Cmentarz Zasłużonych na Pęksowym Brzyzku Zakopane
Cemetery in Pęksowy Brzyzek
The first parish priest of Zakopane, Father Józef Stolarczyk, founded a cemetery by the Church of Saint Clement in 1851, on the land donated by Jan Pęksa, hence its name. In the highlander dialect, “brzyz”, “brzyzek” or “brzyzko” is a cliff by a stream. It was the burial place for the inhabitants of the city and its vicinity, victims of mountain expeditions and those suffering from tuberculosis. In 1889, the first person of merit for Zakopane, Dr. Tytus Chałubiński, was buried there. In 1931, the cemetery was declared a national monument. Initially, it was larger, but the Germans reduced it by a third during the occupation when building the road to the Gubałówka funicular railway.
After World War II, the cemetery was in bad condition. Its renovation was carried out in the 1950s, improving the stone cemetery wall, to which bas-reliefs were added, and next to the cemetery gate, designed by Stanisław Witkiewicz, a plaque with the following inscription was hung: The homeland is land and graves. Nations lose their lives by losing their memory. Zakopane remembers 1848–1944. The second is in honour of the Tatra couriers from 1939–1944.
An alley runs through the cemetery, and on its sides there are about 500 graves, including 250 of distinguished people. Almost all of them are richly decorated, unique works of art made by local artists, including chapels and highlander crosses, of wood, stone and metal, carved with Podhale motifs or painted on glass. Władysław Hasior and Antoni Rząsa, Urszula Kenar and Michał Gąsienica Szostak executed most of the works. In addition, there are family graves of the highlander families: Gąsienica, Walczak, Pęks and others. The oldest sacred building in Zakopane is the brick Chapel of the Gąsienica family from 1810, currently under the patronage of Saints August Świerad and Benedict. Today, only the honoured and the owners of family tombs are buried in the cemetery.
The cemetery is the resting place of ordinary and extraordinary people, artists, Tatra rescuers and guides, politicians, athletes, people of merit for Zakopane, Podhale and Poland, including: priest Józef Stolarczyk and Jan Peksa, Stanisław Marusarz and Helena Marusarzówna (Olympians and couriers from the war), doctor Andrzej Chramiec (founder of the medical facility), Juliusz Zborowski (director of the Tatra Museum), Kazimierz Przerwa-Tetmajer (poet), Jan Krzeptowski Sabała (storyteller, musician), doctor Tytus Chałubiński (doctor, co-founder of the Tatra Society), Stanisław Witkiewicz (painter, writer), Maciej Sieczka (guide), Kornel Makuszyński (children's writer), Antoni Kenar (sculptor), Antoni Rząsa (sculptor), Władysław Orkan (writer), Karol Stryjeński (director of the (Państwowa Szkoła Przemysłu Drzewnego) State School of Wood Industry), Kazimierz Dłuski (doctor), Władysław Hasior (sculptor), Zofia Radwańska-Paryska (writer, mountaineer), Witold Paryski (guide), Beata Obertyńska (poet), Mieczysław Biernacik (artist's blacksmith, musician).
There are also symbolic tombstones in the cemetery: mountaineer Maciej Berbek, ethnographer Bronisław Piłsudski, composers Karol Szymanowski and Mieczysław Karłowicz, general Mariusz Zaruski, writer, painter and playwright Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz Witkacy, and Olympian and mountaineer Bronisław Czech.