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Jerzy Lerski, 1944
Jerzy Jan Lerski (nom de guerre: Jur; also known as George Jan Lerski; 1917-92) was a Polishmarker lawyer, soldier, historian, political scientist and politician. After World War II he emigrated to the United Statesmarker, where he became a professor at the University of San Franciscomarker.


Born in Lwówmarker (now Lviv, Ukraine), Lerski studied law at Lwów University. In the interwar Polandmarker he joined the Stronnictwo Demokratyczne (Polish Democratic Party); he became known for his strong opposition to anti-semitic events.

During the Polish September Campaign he fought at the battle of Brześć Litewski (holding the rank of podchorąży). Taken prisoner by the Soviet Army during the Soviet invasion, he managed to escape from a train transport. He joined the anti-Soviet resistance, but with the NKVD actively looking for him he escaped into Hungarymarker to Francemarker, joining the Polish Armed Forces in the West; after the fall of France evacuated to United Kingdommarker. In 1941 after taking the commando course he became a "cichociemny", and having been parachuted to occupied Poland in February 1943 he served as one of the couriers for the Polish Government in Exile - individuals who risked their life moving between the Polish exiled government in Londonmarker and the Polish Secret State in occupied Poland. After collecting information from the Secret State he returned to London.

In 1944 he was the secretary of the Prime Minister of Poland, Tomasz Arciszewski. Lerski decided to remain on emigration instead of returning to Soviet-dominated communist Poland. He was active in the Polski Ruch Wolnościowy Niepodległość i Demokracja political movement.

Eventually he moved to the United Statesmarker. He obtained his Ph. D. in history at Georgetown Universitymarker, 1953, and taught at several universities in US before joining the faculty at the University of San Franciscomarker in 1966 where he became a professor and historian of the East Central Europe. He was also a visiting scholar abroad, and had lectured in Pakistanmarker, Sri Lankamarker and Japanmarker. He published books and articles on Polish history.

He was a recipient of the Righteous Among the Nations award.


  • Jerzy Lerski Emisariusz Jur (autobiography), Warszawa 1989 , wyd. I krajowe, wyd OW "Interim" ISBN 83-85083-00-6, ISBN 83-7043-025-2
  • Jerzy Lerski The Economy of Poland Washington 1954 , Council for Economic and Industry Research;
  • Jerzy Lerski A Polish Chapter in Jacksonian America:The United States and the Polish Exiles of 1831 ; Madison, University of Wisconsin Press, 1958
  • Jerzy Lerski Origins of Trotskyism in Ceylon ; a documentary history of the Lanka Sama Samaja Party, 1935-1942. Stanfordmarker 1968, Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace,
  • Jerzy Lerski Herbert Hoover and Poland : a documentary history of a friendship / compiled and with an introd. by George J. Lerski ; foreword by Mark O. Hatfield. Stanford 1977: Hoover Institution Press, ISBN 0817967411
  • Jerzy Lerski Historical dictionary of Poland, 966-1945 / George J. Lerski ; with special editing and emendations by Piotr Wróbel and Richard J. Kozicki ; foreword by Aleksander Gieysztor. Westport 1996, Greenwood Press, ISBN 0313260079
  • Jerzy Lerski Jewish-Polish coexistence, 1772-1939 : a topical bibliography / compiled by George J. Lerski and Halina T. Lerski ; foreword by Lucjan Dobroszycki. New York 1986, Greenwood Press, ISBN 0313247587

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