Kazimierz Zakrzewski 1900-1941

He was born on 4 November 1900 in Kraków. In 1917, he joined the Polish Legions fighting for the Austro-Hungarian Empire. In 1920, he joined the Academic Brigade (Brygada Akademicka), with which he fought during the Polish-Soviet War, which was won by Poland. He studied at the Jagiellonian University and the Jan Kazimierz University in Lviv. He lectured at the University of Poznań and the University of Lviv. In 1935, he became an associate professor at the University of Warsaw, where he took charge of the first Chair of Byzantine studies in Poland. In his youth, Zakrzewski was a member of the “Zarzewie” (Embers) organisation. After the First World War, he was active in the Lviv Club of the One Hundred Group (Zespół Stu) – a conceptual work group supporting the national camp, and then Piłsudzki’s political movement. Zakrzewski co-edited the newspaper issued by the Club and Lviv’s largest daily – Słowo Polskie. After the May Coup, he became one of the intellectual pillars of the repairers – the left wing of the Piłsudski camp. He became involved in the work of the Union for the Reform of the Republic of Poland (Związek Naprawy Rzeczypospolitej), and then of the Union of Work of Villages and Cities (Zjednoczenie Pracy Wsi i Miast). He co-authored the programme of the General Labour Federation (Generalna Federacja Pracy) – a pro-government trade union centre. He also joined the Trade Union Association (Związek Związków Zawodowych). He published in the press of the Piłsudzki camp, in the Droga monthly and weeklies PrzełomPionNaród i Państwo and Front Robotniczy, in journals issued by the Federal Labour Federation (Generalna Federacja Pracy) and in the Solidarność Pracy and Syndykalista journals, and from 1937, in Głos Powszechny, Warsaw syndicalist daily issued by the Central Department of the Trade Union Association (ZZZ). Over time, Zakrzewski distanced himself from the activities of the mainstream Sanation. During the German occupation, he was active in the political and military underground. He co-founded the underground Union of Polish Syndicalists. On 12 January 1941, he was arrested by the Germans and thrown into the Pawiak prison. In March 1941, after soldiers of the Union of Armed Struggle (Związek Walki Zbrojnej) executed the well-known actor Igo Sym, a Volksdeutsch and agent of the Abwehr, and later of the Gestapo, in retaliation, the German occupation authorities ordered the execution of seventeen prisoners from Pawiak, who were shot on 11 March in the Palmiry forest, near Warsaw. Kazimierz Zakrzewski was one of the victims.


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