He was the heir to Poland’s greatest wealth. His parents abducted and strangled his pregnant wife

  • In the mid-18th century, Franciszek Salezy Potocki was considered the richest magnate of the Republic of Poland. He owned huge properties in Ukraine
  • Szczęsny was the best party of the Union, but it did not present itself in a particularly attractive way. His contemporaries even suspected that he was mentally weak
  • Szczęsny’s parents planned a marriage that would further increase the wealth and importance of the family. The old Potochki family did not foresee that only their sons and successors would fall in love with a man who did not belong to their field.
  • You can find more such stories on the main page of Onet.pl.

In the mid-18th century, Franciszek Salezy Potocki was considered the richest magnate of the Republic of Poland. He owned huge estates in Ukraine and was even called the “Little King of Russia.”

It was no exaggeration to say that in the vast territories of Ukraine, his words meant more than the words of the king and his officials, and the fate of 400,000 people depended on Potokkin’s grace and good humor. Nation. His property included 70 cities and several hundred villages, and he also owned 11 royal lands.

(…) Potoccy several times [w historii] reached the queen’s club. In addition, they amassed all possible merits and honors – the family members were voivodes, starosts, and they also collectively occupied court offices. The family was divided into several ranks, and over time, all sorts of strange and violent people were found in its ranks.

One of them was Mikołaj Basyli Potocki, who died in 1782 – a patron of art, but also a proud man who faithfully combined drunkenness and greed with cruelty.

He became famous for his special hunting: he loved to throw pellets at women living on his estates, forcing them to climb trees and imitate the sounds of birds (…).

His cousin, Franciszek Salezy Potocki, usually lived in Kristynopol (now Chervonogród, a few kilometers east of the Polish border), and was replaced in 1692 by his grandfather. His successor was also Stanisław Szczęsny. there was a scene of great love and the tragedy of a young tycoon born and raised near the city.

Admittedly, Szczęsny was the best party in the Republic of Poland, but it did not present itself as particularly promising. His contemporaries suspected that he was even a little mentally retarded, but also tended to be arrogant and hysterical.

However, the father’s wealth was enough reason for Szczęsny’s parents to plan a marriage that would further increase the wealth and importance of the family. The old Potochki family did not foresee that only their sons and successors would fall in love with a man who did not belong to their field.

Novosielsky star Jakub Komorowski’s daughter turned out to be in the beautiful Gertrude. Although the girl’s father called himself a count, he referred to grants from the late Middle Ages – in fact, he was only a nobleman from the middle class. His estate consisted of only a few villages, and the family lived in Suszno, near Kristynopol.

Komorowski regularly received invitations to the palace from Potokki, sometimes taking his 16-year-old daughter with him. In one such incident, Shesnie, who was three years older than him, met a girl.

Gertrude Komorowska – Public area

The history of the tragic discrepancy was presented by Anthony Malchevsky (…). Maria was the first poetic novel in Polish – Malchevsky used the models of George Byron and Walter Scott to change the tragic history of Gertrude. Only death is a pessimistic illustration of man’s helplessness in the face of the mystery of the world in which the true quality of existence is revealed.

But the reality was more prosaic and did not suit Szczęsny’s literary counterpart. He was an exceptionally miserable creature, unworthy of the feelings of a woman in love.

The tycoon fell in love with the girl, and since then he has also been a frequent visitor to Suszno. Gertrude soon became pregnant, and the couple decided to get married.

However, they knew very well that Szczęsny’s parents would not agree to marry – the heir to the greatest Polish wealth, could not marry an ordinary nobleman. They reported on the case of Gertrude’s parents, who proposed a secret marriage and the Potokki family.

Presumably, the Komorowski family had long known about the romance of Gertrude and Szczęsny. Apparently, they supported this attitude – joining a strong family of magnates was the dream of many noble families. This meant not only greatness, but also a career opportunity for family members.

A marriage certificate was issued in November 1770, and a quiet wedding took place at Christmas in the Greek Catholic Church in Niestanis. It was not without problems – the priest, who celebrated the wedding, said that all the formalities were not completed, and it is said that he performed the sacred ceremony only with the threat of the bride’s family pistols.

In fact, he probably realized it the marriage of a young tycoon to a noble woman would cause a great storm, and he did not want to risk himself for the Potocki family.. However, there is no indication that Szczęsny was forced to marry her lover, as her parents later claimed. He loved Gertrude sincerely and probably hoped that the old Potokki family would eventually reconcile with his misconceptions.

He hoped that he would be treated as the sole heir. If so, he did not know his parents. Francis de Sales’s ambitions were very high, and he certainly did not think that his bride could only be a noble woman.

Stanisław Szczęsny Potocki in the portrait of Jan Baptist LampinStanisław Szczęsny Potocki in the portrait of Jan Baptist Lampin – Public area

The magnate’s pride was so great that other magnates, even his own family, did not like him. He was considered dishonest and was not chosen to achieve his goal.and the lives of others do not matter to him.

Szczęsny’s mother, Anna Elżbieta, did the same. Admittedly, he justified himself in pious deeds and spent a lot of money on charity, but at the same time he was very proud, arrogant and despotic.

The Potocki family quickly learned of their son’s wedding and did not hide their anger. Szczęsny’s mother is said to have been a leader in the case declared marriage “a crime and evil.” It was supposed to be an intrigue by the Komorowski family, who “cheated and forcibly married” their son.

The Potocki family even sent a letter to Rome asking for the annulment of the marriage – even worse, Szczęsny became a completely passive individual. Under pressure from his parents, he humbly agreed to leave his wife and take steps to end the relationship.

However, Gertrude warned that his father’s men would kidnap him and try to arrest him until the marriage was annulled at a monastery in Lviv.

Frightened, the girl moved to a mansion in Novi Selo. On Wednesday, February 13, 1771, the property was attacked during a storm by a group of about 150 Cossacks in the service of old Potochkin.

The pregnant girl was abducted in her “shirt” and thrown into a sleigh. The cavalry advanced towards Lviv. Unfortunately, soon the people of Potocki came across several hundred horse-drawn carts carrying grain on the road. Due to the avalanche, they could not escape quickly, and the kidnappers feared that the girl would call for help.

Thus, the bound Gertrude was squeezed with furs – but so effectively strangled to death. The killers panicked and decided to get rid of the girl’s body. The killed woman was thrown under the ice of the Rata River, a tributary of the Bug River. The body was not found until the spring, but was buried without informing his family.

Admittedly, old Potochki did not order the murder of his bride, hid the whole issue and officially demanded the annulment of the marriage. The Komorowski family did not know anything about the fate of their daughters, as the girl was officially abducted by “unknown criminals.”

In any case, the kidnappers spoke Russian to each other out of ignorance (there was a Confederation of Lawyers at the time), so Potocki could not even be formally prosecuted for kidnapping.

Stanisław Szczęsny Potocki consoled himself shortly after Gertrud's death and remarried.Stanisław Szczęsny Potocki consoled herself shortly after Gertrude’s death and remarried – Jan Brzciciel Lampi / Domena publiczna

Szczesny discovered the truth. He humbly accepted the news of his wife’s death. In desperation, he reportedly tried to commit suicide by cutting his throat with a pocket knife. (!), but she quickly forgot her lover.

He went abroad and then married Josephine Mniszchówna – the couple had 11 children. Justice did not spare Şeşni’s parents. Both Potocki families soon died in unexplained circumstances.

Anna first divorced in January 1772 (rumor had it that she had committed suicide), and it seems that her repentant spirit was to be seen at the Benedictine monastery in Przemyśl. A few months later, Franciszek Salezy died. They were both resting at Bernard Church in Christophe.

Only then did the Komorowski family accuse the Potokki family of crime, and finally, in 1774, a treaty was signed with Szczęsny as the successor to the assassins. The tycoon paid them significant compensation and moved the town of Witkow Nowy and several nearby villages to Komorowski.

Thanks to the money from Potochki, the Komorowski family was able to obtain the approval of count titles from the authorities in Vienna after the First Division of Poland.

Szczęsny Potocki did not return to Kristynopol. He moved to distant Tulchin – perhaps he could not stand the expressive looks of the servants and neighbors at the present headquarters. In any case, he finally solved the problem of Kristynopol by losing cards to Adam Poniński.

Soon He was also named the greatest traitor of the Polish-Lithuanian Union. As the leader of the Targovitz confederation, he played a decisive role in the collapse and disintegration of Poland.By supporting Russian policy and fighting against progressive reforms.

His personal life was equally scandalous. After divorcing Josephine Mniszchówna, he married Zofia Glavani, the wife of Joseph Witt, the son of the commander of the castle in Kamieniec Podolski.

New Lady Potocka was known not only for her beauty, but also for her scandalous past, as she began her career as a prostitute in Constantinople.. Although she was the wife of the richest citizen of the fallen republic, she could not remain faithful to him.

He began a relationship with his step-son (!), The son of Szczęsny, who was 16 years younger than his previous marriage. The tycoon learned everything – work destroyed his family life and caused his death.

Potocki died in 1805 at the age of 52, and his funeral in Tulzyn ended in a terrible scandal. After the executions, the body of the tycoon remained in an open coffin in the church, dressed in the uniform of the late tsarist general, decorated with orders and stones.

During the night, thieves raided the temple and stole valuables and they threw them into the wall, naked. This is almost a symbolic event – years ago the National Tribunal sentenced Potocki to death and deprived him of his titles and dignity, and now he is deprived of the distinctions and jewels of betrayal (…).

The text is an excerpt from a new book by Sławomir Kopra Święta posku.  Traditions and scandals published by Fronda Publishing House (2019).The text is an excerpt from a new book by Sławomir Kopra Święta posku. Traditions and scandals published by Fronda Publishing House (2019). – WielkaHistoria.pl

Sławomir Koper – writer and journalist, author of history books, popularizer of history. His books have repeatedly been in the list of bestsellers and have sold several hundred thousand copies. He was awarded the Order of the Silver Cross and the Order of Merit for Polish Culture.

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