Benrnar Filarski was born on 9 October 1880 in Lubawa. When he was studying in the middle school in Chełmno he participated in the Philomath Society, which created secret learning circles under Prussian rule. Young people developed there their knowledge of Polish language and history, rebelling against Germanization. For this activity Filarski was sentenced to prison and expelled from middle school by a Prussian court in the, so called, train against philomaths in Toruń. He finished the middle school in Tuchola and then he left to Munich, where he began studies in a medical school. During his studies he was belonged to the Students’ Organization in Germany.
After completing his studies in 1908, he settled in Gdańsk. In 1921 in Krolewiec, he became a Doctor of Medical Sciences and begun working as a doctor in the Regional Directorate of State Railways in Gdańsk. Since 1929 he worked as a doctor in the Polish middle school and run a private dental practice on 53 Długa Street.
The Polish community in Gdańsk remembered his as an ardent patriot and community worker. He was a member of the oldest Polish organization in Gdańsk, the Popular Society “Jedność”, and to the Polish Community. He took part in the independence movement in the Soldier’s Council and the Popular Council of Gdańsk. When the Free City of Gdańsk was created in 1920, Filarski became one of the first members of the Society of the Friends of Science and Arts, the Gymnastic Society “Sokół” and the Committee of the Construction of the Polish House in Gdańsk. He also belonged to Macierz Szkolna, society which organized Polish primary and middle schooling. He was one of the founders of the Polish Scouting Association in the Free City of Gdańsk, which he built from scratch together with Dr Franciszek Kręcki. Filarski was named president of the first Circle of the Friends of Scouting created in Gdańsk in 1927, formed by 400 members. He donated money to the scouting activity of Polish youth which studied in the middle school and at the Gdańsk University of Technology. When in 1937 the Polish Community and Poles’ Association joined their forces, Filarski participated in the activity of the Council of Polish Culture in Gdańsk, which cooperated with other Polish organizations and collected funds for the development of Polish culture and schooling in the Free City of Gdańsk. He also held the post of one of the presidents of the Popular Libraries Association in Gdańsk, the oldest social and schooling organization that existed back in the times of the Prussian rule and created a chain of Polish libraries for the Polish community in Gdańsk. He worked together with his son Zbigniew and his daughter Maria. He had seven children, all of them studied in the Polish middle school in Gdańsk.
Filarski was arrested in 1 September 1939 and imprisoned in Victoria Schule. The next day, he was sent to Stutthof camp in the first transport of prisoners. He was shot together with other representatives of the Polish community of Gdańsk on 22 March 1940.
Gestapo displaced the family of Bernard Filarski to the General Government. His eldest son was a prisoner of Stutthof and Mauthausen concentration camps for more than five years. His daughters, Wanda and Maria, participated the underground activity of the Home Army. Maria became well-known because she helped in smuggling the currier Jan Nowak-Jeziorański from Gdynia to Sweden, for what he was imprisoned in KL Stutthof. Krystyna was sent to Germany to participate in forced labour. After the war the family returned to Gdańsk and continued their work for the city.
The exhumation of the victims of the March execution took place in 1946. In 1947, The bodies were buried in the Gdańsk-Zaspa cemetery.
Tłumaczenie: Katarzyna Flis
A celebration commemorating Bernard Filarski was held on 8 November 2005 in the School and Kindergarten Complex in Stegna. It was organized by the First Scouting Squad of Stegna “Sztorm”, whose patron is Bernard Filarski. Mrs. Maria Chodakowska – the patron’s daughter, the former prisoner of KL Stutthof in 1944 – 1945 (camp no. 36501) and the participant of the Death March – was the guest of honour of the celebration. The young people that participated in the commemoration got to know the life of their patron and listened to the memoirs of Maria Chodakowska. The celebration ended with a call of commemoration of the 89 Polish prisoners executed on 11 January and 22 March 1940.
The call of commemoration.