Zeno Swietoslawski

Zeno Swietoslawski

Zeno Boleslaw Swietoslawski was born in Warsaw and was said to have participated in the November Uprising in Poland, the first record of him in Jersey is with the 1841 census when he was living at 13 Dorset Street, St Helier. The University of Gdansk have a character profile of him which notes the following:  He was the son of an apparently fairly wealthy noble originally from Ukraine. He started his peregrinations in the early 1830s presumably after the so-called Novemeber Uprising and was for a time in London, writing letters to his father complaining about his poverty. His father would continually send him funds. He ended up in Jersey and reported to his father that Jersey produced a lot of eggs. His father deduced from this that wheat or rye must also be grown and asked about the local serfs and if there was a large Jewish community in Jersey. (There are a lot of such comments about cultural differences, e.g. son complaining he had to eat oysters in London, whereas in Warsaw they were then considered a delicacy.) He first wanted his son to buy land, but eventually he gave him money to buy a printing press. He was very religious and deeply committed to his socialist cause, so was his wife. His political pamphlets, however, were not popular among other activists. The author Teodor Tomasz Jepary met the couple some time in the 1850’s and said everything was pretty neglected and run down in their house because they were both so engaged in the cause. They helped other insurgents get passports to France, including one that also fought in the January Uprising. There was a whole network or cells of Polish insurgents, revolutionaries, socialists, anarchist and religious zealots. Zenon’s cell? commune? (gmina) was origanally called Lud Polski (Polish People) later to be called Humañ (a town in Ukraine and site of 1768 massacre of Polish nobles and Jews). Like pretty much everything else in this Polish religious noble socialist’s life, the commune or cell was thought by some who also noted Zenon was a thoroughly decent man committed to the cause (whatever that was), but hadn’t really achieved much.

He purchased a steam printing press from the French abolitionist Victor Schœlcher who stayed for a short period in Jersey with their mutual acquantaince Victor Hugo, the press published from Dorset Street under the name L’Imprimerie Universelle and published the weekly paper L’Homme which was edited by militant poscrits. In the late 1856 he co-founded the Gromada Rewolucyjna Londyn a Polish social democratic  revolutionary group.

He is buried in the south east corner of Green Street Cemetery in the family grave which is in a state of neglect.

Swietoslawski grave

Swietoslawski grave

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