List of Polish Jews

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From the Middle Ages until the World War II Holocaust, Jews comprised an appreciable part of the general Polish population. The Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, known as a "Jewish paradise" for its religious tolerance, had attracted tens of thousands of Jews who fled persecution from other European countries—though, at times, discrimination against Jews surfaced in Poland, as it did elsewhere in Europe. Poland was a major spiritual and cultural center for Ashkenazi Jews.

At the start of the Second World War, Poland had the largest Jewish population in the world (over 3.3 million, some 10% of the general Polish population).[1] The vast majority were murdered in the Holocaust during the German occupation of Poland, under the Nazi "Final Solution" mass-extermination program. Only 369,000 (11%) of Poland's Jews survived the War.

Since massive postwar emigration, the Polish-Jewish population has stood at somewhere between 50,000 and 200,000.

The list below includes persons of Jewish faith or ancestry.

Historical figures[edit]



Graves of Polish Jews among the fallen soldiers of the Polish Defensive War of 1939; Powązki Cemetery, Warsaw

Sovereign Polish Armed Forces[edit]

  • Berek Joselewicz, Polish-Jewish Colonel in the Polish Legions of Napoleon's armies
  • Bernard Mond, member of the Austrio--Hungarian Army, 1914-1918; Polish soldier and officer, 1918-1939; sent to POW camp by the Germans; finished his career in the rank of Brigade General and, in command of the 6th Infantry Division (Poland), fought against the Germans in 1939
  • Poldek Pfefferberg, Polish soldier in 1939 saved from death by his sergeant major; Holocaust survivor; a man who inspired the book that the film Schindler's List was based on
  • Baruch Steinberg, Chief Rabbi of the Polish Armed Forces, murdered by the Soviet NKVD

Religious figures[edit]







Cultural figures[edit]



Screen and stage[edit]

Writers and poets[edit]



Business figures[edit]






Professional wrestling[edit]


Track and field[edit]

  • Myer Prinstein, Olympic long-jumper from Szczuczyn, Poland
  • Irena Szewińska, sprinter and long jumper; world records in 100-m, 200-m, and 400-m; three-time Olympic champion, plus four medals (for a total of seven Olympic medals)
  • Jadwiga Wajs, two world records (discus); Olympic silver and bronze (discus)


  • Ben Helfgott, Polish-born, three-time British champion (lightweight), three-time Maccabiah champion; survived Buchenwald and Theresienstadt; all but one family member was murdered by the Nazis

Holocaust survivors[edit]

See also[edit]


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