Palmiry and the destruction of the Polish elite
One of the most notorious places of mass executions in Nazi German occupied Poland

It is worthwhile noting the above mentioned group – the Polish leadership elite – as its fate reveals the objectives of Nazi-Germany’s occupation policy in Poland. Before the outbreak of war, the German authorities began to plan the extermination of a broadly defined Polish leadership elite. Although generally referred to as the intelligentsia, with education...

Jan Matejko: The Painter of Polish History
(24 June 1838 –1 November 1893)

This outstanding artist became famous for his paintings depicting important moments in the history of Poland. They are a story highlighting the country’s former glory, but also contain warnings for its entire society. by Michał Haake   Many paths into the creative future were open before the young, artistically gifted, Matejko (b. 1838). Wishing to...

The Power of the Story: From an Old Chronicle to a Modern Museum – a temporary exhibition at the Polish History Museum
15/06/2024 – 15/09/2024

A temporary exhibition titled The Power of the Story: From and Old Chronicle to a Modern Museum has opened at the Polish History Museum. It focuses on various ways of narrating Polish history and is divided into its successive stages: from the Middle Ages until modern times. The exhibition makes the visitor familiar with the...

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....

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’...

Henryk Dobrzański: A Crazy Major
The first partisan of World War II

Henryk Dobrzański lived and served in the Polish army according to the motto: “I will not lay down my arms, I will not take off my uniform. So help me God.” Henryk Dobrzański, aka Major Hubal, was taken by surprise and killed by the Germans on 30 April 1940. by Piotr Bejrowski He was born...

Adam Zagajewski (1945-2021): Canvass that Turned into a Shroud
In memoriam of Adam Zagajewski

On Sunday, 21 March 2021, the great Polish poet Adam Zagajewski passed away. In his poetic heyday, he would write poems critics called ‘classicising’, showing the world’s hidden beauty as well as emphasising the mysteriousness and uniqueness of human fate. And still, for a poet who defended the categories of beauty, mindfulness and detail, he...

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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...