Władysław Bartoszewski

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Władysław Bartoszewski
Wladyslaw Bartoszewski 2012.JPG
Minister of Foreign Affairs of Poland
3rd and 6th Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Third Republic of Poland
In office
30 June 2000 19 October 2001
President Aleksander Kwaśniewski
Prime Minister Jerzy Buzek
Preceded by Bronisław Geremek
Succeeded by Włodzimierz Cimoszewicz
In office
7 March 1995 22 December 1995
President Lech Wałęsa
Prime Minister Józef Oleksy
Preceded by Andrzej Olechowski
Succeeded by Dariusz Rosati
Ambassador of The Republic of Poland to Austria
In office
20 September 1990 1 September 1995
Member of Senate
In office
20 October 1997 18 October 2001
Personal details
Born(1922-02-19)19 February 1922
Warsaw, Poland
Died24 April 2015(2015-04-24) (aged 93)
Warsaw, Poland
Cause of death Myocardial infarction
Spouse(s)Zofia Bartoszewska
ChildrenWładysław Teofil Bartoszewski
OccupationAcademician, journalist, politician, resistance member, social activist, writer

Władysław Bartoszewski ( [vwaˈdɨswaf bartɔˈʂɛfskʲi] ( Loudspeaker.svg listen ); 19 February 1922 – 24 April 2015) was a Polish politician, social activist, journalist, writer and historian. A former Auschwitz concentration camp prisoner, [1] he was a World War II resistance fighter as part of the Polish underground and participated in the Warsaw Uprising. After the war he was persecuted and imprisoned by the communist Polish People's Republic due to his membership in the Home Army and opposition activity. [2]

Poles people from Poland

The Poles, commonly referred to as the Polish people, are a nation and West Slavic ethnic group native to Poland in Central Europe who share a common ancestry, culture, history, and are native speakers of the Polish language. The population of self-declared Poles in Poland is estimated at 37,394,000 out of an overall population of 38,538,000, of whom 36,522,000 declared Polish alone.

Auschwitz concentration camp German network of concentration and extermination camps in occupied Poland during World War II

The Auschwitz concentration camp was a complex of over 40 concentration and extermination camps built and operated by Nazi Germany in occupied Poland during World War II and the Holocaust. It consisted of Auschwitz I, the main camp (Stammlager) and administrative headquarters, in Oświęcim; Auschwitz II–Birkenau, a combined concentration/extermination camp three kilometers away in Brzezinka; Auschwitz III–Monowitz, a labor camp seven kilometers from Auschwitz I, set up to staff an IG Farben synthetic-rubber factory; and dozens of other subcamps.

Resistance movements during World War II occurred in every occupied country by a variety of means, ranging from non-cooperation, disinformation and propaganda, to hiding crashed pilots and even to outright warfare and the recapturing of towns. In many countries, resistance movements were sometimes also referred to as The Underground.


After the collapse of the communist regime, Bartoszewski served twice as the Minister of Foreign Affairs from March through December 1995 and again from 2000 to 2001. [3] He was also an ambassador and a member of the Polish Senate. Bartoszewski was a close ally and friend of Polish anti-Communist activist and later president Lech Wałęsa. [4]

Lech Wałęsa Polish politician, Nobel Peace Prize winner, former President of Poland

Lech Wałęsa is a Polish retired politician and labour activist. He co-founded and headed Solidarity (Solidarność), the Soviet bloc's first independent trade union, won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1983, and served as President of Poland from 1990 to 1995.

Bartoszewski was a chevalier of the Order of the White Eagle, and an honorary citizen of Israel and a member of the International Honorary Council of the European Academy of Diplomacy. [1]

Knight An award of an honorary title for past or future service with its roots in chivalry in the Middle Ages

A knight is a man granted an honorary title of knighthood by a monarch, bishop or other political or religious leader for service to the monarch or a Christian church, especially in a military capacity. Historically, in all Europe, knighthood was conferred upon mounted warriors. During the High Middle Ages, knighthood was considered a class of lower nobility. By the Late Middle Ages, the rank had become associated with the ideals of chivalry, a code of conduct for the perfect courtly Christian warrior. Often, a knight was a vassal who served as an elite fighter, a bodyguard or a mercenary for a lord, with payment in the form of land holdings. The lords trusted the knights, who were skilled in battle on horseback.

Order of the White Eagle (Poland) Polish decoration of merit

The Order of the White Eagle is Poland's highest order awarded to both civilians and the military for their merits. It was officially instituted on 1 November 1705 by Augustus II the Strong and bestowed on eight of his closest diplomatic and political supporters.

Israel country in the Middle East

Israel, officially the State of Israel, is a country in Western Asia, located on the southeastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea and the northern shore of the Red Sea. It has land borders with Lebanon to the north, Syria to the northeast, Jordan on the east, the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and Gaza Strip to the east and west, respectively, and Egypt to the southwest. The country contains geographically diverse features within its relatively small area. Israel's economic and technological center is Tel Aviv, while its seat of government and proclaimed capital is Jerusalem, although the state's sovereignty over Jerusalem has only partial recognition.

Early life

Bartoszewski was born in Warsaw to a Catholic family. [5] He studied at Saint Stanisław Kostka Secondary School. [5] In 1939 he graduated from The Humanist High School of the Roman Catholic Future Educational Society in Warsaw. [3]

Warsaw City metropolis in Masovia, Poland

Warsaw is the capital and largest city of Poland. The metropolis stands on the Vistula River in east-central Poland and its population is officially estimated at 1.765 million residents within a greater metropolitan area of 3.1 million residents, which makes Warsaw the 8th most-populous capital city in the European Union. The city limits cover 516.9 square kilometres (199.6 sq mi), while the metropolitan area covers 6,100.43 square kilometres (2,355.39 sq mi). Warsaw is an alpha global city, a major international tourist destination, and a significant cultural, political and economic hub. Its historical Old Town was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

World War II years

In September 1939, Bartoszewski took part in the civil defense of Warsaw as a stretcher-bearer. [4] From May 1940, he worked in the first social clinic of the Polish Red Cross in Warsaw. [4] On 19 September 1940, Bartoszewski was detained in the Warsaw district of Żoliborz during a surprise round-up of members of the public ( łapanka ), along with some 2,000 civilians (among them, Witold Pilecki). [4] [6] From 22 September 1940, he was an Auschwitz concentration camp prisoner (his inmate number was 4427). Due to actions undertaken by the Polish Red Cross, he was released from Auschwitz on 8 April 1941. [4]

Civil defense protection of the citizens of a state (generally non-combatants) from military attack

Civil defence or civil protection is an effort to protect the citizens of a state from military attacks and natural disasters. It uses the principles of emergency operations: prevention, mitigation, preparation, response, or emergency evacuation and recovery. Programs of this sort were initially discussed at least as early as the 1920s and were implemented in some countries during the 1930s as the threat of war and aerial bombardment grew. It became widespread after the threat of nuclear weapons was realized.

Stretcher equipment for moving patients in need of medical care

A stretcher, litter, or pram is an apparatus used for moving patients who require medical care. A basic type must be carried by two or more people. A wheeled stretcher is often equipped with variable height frames, wheels, tracks, or skids. In American English, a wheeled stretcher is referred to as a gurney.

Polish Red Cross

Polish Red Cross is the Polish member of International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. It was founded in 1919 by Dr. Benjamin Reschovsky of Warsaw City Hospital and recognized by the Red Cross on July 24, 1919. Its first President was Paweł Sapieha.

Polish underground

After his release from Auschwitz, Bartoszewski contacted the Association of Armed Struggle (Związek Walki Zbrojnej). In the summer of 1941, he reported on his concentration camp imprisonment to the Information Department of the Information and Propaganda Bureau of the Home Army (Armia Krajowa, or AK, a reformed version of the Association of Armed Struggle and the largest resistance movement in Poland). [7] In 1942, he joined the Front for the Rebirth of Poland (Front Odrodzenia Polski) which was a secret, Catholic, social-educational and charity organization founded by Zofia Kossak-Szczucka. [7]

A resistance movement is an organized effort by some portion of the civil population of a country to withstand the legally established government or an occupying power and to disrupt civil order and stability. It may seek to achieve its objectives through either the use of nonviolent resistance, or the use of force, whether armed or unarmed. In many cases, as for example in Norway in the Second World War, a resistance movement may employ both violent and non-violent methods, usually operating under different organizations and acting in different phases or geographical areas within a country.

Zofia Kossak-Szczucka Polish writer

Zofia Kossak-Szczucka was a Polish writer and World War II resistance fighter. She co-founded two wartime Polish organizations: Front Odrodzenia Polski and Żegota, set up to assist Polish Jews to escape the Holocaust. In 1943, she was arrested by the Germans and sent to Auschwitz Concentration Camp, but survived the war.

From October 1941 until 1944, Bartoszewski studied Polish studies in the secret Humanist Department of Warsaw University at the time when higher education of Poles was outlawed by the German occupational authorities. [7]

In August 1942, Bartoszewski became a soldier of the Home Army, working as a reporter in the "P" Subdivision of the Information Department of its Information and Propaganda Bureau. [2] His pseudonym "Teofil" was inspired by Teofil Grodzicki, a fictional character from Jan Parandowski's novel entitled The Sky in Flames. He cooperated with Kazimierz Moczarski in the two-man P-1 report of the "P" subdivision. [7]

From September 1942, Bartoszewski was active on behalf of the Front for the Rebirth of Poland in the Provisional Committee for Aid to Jews and its successor organization, the Council for Aid to Jews (codenamed Żegota). Żegota, a Polish World War II resistance organization whose objective was to help Jews during the Holocaust, operated under the auspices of the Polish Government in Exile through the Delegatura, its presence in Warsaw. [5] He remained a member of Żegota until the Warsaw Uprising. In 1943, he replaced Witold Bieńkowski in the Jewish Department of the Delegatura. [8]

From November 1942 to September 1943, Bartoszewski was an editorial team secretary of the Catholic magazine Prawda (The Truth), the press organ of the Front for the Rebirth of Poland. [5] From fall of 1942 until spring of 1944, Bartoszewski was the editor-in-chief of the Catholic magazine Prawda Młodych (The Youth's Truth), which was also connected with the Front for the Rebirth of Poland and aimed at university and high-school students. In November 1942, Bartoszewski became a vice-manager of a division created in the Department of Internal Affairs of the Delegatura whose remit was to help prisoners of Pawiak prison. [7] In February 1943, Bartoszewski became a reporter and vice-manager of the Department's Jewish Report. As a part of his activities for Żegota and the Jewish Report, he organized assistance for the participants of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising in April 1943. [5]

Wladyslaw Bartoszewski at the 60th anniversary of the Warsaw Uprising in 2004 Bartoszewski 2004.jpg
Wladyslaw Bartoszewski at the 60th anniversary of the Warsaw Uprising in 2004

On 1 August 1944, Bartoszewski began his participation in the Warsaw Uprising. [7] He was an aide to the commander of radio post "Asma" and editor-in-chief of the magazine The News form the City and The Radio News. [7] On 20 September, by orders from the commandant of the Warsaw District of the AK, General Antoni "Monter" Chruściel, Bartoszewski was decorated with the Silver Cross of Merit. [5] This was the result of a proposal put forward by the chief of the Information and Propaganda Bureau in General Headquarters of the Home Army, Colonel Jan Rzepecki). On 1 October, he was appointed Second Lieutenant by the AK commander general Tadeusz "Bór" Komorowski (also due to a proposal by Rzepecki). He received the Cross of Valor order on 4 October. [7]

Stalinist period

Bartoszewski left Warsaw on 7 October 1944. [2] He continued his underground activity in the Information and Propaganda Bureau of the Home Army at its General Headquarters in Kraków. From November 1944 to January 1945, he held a position as editorial team secretary for Information Bulletin. [2] At the end of February 1945, he returned to Warsaw, where he began his service in the information and propaganda section of NIE resistance movement. [3] From May to August 1945, Bartoszewski was serving in the sixth unit of the Delegatura (he was responsible for information and propaganda) under the supervision of Kazimierz Moczarski). On 10 October 1945, he revealed that he had served in the AK. [4]

In Autumn 1945, Bartoszewski started his cooperation with the Institute of National Remembrance at the presidium of the government and the Head Commission of Examination of German Crimes in Poland. [4] His information gathered during the occupation period about the Nazi crimes, the situation in concentration camps and prisons as well as his knowledge concerning the Jewish genocide appeared to be very helpful. [3] In February 1946 he began his work in the editorial section of Gazeta Ludowa (People's Gazette), the main press organ of the Polish People's Party (Polskie Stronnictwo Ludowe, PSL). Soon, he joined the PSL, at that time the only influential party in opposition to the communist government. [4] In the articles published in Gazeta Ludowa, he mentioned the outstanding figures of the Polish Underground State (the interview with Stefan Korboński, the report from the funeral of Jan Piekałkiewicz), and the events connected with the fight for liberation of the country (a series of sketches presenting the Warsaw Uprising entitled Dzień Walczącej Stolicy). [4]

Due to his collaboration with the PSL, Bartoszewski became subject to repressions by the security services. On 15 November 1946, he was falsely accused of being a spy, resulting in him being arrested and held by the Ministry of Public Security of Poland. [4] In December, he was transferred to the Mokotów Prison and released on 10 April 1948, with the help of Zofia Rudnicka (a former chief of Żegota, then working in the Ministry of Justice). [3] Although he was accepted into the third year of Polish Studies in December 1948, Bartoszewski's arrest in 1949 and the resulting five years' imprisonment rendered him unable to finish his studies. [4]

Bartoszewski was again arrested on 14 December 1949. [2] On 29 May 1952, he was sentenced by the Military District Court to eight years in prison due to the false charge of espionage. [4] In April 1954, he was moved to the prison in Rawicz and in June to the prison in Racibórz. He was released in August 1954 on a year's parole due to his bad health condition. [2] On 2 March 1955, during the wave of de-Stalinization, Bartoszewski was informed he was wrongly sentenced. [2] [4]


Literary, academic and journalistic activity

Budapest, 2013 Wladyslaw Bartoszewski 5641.jpg
Budapest, 2013

After Bartoszewski was found wrongly sentenced and released from prison, he returned to his journalistic activity. Since August 1955, he was the editor-in-chief of specialist publishing houses of the Polish Librarians Association. [9] Since July 1956, he was publishing his articles in Stolica weekly, and since January 1957 he was a member of an editorial section. From the Summer of 1958 to December 1960, he held the position of the secretary of the editorial section. [9] In August 1957, Bartoszewski began working with Tygodnik Powszechny (Universal Weekly). Since July 1982, he was a member of the editorial section. [4]

In November 1958, Bartoszewski was again accepted by the Linguistic Department of Warsaw University, in extramural mode. He submitted his master's thesis written under the supervision of professor Julian Krzyżanowski. [10] However, by decision of the vice-chancellor, he was expelled from the university in October 1962. [9]

On 18 April 1963, Bartoszewski was decorated with the Polonia Restituta medal for his help to the Jews during the war. [9] The proposal was put forward by the Jewish Historical Institute. [9] Between September and November 1963, he resided in Israel at the invitation of the Yad Vashem Institute. In the name of the Council for Aid to Jews, he received the diploma of the Righteous Among the Nations. In 1966, he received the medal of the Righteous Among the Nations. [11] In memoriam, former Israeli Ambassador Govrin will later write: "Władysław Bartoszewski will always be remembered as an individual who greatly contributed to the strengthening of Polish-Israeli ties, well before diplomatic ties were renewed and well after. [12]

From November to December 1963, Bartoszewski lived in Austria, where he entered into communication with Austrian intellectual and political societies. [10] In November 1963, he begun his cooperation with Radio Free Europe. [4] In the next years, he was traveling to the Federal Republic of Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Israel and the United States, where he got in touch mainly with some of the representatives of Polish emigration (among others with Jan Nowak-Jeziorański, Jan Karski, Czesław Miłosz and Gustaw Herling-Grudziński). [9]

Polish PEN Club, Warsaw 2006 20061106 Wladyslaw Bartoszewski by Kubik.jpg
Polish PEN Club, Warsaw 2006

In 1969–73, Bartoszewski served as the chairman of the Warsaw Department of the Society of Book Lovers (Towarzystwo Przyjaciół Książki) and in December 1969 he was appointed a member of the board of the Polish PEN. [3] From 1972–83, he served as the chief secretary of the Polish PEN. [3]

In 1973–82, and again in 1984–85, Bartoszewski lectured as a senior lecturer (the counterpart of vice-professor). [3] His lectures concerned modern history (with the special emphasis on the war and occupation) in the Institute of Modern History on the Humanistic Science Department of KUL (Catholic University of Lublin). In December 1981, he was an active participant in the First Polish Culture Congress, which was interrupted by the enforcement of martial law in Poland. [3]

In 1983–1984 and 1986–1988, Bartoszewski lectured at the Institute of Political Science Faculty of Social Sciences at the Ludwig-Maximilian University in Munich (as well as the Media Science Institute at the same university in 1989–90). [3] He was named Visiting Professor by the Bavarian government. In 1984, he received an honorary doctorate from Hebrew College in Baltimore (USA) as well as a certificate of the recognition from the American Jewish Committee in New York. [3]

From May 1984, Bartoszewski was a full member of the Józef Piłsudski Institute of America. [11] From 1986 he served as one of the deputy-chairmen at the Institute of Polish-Jewish Studies at the University of Oxford. In the academic year 1985 he was lecturing at the Faculty of History and Social Sciences at the Catholic University of Eichstätt-Ingolstadt in the Federal Republic of Germany. [3] From 1988 to 1989, he lectured at the Institute of Political Science in the Department of Philosophy and Social Sciences at the University of Augsburg. [4] In 1992 he was appointed a member of the Independent Commission of Experts (ICE) 1992–2002 which was set up by the Swiss parliament to examine the refugee policy of the Switzerland during World War II as well as economic and financial relationships between Switzerland and Nazi Germany. [3]

Bartoszewski took part in many international conferences and seminars dedicated to the issues of World War II, the Jewish genocide, Polish-German and Polish-Jewish relationships as well as the role of Polish intellectualists in politics. [11] He delivered a number of lectures and reports on the various international forums. [9]

Opposition activity

In 1970, due to his opposition activity and various relations in Western countries, Bartoszewski was forbidden to publish his works in Poland (until autumn 1974). [1] He also fell victim to searches, denials of passport and distributing forgeries). [9] In 1974, he was engaged in activity focusing on reprieving the convicted members of the Ruch  [ pl ] organization (among others Stefan Niesiołowski and Andrzej Czuma). In January 1976, as one of the first, Bartoszewski signed the letter of intellectualists protesting against the introduction of changes into the constitution of the People's Republic of Poland. [11] He helped establish the Society for Educational Courses and he lectured at the "Flying University". [9]

Wladyslaw Bartoszewski and Lech Walesa, Warsaw 2006 20061208 Wladyslaw Bartoszewski and Lech Walesa by Kubik 01.JPG
Władysław Bartoszewski and Lech Wałęsa, Warsaw 2006

On 21 August 1980, Bartoszewski signed the intellectuals' letter to the protesting workers from the Polish coast. [4] During 1980/1981 he was a member of Solidarity. [9] After announcing martial law on 13 December 1981, he was a detainee in Białołęka prison and later in the Internment Center in Jaworze at Drawsko Pomorskie Military Training Area. He was released on 28 April 1982 due to the support from intellectual communities from Poland and from abroad. [1]

In 1981, Edward Raczyński, the President of Poland in exile, proposed Bartoszewski as his successor so Bartoszewski could become President in exile after his resignation. [9] Raczyński, according to his own words, wanted someone from the country and not the emigre circles as well as with strong ties to the opposition in Poland. Bartoszewski, however, graciously refused. In 1987 Raczyński's final successor, Kazimierz Sabbat, also proposed Batoszewski be nominated, but he declined. [4] Had he accepted the position, he would have succeeded Sabbat after his sudden death in 1989. [13]

Third Republic of Poland

Diplomatic and politic activity

From September 1990 to March 1995, Bartoszewski held the position of Ambassador of the Polish Republic to Austria. [11] On 28 April 1995, he delivered a speech during the solemn joint session of the Bundestag and Bundesrat on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the ending of World War II as the only foreign speaker. On 22 December 1995, he resigned from his office due to the end of Lech Wałęsa's presidential term. [1]

Once again, Bartoszewski became a chief of Polish Internal Affairs in June 2000 in Jerzy Buzek's government. [1] From 1997 to 2001, he was the Senator of the fourth term and the chairperson in the Office for International Affairs and European Integration. As a Senior Speaker he chaired the inaugural session of the Senate of the Republic of Poland. [11] On 21 November 2007, Bartoszewski was named Secretary of State in the Office of the Chairman of the Council of Ministers (Prime Minister Donald Tusk) and plenipotentiary for international affairs. [11]

Social and academic activity

Bartoszewski (right) with Bronislaw Geremek (left), 1997 1997.05.03. Piotr Nowina-Konopka and Bronislaw Geremek and Wladyslaw Bartoszewski and Marcin Swiecicki Fot Mariusz Kubik.jpg
Bartoszewski (right) with Bronisław Geremek (left), 1997

From June 1990, Bartoszewski was chairperson of the International Council of the National Auschwitz Museum. [4] From 1991 to 1995, he was the member of the National Council for Polish-Jewish Relations from the presidential office. From March 1995, he was the deputy chairman of the Polish PEN. In 1996, he received an honorary doctorate of the University of Wrocław. [11]

Starting in June 2001, Bartoszewski was the leader of the Council for the Protection of Memory of Combat and Martyrdom. On 27 January 2005, on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the liberation of the concentration camp Auschwitz-Birkenau, he delivered speeches as the representative of the Polish inmates of concentration camps. [4] [11] For many years he was a strong supporter of the Polish-Jewish and Polish-German reconciliation. [11] Through his journalistic and academic activity he contributed to retaining the memory of the Polish Underground State, the Warsaw Uprising and the crimes of totalitarism. [4]

From 26 January to 29 June 2006, Bartoszewski headed the board of LOT Polish Airlines. [11] He was a member of the Polish Writers' Association. He was also chairperson of the Polish Institute of International Affairs in Warsaw, but resigned from the position on 29 August 2006. [11] The reason was that there was no reaction from then-Minister of Foreign Affairs Anna Fotyga to the accusations formulated by deputy Minister of Defense Antoni Macierewicz who alleged that most of hitherto Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Third Republic of Poland were former agents of the Soviet special services according to files known as "fałszywkas" produced by the SB secret police . [4] [14]

Bartoszewski academic career (or more precisely – scholarly credentials) were subject to much controversy. He had no university degree but used the title "professor", suggesting that he had an academic degree. [4] After objections from the German as well as Polish academic community, the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs decided to remove the title of "professor" preceding Bartoszewski's name from its web page. [15] Despite his lack of formal academic qualifications, Bartoszewski taught graduate level history courses at several accredited and prestigious universities including the renown 'KUL' John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin which lists Bartoszewski. as a reader in modern history (chair of Polish Post-War History) in the Faculty of Humanities from 1973 to 1985 and awarded him an honorary doctorate in 2008. [16] Since April 2009 he was a council member of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation. [11] In July 2010, he became a member of the International Council of the Austrian Service Abroad. [11]

At a joint conference of the Polish Institute of International Affairs (PISM) and the Israel Council on Foreign Relations (ICFR) held in Warsaw in November 2017, ICFR director Laurence Weinbaum paid tribute to Bartoszewski and said he had played an important role in developing relations between Poland and Israel: “At a time when in certain quarters we are witness to shameless opportunism and the grotesque obfuscation of history, his legacy resonates especially strongly. Bartoszewski taught people that bellicose jingoism and intolerance should not be confused with true love of one's country, and that a society that gives way to its basest instincts is doomed to ruin." [17]

Personal life

Władysław Bartoszewski was first married to Antonina Mijal, but that marriage ended in divorce. [10] He later married Zofia Bartoszewska in 1967; they remained married until his death in 2015. [10] His son, Władysław Teofil Bartoszewski, was born in 1955. [10] He is an academic historian who has written on Polish Jewish history. He is the author of the 1991 book, The Convent at Auschwitz, George Braziller, ISBN   0-8076-1267-7. [10]


On 24 April 2015, Bartoszewski was admitted to a Warsaw hospital, dying shortly after arrival of a heart attack, aged 93. [18] [19] Flags at the parliament were lowered to half-staff in Bartoszewski's honor. Bartoszewski is survived by wife Zofia and son Władysław Teofil. [3] Bartoszewski's funeral was on May 4 and was buried at Powiązki Military Cemetery. [20]





Awards and honors

1944: Silver Cross of Merit with Swords and the Cross of Valor [21]
1963: Knight's Cross of the Polonia Restituta [21]
1965: Righteous Among the Nations [21]
1981: Honorary doctorate from the University of London [21]
1983: Herder Prize, Vienna [21]
1984: Honorary doctorate from the University of Baltimore [21]
1986: Peace Prize of the German Book Trade [21]
1986: Commander's Cross with Star of the Polonia Restituta
1992: Austrian Cross of Honour for Science and Art, 1st class [22]
1995: Knight of the Order of the White Eagle [21]
1995: Grand Decoration of Honour in Gold with Sash for Services to the Republic of Austria (Großes Goldenes Ehrenzeichen am Bande) [23]
1997: Grand Cross with Star of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany [21]
3 September 2001: Grand Cross of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany – "For work of reconciliation between Poles, Germans and Jews" [21]
2006: Knight Grand Cross of the Order of St. Gregory the Great (Holy See; the highest papal award given to lay people) [21]
2006: Knight of Freedom Award [21]
2007: Jan Nowak-Jezioranski Prize of the Embassy of the USA [24]
June 2007: International Adalbert Prize in Bratislava [21]
2008: Prize of €15,000 – first European Civil Rights Prize of the Sinti and Roma [21]
2009: Commander of the Legion of Honor (France) [21]
2009: "Bene Merito" honorary distinction (Poland)
2012: Order of the White Double Cross, 2nd class [21]
Honorary citizen of Israel [25]

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The Provisional Committee to Aid Jews was founded on September 27, 1942, by Zofia Kossak-Szczucka and Wanda Krahelska-Filipowicz. The founding body consisted of Polish democratic Catholic activists associated with the Front Odrodzenia Polski, Polska Organizacja Demokratyczna, Związek Syndykalistów Polskich and PPS-WRN. It was the direct predecessor to Żegota, the underground Council to Aid Jews.

Wanda Krahelska-Filipowicz Polish politician

Wanda Krahelska-Filipowicz, code name “Alinka”” or “Alicja”, was a leading figure in Warsaw’s underground resistance movement throughout the years of German occupation during World War II in Poland, co-founder of Żegota. As the well-connected wife of a former ambassador to Washington, she used her contacts with both the military and political leadership of the Polish Underground to materially influence the underground's policy of aiding Poland's Jewish population during the war.

Julian Grobelny

Julian Grobelny was an activist in the Polish Socialist Party (PPS) from 1915, in the lead-up to Poland's return to independence. During the interwar period he was a social activist. After the German-Soviet invasion of Poland in 1939, and the ensuing Holocaust, he became President of Żegota active in the General Government territory of occupied Poland. The clandestine organization was named after a fictional character Konrad Żegota born on the exact day of its inception in 1942. Grobelny served as president of Żegota until the end of hostilities.

Piotr Cywiński Polish historian

Piotr M. A. Cywiński is a professional historian and Director of the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum, active participant and often initiator in the Polish-Jewish and Christian-Jewish dialogue, and an ecumenist devoted to reconciliation of the various denominations among the cultures of the borderlands.

Rescue of Jews by Poles during the Holocaust Rescue of Jews by Poles during the Holocaust

Polish Jews were among the primary victims of the German-organized Holocaust. Throughout the German occupation of Poland, many Poles risked their lives – and the lives of their families – to rescue Jews from the Germans. Poles were, by nationality, the most numerous persons who rescued Jews during the Holocaust. To date, 6,863 ethnic Poles have been recognized by the State of Israel as Righteous among the Nations – more, by far, than the citizens of any other country.

Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation, created in 2009 by Wladyslaw Bartoszewski, aims in gathering and manage the iron fund from which income shall finance long-term, global preservation program of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial Site.

Frumka Płotnicka Polish Jewish resistance fighter during World War II; activist of the Jewish Fighting Organization (ŻOB) and member of the Labour Zionist organization Dror

Frumka Płotnicka was a Polish Jewish resistance fighter during World War II; activist of the Jewish Fighting Organization (ŻOB) and member of the Labour Zionist organization Dror. She was one of the organizers of self-defence in the Warsaw Ghetto, and participant in the military preparations for the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. Following the liquidation of the Ghetto, Płotnicka relocated to the Dąbrowa Basin in southern Poland. On the advice of Mordechai Anielewicz, Płotnicka organized a local chapter of ŻOB in Będzin with the active participation of Józef and Bolesław Kożuch as well as Cwi (Tzvi) Brandes, and soon thereafter witnessed the murderous liquidation of both Sosnowiec and Będzin Ghettos by the German authorities.

Teresa Prekerowa

Teresa Prekerowa, also Teresa Preker née Dobrska was a Polish historian and author of Konspiracyjna Rada Pomocy Żydom w Warszawie 1942-1945 published in 1982 during the communist military crackdown in the Polish People's Republic.

German retribution against Poles who helped Jews

German retribution against Poles who helped Jews – repressive measures taken by the German occupation authorities against non-Jewish Polish citizens who helped Jews who were persecuted and exterminated by the Third Reich from 1939 to 1945.


The article was originally a translation of its Polish version (Władysław Bartoszewski), with additions from the German version.

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