department of Peace Studies, Bradford Universityin the UK who is also the General Coordinator of the International Network of Peace Museums.
Jan Bloch, known primarily as a banker, entrepreneur, prince of railway, philanthropist and pacifist, also was keen on sanitary state of Warsaw. Evidence of this is in the book by W. Pessel on the sanitation culture of Warsaw issued by Publishing House "Trio" with support of the Collegium Civitas, which contains many referneces relating to the patron of our Foundation. Our Foundation also contributed to the publication of the book. In October 2010, the book got Warsaw's "Book of the Month Award".
In 2009 the book titled "Jan Bloch Society 1987-2007"written by Elżbieta Małecka, the member of the Council of our Foundation, was published with the financial help of our Foundation. The book is bilingual translated into English by Witold Kmiecik, long-term member of Jan Bloch Society. It contains many illustrations on the activity of the Society. It was published by the Educational Publishing House "Śląsk" in 1000 copies. Most of them were given to the Regional Museum in Łęczna for free distribution among those who are interested.
In 2005, the Polish Institute of International Affairs published a collection of fragments of the works of Jan G. Bloch titled "The War of the Future in its Technical Economic and Political Relations". Choice of excerpts, footnotes and the introduction were provided by Dr. Grzegorz P. Bąbiak, an employee of the Institute of History of the Polish Academy of Science (PAN).
American magazine International Journal on World Peace published in its September 2008 issue A Memorial Tribute to Dr. Andrzej Werner, Founder-President of the Jean de Bloch Society (Warsaw) by Peter van den Dungen. Reprint of thisarticle from IJWP
The first issue of the Newsweek magazine (Polish edition) in 2008 contains an article on the history of charity. Among several benefactors a geat deal of space is devoted to Jan Bogumil Bloch under the subtitle The Generous Prince of Railways.
Our website has turned out to be useful again in bringing together people interested in Jan Gotlieb Bloch.
In September 2007 Mrs Eli Bauer from Israel came to Warsaw and met Andrzej Żor, the author of the book on Jan Bloch and Krzysztof Szwarc from our Foundation (photos below)
Eli Bauer is head of the Department of Communication and Film at the Technological College of Tel Aviv and teaches in the Jewish History Department at Haifa University. In addition she is the academic coordinator of the Posen Research Forum for Jewish European and Israeli Political Thought at Haifa University Faculty of Law. Her academic interests include the history and culture ofPolish Jewry and the history of the Jewish press. Her books include"Between Poles and Jews", "The Development of Nahum Sokolow's Political Thought". Both were published by The Studies of the Center for Research on the History and Culture of Polish Jews and the Magnes Press in 2005. She is now working on an article on Jan Bloch as Polish Citizen, Russian Statesman, European Scholar and Jewish Cosmopolitan.
Thanks to our website we were contacted by Mr.Andrew Kostanecki from the USA who is a great-grandson of Jan Bloch. Janina Maria the daughter of Emilia and Jan Bloch got married Kazimierz Kostanecki who was a rector of the Jagiellonian University and held many other important positions in a public life (e.g. he was a vice-president of the Town Cracow).
Mr. Andrew Kostanecki who is a descendant of Kazimierz Kostanecki was born in Warsaw in 1934 and emigrated with his parents to the USA before the outbreak of the Second World War. In his professional life he became known as an industrial designer, lecturing and writing on design and on the creative process in a variety of professional journals. Being a world class athlete he followed his interest in sport by deep involvement with the United States Olympic Committee. He was awarded the Gold Medal of the International Sailing Federation.
It should be known that recently he served as Director of the Foundation for the Development of Polish Agriculture funded by David Rockefeller.
There are some pictures of Mr. Andrew Kostanecki below:
Mr. Andrew Kostanecki is about to publish a book on the history of wars under the title "Whatever Happened to War". He devoted much attention to the Jan Bloch philosophy of war.
Our Foundation as first got the privilege of getting access to the Epilogue to this book. You can read now this Epilogue on our website under section "Publications". Not surprisingly you will find there a lot of references to Jan Bloch.
Jan Bloch Foundation with the Central Military Library and the Regional Museum in Łęczna co-organized presentation of the exhibition War and Peace Museum in Lucerne. Exhibition runs: 9 March - 31 July.
Exhibition has been shown for the first time in Poland in the Central Military Library in 2002, on the 100th anniversary of the opening of the War and Peace Museum in Lucerne founded by Jan Bloch.
Representatives of our Foundation participated in the part of seminar during which the lecture "Emilia from Kronenber Janowa Blochowa and Halina Anna from Bogusławskich Wielowiejska - the owners of the land property of Łęczna" was delivered by Ewa Leśniewska, the custodian of ŁęcznaMuseum.
Ceremony of handing diplomas of the Honorary Members:
- to the Minister of Foreign Affairs Adam Rotfeld
The laudation for Mr. Rotfeld was delivered byMr. Ryszard Kapuściński - famous writer, and
- to Mr. Krzysztof Szwarc
The laudation for Mr. Szwarc was delivered by Ambassador Andrzej Żor, Jakub Wolski the former vice-minister of Foreign Affairs and the editor of the weekly "Gazeta Bankowa" Andrzej Nartowski.
Similar ceremony took place in the Hague in 2004 during which Mr. Krzysztof Skubiszewski former minister of Foreign Affairs and Mr.Edmund Wellenstein received diplomas of Honorary Members of the Society.
CBW received 20 computers and CD stations as a gift from the BRE Bank and Jan Bloch Foundation.
The meeting was presided over by dr Jerzy Zalewski. Opening speeches were delivered by:
Col. Andrzej Wesołowski - Director of the Central Military Library
Mr. Adam Marszałek - the Publisher
Selected fragments of the book were read by Grzegorz Wons the actor of the Kwadrat Theatre.
Mrs. Aneta Pochec presented the Museum with three books published in Poland in 2005:
- Jan Bloch "The War of the Future in its technical, economic and political relations" selected texts by Mr. Grzegorz Bąbiak. The book was published by the Polish Institute of International Affairs.
- "The Owners of the Land Property of Łęczna in 1800-1944" written by Ewa Leśniewska, published by Regional Museum in Lublin,
- "The Pranks of History" written by Andrzej Żor.
and she suggested that the books should be displayed in a special showcase devoted to Jan Bloch.
Mrs. Aneta Pochec the President of our newly established Foundation attended this Conference and thus become acquainted with the foreign members of the Jan Bloch International Society, and namely:
- Prof. Peter van den Dungen from University of Bradford (UK),
- Mr. Walter Troxler the chief librarian and archivist of AAL Armee-Ausbildungeszentrum Luzern,
- Mr. Artur Eyffinger from International Court of Justice in the Hague,
- Mr. Reto Sidler Vice-president of the Lucern Initiative for Peace and Security.
Our Foundation sponsored the visit to the conference of Mr. Andrzej Werner the President of Jan Bloch Society.
The meeting was presided over by Jan Zdzisław Brudnicki, a literary critic.
Opening speeches were delivered by:
Mr. Marek Wawrzykiewicz - the President of the Polish Writers Union and
Mr. Adam Marszałek - the President of Publishing House