- Wacław Jędrzejewicz
Jędrzejewicz was born in
Spiczyńce(then Russian Empire, now Ukraine). As a student at the Jagiellonian Universityin Kraków(1913–14), Jędrzejewicz joined Józef Piłsudski's Riflemen's Association("Związek Strzelecki"). In 1915 he was one of the founders and leaders of the Polish Military Organization("Polska Organizacja Wojskowa", or "P.O.W."). In August 1915 he brought his "Warsaw Battalion" into the Polish Legions' First Brigade, then fighting in Volhynia. In July 1917, during the Legions' " Oath Crisis" (precipitated by a demand from Germanyand Austro-Hungarythat the Polish Legionnaires swear loyalty to them), Jędrzejewicz was imprisoned by the Germans.
Polandregained independence in November 1918, Jędrzejewicz began work at the Polish Army's Section II ("Oddział II", or Intelligence).
April 24, 1920, Jędrzejewicz, now a captain, signed a military convention with Ukraine's "Ataman" Semen Petlurawhich paved the way for the Polish Army's 1920 Kiev Expedition. Next he served as Section II chief successively to Generals Kazimierz Sosnkowskiand Gustaw Zygadłowicz. In September-November 1920, as a major, he was the Polish Army's liaison officer to allied Belarusian forces.
At the conclusion of the
Polish-Soviet Warof 1919–21, Jędrzejewicz was a military expert with the Polish delegation at the Riga Peace Conference.
In 1922–25 Jędrzejewicz directed the Polish
General Staff's "East" Department. In 1925 he was promoted to lieutenant-colonel.
In 1925–28, he was
military attachéand effective chargé d'affairesin Tokyo, Japan.
Returning to Poland, he served as director of the Foreign Ministry's Consular Department (1928-1933) and as Treasury Vice Minister (1933-1934). On
January 22, 1934, he was appointed Minister of Religious Denominations and Public Education in the government of his brother, Premier Janusz Jędrzejewicz(1885-1951), serving on as well in the premierships of Leon Kozłowskiand Walery Sławek. He introduced educational reforms that sparked controversy in Poland but won international approval and emulation.
Józef Piłsudskidied (1935), Jędrzejewicz held no more ministerial offices.
World War IIbroke out in September 1939, Jędrzejewicz helped evacuate the treasury of the Fund for National Defense, which in February 1940 he delivered to General Władysław Sikorski's Polish government-in-exile in Paris. Due to the anti- Piłsudskiitepolicies of General Sikorski (whose prewar career had been derailed by differences with Piłsudski), Jędrzejewicz was prevented from serving now with the Polish Armed Forcesin exile. Consequently, in March 1941 he emigrated to New York.
July 4, 1943, Jędrzejewicz co-founded the Józef Piłsudski Institute of America, dedicated to study of recent Polish history, and was its first director ( July 5, 1943— September 28, 1948).
On retiring, he returned to New York, where in 1964 he again became director of the Józef Piłsudski Institute.
He died in 1993 at the age of 100.
Jędrzejewicz published some 300 scholarly papers in history and several major books, including "Poland in the British Parliament, 1939-45" and a two-volume "Kronika życia Józefa Piłsudskiego" (Chronicle of the Life of Józef Piłsudski). His English-language publications also included "Piłsudski: a Life for Poland", New York, Hippocrene Books, 1982.
Jędrzejewicz was awarded the Cross of
Virtuti Militari, Class V (personally by Marshal Piłsudski, November 11, 1921), the Cross of Independencewith Swords, the Cross of Valor (four times) and the Order of Polonia Restituta, Classes I and IV, and received decorations of 13 countries, including the French Légion d'Honneur.
In 1992 Jędrzejewicz was promoted by Polish President
Lech Wałęsato the rank of brigadier general.
Jędrzejewicz died at the age of 100 on
November 30, 1993, in Cheshire, Connecticut, the last of Marshal Piłsudski's government ministers and the last co-founder of the Józef Piłsudski Institute of America. He was interred June 4, 1994, at Powązki Cemeteryin Warsaw, Poland.
* "Jędrzejewicz, Wacław," "Who's Who in Polish America", 1st ed., 1996–1997, New York, Bicentennial Publishing Corp., distributed in the book trade by
Hippocrene Books, 1996, pp. 173–74.
* "Jędrzejewicz, Janusz," "
Encyklopedia Polski", p. 256.
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