Władysław Kępiński


He was born on 5th November 1877 in Wyborg in Finland. His parents were Ludwik and Maria from the Naruszewicz family. In 1903 he graduated from the university in Petersburg and two years later in 1905 he inherited from his uncle Jan Kępiński a landed estate Moszczanica and Kocierz nearby Żywiec. Not long after that he had his manor house rebuilt by an outstanding architect Eugeniusz Dąbrowa-Dąbrowski who made it a unique residence between 1910–1912. Not only did he lead to the change of the exterior appearance of the building but he also rearranged the interior and designed the furniture.

In 1912 he married Maria née Żelska with whom he had five daughters: Irena, Aleksandra, Zofia, Maria and Szczęsna. Except from running his manor house, Władysław Kępiński promoted agricultural education and the improvement of the living conditions of the residents. From 1907 he was the president of County Engine Ring, then transformed into District Agricultural Society. He organised educational courses, agricultural, breeding and orchard competitions and a lot of exhibitions. In 1926 the agricultural school in Łodygowice was established on the initiative of Władysław Kępiński. He was a founder and chaired the supervisory board of Agricultural Cooperative “Siejba” in Żywiec, and in 1928 he was chosen the member of the Main Management and Executive Department of Lesser Poland Agricultural Society. In 1931 Horticultural and Apicultural Cooperative in Żywiec was established on his initiative. Władysław Kępiński was a supporter of joining excessively fragmented agricultural land. In 1927 he published his work: Komasacja jako podstawa naprawy ustroju rolnego. He was a founder of the building and the whole Voluntary Fire Brigade equipment. He belonged to Riflemen’s Association and he was the president of its Vienna association between 1914 and 1918. Władysław Kępiński was decorated with Knight’s Cross of Polonia Restituta for his services in 1937.

In 1934 First Marshal Józef Piłsudzki chose the mansion in Moszczanica for his almost monthly holiday stay. Minister Józef Beck with his wife, the winners of Challenge – Captain Jerzy Bajan and Gustaw Pokrzywka, Archduke Karl Albrecht Habsburg-Lothringen, Mieczysław Fogg and Dana Choir visited the mansion at that time.

After the outbreak of the Second World War Władysław Kępiński still ran his estate. During the action against the Polish intelligentsia on 23th April 1940, he was detained by the Gestapo officers and taken to the Dachau concentration camp and then to the Mauthausen-Gusen camp. After her husband’s detaining, his wife Maria tried to intervene to release him. She went to Vienna several times to ask the Habsburgs for help. After Władysław Kempiński’s arrest, his family was deported and the estate was taken over by the Germans.

After his release from the camp, he first lived in Żywiec and then nearby Miechów. He lost his hearing because of brutal beating in the camp. Just after the end of the war he shortly became the administrator of State Land Real Estate in Jarosławiec in the Recovered Territories. There, he helped to uncover the radio station of the secret German organisation – Werwolf. As a result of the retaliatory action carried out by the Germans he was heavily injured and lost his leg. After that he moved to Cracow where, thanks to cardinal A. Sapieha’s help, he got a lifetime apartment and care in “Dom na Koletkach” which belonged to Metropolitan Curia. After the communists had confiscated the building, he was evicted with his wife. After his death in 1958 he was buried in his family tomb in Żywiec. Neither he nor his family ever recovered stolen by the Germans and then by the communists property.