History of the Brzechwa Family of the Jastrzebiec Clan

Information about the family of Brzechwa surname "de Wrzaca" was given in the yearbook Volume 1, page 160, in "Critical Notes" by Mr. Edmund Callier/Collier in Lech in 1879:

Jastrzebiec Clan Coat of Arms

The Brzechwa family has served Poland for at least three centuries, but has produced no Senators. Their deeds are well-documented. Jan Brzechwa was a member of the Cavalry squadron of Pieniazek, with twelve (12) horsemen and bowmen at the Battle of Moscow. Jan was the standard bearer for his friend, Pieniazek. Jan Brzechwa was told to have jumped upon the wall of the fortification, and though he was severely wounded, did not leave the wall. His comrades were battered with enemy shells, and alone could remove him from the wall, while others took his place. Many lost their lives by the hand of the Muscovites.

In the course of the fighting their flag was left hanging on a tree and the Muscovites tried to climb this same tree to remove it. However, the King's page, Saporowski, captured the flag and he held the wall until nightfall.

In many significant battles, Brzechwa proved himself with his sword, as he fought in campaigns in many countries. (Paprocki, Coats of Arms of the Knights of Poland)

Lt. Colonel Onufry Brzechwa, Commander of the 17th Cavalry Regiment, honorable descendant of Jan, proved himself to Prince Josef Poniatowski and Napoleon.

Besides being representative to the Sejm, the Brzechwa family had members in the Podkimorzy, a Sheriff, an Ensign, a Steward, a Cupbearer, and Burgraff, three Abbots, and two authors. One of the Abbots was of the barefoot Carmelita Order of monks, perhaps even the first Polish Carmelita monk, the other was of the Jesuit order.

Famous Fake Brzechwa

Bajki Samograjki by Jan Brzechwa

About 90% of search results on Google for "Brzechwa" are for Jan Brzechwa, a famous polish poet and author of children's books. Jan's real name is Jan Wiktor Lesman and changed his name in order to appear more Polish and avoid being confused with his cousin Boleslaw Lesman, also a poet. Jan was married twice and had a daughter Krystyna, from his first marriage.

I could be wrong but the dates line up that Krystyna is Krystyna Brzechwa, born in 1928, an artist known for her large-eyed oil paintings. Krystyna graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw under the supervision of Professor Wacht - Samborski and Professor Eibisch, she gained a diploma in painting in 1955. She practices oil painting, drawing and illustration.

The Brzechwa Family in the United States

Lt. Piotr Brzechwa came from the Brzechwa family centered in the south of Poland in Jaworzno and Katowice. After serving in the Polish Army under British Command during WWII, he resettled in England and in April 1948 married Helena Kuzniak (born Konecko) whom he met in the Middle-East while in service. They had a daughter, Alicja Maria Brzechwa, born in August 1949, and immigrated to the US in March of 1954 to New York City.

The following February, they moved to Los Angeles. Piotr went to work as a mechanic at "Friendly Motors" for Mr. Czeslaw Gwozdziowski. In 1958 Piotr opened "Motor Clinic" on Washington Blvd. He and Helena worked hard to establish themselves and knew that they had accomplished that when in the summer of 1959 they were able to travel to Poland to visit their families for the first time since leaving during WWII.

Their social life centered around the Polish Church, Our Lady of the Bright Mount, where they were both involved in various organizations, the community theater, Samopomoc and the Polish school. Their home was open to many friends who were newly arrived from Europe and South America. As their sponsors, Piotr and Helena offered a place to stay in their home and a job at the Clinic while the new arrivals got themselves settled. In April of 1967, Piotr was murdered during a hold-up of his place of business. His funeral was the largest that the Polish community has seen, the procession of cars to the burial site stretching roughly two miles. In June of 1969, Alicja married Gregg Brickett White. Helena remained involved in the life of the Polish community through Szarotka, the Polish retirement home and the Polish Credit Union. She passed away from complications of Alzheimer's disease on New Year's Eve 1989.

Alicja kept her maiden name, hyphenating it with Gregg's in order to pass the name of Brzechwa-White on to their three children Julianna Alicja, Janina Maria, and Marek Piotr.