By the full name.. Jozef Oleszkiewicz


By the full name.. Jozef Oleszkiewicz

Jozef Oleszkiewicz, who was an artist from Poland, settled down in Saint Petersburg in 1810 and became a respected person of the capital city, not only because of his art-works. He was a very openhearted person; sometimes his kindness reached absolutely unconceivable scales, so that he could be compared with saints by the works. It was known for certain that once one of his acquaintances impudently stole his watch almost in Oleszkiewicz’s eye. The watch was a present to the artist by count Miloradovitch while the latter was the military governor of Saint Petersburg. In was interesting that the owner of the watch didn’t say a word to the thief; it was only thanks to the cook, who told Oleszkiewicz’s friend about the accident, that the watch was returned to the artist. His friend, being a noble man, visited the thief and simply forced him to return the thing. Receiving his watch, the artist sadly moved his head and answered:

  • You shouldn’t have done that.. He wouldn’t have done it if he was not in trouble, probably the man was in terrible need..

However, it was Jozef Oleszkiewicz’s love of cats that shocked his friend and acquaintances the most. There were always not less fourteen pets living in his house. Moreover, people from all over the city used to abandon ill and shabby pets and newborn kittens at the artist’s door. Oleszkiewicz accepted that without complaint; he kept them, fed and treated. It was natural that from time to time the number of cats living in the house irritated even the maids, when that happened the artist used to take his basket, put two or three of his hangers-on and made his way along the city. His aims were striped boxes of policemen posts. The policemen who watched their posts already knew the artist, they gladly took one or even two kittens. When taking a pet they wondered whether it was a boy or a girl. The thing was that Oleszkiewicz paid for taking kittens in order to provide them with food, five rubles for a boy and ten for a girl cat. The artist could afford wasting money for that as he made portraits of crown-bearing families and was in no need.

It was a natural thing to try to deceive the artist saying that a kitten was a girl, but for some reason the policemen never tried to make money out of kindhearted and yielding Oleszkiewicz. They also never mind when the artist insisted on retaining the names which he gave to the kittens:

  • This one, my good man, is Maria Ivanovna. And that ginger kitten is Peter Semenovitch..

The names were not just made up by the artists, he used to take names of his friends and acquaintances and give them to kittens. The fact even entertained them.

The artist died as uncomplainingly as he the way he lived. Who knows, where he used to take energy at the last moments of his life, probably it was his faith, as Oleszkiewicz was the head of the freemason’s lodge of White Eagle for the last eight years of his life. His friends used to be on duty day and night while he was in the article of death, many of them cried quietly even knowing that the artists wouldn’t mind that. He was buried at Smolensky cemetery and when they opened and read his will they learnt that together with the usual directions he put down the list of the names of all the cats he gave to people, all fit the full names of his friends’ and acquaintances’. The list finished with the words: “I, Jozef Oleszkiewicz, sane and mentally complete, ask my friends to find the pets fitting them by the full names and take care of them for the love of me..”.