On 19-22 October, the IPN delegation headed by the President of the Institute, Dr Jarosław Szarek, visited London. The delegation also included: Jerzy Bednarek - Deputy Director of the IPN Historical Research Office, Mariusz Żuławnik - Deputy Director of the IPN’s Archive and Waldemar Brenda - Deputy Director of the National Education Office of the Institute. The members of the delegation took part in a scientific conference devoted to President Edward Raczyński. They also paid a visit to Zbigniew Siemaszko - a Polish historian, writer and publicist, who is soon going to celebrate his 95th birthday, and the Polish Underground Movement Study Trust - a research and academic institution which holds historical materials on the Polish Underground State (the Underground Administration and the Polish Home Army - Armia Krajowa) during the Second World War. On the last day, President Jarosław Szarek gave a lecture at the Library of the Polish Social and Cultural Association (POSK) in London.
Scientific conference "Edward Bernard Raczyński (1891-1993): diplomat, politician, writer and statesman".
On the first day of the visit, the delegation participated in a conference organized by the Polish Embassy in London and the Institute of National Remembrance entitled "Edward Bernard Raczyński (1891-1993): diplomat, politician, writer and statesman" in tribute to the President of Poland in exile on the 25th anniversary of his death.
In his speech during the conference, the President of the IPN, Dr Jarosław Szarek said that "immigration and independence are two inseparable words". President Szarek also emphasized the importance of the heritage of the Polish emigration.
Dr hab. Arkady Rzegocki, Ambassador of the Republic of Poland to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, mentioned in his speech that it is difficult to find a second figure that is more connected with ‘Polish London’ than Edward Raczyński.
Born in Zakopane in 1891, Edward Raczyński was the second child of Edward Aleksander Raczyński and Róża Raczyńska. He came from the well-known Greater Poland family of Raczyński of the Nałęcz coat of arms. He was the brother of Roger Raczyński - the voivode of Poznań, the Ambassador of the Republic of Poland in Bucharest in 1938-1940. He attended the King Jan III Sobieski Junior High School in Krakow, then studied at universities in Lipsk, Krakow and London. He was a long-standing diplomat working for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland in 1919-1945. During his service for the country, he was the Permanent Delegate of the Republic of Poland to the League of Nations in Geneva (1932-1934) and the Ambassador of the Republic of Poland at the Court of St. James in London (1934-1945). His greatest achievements include: the preparation of the procedure of withdrawal from the small Versailles Treaty (1934), the signing of the Polish-British Mutual Assistance agreement (1939) and sending a note to the United Nations government regarding German crimes against the Jewish population in German occupied Poland (1942). After the United Kingdom withdrew its recognition for the Polish government, Edward Raczyński remained in London and was active in the political life of the Polish community, among others, as a member of the Council of Three (1954-1972), and later as the President of the Republic of Poland in Exile (1979-1986). In 1990, he established the Raczyński Foundation in Poznań, and donated the palace and park in Rogalin, Galeria Rogalinska. He died on 30 July 1993 in London, he was buried in Rogalin.
His political and diplomatic activities ought to serve as an example to others, and the motto engraved on his sarcophagus "…DO NOT WASTE YOUR INDEPENDENCE! [NIE ZMARNUJCIE NIEPODLEGŁOŚCI!]", should be remembered by successive generations.
During the conference, lectures by outstanding experts and historians in the field of Polish independence emigration and diplomacy were delivered. The speakers included: Xavier Rey, French diplomat and Deputy Chairman of the board of the Raczyński Foundation, and at the same time the grandson of count Edward Raczyński, who presented the psychological and political profile of his grandfather. Professor Marek Kornat from the Polish Academy of Sciences presented the diplomatic achievements of count E. Raczyński, in turn prof. Rafał Habielski from the University of Warsaw discussed the activities, achievements of E. Raczyński for the Polish independence emigration. Prof. Krzysztof Kania from the Nicolaus Copernicus University presented the biography of count E. Raczyński, and his most important achievements for independent Poland.
The daughters of count Edward Raczyński-Viridianna Rey and Katarzyna Raczyńska as well as Jolanta Sabbatówna, the daughter of the penultimate President of the Republic of Poland in Exile, Kazimierz Sabbat, also took part in the conference.
The conference was organized as part of the Central Research Project of the IPN’s Historical Research Office entitled "Polish Independence Emigration 1945-1990".
IPN’s delegation visiting Zbigniew Siemaszko
During their stay in London, the IPN’s delegation paid a very important visit to Zbigniew Siemaszko - a Polish historian, writer and journalist in exile. In the circles of ‘Polish London’ he became known as an active publicist, polemicist, and participant of loud discussions. His interests include military history, World War II, communication between war emigration and the country, the Home Army and the National Armed Forces.
The meeting began with gifts and birthday wishes for Mr. Siemaszko, including the IPN’s publication -White Legions - about Polish formations in Russia.
“An enduring soldier from London, one of the last who fought for independent Poland with a saber and a pen. Ad multos annos!,” said Jarosław Szarek to Zbigniew Siemaszko.
During the meeting, Zbigniew Siemaszko told many stories related to his scientific achievements and those related to his life. The meeting was accompanied by representatives of TVP Polonia.
Visit to the Polish Underground Movement Study Trust
On the second day, the President of the IPN Dr Jarosław Szarek visited the Polish Underground Movement Study Trust - a research and academic institution, which is in possession of historical materials on the Polish Underground State (the Underground Administration and the Polish Home Army - Armia Krajowa) during the Second World War.
During the meeting at the SPP an agreement was signed for the joint edition of the next issue of the Information Bulletin of the Underground Poland Study. President Jarosław Szarek pointed out that although it is a small thing, it would serve historians and all interested parties.
Lecture by Dr. Jarosław Szarek at the Polish Library of the POSK
On Sunday, 21 October 21 at the Polish Library of the POSK in London, the President of the Institute of National Remembrance, Dr. Jarosław Szarek, gave a lecture entitled "Institute of National Remembrance - on the Independence route". During the lecture he talked about regaining independence by Poland and about the work of the Institute of National Remembrance in favor of popularizing history and showing it to the young generation. He approximated the current way of functioning of the Institute of National Remembrance and presented the activities that the Institute undertakes to promote history among the society. He also discussed the "History Point" project, which is also being implemented in London.