Stanisław Stomma 1908-2005

He was born on 18 January 1908 in his family’s estate of Szacuny near Kėdainiai. In the 1930s, he contributed to Bunt Młodych [“Young Rebellion”] and Polityka [“Politics”], which were edited by Jerzy Giedroyc. During the war, he enrolled in the Seminary in Kraków, which he left a few months after the hostilities had ended, explaining that he felt no vocation. In 1946, he joined the editorial board of Tygodnik Powszechny [“Catholic Review”] and became one of the founders as well as the first editor-in-chief (until 1953) of the Znak [“Sign”] monthly. In his articles which defined the ideological stance of the magazine, he proposed a minimalist position, which was referred to as neo-positivism and was considered one of the most important manifestations of political realism in post-war Polish thought. His critics accused him of excessive submissiveness to the communist authorities, legitimising the regime and enabling the communist propaganda to use the participation of Catholic circles in the official political life of communist Poland. In 1957, Stomma became member of parliament and leader of the “Znak” group of MPs in the Sejm of the Polish People’s Republic. In 1976, he was the only MP who abstained from voting on amendments to the Constitution of the People’s Republic of Poland, which recognised the Polish United Workers’ Party as the leading force and decreed friendship with the USSR. In 1989, he participated in Round Table discussions on the opposition side and became a senator: as the oldest senator, he opened the first post-war session of the Senate. He died on 21 July 2005.


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