An image of genocide
An interview with Dr. Piotr Setkiewicz, head of the Research Center of the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum

14 June 1940 the first mass transport to the German Concentration Camp in Auschwitz took place. The vast majority of the 728 men were Polish political prisoners. Overall, the group consisted of members of the resistance movement; social and political activists arrested under AB Aktion, Catholic clergy, and a small group of Jews. Every one...

Jan Szczepanik, a genius from Galicia

Teacher and inventor Jan Szczepanik is also known, in what is perhaps a slight exaggeration, as the “Polish Edison” or the “Galician Leonardo da Vinci”. Although he was self-taught and had no technical background, he created several hundred inventions and technical solutions that contributed to the development of television, photography, film and the textile industry....

A young Girl and a Mighty Queen: the Exceptional Jadwiga of Anjou
An interview with Prof. Tomasz Graff (Pontifical University of John Paul II in Krakow)

After the coronation of Jagiełło, Jadwiga was still formally King, and not just the wife of the monarch. As she matured, she increasingly often took the initiative in matters of the state and, in the final years of her life, was an independent politician, able to effectively negotiate with neighbours and set them tough conditions....

The Nihil novi Constitution
519th anniversary of proclamation of the Act

The Nihil novi Constitution was adopted by the General Sejm (parliament) convened in the city of Radom in 1505. Its passage entailed one of the stages in the conflict between the magnates of the royal council and the representation of the szlachta (gentry) gathered in the Chamber of Deputies – i.e., the lower house of...

The birth of local democracy in Poland
the 35th anniversary of the first free elections of local government in the Third Polish Republic

The 1989 revolution created an opportunity for the resurgence of a democratic state in Poland. That is why the elections for local authorities that were held on 27 May 1990 were so important. It was a first step on the road to rebuilding democracy on a local level after nearly half a century of Communist...

Polish War Cemeteries in Italy
Soldiers of the Polish II Corps Fallen on Italian Soil in the Fight for Poland's Freedom

There are four war cemeteries in Italy commemorating the participation of the Polish II Corps in the Italian campaign. The largest necropolis is in Bologna, where the unit fought its last battle and ended its campaign in 1945. The others are located in Casamassima and Loreto and – the most famous – on the Monte...

Wojtek – A Bear Who Became A Soldier
The most famous corporal of the Polish Armed Forces

A bear became a soldier? Yes! Polish soldiers adopted a little orphaned bear and took good care of him. He returned the favor during the war. by Piotr Bejrowski   A Bear Joins The Polish Army Arguably the most unusual soldier to fight in the Battle of Monte Cassino in 1944 was Wojtek, a bear....

He did not return on a white horse. General Władysław Anders
Polish Army in the Battle of Monte Cassino

He was compared to Moses taking his people out of captivity. He commanded the Polish armed forces during the most renowned attack they mounted and after the war he was supposed to return to Poland on a white horse. He was wounded on seven occasions. Deprived of Polish citizenship by communists, he became one of...

Marian Kukiel: a soldier, professor, and émigré
(15 May 1885 – 15 August 1973)

Marian Kukiel’s oeuvre is one of the milestones of Polish military historiography. Together with Wacław Tokarz, Marian Kukiel was a co-founder of this discipline. His monumental work on the War of 1812 is an important contribution to European Napoleonic studies. The researcher’s qualities included versatility and diligence. He was a soldier, politician and promoter of...

A centre of entertainment and a temple of culture
 An interview with Agata Łuksza about the beginnings of Warsaw’s theatre

The 19th-century theatre had a double function – it offered an ambitious repertoire, and was an element of ‘high culture’, but it was also a way to spend an evening, not necessarily ambitiously – says Agata Łuksza (Institute of Polish Culture, University of Warsaw) in an interview for polishhistory.pl   Nowadays, when we say ‘theatre’...

Gen. Stanisław Sosabowski: Honour is of the essence
The fate of a legendary commander of the Polish 1st Independent Parachute Brigade

He became the scapegoat for the greatest Allied defeat at the end of the Second World War. An outstanding commander who had to fight mainly in lost battles. The biography of General Stanisław Sosabowski reflects, like few others, the drama of the fate of Polish soldiers during the Second World War. by Grzegorz Wołk  ...

John Paul II's Speech to the Polish Parliament
the 25th anniversary of John Paul II visit to Poland

In 1999, during his second to last pastoral trip to Poland John Paul II visited 21 localities. The Holy Father came to Poland, which after the difficult transformation period in the early 1990s was begining to feel an economic upturn and had a relatively stable democracy. A year before the Pope’s visit Poland joined NATO...

The world's largest cemetery of clergymen
Polish clergy - prisoners of KL Dachau

During World War II, 1,780 Polish clergymen were detained in KL Dachau, and 868 died there. “They forced me to live in ‘splendid’ barracks for thousands of people, to sleep on wooden, hard bunks under one blanket. They gave me the honor of being a guinea pig,” recalled Tadeusz Jasiński, one of the survivors. by...

Tommaso Dolabella. The Venetian paints the Sarmatians
exhibition in the Royal Castle in Warsaw

Moving from little Belluno to Venice – was this a necessity for an ambitious painter of the Baroque era? Especially if we take into account the fact that his father was a local painter who used to paint the folds of cloaks worn by saints. Dolabella ended up in the workshop of Antonio Vassilacchi and...

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Polishhistory is an online project of the Polish History Museum in Warsaw. It is primarily addressed to all those interested in Polish and Central European history. Our aim is to build a community consisting of those professionally involved in research and of those interested in the outcomes of research, essentially, all lovers of history. The...