Benefactors

The Old Powązki deserve to be called the National Necropolis because the ashes of the most distinguished people rest there. The impressive chapels and tombstones, built by the rich burgesses, deprived of their care-takers who died, emigrated, or fell into poverty after the II World War, started to fall into ruin. The Old Powązki Public Care Committee undertook the challenge to renovate the tombstones, and in just under 40 years of activity they managed to conduct over 1300 renovation and restoration works. Such great scale of operations was possible thanks to the recognition and support that Jerzy Waldolrff received upon starting this action in 1794. It was clear that the whole undertaking could not run only on the money raised during the annual All Souls' Day collections. In order to gather enough money, there was a need to obtain sponsors, whom Jerzy Waldorff called "weatlhy benefactors". These were, and still are, Warsaw's self-government, the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage, banking and insurance institutions, and foundations. Company A. Bilkle is a specific kind of patron. Each year since 1975, they send their doughnuts and cakes for, often wet and cold, money collectors coming home from the cementary. The changes that have been taking place in Poland since 1990, caused that some institutions, which used to significantly help the Committee, are not able to do it now or just do not exist anymore. One of such institutions was Polish Lottery Monopoly which had been a great benefactor to the renovation of Powązki. The donations for the conservation works had been anonymous for many years. However, in 1996 a set of special medals for distinguished individuals and institutions was cast to meet the expectations of the current and future benefactors. One side of the medal shows the picture of St. Honorata's Gate, the other an inscript_ion: "To a particulary generous benefactor for the protection of Powązki monuments". The first person to receive this medal was Maria Komorowska who took part in the greatest number of All Saints' Day money collection. Also, a several dozens of actors and ten institutions were decorated together with her. The second time the medals were awarded was in 1990 to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Committee. In the mid 1990's, they started to put brass plates on the renovated tombstones with the name of the benefactor who had founded the works. This way, the people visiting the cemetery can find out which institutions help the Committee financially. In 2001, granite tablets with the names of the people and institutions who support the renovation were manufactured and installed by St. Honorata’s Gate, on the cemetery's wall. The left tablet shows the names of the institutions which donated at least 100.000 PLN during the last five years, and the other one shows the names of "benefactors of the year" - the people who donated at least 5.000 PLN in a given year. If the money is donated for the renovation of a particular tombstone, the information about the donor on a brass plate will be installed directly on the object. The information on the granite tablets is updated annually.