He was born in 1917 in Warsaw, of Jewish parents, and as a law student was active in student politics at the Józef Piłsudski (Warsaw) University. His early sympathies with communism were shattered by events such as the Soviet purges of the 1930s and the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact and he remained a vigorous lifelong anti-communist. In 1939, he and his wife, Roma, escaped to Kaunas, Lithuania, where they obtained Japanese transit visas. They reached Sydney, via Vladivostok, Japan and Shanghai, in 1941. In Sydney, he was active in Polish journalism and import-export businesses.
Krygier's anti-totalitarian, liberal, democratic perspective led him to sympathies with the international Congress for Cultural Freedom, founded in West Berlin in 1950. In 1954, he formed and became secretary of its Australian arm, the Australian Committee (later Association) for Cultural Freedom. The Association's greatest achievement as well as his was the creation in 1956 of the literary-political magazine Quadrant, under the editorship of James McAuley. Krygier was publisher, business manager and fund-raiser. In addition, he organised lecture tours of prominent overseas political and cultural figures and conferences on the problems on establishing democracy in developing states.
He remained active in Quadrant up to his death in 1986. For the last four years of his life, he wrote a regular Quadrant column, but he had contributed a few other pieces to the magazine before then.
- P. Coleman, The liberal conspiracy. The Congress for Cultural Freedom and the struggle for the mind of postwar Europe, New York 1989.
- P. Coleman, Krygier, Henry Richard, to appear in Australian Dictionary of Biography
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