Do Follow in the Footsteps of Giedroyc and Mieroszewski
An interview with Prof. Alfredas Bumblauskas

“Lithuanians are a small but very proud nation. Looking down at them or dismissing them is bound to antagonize the Lithuanian public opinion right away”, says Alfredas Bumblauskas from the Vilnius University. What should foreigners know about Lithuania to better understand Lithuanians? Read our interview about complicted Polish-Lithuanian common history!   polishhistory: Both Poland and...

Primate Stefan Wyszyński: leader of the Church and nation (1956–1981)

Cardinal Wyszyński returned from prison to Warsaw on 28 October 1956. ‘Polish October’ was underway – a few weeks of one of the most important political shifts in Poland’s post-war history. He immediately began talks with the new authorities, which resulted in the signing of what was called a Small Agreement on the last day...

September 1939 as a ‘site of memory’ for Belarusians
Soviet attack on Poland and its consequences for Belarus

On 1 September 1939, the attack of Nazi Germany on Poland marked the beginning of the Second World War. After 16 days, the armies of the USSR, which was, at that time, an ally of the Third Reich, also crossed the Polish border. One consequence of these actions was the division of the territories of...

The Soviet authorities policy towards the Belarusian population in the north-eastern territories of the Second Polish Republic (Western Belarus) in 1939–1941
Soviet propaganda and destruction of Belarusian culture

The popular image of the ‘liberation of Western Belarus by the Red Army in September 1939’ was almost completely shaped by Soviet propaganda. Its core element was the image of the unreservedly grateful Belarusian peasants who, owing to the tanks crossing the border, experienced a triple liberation: social, political, and economic. The reality, however, was...

Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński: on the road to greatness (1901–1956)

Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński played an extremely important role in the history of Poland. His Primate’s ministry (1948–1981) fell entirely during the period of communist dictatorship. The Primate not only secured the survival of the Church, but also contributed to the growth of its public authority, and the formation of opposition attitudes towards the undemocratic power....

Stanisław Żółkiewski: Between Military Service and Private Interests
Stanisław Żółkiewski’s career and heroic death

On the night from 6 to 7 October 1620, a seventy-three-year-old Crown Grand Hetman Stanisław Żółkiewski perished on the battlefield in the last act of a drama that had begun a month prior. At the beginning of September, amid growing political tensions between the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and the Ottoman Empire, the Hetman entered Moldavia –...

The Mark, the Lech and the Zloty, or how Poland’s currency was born
When the Bank of Poland began issuing the Zloty

In 1916, it was the third year of the Great War, and there was no end in sight to the military struggle. All sides of the conflict were looking for new allies, although it was not so much about gaining more political supporters as it was about, above all, gaining more soldiers. For soldiers were...

Bez emocji. Polsko-litewski dialog o Józefie Piłsudskim [Without Emotions. Polish-Lithuanian Dialogue About Józef Piłsudski]
review of the book ed. by Danuta Jastrzębska-Golonkowa, Alvydas Nikžentaitis, Włodzimierz Suleja and Tadeusz Wolsza

This volume of studies and articles devoted to Józef Piłsudski — his achievements, political concepts and their interpretation, a retrospective of nearly a hundred years, is an important book in the field of historiography of Poland and Central Europe of the 20th century. However, it is no less an achievement in the field of –...

Piłsudski (Un)known: History and Pop Culture
book by the Polish History Museum

A brilliant strategist or a risk taker who was incurable but got lucky at a few key moments? A man of compromise, capable of coping with the greatest opponents when national interests demanded it, or an authoritative autocrat instead? A supporter of democracy, both radical and sincere, or a conservative at heart who readily found...

‘We want to deprive those in power of their power.’ Fighting Solidarity 1982–1990
Fighting Solidarity in action

In the summer of 1982, a new organisation appeared on the map of political opposition in Poland – Fighting Solidarity (SW, Polish: Solidarność Walcząca). Its hallmark were radical slogans calling to overthrow the communist dictatorship. by Michał Siedziako   The introduction of martial law on 13 December 1981 brought only partial success to the communist...

Kazimierz Prószyński: a pioneer of world cinematography

Kazimierz Prószyński was a cinematographer, director and inventor whose importance in the development of cinematography was highlighted by the famous Lumière brothers. by Piotr Bejrowski   He was born on 4 April 1875 in Warsaw and was the son of Konrad, an educational activist, founder of the National Education Society and publisher whose “Primer” was...

Stefan Wyszyński was first of all a teacher and became a statesman out of necessity

Poland bids farewell to a hero not wearing a crown or a general’s uniform but a priest’s cassock. We bid farewell to the one who achieved the greatest victory in the 20th century, although his only weapon was the cross, his only strength faith and his only army the defenceless but faithful Polish people. This is...

Alexandra Richie: The Warsaw Uprising remains a symbol of the struggles which have been made by the Poles in the name of freedom
An interview with Alexandra Richie

On the 1st of August Poland will commemorate the 76th Anniversary of the Warsaw Uprising. It was one of the final chapters of the World War II and one of the largest acts of resistance both against Nazi and Soviet totalitarianisms. Alexandra Richie, a Canadian historian living in Warsaw, vividly depicted the Uprising’s fate in...

Warsaw Uprising
77th anniversary of the outbreak

It was not until late July 1944 that the decision had been taken to fight an uprising against the German occupation forces in Warsaw. Prior to that, commanders of the Home Army had no intention of taking military action in Warsaw, wishing to avoid war damage and the suffering of civilians. by Łukasz Wojtach  ...

German crimes in occupied Poland
The note of Edward Raczyński

The double attack on Poland by Nazi Germany and the USSR in September 1939 led to the effective dissolution of the Polish state. Although Poland lost its sovereignty, its legal authorities continued to function, organising the Polish armed forces in France and later in Great Britain. Under these circumstances, the primary aim of the Polish...

The Sikorski-Maisky Agreement: a tactical success but a strategic defeat
The treaty between the Soviet Union and Poland

The Sikorski-Maisky Agreement, concluded at the end of July 1941 between the USSR ambassador and the Prime Minister of the Polish Government-in-Exile, provided an opportunity to free hundreds of thousands of Polish citizens from labor camps and prisons, enabled the establishment of Polish armed forces in the USSR, and strengthened the anti-Hitler coalition. At the...

Factories for the people? The nationalization of industry in Poland

In the 1940s, nationalization, i.e. bringing private property under the ownership of the state, was common in post-war Europe. It was also accompanied by additional types of seizures of private property, including confiscation and expropriation. At the same time, it was not uncommon for property to be collectivized without any legal basis. However, it was...

Protest!
Polish Catholics against Holocaust

“Protest!” is a leaflet written by Zofia Kossak-Szczucka, a Polish novelist, social activist and co-founder of the underground Catholic organisation Front for the Rebirth of Poland (Front Odrodzenia Polski, FOP). Illegally distributed on 11 August 1942, the pamphlet called for solidarity with the Jews who were subjected to brutal terror. On 22 July 1942, the...

Prof. Tomasz Schramm: Anders' generation used their chance almost 100%
Interview with Prof. Tomasz Schramm

Anders was a representative of the generation which, thanks to active work in the interwar period, could then pass the story of free Poland to following generations of Poles. Therefore, after the Second World War, Anders served as a representative  of Polish independence. However, it was only symbolic for many years and remained so until...

Henryk Arctowski, polar and Antarctic explorer
The 150th anniversary of Arctowski’s birthday

A mountain and glacier in Spitsbergen is named after him, as well as a bay, peninsula, mountain range, mountain, nunatak (a hill hidden under the ice surface) and a research station in Antarctica. Despite his German origin, Arctowski was a Polish patriot who believed that, thanks to his presence in Antarctica, his homeland would find...

Robert Kostro: Why couldn’t Jan Karski stop the Holocaust?

In May 1943, a moving scene took place at the Polish embassy in Washington. A 29-year-old man, speaking English with a strong accent and recently arrived in the West from occupied Poland, was meeting with 61-year-old Felix Frankfurter, an American Jew and a US Supreme Court judge, in the company of Ambassador Jan Ciechanowski. The...

At the side of Poles in Tobruk
Czechoslovak soldiers in the Middle East

The Czechoslovak Legion, established in September 1939 in Poland, was captured by the Soviets. After the Allies recognized the Edvard Beneš group in exile as the official government-in-exile in July 1940, the Czechs contacted the Soviet embassy in London requesting the release of Col. Svoboda’s soldiers interned in the USSR. The fact that the British...

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....

The Central Industrial District: the industrial heart of the Second Polish Republic
Second Polish Republic and its path to moderization

“A great thing is being created right before our eyes. Thousands of people sacrifice the work of their minds and muscles for the greatness of their homeland. We must not remain indifferent. And we also have to contribute to the Central Industrial District with our heart and our generosity” – thus stated the authors of...

John III Sobieski and Marysieńka
Love letters of the Polish King to his beloved wife

King John III Sobieski is remembered as the commander of the victorious armies on the battlefield at Vienna. Yet this brave and talented commander was also a man of deep feelings, as evidenced by his love letters to his wife, Marie-Casimire de la Grange d’Arquien (Marysieńka). by Piotr Abryszeński   Marie-Casimire came from the old...

June 1976: workers’ victory at the cost of repression
45th anniversary of June 1976 protests

A single day in June 1976 showed how fragile the public’s confidence in Gierek’s team was after almost six years in power. by Paweł Sasanka   The fourteen-year rule of Władysław Gomułka ended in the socio-political crises of March 1968 and December 1970. After the December tragedy, in which the army and police opened fire...

Jan Sehn. Poland’s forgotten Nazi hunter
An interview with Dr. Filip Gańczak, author of the book Jan Sehn. Tropiciel nazistów (Jan Sehn – Tracking the Nazis)

Jan Sehn (1909-1965) was a Polish lawyer and professor at the Jagiellonian University. Shortly after the war, he conducted research at the former Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp and also participated in preparing accusations against several dozen German war criminals who had worked at the camp. Additionally, he published a number of scientific papers on the functioning...

The Polish manor in the 19th century: architecture, traditions, and atmosphere
More than architectural project

The Polish manor house in the 19th century was no longer a simple “architectural project”. Those who owned manor houses were aware of the past and the meanings behind the architectural solutions and thus treated them both as a living space and an investment, e.g. as a “value carrier”. This was especially important during the...

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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...