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Krystyna Skarbek

Krystyna Skarbek is often referred to as the “Polish Mata Hari”, “James Bond in a skirt”, “Churchill’s favourite agent” – and yet, very few people know who that brave Pole was. The air of mystery that surrounds her is in part due to her profession during World War II (and, according to many historians, even before its outbreak and in the years following its end) – she was an intelligence operative in the service of the United Kingdom, a Special Operations Executive (SOE) agent. Let us attempt to reconstruct the story of her very exciting (but short) life.  Find out more

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Stanisław Maczek

Stanisław Maczek was, without a doubt, one of the most talented Polish military commanders in history. He was a true visionary, thanks to whom the Polish Army approached the level of tactics, training, and modern equipment on par with other European armies. He is said to never have lost a battle. He is revered as a hero in many Western European cities. Who was this man, whose life story makes every Pole who learns of it feels pride at being able to call Maczek their fellow countryman? Find out more

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Władysław Sikorski

Sikorski is probably one of the most prominent figures among the 20th-century Polish diaspora in London. He was born on 20th May 1881 in Tuszów Narodowy, under the Austrian rule. His parents – Tomasz and Władysława (nee Hawrowska) – were not wealthy people. His father worked first as an organist, and later as a teacher at the school in Tuszów. He died when Władysław was only 4 years old. Thanks to the hard work of his mother and the help of the relatives, young Sikorski could graduate from a teacher seminar in Rzeszów and pass school-leaving exams at Franz Joseph High School in Lviv, in 1902. Immediately after graduation, he entered the Faculty of Civil Engineering of the Lviv Polytechnic, from which he graduated with a degree in engineering in 1907. In the meantime, he took a break from university, first to undergo compulsory military service in the Austrian army, and then – seeing perspectives for a career in the military – decided on a one-year volunteer service and an officer training at a military school, which he completed with the rank of Second Lieutenant in the reserve. In 1909, he married Helena Zubczewska and moved to Leżajsk.  Find out more

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Jan Zumbach

Jan Zumbach is probably one of these Polish heroes of World War II in honour of whom no-one would dare to erect a monument. Certainly, his life story is ready material for a film script or an adventure book (his autobiography does read as though it was one), but the many ambiguous choices that he made, as well as his post-war activities, make it impossible to consider him an impeccable hero and a model Polish patriot. Find out more

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Stanisław Sosabowski

Sosabowski is perhaps the most tragic figure among the Polish generals who fought in World War II. Admittedly, he did not perish in the war, nor did he suffer any serious wounds, but he was deprived of what is most important for a soldier – his honour. In hindsight, we can say with certainty that he was a victim of Allied ineptitude. In fact, only recently there has been research conducted into his past, books published on his achievements, or schools and streets named in his honour. Earlier on, he was known mostly to those familiar with the movie A Bridge Too Far, in which the days that were ones of the most difficult in Sosabowski’s life were presented very accurately.  Find out more