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Władysław Bartoszewski (born February 19, 1922 in Warsawmarker) – Polishmarker politician, social activist, journalist, writer, historian, Auschwitz concentration campmarker inmate, soldier of Armia Krajowa, Polish underground activist, participant of the Warsaw Uprising, twice the Minister of Foreign Affairs, chevalier of the Order of the White Eagle, honorary citizen of Israelmarker.


Bartoszewski studied at Saint Stanisław Kostka Secondary School. In 1939 he graduated from The Humanist High School of the Roman Catholic Future Educational Society in Warsawmarker.

World War II

In September 1939, Bartoszewski took part in the civil defense of Warsaw as a stretcher-bearer. From May 1940, he worked in the first social clinic of the Polish Red Cross in Warsaw. On September 19, 1940, Bartoszewski was detained in the Warsaw district of Żoliborzmarker during a surprise round-up of members of the public (łapanka). From September 22, 1940, he was an Auschwitz concentration campmarker prisoner (his inmate number was 4427). Due to actions undertaken by the Polish Red Cross, he was released from Auschwitz on April 8, 1941.

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). In summer 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. From October 1941 until 1944 Bartoszewski studied Polish Studies in the secret Humanist Department of Warsaw Universitymarker at the time when higher education of Poles was outlawed by the German occuaptional authorities.

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. 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.

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. Bartoszewski remained a member of Żegota until the Warsaw Uprising. In 1943, he replaced Witold Bieńkowski in the Jewish Department of the Delegatura.

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. 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 Pawiakmarker prison. In February 1943, Bartoszewski begame a reporter and vice-manager of the Department's Jewish Report. As a part of his activities for Żegota and the Jewish Report, Bartoszewski organized assistance for the participants of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising in April 1943.

On August 1, 1944, Bartoszewski began his participation in the Warsaw Uprising. 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. On the September 20, by the order of the commandant of the Warsaw District of the AK, General Antoni “Monter” Chruściel, Bartoszewski was decorated with the Silver Cross of Merit. 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 October 1, Bartoszewski 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 October 4.

Communist Poland

Stalinist period

Bartoszewski left Warsaw on October 7, 1944. He continued his underground activity in the Information and Propaganda Bureau of the Home Army at its General Headquarters in Krakówmarker. From November 1944 to January 1945, he held a position as editorial team secretary for Information Bulletin. 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. 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 October 10, 1945, he revealed that he had served in the AK.

In autumn 1945 he started his cooperation with the Institute of National Remembrance at the presidium of the government and theHead Commission of Examination of German Crimes in Poland. 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.

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. 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).

Due to the collaboration with the oppositional PSL, he soon became subject to repressions by the security services. On November 15, 1946, he was falsely accused of being a spy, resulting in him being arrested and held by the Ministry of Public Security of Poland. In December he was transferred to the Mokotów Prisonmarker and released on the April 10, 1948, due to the help of Zofia Rudnicka (a former chief of Żegota, then working in the Ministry of Justice). 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.

Bartoszewski was again arrested on December 14, 1949. On May 29, 1952, he was sentenced by the Military District Court for eight years under the accusation of being a spy. In April 1954, he was moved to the prison in Rawiczmarker and in June to the prison in Racibórzmarker. He was released in August 1954 on a year parole due to his bad health condition. On March 2, 1955, during the wave of de-stalinization, Bartoszewski was informed he was wrongly sentenced.

Literary, academic and journalistic activity

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

In November 1958, he 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. However, by decision of the vice-chancellor, he was expelled from the university in October 1962.

On April 18, 1963, he was decorated with the Polonia Restituta medal for his help to the Jews during the war. The proposal was put forward by the Jewish Historical Institute). Between September and November 1963 he was staying in Israelmarker at Yad Vashemmarker Institute invitation. In the name of the Council for Aid to Jews, he received the diploma of the Righteous Among the Nations (in 1966, he also received the medal of the Righteous Among the Nations).

From November to December 1963, Bartoszewski was staying in Austriamarker, where he entered into communication with Austrian intellectual and political societies. In November 1963, he started his cooperation with Radio Free Europe. In the next years he was traveling to the Federal Republic of Germanymarker, Great Britainmarker, Italymarker, Israel and the United Statesmarker, where he got in touch mainly with the representatives of Polish emigration (among others with Jan Nowak-Jeziorański, Jan Karski, Czesław Miłosz and Gustaw Herling-Grudziński).

Polish PEN Club, Warsaw 2006

In the years 1969-1973, he was 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. In the years 1972-1983, he was the chief secretary of the Polish PEN. In 1973-1982 and again in 1984-1985 he was lecturing as a senior lecturer (the counterpart of vice-professor). 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 Lublinmarker). 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.

In 1983-1984 and 1986-1988 he was lecturing at the Institute of Political Science Faculty of Social Sciences at the Ludwig-Maximilian Universitymarker in Munichmarker (as well as the Media Science Institute at the same university in the years 1989-1990). He obtained the visiting professor’s degree by the Bavarianmarker government. In 1984, he received an honorary doctorate from Hebrew College in Baltimoremarker (USA) as well as the diploma of recognition from the American Jewish Committee in New Yorkmarker. Since May 1984 Bartoszewski has been the full member of the Józef Piłsudski Institute of America. Since 1986 he has been one of the deputy-chairmen at the Institute of Polish-Jewish Studies at the University of Oxfordmarker. In the academic year 1985 he was lecturing at the Faculty of History and Social Sciences at the Catholic University of Eichstätt-Ingolstadtmarker in the Federal Republic of Germany. From 1988-1989, he was lecturing at the Institute of Political Science in the Department of Philosophy and Social Sciences at the University of Augsburgmarker. 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 WWII as well as economic and financial relationships between Switzerland and Nazi Germany.

Władysław Bartoszewski took part in many international conferences and symposia 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. He delivered a number of lectures and reports on the various international forums.

Opposition activity

In 1970, due to his opposition activity and various relations in Western countries, he was forbidden to publish his works in Poland (until autumn 1974). In addition, he fell victim to other repressions such as searches, denials of passport and distributing forgeries). In 1974, he was engaged in the activity that focused on reprieving the convicted members of the Ruch 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. Since 1978 he has taken part in establishing the Society for Educational Courses and he had been lecturing at the "Flying University".

On August 21, 1980, he signed the intellectuals’ letter to the protesting workers from the Polish coast. During 1989/1991 he was a member of Solidarity. After announcing martial law on December 13, 1981, he was a detainee in Białołękamarker prison and later in Internment Center in Jaworzemarker at Drawsko Pomorskiemarker Military Training Area. He was released on April 28, 1982 due to the support from intellectual communities from Poland and from abroad.

In 1981, Edward Bernard Raczyński, the President of Poland in exile, proposed Bartoszewski as his successor so Bartoszewski could become President in exile after his resignation. 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 final successor, Kazimierz Sabbat, also proposed Batoszewski a nomination, but he declined. Interestingly, had he accepted the position, he would have succeeded Sabbat after his sudden death in 1989.

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. In 1995, he was the Minister of Foreign Affairs in Józef Oleksy’s government. On April 28, 1995, he delivered a speech during the solemn session of Bundestagmarker and Bundesrat on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the ending of World War II as the only foreign speaker. On December 22, 1995, he resigned from his office due to the end of Lech Wałęsa’s presidential term.

Once again, he became a chief of Polish Internal Affairs in June 2000 in Jerzy Buzek’s government. 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.

Since November 21, 2007, Władysław Bartoszewski has been the Secretary of State in the Office of the Chairman of the Council of Ministers (Prime Minister Donald Tusk) and plenipotentiary for international affairs.

Social and academic activity

Since June 1990, he has been chairperson of the International Council of the National Auschwitz Museum. In 1991-1995, he was the member of the National Council for Polish-Jewish Relations on the presidential office. Since March 1995, he has been the deputy chairman of the Polish PEN. In 1996, he received an honorary doctorate of the University of Wrocławmarker.

Since June 2001 Bartoszewski has been 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. For many years he has been a strong supporter of the Polish-Jewish and Polish-German reconciliation. Through his journalistic and academic activity he has contributed to retaining the memory of the Polish Underground State, the Warsaw Uprising and the crimes of totalitarism.

From January 26 to June 29, 2006, he was the leader of the board of LOT Polish Airlines. He is the 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 August 29, 2006. Reason was that there was no reaction from the then Minister of the Foreign Affairs Anna Fotyga and accusations formulated by deputy Minister of Defense Antoni Macierewicz (who alleged that most of hitherto Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Third Republic of Polandmarker were former agents of the Soviet special services).


Władysław Bartoszewski and his wife Zofia have a son Władysław T. Bartoszewski, born 1955. The son 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 0807612677.


Władysław Bartoszewski has formally no higher education (no University degree), which is often the source of controversy in Poland and Germany. After interventions from people from both Germany and Poland, the German Ministry for Foreign Affairs has removed Bartoszewski's professor's title from its web page. Sadly, the Director of Bartoszewski's department at the Polish Prime Minister's Office, Mr. Krzysztof Miszczak, had his professor's title removed from the Polish Prime Minister's web page after it was published that he (K. Miszczak) also does not possess the professor's title.



  • 1968 Warsaw Death Ring: 1939-1944, Interpres.
  • 1969 Righteous Among Nations: How Poles Helped the Jews 1939-1945, ed. with Zofia Lewin, Earlscourt Pub, UK, ISBN 033342378X.
  • 1970 The Samaritans: Heroes of the Holocaust, ed. with Zofia Lewin, Twayne Publishers, New York.
  • 1988 The Warsaw Ghetto: A Christian's Testimony, Beacon Press, ISBN 0807056022.
  • 1991 The Jews in Warsaw: A History, ed. with Antony Polonsky, Blackwell Publishing, ISBN 1557862133.


  • Konspiracyjne Varsaviana poetyckie 1939-1944: zarys informacyjny (Warszawa 1962)
  • Organizacja małego sabotażu "Wawer" w Warszawie (1940-1944) (1966)
  • Die polnische Untergrundpresse in den Jahren 1939 bis 1945 (Druckerei und Verlagsanstalt, Konstancja 1967)
  • Ten jest z Ojczyzny mojej. Polacy z pomocą Żydom 1939-1945 (oprac. wspólnie z Zofią Lewinówną; Znak 1967, 1969)
  • Warszawski pierścień śmierci 1939-1944 (1967, 1970; ponadto wydania w języku angielskim 1968 i niemieckim 1970)
  • Kronika wydarzeń w Warszawie 1939-1949 (oprac.; wespół z Bogdanem Brzezińskim i Leszkiem Moczulskim; Państwowe Wydawnictwo Naukowe 1970)
  • Ludność cywilna w Powstaniu Warszawskim. Prasa, druki ulotne i inne publikacje powstańcze t. I-III (oprac.; praca zbiorowa; Państwowy Instytut Wydawniczy 1974)
  • 1859 dni Warszawy (szkic wstępny: Aleksander Gieysztor; bibliogr. prac W. Bartoszewskiego - Zofia Steczowicz-Sajderowa; indeks Zofia Bartoszewska; Znak 1974; wydanie 2 uzupełnione: 1984, ISBN 83-70-06152-4)
  • Polskie Państwo Podziemne (inauguracyjny wykład TKN wygłoszony w Warszawie 2 XI 1979; II obieg; Niezależna Oficyna Wydawnicza NOWa 1979, 1980; OW "Solidarność" MKZ, Wrocław 1981; Komitet Wyzwolenia Społecznego 1981; Agencja Informacyjna Solidarności Walczącej, Lublin 1985)
  • Los Żydów Warszawy 1939-1943. W czterdziestą rocznicę powstania w getcie warszawskim (Puls, Londyn 1983; Bez Cięć 1985 [II obieg]; Międzyzakładowa Struktura "Solidarności" 1985 [II obieg]; wydanie 2 poprawione i rozszerzone: Puls 1988, ISBN 09-07-58738-0; Fakt, Łódź 1989 [II obieg])
  • Das Warschauer Getto wie es wirklich war. Zeugenbericht eines Christen (1983; także wydanie amerykańskie i angielskie)
  • Herbst der Hoffnungen: es lohnt sich, anständig zu sein (Herder 1983, ISBN 34-51-19958-0; 1984, ISBN 34-51-19958-0; 1986, ISBN 34-51-19958-0)
  • Jesień nadziei: warto być przyzwoitym (II obieg; tł. z wydania zach.-niem.; posłowie Reinholda Lehmanna; [Lublin]: Spotkania 1984, 1986)
  • Dni walczącej stolicy. Kronika Powstania Warszawskiego (Aneks, Londyn 1984; Krąg, Warszawa 1984 [II obieg]; Alfa 1989, ISBN 83-70-01283-3; Świat Książki 2004, ISBN 83-73-91679-2)
  • Metody i praktyki Bezpieki w pierwszym dziesięcioleciu PRL (pod pseud. Jan Kowalski; II obieg; Grupy Polityczne "Wola", Ogólnopolski Komitet Oporu Robotników "Solidarność" 1985; Biuletyn Łódzki 1985; Apel 1986; Rota 1986)
  • Aus der Geschichte lernen? Aufsätze und Reden zur Kriegs- und Nachkriegsgeschichte Polens (przedmowa: Stanisław Lem; Deutscher Taschenbuch, Monachium 1986)
  • Syndykat zbrodni (pod pseudonimem "ZZZ"; 1986)
  • Uns ein vergossenes Blut. Juden und Polen in der Zeit der Endlösung (1987)
  • Na drodze do niepodległości (Editions Spotkania, Paryż 1987, ISBN 28-69-022-3)
  • Polen und Juden in der Zeit der "Endlösung" (Informationszentrum im Dienste der christlich-jüdischen Verständigung, Wiedeń 1990, ISBN 09-19-58132-3)
  • Warto być przyzwoitym. szkic do pamiętnika (II obieg; CDN 1988)
  • Warto być przyzwoitym. Teksty osobiste i nieosobiste (Polskie tłumaczenie książki pt.: Herbst der Hoffnungen: es lohnt sich, anständig zu sein; Wydawnictwo Polskiej Prowincji Dominikanów W drodze 1990, ISBN 83-70-33104-1; wydanie 2 zmienione: 2005, ISBN 83-70-33545-4)
  • Kein Frieden ohne Freiheit. Betrachtungen eines Zeitzeugen am Ende des Jahrhunderts (2000)
  • Ponad podziałami. Wybrane przemówienia i wywiady - lipiec-grudzień 2000 (Ministerstwo Spraw Zagranicznych 2001, ISBN 83-90-76657-4)
  • Wspólna europejska odpowiedzialność. Wybrane przemówienia i wywiady, styczeń-lipiec 2001 (Ministerstwo Spraw Zagranicznych 2001, ISBN 83-91-56981-0)
  • Moja Jerozolima, mój Izrael. Władysław Bartoszewski w rozmowie z Joanną Szwedowską (posłowie: Andrzej Paczkowski; Rosner i Wspólnicy 2005, ISBN 83-89-21766-X)
  • Und reiß uns den Hass aus der Seele (Deutsch-Polnischer Verlag 2005, ISBN 83-86-65318-3)
  • Władysław Bartoszewski: wywiad-rzeka (rozmowy z Michałem Komarem; Świat Książki 2006, ISBN 83-247-0441-8)
  • Dziennik z internowania. Jaworze 15.12.1981 – 19.04.1982 (Świat Książki 2006)
  • Pisma wybrane 1942-1957, Tom I (Universitas 2007, ISBN 97883-242-0698-8)


  • Die polnische Untergrundpresse in den Jahren 1939 bis 1945 (Druckerei und Verlagsanstalt, Constancy(?) 1967)
  • Das Warschauer Ghetto wie es wirklich war. Zeugenbericht eines Christen (1983; also American and English edition)
  • Herbst der Hoffnungen: es lohnt sich, anständig zu sein (Herder 1983, ISBN 34-51-19958-0; 1984, ISBN 34-51-19958-0; 1986, ISBN 34-51-19958-0)
  • Aus der Geschichte lernen? Aufsätze und Reden zur Kriegs- und Nachkriegsgeschichte Polens (foreword: Stanisław Lem; Deutscher Taschenbuch, Monachiummarker 1986)
  • Uns ein vergossenes Blut. Juden und Polen in der Zeit der Endlösung (1987)
  • Polen und Juden in der Zeit der "Endlösung" (Informationszentrum im Dienste der christlich-jüdischen Verständigung, Wienmarker 1990, ISBN 09-19-58132-3)
  • Kein Frieden ohne Freiheit. Betrachtungen eines Zeitzeugen am Ende des Jahrhunderts (2000)
  • Und reiss uns den Hass aus der Seele (Deutsch-Polnischer Verlag 2005, ISBN 83-86-65318-3)


The article is the translation of its Polish version ( Władysław Bartoszewski).

External links


Image:20040729 Wladyslaw Bartoszewski by Kubik Warsaw July 2004 01.JPG|Władysław Bartoszewski, Warsaw, July 29, 2004Image:20050314 Wladyslaw Bartoszewski and Stefan Wilkanowicz by Kubik.JPG|Władysław Bartoszewski and Stefan Wilkanowicz, Warsaw, March 14, 2005Image:20070212 Wieslaw Chrzanowski and Jozef Zycinski and Wladyslaw Bartoszewski.jpg|Wiesław Chrzanowski, Archbishop Józef Życiński and Władysław Bartoszewski, Krakówmarker, February 12, 2007Image:20070213 Adam Boniecki and Zofia and Wladyslaw Bartoszewski.jpg|Rev. Adam Boniecki, Zofia and Władysław Bartoszewski, Krakówmarker, February 13, 2007

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