Jędrzej Giertych

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Jędrzej Giertych
Personal details
Born (1903-01-07)January 7, 1903
Sosnowiec, Congress Poland
Died October 9, 1992(1992-10-09) (aged 89)
London, United Kingdom
Nationality Polish
Political party National Party
Spouse(s) Maria Łuczkiewicz
Children nine
Alma mater University of Warsaw
Occupation Publicist, diplomat

Jędrzej Giertych (7 January 1903 in Sosnowiec – 9 October 1992 in London) was a Polish right-wing politician, journalist and writer. Giertych is son of Franciszek Giertych, father of Polish politician Maciej Giertych, and of Wojciech Giertych theology professor at the Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas, Angelicum and Theologian of the Pontifical Household, as well as grandfather of Polish politician Roman Giertych. Jędrzej Giertych was known for his antisemitism and open admiration for fascism.[1]

Biography[edit]

During World War I he attended for a time a German-language Lutheran school in Tallinn, Estonia, then part of the Russian Empire, where his father was deputy manager of a shipyard. His family later moved to Petrograd where they experienced the Russian Revolution, returning to Poland in 1918 after the treaty of Brest-Litovsk.

He was injured at the Battle of Warsaw in 1920 and then became war correspondent during the Spanish Civil War, supportive of the Nationalists, especially of the Carlists. His reports were later published in book form, Hiszpania bohaterska (Heroic Spain).

Active politically mainly in the interwar period, Giertych was an ally of Roman Dmowski and a prominent activist of the National Democracy right-wing political camp, mainly the National Party. He was a member of the Central Committee of the party and was elected to be a member of the Warsaw City council.

During World War II he was mobilised into the Polish Navy. His unit was soon encircled in the course of the battle for the Hel Peninsula, but he surrendered only on October 2, 1939[2] and was captured by Germans. He was the first Polish 'incorrigible escaper' to be imprisoned in the Colditz POW camp Oflag IVC. Moved with the Colditz Polish contingent to Oflag IVB at Dossel, he was one of the survivors when on 27 September 1944 a British bomb carried by a Mosquito aircraft of No. 139 Squadron RAF, aimed at nearby Kassel, hit the camp in error and killed 90 Polish prisoners.

After the war he exiled himself to England, together with his family. During communist rule in Poland, Giertych lived in London, working as a school-teacher.

Political views[edit]

Jędrzej Giertych spent his political life aiming to build a Poland made up of nationalist traditionalist Catholic citizens ready to sacrifice their life for what he called the "greater good of Poland". Giertych represented the radical "youth faction" of the National Party. They were sceptic as to the need of the parliamentary system, aiming to change the political system of Poland. In 1938 he observed: "We [young faction] rather grew up as a reaction against the spirit of the 19th century, whose most classic effects were socialism, liberalism, parliamentarism."[3] As to the goals of the "young faction" and the relations with fascism and Nazism, Giertych remarked: "We observe very carefully fascism, hitlerism and other foreign national movements, because we think we can learn a lot from them. We try to learn from their experience, use their lucky ideas, take all positive what they created. Our goal is to take the power in Poland."[4]

After the 1956 events, Giertych belonged to the emigres who voiced support for Gomułka.[5] While living in exile in London, Giertych was expelled from the emigre National Party because of his extremism and antisemitism. He also strongly criticised the Workers' Defence Committee (KOR) and supported the introduction of martial law in Poland in 1981, as he believed Solidarity to be a disguised communist movement dominated by Jewish Trotskyites.[6][7]

Giertych held also imperialist views. In a series of newspaper articles of 1939 he suggested that "in the upcoming war" Poland ought to annex parts of East Germany ("the city of Danzig, East Prussia, upper and central Silesia, including the city of Breslau, and central Pomerania, including Kolberg"); moreover, Poland ought to create "a bunch of buffer states" between the rest of Germany and Poland along the rivers Oder and Neisse.

Works[edit]

  • My Młode Pokolenie (We, the Young Generation) (1929)
  • Tragizm losów Polski (1936)
  • Hiszpania bohaterska (Heroic Spain) (1937)
  • O wyjście z kryzysu (1938)
  • Polityka polska w dziejach Europy (Polish Politics in the History of Europe) (1947)
  • Polityka polska w dziejach Europy. Polityka Olszowskiego (1953)
  • U źródeł katastrofy dziejowej Polski: Jan Amos Komensky (1964)
  • Kulisy powstania styczniowego (1965)
  • Rola dziejowa Dmowskiego (Historic Role of Dmowski) (1968)
  • W obliczu zamachu na Kościół (1969)
  • Polski Obóz Narodowy (Polish National Camp) (1977, 1978)
  • Józef Piłsudski 1914–19 (1979–1982)
  • Rozważania o Bitwie Warszawskiej 1920-go roku (1984)
  • O Piłsudskim (On Piłsudski) (1987)

See also[edit]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ http://archive.adl.org/international/polanddemocracyandextremism.pdf
  2. ^ Spanish Carlism and Polish nationalism by Marek Jan Chodakiewicz.p. 113
  3. ^ Giertych, Jędrzej (1938). O wyjście z kryzysu. Warszawa. pp. 23–24. OCLC 76327063. 
  4. ^ Terej, Jerzy Janusz (1979). Rzeczywistość i polityka: Ze studiów nad dziejami najnowszymi Narodowej Demokracji (2nd ed.). Warszawa: Książka i Wiedza. p. 45. OCLC 7972621. 
  5. ^ https://books.google.com/books?id=WoKQWem2yl4C&pg=PA245
  6. ^ Polish Western affairs , Volumes 31-32. Instytut Zachodni, 1990. p. 165
  7. ^ https://books.google.com/books?id=u9YoCIj2br0C&pg=PA250

References[edit]

  • Chodakiewicz, Marek Jan & Radzilowski, John, ed. Spanish Carlism and Polish Nationalism: The Borderlands of Europe in the 19th and 20th Centuries. Charlottesville, Virginia: Leopolis Press, 2003.
  • Reid, Pat: "Colditz The Full Story". London, Macmillan, 1984.