Tomasz Strzembosz

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Tomasz Strzembosz
Tomasz Strzembosz (1930-2004).jpg
Born(1930-09-11)September 11, 1930
DiedOctober 16, 2004(2004-10-16) (aged 74)
Warsaw, Poland
Alma mater Warsaw University
Genre Non-fiction
SubjectWorld War II history
Notable worksRzeczpospolita podziemna
Notable awardsCustodian of National Memory Prize

Tomasz Strzembosz (11 September 1930 – 16 October 2004) was a Polish historian and writer who specialized in the World War II history of Poland. He was a professor at the Polish Academy of Sciences Institute of Political Studies, in Warsaw; and, from 1991, at the John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin. Strzembosz was a resident of Warsaw, Poland. [1]


Postwar career

After World War II, Tomasz Strzembosz was persecuted by the Polish People's Republic government's Urząd Bezpieczeństwa (Security Office). In mid-1950s, Stalinist Poland he was prevented from obtaining a master's degree and was repeatedly laid off from work.

Strzembosz was one of the few Polish People's Republic historians who refused to write Soviet-inspired falsehoods about Poland's history. His main areas of research included the history of the World War II Polish Underground State, with special emphasis on German-occupied Warsaw; the Polish partisan movement in the Kresy macroregion between 1939 and 1941, following the Soviet invasion of Poland; and the 1944–46 anti-communist resistance in Poland. [2]

In the 1980s, Strzembosz was an activist in the anti-communist Solidarity movement. In 1989–93, he was president of the Polish Scouting Association (photo).

Strzembosz authored a dozen books and over 100 scholarly papers. He also edited or reviewed over a dozen works by other authors. In 2002, he received Poland's Custodian of National Memory  [ pl ] Prize. [2]


Marek Ney-Krwawicz  [ pl ] has described Strzembosz's research on the Soviet occupation of Poland as "having contributed much valuable material and helping to verify the current state of knowledge... from a novel perspective." [3]

Marek Wierzbicki has described him as "one of the leading scholars of Polish World War II resistance". [4]

Łukasz Kamiński likewise called him "one of the most important Polish historians of the second half of the 20th century". He has also been described as starting an entire new school of Polish history. [5]

Since 2008, a Tomasz Strzembosz Award for books on modern Polish history by young historians is jointly awarded by the Tomasz Strzembosz Foundation and the Political Studies Institute of the Polish Academy of Sciences  [ pl ]. [6] [7]

According to a more critical view expressed by Joanna Michlic, Strzembosz belonged to a Polish "ethno-nationalist" school of thought that also includes Marek Jan Chodakiewicz and Bogdan Musiał. [8] [9] In Shared History, Divided Memory, Michlic writes that this school treats Żydokomuna (Judeo-Communism) not as an antisemitic canard but as a historically rooted reality. [10]

Also in Shared History, Divided Memory, Kai Struve, assessing Strzembosz's historiography, writes that, while Strzembosz had difficulty accepting Jan T. Gross' account of the Jedwabne massacre and used some antisemitically-tinged sources in describing alleged widespread Jewish collaboration with the Soviets, he did valuable pioneering research into Poles' resistance against the ruthless Soviet occupation of their country in 1939-41. While Strzembosz initially minimized the participation of Poles in the Jedwabne massacre, emphasizing the role of the Germans, he did not deny Polish involvement and described it as unjustifiable. Struve writes that in Strzembosz's last book, published shortly before his death in 2004, he did not repeat his earlier thesis regarding a marginal Polish role in the Jedwabne massacre, but indeed added evidence that anti-Soviet resistors played a central role in it. Struve concludes his assessment of Strzembosz's historiography with praise for its professionalism, high quality, and sense of patriotic duty. [11]


Tomasz Strzembosz was one of a set of triplets, with Roman-Catholic activist Teresa and law-professor-judge Adam Strzembosz, who served as chief justice of Poland's Supreme Court. Tomasz married Maria (Maryla) Dawidowska, sister of anti-Nazi underground scouting hero Maciej Aleksy Dawidowski.




  1. 1 2 Wasilewski, Jan Krzysztof (29 June 2008). "Tomasz Strzembosz (1930-2004) - publikacje i bibliografia" [Tomasz Strzembosz (1930-2004) - publications and bibliography] (in Polish). John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin. Archived from the original on 7 August 2011.
  2. 1 2 "Uroczystość wręczenia Nagrody im. Grzegorza Jakubowskiego" [Award Ceremony of the Grzegorz Jakubowki Prize]. Nagroda Kustosz Pamięci Narodowej [Custodian of National Memory] (in Polish). Institute of National Remembrance. 12 November 2002. Archived from the original on 15 May 2011.
  3. "Strzembosz Tomasz (1930–2004)". (in Polish). Retrieved 27 January 2020. Badania Tomasza Strzembosza nad tą tematyką przynosiły wiele wartościowego materiału i weryfikowały dotychczasowy stan wiedzy, ukazując nowe spojrzenie na opór i walkę społeczeństwa polskiego pod okupacją radziecką.
  4. Wierzbicki, Marek. "Profesor Tomasz Strzembosz". (in Polish). Retrieved 27 January 2020. Aktywna i nowatorska działalność naukowa oraz opublikowanie jej wyników w postaci wartościowych monografii ugruntowały pozycję prof. Strzembosza jako czołowego badacza dziejów polskiego oporu w czasie II wojny światowej
  5. "IPN przypomni postać prof. Tomasza Strzembosza". (in Polish). 10 September 2014. Retrieved 27 January 2020. "Profesor Tomasz Strzembosz niewątpliwie należy do grona najważniejszych polskich historyków, aktywnych w drugiej połowie XX wieku. ... Badacze poruszą kwestię szkoły historycznej Tomasza Strzembosza.
  6. "Nagroda im. Tomasza Strzembosza" (in Polish). Muzeum Powstania Warszawskiego. 11 September 2008. Retrieved 27 January 2020.
  7. "Rozstrzygnięto V edycję Nagrody im prof. Tomasza Strzembosza". Nauka w Polsce (in Polish). Retrieved 27 January 2020.
  8. Joanna Beata Michlic, in John-Paul Himka, ed., Bringing the Dark Past to Light: The Reception of the Holocaust in Postcommunist Europe, p. 433.
  9. Joanna Michlic, in Elazar Barkan, Elizabeth A. Cole, Kai Struve, eds., Shared History, Divided Memory: Jews and Others in Soviet-Occupied Poland, p. 87.
  10. Joanna Michlic, in Elazar Barkan, Elizabeth A. Cole, Kai Struve, eds., Shared History, Divided Memory: Jews and Others in Soviet-Occupied Poland, p. 69.
  11. Kai Struve, "The Soviet Occupation of Eastern Poland and the Heroic Narrative: Tomasz Strzembosz", in Elazar Barkan, Elizabeth A. Cole, Kai Struve, eds., Shared History, Divided Memory: Jews and Others in Soviet-Occupied Poland, 1939-1941, Leipziger Universitätsverlag, 2008, pp. 53-57.

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