Wilno school massacre

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Joachim Lelewel high school massacre
Kurjer Poznanski 1925-5-8.jpg
Press clip from Kurjer Poznański, 8 May 1925, Poland, with information about the massacre
Location Wilno, Poland
(now Vilnius, Lithuania)
Coordinates 54°41′11″N 25°17′6″E / 54.68639°N 25.28500°E / 54.68639; 25.28500Coordinates: 54°41′11″N 25°17′6″E / 54.68639°N 25.28500°E / 54.68639; 25.28500
Date May 6, 1925
11 a.m.
Attack type
School shooting, school bombing, murder
Weapons Revolvers, grenades, bomb
Deaths 5+ (including the 2 perpetrators)
Non-fatal injuries
Perpetrators Stanisław Ławrynowicz and Janusz Obrąbalski

The Wilno school massacre was a school massacre that occurred on May 6, 1925 at the Joachim Lelewel High School in Wilno, Poland (now Vilnius, Lithuania). During the final exams, at about 11 a.m., at least two eighth-grade students attacked the board of examiners with revolvers and hand grenades, killing several students, at least one teacher, and themselves.[1][2]


Various different accounts of the incident were reported by the newspapers worldwide. The fact that the students were in possession of military grade weapons suggests that they might have been in contact with the illegal Soviet agents deployed to Poland for sabotage and espionage operations.[3]

The article in British daily Times stated that two students, identified as Lavrynovitch (Stanisław Ławrynowicz) and Obrapalski (Janusz Obrąbalski, per Polish sources),[3] were involved in the incident. According to the article, Lavrynovitch, who was a member of an organisation that supported Józef Piłsudski, began shooting at the teachers with a revolver after being told that he had failed exams, whereupon other students tried to disarm him. Lavrynovitch then dropped a hand grenade which killed himself and several other students. Immediately after this Obrapalski, who had also failed the tests, fired several shots at the teachers, wounding a professor and several students, before throwing a hand grenade, which failed to explode. He then committed suicide. Including the perpetrators themselves, five persons were killed, one of them a professor. Six students, as well as the headmaster, were wounded.[4]

According to an article in the Neue Freie Presse three students carried out the attack, who were identified as Stanislaus Lawrynowicz, Janusz Obrembalski and Thaddäus Domanski, who was also named Ormanski[5] in other reports. The newspaper reported that Lawrynowicz fired several shots at principal Bieganski, after most of the students had refused to take part at the exams, while at the same time Obrembalski began shooting at the teachers. Domanski then tried to throw a bomb into the group of teachers, which slipped out of his hands and exploded at his feet, killing himself, as well as the two other attackers, and a fourth student named Zagorski. Principal Bieganski was mortally wounded in the attack and professor Jankowski, as well as seven other students were gravely injured. At least four of the wounded students succumbed to their wounds.

An investigation revealed that the students had established a Communist youth organisation to counter the principal's strict management of the school. The members of this organisation had met one day before the exams in a tavern to discuss their further actions.[6]

A bomb was later found in one classroom, large enough to blow up the school building.[7][8]

See also[edit]

  • Vera Kharuzhaya, Soviet agent deployed to Poland for sabotage and espionage operations during the interbellum


External links[edit]