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She was born in 1921 in Lublin, but she came from a family of Kresovians. Her mother Kamila Jasielska was a teacher, her father Jan Maciej Jasielski an engineer. From the age of 2 she lived in the Borderlands, first in Bitkow, and from about 1927 until the end of the World War II in Stanislawow. There, she graduated from the Ursuline Sisters Gymnasium and High School, at the same time attending the Music Conservatory in the piano class. Due to the outbreak of war, she did not complete the Conservatory, missing one year.

During the German occupation, she worked in the railway workshops as a white-collar worker, while during the Soviet occupation she studied at the Pedagogical Institute in the Mathematics and Physics Department. She also taught physics at a secondary school from 1944-45. At the Pedagogical Institute she met Ryszard Harajda, her future husband. They married in the Stanisławow Collegiate Church on New Year’s Eve 1944. The decision on the wedding date was accelerated by the geopolitical situation. At the end of 1944, it was already apparent that the Borderlands will belong to the Soviet Union and their inhabitants will be resettled. Helena and Ryszard wanted to join the resettlement transport as a family. In May 1945, they arrived in Poznan on a resettlement transport (the journey in freight cars took two weeks) and enrolled for university in the very first days.

Helena Harajda started to study musicology at the Faculty of Humanities at the University of Poznan. She graduated with a Master of Philosophy degree in musicology in 1950. At the same time, she began her studies at the Faculty of Mathematics and Physics. She graduated with the degree of Master of Philosophy in Physics in 1952, studying under Prof. A. Chybiński and Prof. M. Kwiek. From 1950, she started her scientific work at the University of Poznań, first as an assistant in the Department of Experimental Physics, then as a constructor in the Department of Acoustics, and then as an assistant at the Academy of Agriculture in Poznań. In 1964 she defended her doctoral thesis in physics at the Adam Mickiewicz University. In 1974 she obtained her doctoral habilitation (postdoctoral degree) of technical sciences at the Agricultural University in Poznań, and in 1989 the State Council awarded her the title of professor of physical sciences. Throughout her scientific work, Helena Harajda was employed at the Poznań University/UAM in Poznań, the Poznań Agricultural University, the Academy of Pedagogy in Zielona Góra, the Secondary School of Music in Poznań, the Poznań Academy of Music, and she also completed a scientific internship at the Technical and Forestry Academy in Leningrad (USSR) in 1967.

Helena Harajda has more than 100 scientific works to her credit, including 45 scientific dissertations, 3 monographs, books, reviews, and opinions for academic degree theses. She has participated in the examination of musical instruments at the International Henryk Wieniawski Violin Making Competitions in Poznań. She has presented papers at many acoustic congresses in Budapest (1971), London (1974), Paris (1975 and 1977), Madrid (1977), Dubrovnik (1979), Venice (1981), Göttingen (1982), Sandefjord (1985), and Sopron (1986), among others.

In her professional career, she has held, among others, the positions of Head of the Department of Music, Head of the Department of Physics, and the Director of the Institute of Physics at the WSP in Zielona Góra. She was Vice Dean of the Faculty of Mathematics, Physics and Technology at the WSP and a founding member of the Polish Acoustical Society. She was a member of the Catgut Acoustical Society USA, the Polish Physical Society, and the Union of Polish Artists Violin Makers (ZPAL). She directed acoustic research at ZPAL and was also its honorary member. She created curricula for the subject ‘Acoustics’ for the course ‘Violin Making’ at high school and university levels. She served as a consultant for the primary and secondary educational levels of the Department of Artistic Education of the Ministry of Culture and Art in 1995-1996. She edited entries for the PWN Encyclopaedia of Music.

Helena Harajda was not only broadly active academically, but was also very active socially, in various fields. As a keen tourist, she was a member (later an honorary member) of the PTTK (Polish Tourist Country-Lovers’ Society), a PTTK hiking and mountain biking guide, a PTTK Tourist Organiser and a Guardian of Nature Protection. She was a holder of a gold honorary badge of PTTK awarded by the Main Board, and an Honorary Disc of WKFiT (1975). She was also a guide (instructor) of the Polish Scouting Association (ZHP), a member of the Polish-Greek Friendship Society, the H. Wieniawski Lubuskie Music Society in Zielona Góra, the International Society for Music Education, and was active in the Polish Academy of Sciences in the Committee on Physical Sciences.

Helena Harajda’s favourite field of scientific and social activity was violin making. Her activities included the dissemination of acoustic knowledge with the formation of highly qualified violin making and teaching staff. In 1994 she became an Honorary Member of ZPAL. She cooperated with violin makers at the H. Wieniawski International Violin Making Competition in Poznań. When she retired, she collaborated with the violin making faculty at the I.J. Paderewski Academy of Music in Poznan for the longest time.

For her professional and social activities Helena Harajda received many awards, diplomas, and acknowledgements. She was awarded, among others, the Gold Cross of Merit (1973), the Honorary Badge of the City of Poznań (1974), the Knight’s Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta (1981), the Medal of the Commission of National Education (1983), as well as the title of “Distinguished Teacher of the People’s Republic of Poland” (1985).

In addition to this wide-ranging professional, organisational, and social work, privately Helena Harajda hiked, travelled, was interested in literature including the poetry of Leśmian, improved her knowledge of French, learned English, grew plants, loved all animals, and relaxed by knitting, sewing, or embroidering. Together with her husband Ryszard, they raised four children – Teresa, Stanislaw, Jan, and Maria. She taught tourism to her six grandchildren.

After World War II, Helena Harajda lived in Poznań, later in Zielona Góra. However, until her last days she felt she was a Kresovian.





He was born on 12 January 1930 in Gniezno. His father, Tomasz Kamiński, was an officer in the Polish Army in active service, and his mother’s name was Stefania Wawszczak. In 1936, he began attending primary school and graduated in 1943 in Cieklin, near Gorlice, where he and his parents had been resettled shortly after the outbreak of the Second World War. A year earlier, Tomasz had been arrested by the Gestapo and deported to Auschwitz.

In 1945, after the end of the war and his father’s return from the concentration camp, young Włodzimierz began his studies at the Saletyn Fathers’ secondary school in Dębowiec. Two years later, he and his family moved to Szczecin, where he continued his general education and began studying music and violin. After graduating from high school, he began studying musicology at the Faculty of Humanities at the University of Poznan under Prof. Adolf Chybiński, who developed in him an interest and passion for the study of music and musical instruments. After Prof. Chybiński’s decease in 1952, he continued his studies under the supervision of Dr. Maria Szczepańska. In 1954, Włodzimierz Kamiński wrote his master’s thesis Works of foreign composers in Polish manuscripts of the 15th century and received his master’s degree. At the same time, from 1951 he worked at the Department of Musical Instruments of the National Museum in Poznań. In 1962 he obtained his doctoral degree by writing a dissertation Main Problems of the Formation and Development of Musical Instrumentation in the Polish Lands. This dissertation was published in 1971 by the National Music Publishing House (PWM) under the title Musical instruments on Polish lands.

At the age of 32 he took up the post of a curator of the Museum of Musical Instruments in Poznań and remained in this position until his resignation in 1991. As a curator, he wanted the instruments not only to remain as exhibits, but also to be played. Therefore, in 1960 he founded the ensemble Collegium Musicorum Posnaniensium, of which he was the artistic director. In the meantime, he began to learn violin making under the supervision of Kazimierz Bendowski, a builder and conservator of string instruments at the museum. In 1959, he was accepted as a theoretical member of the Association of Polish Artists Violin Makers, and then as a practising member after presenting instruments he made himself. In 1964 he was elected president of the Association. During his presidency, he fought to put the creative rights of luthiers on a par with those of members of other creative associations. Like most of the professor’s ideas, these aspirations were successful and, from 1981, members of the association became members of the Union of Polish Artists Violin Makers with full creative rights. Kaminski remained president of the ZPAL until the end of his life, 9 April 1993.

Włodzimierz Kamiński was a unique character, open to all kinds of novelties. He was creative and young in spirit to the end of his life. A treasury of many ideas, he inspired others to develop, was socially active, taught and conducted research. From a young age, music was his passion not only in theoretical terms, but also in practical terms – after all, he played the violin. Unfortunately, paralysing stage fright during public performances caused him to move away from performing music to building violins, researching their origins, and creating structures in Poland for the professional study of violin making. With the help, experience, and support of the outstanding violinist Professor Jadwiga Kaliszewska, he led to the establishment of a violin making class at the Mieczysław Karłowicz Secondary Music School in Poznań in 1973. Professor Kamiński developed an original curriculum for teaching violin making, on which he wrote: “There should be a violin making school with an artistic profile, whose curriculum would take into account all aspects of the art of violin making. One of the basic aspects of such a programme should be the striving to provide a general musical education to young luthiers, without which it is difficult to imagine an effective creative activity in this art field”.

However, the professor’s aspirations did not end there. In 1979, in the structures of the then Ignacy Jan Paderewski Academy of Music, the Violin Making Section was established, which became part of the Department of String Instruments. Thus, the assumption that the study of violin making should provide opportunities for direct contact between a violin maker and a musician materialised. The author’s programme assumed that students of violin making would follow a general musical programme, obligatory for all students of the Instrumental Faculty, as well as professional subjects related to the construction of string instruments together with classes of a string instrument.

Professor Kamiński was one of the first to teach violin making and the history of violin making at the Secondary Music School and the Academy of Music in Poznan. He was also a lecturer in musicology studies at the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań, where he gave lectures on the history of musical instruments, taught introduction to instrumentology, and conducted master’s seminars. He also aimed to widely popularise violin making and instrumentological knowledge through radio interviews, television programmes, museum exhibitions, press articles and, of course, books. In 1972 the National Music Publishing House published the book Violin Making, which was written by Kamiński and Józef Świrek. This position can be described as a textbook for students of violin making, on which generations of Polish violin makers have been brought up. His next book, Polish Violin, published in Kraków in 1982, is the first illustrated album in which the author describes the history of violins that have stylistic features of the Polish violin making school. In the early 1980s, Kaminski also initiated the creation of a bulletin of the Union of Polish Artists Violin Makers, which was published once a year from 1983 to 1986.

He was a jury member of international violin making competitions in Cremona, Moscow, Hradec Kralove, and Sofia, among others. Since 1972, he served as chairman of the jury of the Henryk Wieniawski International Violin Making Competition and the Zdzisław Szulc National Violin Making Competition, which he also initiated. He was decorated with numerous state orders, medals, badges, and departmental and regional awards.