Dobrowolski Stanislaw Wincenty

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Story of Rescue - Dobrowolski Stanislaw Wincenty

Stanisław Wincenty Dobrowolski was a son of Stanisław Dobrowolski (1873–1917) – a well-known Cracow gynecologist and obstetrician, a professor at the Faculty of Medicine of Jagiellonian University. Stanisław W. Dobrowolski graduated from the Faculty of Law of Jagiellonian University. In the period of his studies, he was active in the Academic Pacifists’ Society and then in the Polish Socialist Party (PPS). In 1938, he completed an internship in the International Labour Office in Geneva.

During the German occupation, he joined the resistance movement under the pseudonym of “Staniewski”. On 12 March 1943, when the activists of the Polish and Jewish underground movement formed a Cracow branch of “Żegota” Council to Aid Jews, Dobrowolski became its chairman and a representative of PPS-WRN. According to Teresa Prekerowa, the Council to Aid Jews in Cracow “was a small organization and the funds it received were low, much lower than needed. However, its dedicated team and the energetic, enterprising chairman, soon turned into an important care centre.”

Dobrowolski coordinated the activities of “Żegota” in the district of Cracow and kept in touch with the headquarters in Warsaw. The Cracow branch of “Żegota” was founded a few days before the bloody liquidation of the Podgórze ghetto, which took place on 13 and 14 March. Tadeusz Seweryn “Socha”, a Cracow “Żegota” member on behalf of the People’s Party, reported in his account included in Ten jest z ojczyzny mojej: “these facts enhanced our team to a vivid activity in all possible directions”.

“Żegota” tried to help Jews in the camps in Płaszów, Bochnia, Mielec, Przemyśl, Stalowa Wola, Szabnie and Tarnów, as well as in other camps in the district. Its activists provided money, food and documents which made it possible for Jews to hide on the so-called Aryan side. Another objective of “Żegota” was fighting with blackmails and the German anti-Semitic propaganda, saving Jewish children and collecting materials on crimes against Jews.

In 1943, the Cracow branch of “Żegota” managed to bring the writer Michał Borwicz (1911–1987) and a daughter of the editor Henryk Hescheles – Janina (born 1931) from Janowska concentration camp in Lvov to Cracow. Dobrowolski also helped Michał Weichert (1890–1967), a theatrical director who hid on the so-called Aryan side.

“Żegota” activists used Dobrowolski’s office on Jagiellońska Street for the purposes of the organization. Maria Hochberg-Mariańska, Dobrowolski’s fellow activist in the Cracow “Żegota”, underlines in her recollections: “[he] put everything at the Council’s disposal: his office, various contacts and effortless work, even though “Żegota” was only a part of his underground activity.

After the end of World War II, Dobrowolski became one of the founders of the League for the Struggle Against Racism and a member of its Board. He also undertook a political activity - he was a deputy to the State National Council and a deputy to the Sejm as a representative of the Polish Socialist Party, he was also a secretary of the PPS Supreme Council. He worked in the Ministry of Shipping, the Ministry of Culture and Art and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, he was the ambassador of Poland to Denmark and Greece, as well as a member of the International Control Commission in Vietnam.

He wrote publications on disarmament and international policy, he was also active in the ZAiKS Society of Authors.

He was granted many decorations, he was also awarded the medal of the 50th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, granted by the Association of Jewish Combatants.

In 1979, the Yad Vashem Institute granted Stanisław W. Dobrowolski the title of Righteous Among the Nations.

Bibliography

  • Archiwum Żydowskiego Instytutu Historycznego, 349/24, 2034
  • Teresa Prekerowa, Przewodniczący Krakowskiej Żegoty Stanisław Wincenty Dobrowolski 22 VI 1915-8 IX 1993