Żelazowa Wola according to a drawing by Napoleon Orda View 2The Fryderyk Chopin Institute
Fryderyk's parents met in Żelazowa Wola, a village in Mazovia, where the composer's father taught French, and his mother was a steward at the court of Count and Countess Skarbek.
Brochów (20. Century) by UnknownThe Fryderyk Chopin Institute
On June 2, 1806, Justyna Tekla Krzyżanowska married Mikołaj Chopin in a small village church in Brochów.
Portrait of Justyna Chopin (2015) by Katarzyna Gągol after Ambroży MieroszewskiThe Fryderyk Chopin Institute
Fryderyk's mother, Justyna Tekla, came from a noble albeit non-affluent Krzyżanowski family. She was born in Izbica Kujawska, but quickly became domiciled with Countess Ludwika Skarbkowa, whom she helped run the court in Żelazowa Wola.
Portrait of Mikołaj Chopin (21st Century) by Katarzyna GągolThe Fryderyk Chopin Institute
Fryderyk's father, Mikołaj Chopin, came from Lorraine. He was a wheelwright's son, but he quickly caught the attention of the estate manager who took the sixteen-year-old boy to Poland. There he found employment, first in a factory, then as a clerk, and finally a French teacher.
Dąbrowski's Mazurka (1835) by Fryderyk ChopinThe Fryderyk Chopin Institute
The last meeting
On August 15, 1835, the composer saw his parents for the first time since his departure from Poland. As Fryderyk could not return to Poland, the meeting took place in Karlsbad. We do not know if they realized then that it would be their last meeting.
Costumes of Polish Peasants near Warsaw (19th Century) by LeclercThe Fryderyk Chopin Institute
The beloved sister
The future composer had an older sister - Ludwika. As a young girl, she composed her first mazurkas, unfortunately none of them survived. Later she took up literary activity - she published several books.
Portrait of Ludwika Chopin (2015) by Katarzyna Gągol after Ambroży MieroszewskiThe Fryderyk Chopin Institute
On November 22, 1832, Ludwika married the lawyer Józef Kalasanty Jędrzejewicz. The couple had four children.
List do Ludwiki Jędrzejewiczowej, Moje Życie. Jeżeli możecie, to przyjedźcie…The Fryderyk Chopin Institute
Between Paris and Warsaw
Fryderyk had a special bond with Ludwika. They remained united through lifelong, affectionate correspondence. When the composer fell ill, his beloved sister came to Paris to accompany her brother in the last days of his life.
Casimir Palace (20. Century) by Dietrich Fryderyk KrzysztofThe Fryderyk Chopin Institute
After Ludwika and Fryderyk, the Chopins had two more daughters. Izabela - like the rest of her siblings - received a thorough education. In 1834 she married Feliks Antoni Barciński, professor of mathematics, in the Church of the Holy Cross.
Portrait of Emilia Chopin (1826/1827) by Unknown authorThe Fryderyk Chopin Institute
The youngest of the siblings was Emilia Chopin. Her theatrical and literary skills were appreciated; unfortunately, she died at the age of fifteen.
Portrait of Fryderyk Chopin at the age of 23 View 2The Fryderyk Chopin Institute
From the accounts of witnesses, documents and mementos that have survived to this day, the image of Chopins as a happy and loving family. No wonder that the composer longed for his family home full of warmth in exile.
The house where Chopin was born, in the village of Żelazowa Wola, near Sochaczew (19th Century) by Ignacy ChełmickiThe Fryderyk Chopin Institute
On the way to Warsaw
When Fryderyk was a several-month-old infant, his father became employed as a teacher at the Warsaw Lyceum. The whole family left Żelazowa Wola and moved to the city. The Chopins tied themselves with Warsaw for the decades that followed.