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Rota ("The Oath") is an early 20th-century Polish poem, as well as a celebratory anthem, once proposed to be the Polish national anthem. Rota's lyrics were written in 1908 by activist for Polish independence, poet Maria Konopnicka. The music was composed two years later by composer, conductor and concert organist, Feliks Nowowiejski.
Konopnicka's poem came into being as a protest against the German Empire's oppression and suppression of Polish culture in German-occupied western Poland — lands that from the late 18th century after the Partitions of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth to 1918 were under Prussian — and later, German — rule.
Rota was first sung publicly during a patriotic demonstration in Kraków on July 15, 1910, held to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Polish-Lithuanian victory over the Teutonic Knights at the Battle of Grunwald. The anthem quickly became popular across partitioned Poland. Until 1918, Rota served as the anthem of the Polish Scouting movement. After Poland regained independence in 1918, Rota, in 1927, found itself under consideration for a time as a possible Polish national anthem.
During the German occupation of Poland in World War II, on the eve of 11 November 1939 (Polish Independence Day), in Zielonka, a town at the outskirts of Warsaw, the scouts from the Polish Scouting Association put up posters with the text of the poem on the walls of the buildings. In reprisal, German occupying forces carried out an execution of 9 scouts and other inhabitants of the town. A monument commemorating the crime stands on its site today. In 2008, a film telling that story was made (11 listopada).
After 1989 Rota became the official anthem of the Polish People's Party. Until 2003, the melody of the anthem was played by the Gdańsk carillon tower and served as the signature theme of the television stations TVP Poznań and TVP Gdańsk. In 2010 Rota and its author Konopnicka were honored by a special resolution of the Polish Sejm. It also served as the anthem of the Polish National-Territorial Region.
Text and translation
Nie rzucim ziemi, skąd nasz ród.
We won't forsake the land we came from,
- Oaths of the Polish Army
- Expulsion of Poles by Germany
- Drzymała's wagon
- 11 listopada
Notes and references
- Maja Trochimczyk, "Rota" (the Oath), in the National Anthems of Poland including music recording in Real Audio format. The Polish Music Reference Center. Retrieved February 4, 2013.
- Uchwała w sprawie uczczenia pamięci Marii Konopnickiej