Włodzimierz Bączkowski 1905-2000

He was born in Siberia near Lake Baikal, where his father had been exiled for his activity in the independence movement. After the Bolshevik takeover of power and the outbreak of civil war, he was evacuated to Manchuria together with his family in 1920, where he completed his secondary education. He came to Poland in 1925, studying at the Faculty of Humanities at the University of Warsaw. He graduated with a degree in law specializing in the Chinese legal system and English. At the same time, he began cooperating with the Eastern Institute, for which he prepared press reviews. He started working full time at the Institute at the end of his studies in 1930, making his debut as a journalist in the pages of the “Wschód-Orient” magazine. His most important articles were published from 1932 in the “Biuletyn Polsko-Ukraiński” (Polish-Ukrainian Bulletin) magazine and this was a publication for which Bączkowski wrote for throughout his lifetime. The “Biuletyn” was one of the most important magazines promoting Polish-Ukrainian reconciliation and the common interests of both nations. Bączkowski saw in the uprising of Ukraine and its political connection with Poland the possibility of weakening the Soviet Union, which he considered to be Poland’s greatest enemy. The removal of the Polish-Ukrainian dispute was meant to lead simultaneously to internal stability and the strengthening of the Polish state. Apart from analysing the problem of relations with Ukraine, Bączkowski also outlined the fundamentals of the Promethean movement, which he saw as “Polish Prometheism is a group of ideological interests of Polish thought with the liberation issues of the oppressed nations in the East and in Russia (the USSR) in particular.” He foresaw the break up of the Soviet Union "along the national seams", noticing it weakening as a result of the changes taking place in the east in the 1930s. In January 1939, “Biuletyn ...” was replaced by the magazine "Problems of Eastern Europe". Bączkowski was mobilized in August 1939 to join the Second Division of the Commander-in-Chief’s Staff, escaping to Romania after the September campaign. He stayed there until 1941 when he left for Haifa. After the war, he initiated the establishment of the Eastern Institute “Reduta” in Jerusalem and served as the honorary cultural attaché in the Polish delegation (of the government-in-exile) in Beirut. In 1955, after a stay in London, he went to the USA where he worked at the Library of Congress in Washington. Hi major works include: The Source and Size of the Decline (1935), Grunwald or Pilawka (1938), Russia Yesterday and Today: a Historical and Political Study (1946). In 2000, the Centre for Political Thought issued a selection of his letters entitled On the Eastern Problems of Poland (2000).


This website is a part of the project entitled ‘Polish Political Thought and Independence: A Program for the Promotion of Polish Intellectual Heritage Abroad’, generously funded
by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland as A part of ‘Public Diplomacy 2017’ programme, component ‘Collaboration in the field of Public Diplomacy 2017’.
Design by Stereoplan