Szimón Krofey was born in 1545 in the Kashubian village of Dąbie, Gmina Bytów, Poland. His father, Wawrzyniec Krofey, was the mayor of Dąbie, and was well enough off to send young Szimón off to the university at Wittenberg. In 1579, after finishing his studies, he became pastor of the Lutheran church in Bytów.
In 1586 and 1588, respectively, Reverend Krofey published two vitally important works in the Kashubian language, both of which were translations from German intended for Kashubian Lutherans: Duchowne piesnie D. Marciná Lutherá y ynßich naboznich męzow. Zniemieckiego w Slawięsky ięzik wilozone Przes Szymana Krofea, sluge slova Bozego w Bytowie. ("Spiritual Songs of Doctor Martin Luther") and Maly katechizm D. Marciná Lutherá Niemiecko-Wándalski ábo Słowięski to jestá z Niemieckiego językáw Słowięski wystáwion ("Small Catechism"). In 1896, the songbook was rediscovered in Smoldzino by Franz Tetner; the catechism was republished in 1643 by the Lutheran pastor Michael Brüggemann (also known as Mostnik or Pontanus), "polonised" in 1758, and ultimately "re-Kashubised" by Florian Ceynowa in 1861 as Pjnc głovnech wóddzałov evangjelickjeho katechizmu z njemjeckjeho na kaśebsko-słovjenskj jęzek.
Scholarly opinion is divided on whether Reverend Krofey's two books were the first books published in Kashubian, but the dispute hinges strictly on linguistic concerns, not historical. One side holds that Reverend Krofey wrote, as Józef Borzyszkowski puts it, "in Polish with abundant Kashubianisms." Jerzy Treder and Cezary Obracht-Prondzyński, on the other hand, hold that the works were written in Kashubian and therefore constitute "the origins of Kashubian literature:"
Simon Krofey can be said to have assumed a practical position, conducting his evangelisation according to the principles of the Reformation– in the language of the congregation, i.e. Kashubian. This later also prompted ‘more books to be translated into the tongue’.
These two books are also considered important for an understanding of the Slovincian language, along with Brüggemann's reworking of the "Small Catechism" and similar texts published in 1700 by the Lutheran pastor J.M. Sporgius, also of Smoldzino.
Reverend Szimón Krofey died in 1590. To honor his undisputed importance in the history of Kashubian literature, the Bytow chapter of the Kashubian-Pomeranian Association has recently issued a souvenir golden ducat called the "Krofeya."
- "Postaci historyczne - Bytów - Urząd Miejski w Bytowie". Bytow.com.pl. Retrieved 2012-08-27.
- "Szymon Krofey. Regiopedia, Pomorskie, encyklopedia regionów". Pomorskie.regiopedia.pl. Retrieved 2012-08-27.
- Jerzy Treder and Cezary Obracht-Prondzyński, "Kashubian Literature: The Phenomenon, its History and its Social Dimension," in Cezary Obracht-Prondzyński and Tomasz Wicherkiewicz (eds), The Kashubs: Past and Present (Bern: Peter Lang, 2011), p. 110.
- Józef Borzyszkowski, "A History of the Kashubs until the End of Communism," in Cezary Obracht-Prondzyński and Tomasz Wicherkiewicz (eds), The Kashubs: Past and Present (Bern: Peter Lang, 2011), p. 16. See also Gerald Green,"The Cassubians" in Comrie, B. and Corbett, G. (eds,) The Slavonic Language (Routledge, 2002), p. 761.
- Jerzy Treder and Cezary Obracht-Prondzyński, "Kashubian Literature: The Phenomenon, its History and its Social Dimension," in Cezary Obracht-Prondzyński and Tomasz Wicherkiewicz (eds), The Kashubs: Past and Present (Bern: Peter Lang, 2011), pp. 110-11.
- "Krofey, Szyman". Thesaurus.cerl.org. 2011-10-12. Retrieved 2012-08-27.
- "Bytów: Konkurs na wygląd bytowskiego Krofeya. Sam możesz zaprojektować monetę. - 6 kwietnia 2009". Gp24.pl. Retrieved 2012-08-27.