The year 2022 has been declared the “Year of Polish Romanticism” by the Polish Sejm. This provides an excellent opportunity to take a closer look at Henryk Nitschmann, a Prussian, German, citizen of Elbląg, Polonophile, lover of the works of Adam Mickiewicz, and translator of Polish Romantic literature. Nitschmann, whose figure stands out so much from the background of culture dominated by Prussian nationalism and militarism, was discovered in Poland as early as the 1950s, but there is still much to uncover about him. The rich collection of his papers kept in the Library of Elbląg invites us to further study his life and achievements. To understand him better, though, we must look at his time and environment, which shaped him, especially nineteenth-century Elbląg, where he spent most of his life. Nitschmann’s era, from the 1850s to the beginnings of the twentieth century, an era marked by great changes and even greater social upheavals, is therefore a main theme of the exhibition. Against this background, we also tell the story of Polish culture and language in Elbląg, which was promoted and protected by Nitschmann as a lover of Poland and translator of Polish literature. Nitschmann’s materials are therefore presented alongside a variety of documents illustrating life and culture (especially Polish culture) in Elbląg at the turn of the century.
1. Private letters of Henryk Nitschmann.
2. Sheet music composed by Nitschmann.
3. Birthday greetings and thanks for popularizing of Polish culture sent to Nitschmann in 1886 by the Board of the Society of Friends of Learning in Poznań.
4. The view of the Old Market in Elbląg. A postcard from the beginning of the twentieth century. The collections of the Museum of Archaology and History in Elbląg.