Scope and Content of Collection
Title: Edmund Jan Osmańczyk papers
Collection Number: 2013C2
Creator: Osmańczyk, Edmund Jan
Number of Containers: 19 manuscript boxes
(7.92 linear feet)
Hoover Institution Archives
Stanford, California 94305-6010
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
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.
For copyright status, please contact the Hoover Institution Archives.
[Identification of item], Edmund Jan Osmańczyk papers, [Box number], Hoover Institution Archives.
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
. 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.
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.
The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
Poland -- Politics and government -- 1945-1980.
Poland -- Politics and government -- 1980-1989.
Poland -- Foreign relations -- 1945-1989.
World politics -- 1945-1989.
Journalism -- Poland.