People

Meet the famous Poles

HISTORY OF POLAND AND POLES DATES BACK TO TENTH CENTURY. IT IS NOT SURPRISING THAT DURING OVER THOUSAND YEARS OF EXISTENCE THERE WERE MANY TALENTED, FAMOUS AND RESPECTED PEOPLE BORN IN POLAND. HAVE YOU HEARD ABOUT THEM?

 

ANDRZEJ WAJDA

wajdaAndrzej Wajda is one of the most known Polish film director. During his career he tried his hand at writing screenplays and also worked as producer and actor. For over sixty-years- long career Andrzej Wajda worked at several dozen movies. Wajda was many times awarded. His artistic achievements was appreciated at the Venice International Film Festival in 1998 where he received a Gold Lion. But the most impor- tant price he received two years later – the Oscar. Further- more, in 2006 he obtained on Golden Bear, the highest prize at the Berlin International Film Festival. Both, Oscar and Golden Bear, Wajda gained for his lifetime achievement.

 

JUSTYNA KOWALCZYK

kowalczykJustyna Kowalczyk is a cross country skier who is competing since 2000. Kowalczyk is a double Olympic Champion and a double World Champion. We are proud that she is also the only skier who won the Tour de Ski four times in a row and one of two female skiers, who won the FIS Cross-Country World Cup three times in a row!
Justyna Kowalczyk is admired among Poles for her perseverance and the will of the fight. She doesn’t give up even in the face of se- rious injury. In Poland, she was awarded as The Best Sportsman, Woman of the
Year, The Most Popular Sportsman, Person of the Year. And that only a few of her honors!
One of the curiosities about Justyna Kowalczyk is that she has double birth- day! Officials made a mistake. They typed to documents wrong date of birth. Now, Kowalczyk celebrates her birthday twice a year!

 

LECH WAŁĘSA

walesaThe most known Poles thanks to huge activity in Independent self-govern- ing Trade Union “Solidarność” which was founded on 17 September 1980 at the Gdańsk Shipyard. He became a co-founder and leader of the Solidarity trade-union movement.
Between 1980 and 1981 under leadership of Lech Wałęsa trade union became a massive socio-political movement. In the best time numbers of members reached about 10 million. In the meanwhile were formed satellite organizations, including Independent Self-Governing Trade Union of Individual Farmers “Solidarity” and the Independent Stu- dents’ Association.
Worth adding, that in 1983 he won Nobel Peace Prize! Since that time, he was very involved in politics. In the Polish election of 1990, he successfully ran for the newly reestablished office of President of Poland. Today, Lech Wałęsa con- tinues to speak and lecture in Poland and abroad on history and politics.
oad on history and politics.

 

POPE JOHN PAUL II

popeSaint John Paul II was pope of the Catholic Church from 16 October 1978 until his death on 2 April 2005. He was the second longest-serving pope in modern history. He was also the first non-Italian pope since XIV century.
John Paul II is recognized as helping to end communist rule in his native Po- land and eventually all over Europe. He significantly improved the Catholic Church’s relations with Judaism, Islam, the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Anglican Communion.
A key goal of his pontificate was transformation and repositioning of the Catholic Church. His wish was “to place his Church at the heart of a new re- ligious alliance that would bring together Jews, Muslims and Christians in a great religious armada”. In fact, during his pontificate, Pope John Paul II made trips to 129 countries, travelling more than 1 100 000 km (680 000 mils) while doing so!
John Paul II was open to people. He did a lot of thing “as the first pope ever”.
Firstly, John Paul II became the first pope to visit the White House in October 1979 where he was greeted warmly by then-President Jimmy Carter. Secondly, he was the first pope ever to visit sever- al countries in one year, starting in 1979 with Mexico and Ireland. Last but not least, he was the first reigning pope to
travel to the United Kingdom where he met Queen Elizabeth II.

 

MARIE SKŁODOWSKA-CURIE

sklodowskaMarie Skłodowska-Curie was a Polish and naturalized-French physicist and chemist who conducted pioneering research on radioactivity. She gained great successes in science thanks to that she won Nobel Prizes twice as the first person in the world. Additionally, she was the only person to win twice in multiple sciences. She shared the 1903 Nobel Prize in Physics with her hus- band Pierre Curie and with physicist Henri Becquerel. She won the 1911 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.
Maria Curie was a very talented person and who broken many barriers and shown that women also can achieve success science career. She was also the first woman to become a professor at the University of Paris, and in 1995 be- came the first woman to be entombed on her own merits in the Panthéon in Paris.
Her achievements included a theory of radioactivity techniques for isolat- ing radioactive isotopes and the discovery of two elements: polonium and ra- dium. Under her direction, the world’s first studies were conducted into the treatment of neoplasm, using radioactive isotopes.
During her life, Marie Skłodowska-Curie founded the Curie Institutes in Paris and in Warsaw. Today institutes are major centers of medical research. More- over, while World War I she established the first military field radiological center.
Marie Skłodowska Curie as French citizen never lost her sense of Polish identity. She taught her daughters Polish and took them to Poland. As one of the proof, she named the first chemical element that she discovered, which she first isolated in 1898, polonium – after her native country.