Bishop Waldemar Pytel, the laureate of the Prize of the Aleksander Gieysztor 2019

On March 5, during the gala at the Royal Castle in Warsaw, the laureate of the 20th edition of the prof. Aleksandra Gieysztora granted to outstanding people and institutions devoted to the protection of Polish cultural heritage. The Chapter of the Award, chaired by prof. dr. hab. Andrzej Rottermund, decided this year to distinguish Bishop. Waldemar Pytel, whom the MCK has for many years associated with close and cordial relations.

Bishop Waldemar Pytel, parish priest of the Evangelical-Augsburg parish in Świdnica and bishop of the diocese of the Wrocław Evangelical Lutheran Church extending from Karpacz to Szczecin, was awarded for over thirty years of effort to save, revitalize and restore splendor to the Lutheran quarter together with the Church of Peace in Świdnica, inscribed in 2001, on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

On behalf of the Chapter, laudation in honor of the Laureate was given by prof. Jacek Purchla, founder and long-time director of the ICC, awarded this prestigious distinction in 2010. - Saved by priest. The question of the Evangelical-Augsburg Church in Świdnica proved to be a bridge that guaranteed the continuity of history despite the tragedy of the twentieth century and the exchange of people. And if that is the case, the priest bishop Waldemar Pytel is the bridge builder, Bruckenbauer, and maybe today he should say Pontifex. At the same time, he gives us an extraordinary lesson in Silesia and a heritage lesson. Because heritage is us! It's our memory, our choice and our identity. It is also our culture. Because culture is the skill of inheritance. This is what the Laureate teaches us today - emphasized in the laudation of prof. Jacek Purchla.

The prize prof. Aleksander Gieysztor, granted for 20 years by the Banking Foundation Leopold Kronenberg at the Citi Handlowy Bank, allows the appreciation of outstanding people and institutions devoted to the protection of Polish cultural heritage in the following areas: museum, conservation, archival and library activities, preservation and protection of Polish cultural heritage abroad, local government undertakings for the protection of cultural heritage, individual and collective initiatives aimed at collecting and protecting traces and memorabilia of cultural heritage and disseminating knowledge about the need and methods of protecting cultural heritage in Poland.

In previous years, the prize was awarded to: Leon Tarasewicz (2017), Elżbieta and Krzysztof Penderecki (2016), Krystyna Zachwatowicz-Wajda and Andrzej Wajda (2015), prof. Franciszka Ziejka (2014), the Social Committee for the Care of Old Rossa (2013), Anda Rottenberg (2012), prof. Norman Davies (2011), prof. Jacek Purchla (2010), prof. Andrzej Tomaszewski (2009), prof. Jan K. Ostrowski (2008), National Institute Ossolińscy in Wrocław (2007), Krzysztof Lech Czyżewski (2006), prof. Krzysztof Kazimierz Pawłowski (2005), Kazimierz Piotr Zalewski (2004), prof. Stanisław Waltoś (2003), Society for the Protection of Monuments in Warsaw (2002), Stefan Sutkowski (2001), prof. Tadeusz Chrzanowski (2000), the Capital Committee of the Care of the Old Powązki for them. J. Waldorff (1999).

In the 28th issue of the "Herito" quarterly Bishop Waldemar Pytel emphasized: "Given the conditions in which the church was created – outside the town, constructed of non ‑durable materials, meant to last 20 or 30 years – both the building and the community gathering in it proved to be the most permanent thing in this land marked with conflicts and discontinuities. A couple of years ago I was asked at the tax office for the date of the foundation of the parish, to which I truthfully stated: 1652. »You must be joking« – the clerk said – »we have only been here since the end of World War II!«”.

Thanks to the favor of Bishop Waldemar Pytel in 2018 in Świdnica and Jawor took place the 9th edition of the V4 Heritage AcademY organized by the ICC - a summer school addressed to young specialists in cultural heritage from the Visegrad countries.

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