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Preliminary Inventory of the Edmund Jan Osmańczyk Papers
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Collection Details
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  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Acquisition Information
  • Accruals
  • Biographical Note
  • Scope and Content of Collection

  • Title: Edmund Jan Osmańczyk papers
    Date (inclusive): 1937-1989
    Collection Number: 2013C2
    Contributing Institution: Hoover Institution Archives
    Language of Material: Polish
    Physical Description: 84 manuscript boxes, 1 oversize box (34 linear feet)
    Abstract: Correspondence, writings, and printed matter, relating to political conditions in Poland, Polish foreign relations, and international relations in general.
    Physical Location: Hoover Institution Archives
    Creator: Osmańczyk, Edmund Jan


    Collection is open for research.
    The Hoover Institution Archives only allows access to copies of audiovisual items. To listen to sound recordings or to view videos or films during your visit, please contact the Archives at least two working days before your arrival. We will then advise you of the accessibility of the material you wish to see or hear. Please note that not all audiovisual material is immediately accessible.

    Publication Rights

    For copyright status, please contact the Hoover Institution Archives.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Edmund Jan Osmańczyk papers, [Box number], Hoover Institution Archives.

    Acquisition Information

    Acquired by the Hoover Institution Archives in 2012.


    Materials may have been added to the collection since this finding aid was prepared. To determine if this has occurred, find the collection in Stanford University's online catalog at http://searchworks.stanford.edu/ . Materials have been added to the collection if the number of boxes listed in the online catalog is larger than the number of boxes listed in this finding aid.

    Biographical Note

    Edmund Osmańczyk (1913-1989) was a Polish journalist, writer, politician, and Silesian activist. He served as parliamentary deputy from 1952 to 1961 and 1969 to 1985. His life was rather atypical for his generation of Polish intellectuals; unlike most others, who were either killed or had to leave the country, he survived the war and forty-five years of communism, and died in free Poland.
    Born on the extreme western periphery of ethnic Poland, in mostly German Silesia, Osmańczyk studied in Warsaw and in Berlin. His journalistic career began in the 1930s as a correspondent covering the League of Nations in Geneva. Later he directed the press of the Union of Poles in Germany, an organization concerned with the welfare of over a million ethnic Poles and Polish immigrants living in pre-World War II Germany. Threatened with arrest by the Gestapo, Osmańczyk moved to Warsaw and got a job with the Polish State Radio. When the Nazis invaded Poland in September 1939, he joined the underground, working for its clandestine radio in Warsaw. He lived through the Warsaw Uprising, and, in early 1945, he joined the Polish troops fighting alongside the Red Army. He was a war correspondent during the battle for Berlin, the Potsdam Conference, and the Nuremberg trials of Nazi war criminals.
    An enthusiastic and vocal supporter of Poland's rights to its formerly German "Recovered Territories," and uncritical of Polish Communists and their Soviet sponsors, Osmańczyk worked for the Polish state radio and the press agency without having to join the Communist Party. His radio and press assignments took him to various countries in Europe, the United States, and Latin America. Along with a small group of Catholic and unaffiliated intellectuals, Osmańczyk served in the parliament of Polish People's Republic for close to thirty years, through 1985, helping provide a semblance of democratic diversity to this largely symbolic institution. In the waning years of communist Poland, during the social and political ascendancy of the Solidarity trade union movement of the 1980s, Edmund Osmańczyk joined the democratic opposition. He was one of the Solidarity representatives in the roundtable discussions with the Communists that paved the way for a peaceful transition from authoritarian communism to a parliamentary democracy in Poland. In the first semifree parliamentary elections in the Soviet Bloc, on June 4 1989, Osmańczyk was elected senator. He was able to enjoy his democratic mandate, political popularity, and respect only briefly, dying of a heart attack four months later.
    Osmańczyk authored some two dozen books and hundreds of articles. His most substantial work was the four-volume Encyclopedia of the United Nations and International Agreements, with an introduction by Secretary General Javier Perez de Cuellar, published in several editions in Polish, English, and Spanish. Osmańczyk, an old acquaintance of Witold Sworakowski, director of the Hoover Institution Library and Archives was probably the first scholar from communist Poland and the Soviet Bloc to conduct research at the Hoover Library and Archives. After his October 1956 visit to Stanford, Osmanczyk published a detailed report on some of the Polish holdings of the Hoover Library and Archives; it remains a useful tool for researchers.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    Correspondence, writings, and printed matter, relating to political conditions in Poland, Polish foreign relations, and international relations in general.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Poland--Foreign relations--1945-1989.
    Poland--Politics and government--1945-1980.
    Poland--Politics and government--1980-1989.
    World politics--1945-1989.