Zdzisław Stahl 1891-1987

He is remembered as one of the leading journalists among Polish political emigrés after World War II. Stahl was born on 10 February 1901 in Lviv, in a family associated with the elites of the National League and of the National Democratic Party. After attending secondary school, he studied at Jan Kazimierz University in Lviv where he obtained a doctorate in law (1924) and obtained a postdoctoral degree in economics (1929) and fiscal science (1933) and subsequently became a lecturer; immediately after finishing secondary school, he took part in the defence of Lviv against Ukrainians (1918) and then fought against the Bolsheviks. From 1925, he was a member of the National League and of the “Zet” Union of Armed Youth, he co-founded the All-Polish Youth, and then the Young Movement of the Great Poland Camp (he was its leader from 1927 to 1933). At the same time, he was a journalist, contributing to Myśl Narodowa [“National Thought”] (until 1934) and editing Słowo Polskie [“Polish Voice”] and Kurier Lwowski [“Lviv Courier”]. From 1930 to 1935, he was deputy to the Sejm from the National Party; in 1934, he crossed over to the Piłsudski camp, becoming member of the pro-government Group of National Movement Deputies and one of the leaders of the Union of Young Nationalists (from 1937 – the National-State Movement). Defending Piłsudski camp policies, he advocated a revision of the National Party’s attitude towards the Polish state. A critic of liberalism, he strongly supported the April Constitution of 1935; in 1938, he was elected deputy to the Sejm from the National Unity Camp; in 1934–1937, he edited Dziennik Lwowski [“Lviv Daily”], and in 1937–1939, he was deputy editor-in-chief of the government-owned Gazeta Polska [“Polish Gazette”]. In September 1939, he was arrested by the NKVD and deported to Soviet labour camps. From 1941, he served in the Polish army commanded by General Władysław Anders. He headed the 2nd Corps Intelligence Office, collecting reports from exiles, materials about the USSR and about the Katyn massacre, which he repeatedly wrote about in his articles, criticising the Western Allies’ silence on the topic. After the war, he remained in London where he taught economics and law at the Polish University Abroad and was active in emigré organizations (Lviv Circle, Polish Historical Society). He was among the most celebrated emigré political journalists who contributed to Orzeł Biały [“White Eagle”] and Polish Affairs and also wrote brochures in which he attacked supporters of “evolutionism”, especially from the Parisian Kultura [“Culture”] circles, criticising the policy of deténte and all attempts to compromise with communism. He died on 13 November 1987 in London. His works include: Listy polityczne [“Political letters”] (1935), Idea i walka [“Idea and struggle”] (1938), Polityka polska po śmierci Piłsudskiego [“Polish politics after Piłsudski’s death”] (no publication year stated, ca. 1936), Kryzys prezydencki i drogi wyjścia [“Presidential crisis and the ways out”] (1955), Czy zadania emigracji uległy zmianie? [“Have the emigrés’ responsibilities changed?”] (1957), Najazd od Wschodu [“Invasion from the East”] (1971), Marksizm-leninizm i realizm a idea niepodległości [“Marxism-Leninism, realism and the idea of independence”] (1973), co-author of Zbrodni katyńskiej w świetle dokumentów [“Katyn massacre in documents”] (1948).


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