Vale Leszek Szulc (1929–2020)

Redakcja / Editorial staff / English translation: Andrew Rajcher, 7th January 2021
With great sadness, we advise of the passing of Leszek Szulc (1929–2020), Righteous Among the Nations (1997), holder of the Commander’s Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta (2007), Home Army soldier and friend of POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews. He was an economist, columnist, publisher and a long-time staff member of the Supreme Audit Office. He passed away in Warsaw on 31st December 2020, aged 91. He will remain in our memory as a brave and kind man, known for his erudition, satire and storytelling. In farewelling him, we recall the story of the aid that the Szulc family gave to Jews during the Holocaust.

“‘It’s about the lives of the Friedler family’”, father said. To that, mother said, ‘Jesus and Mary, it’s our conspiracy. All I need is Jews here!’.  And father, who was an otherworldly conspirator, replied, ‘Listen Mańka, when they catch us for being in the Home Army, we’ll hang. [...] And if they don’t catch us, we won’t hang and the Friedler family will be saved’. [...] It was a simple calculation” – Leszek Szulc.

During the German occupation,  Leszek Jan Szulc, together with his parents Józef and Maria, extended aid to Jews in Stryj near Stanisławów (today in Ukraine).

From October 1943 to August 1944, in their own home, which served as an underground point for the Home Army, they hid their Jewish friends – Jonah Friedler and his wife Sonia (née Landau). Other Jews, who had escaped from the Stry ghetto, were also hidden in a hiding-place prepared by the Szulc family.

In recognition of the help given to them during the Holocaust, on 10th November 1997, the Szulc family were honoured by the Yad Vashem Institute in Jerusalem with the title of Righteous Among the Nationsat. We present their story on our Polish Righteous portal in a text by the outstanding writer and journalist Teresa Torańska.


» Read and listen: The Story of the Szulc Family


After the War, Leszek Szulc became an economist, columnist and publisher. He was a long-time staff member of the Supreme Audit Office. In 2007, the President of the Republic of Poland awarded him the Commander’s Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta and the Home Army Cross. During the last years of his life, he became a frequent visitor to POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews, where he would meet with young people during education sessions and meetings with witnesses to history. In 2008 and 2014, he told us his story in oral history interviews.

He passed away on 31st December 2020 aged 91. He will remain in our memory as a brave and kind man, known for his erudition, satire and storytelling. He was a friend of POLIN Museum.

We will provide, soon, details of the date and place of Leszek Szulc’s funeral.