Irena Sendler

Painted by Maria Sieradzan

Zbigniew Brzeziński


Painted by Maria Sieradzan

Joseph Conrad


Painted by Maria Sieradzan


Whenever we, young Polish people, meet folks from different countries they tend to ask a lot of questions about our homeland. It quickly turns out that they don’t know much about Poland and that their image of our motherland is often very different from reality. On the other hand, they always know plenty of details about the history and culture of countries like France, Germany, UK or USA. It also applies to their knowledge of historical as well as contemporary figures.


But why is that? A lot of Poles made a vital contribution to the way we perceive history, art and science today! It’s due to the course of our history that many of those talented people had to emigrate and as a result their achievements were assigned to other countries. Here’s an example: a producer who makes a movie in the USA is automatically considered to be American. And this is not always the case! It quickly turns out that a lot of those figures are quite well known to the public, but they were never associated with Poland. And some others were probably never known beyond Polish borders, but were colourful and dimensional figures, worth discovering.


This is why we created this site. It is an initiative of Polish high school students who want to make their history and culture well known among foreigners. We are presenting biographies of influential and talented figures of Polish origin: innovators, statesmen, artists or scientists who are still often not recognised despite their contribution and we want to change that! The site is meant as a popular guide, we aim to stimulate your interest and direct you to where you can learn more. We hope you enjoy discovering the achievements of our wonderful countrymen!

Zygmunt Wróblewski

The pioneer of cryophysics. A man who suffered for his homeland and died for science

Zygmunt Florenty Wróblewski (1845-1888) – a Polish physicist and chemist; fighter for Poland’s independence in an 1863 anti-Russian uprising

Source: By Unknown photographer - scanned from Polish "Problemy" monthly, May 1964, Public Domain,


In the second part of the 19th century, the subject of gas liquefaction had established its place in history. In 1790 carbon dioxide had been liquefied; ammonia and many other gases quickly followed. In two series of experiments, conducted in 1823 and 1845, Michael Faraday liquefied all of the known gases except for oxygen, nitrogen, hydrogen, nitric oxide, carbon monoxide and methane. Since that time, many ineffective tests were done in an attempt to liquefy these so called ‘permanent gases’. In 1877, Louis Cailletet (in Paris) and Raoul Pictet (in Geneva), independently of each other, liquefied oxygen and nitrogen in dynamic state, i.e. they brought them to the form of a fog that they could observe for a very short period of time. But no one managed to liquefy these two main components of the air in a static state until a duet of two Polish scientists, one of whom was named Zygmunt Wróblewski, arrived on the scene.

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Karol Olszewski

The King of Low Temperatures

Karol Stanisław Olszewski (1846-1915) – a Polish chemist, physicist and mathematics; expert of low temperatures nominated for the Nobel Prize in Physics

Source: Public domain,


On a frosty day in February 1846, peasants rebelling against the Polish gentry in the southern Poland forced their way into the Broniszów village. The peasants killed its heir, ravaged the demesne and decided to kill the trustee and tenant Jan Olszewski as well. Seeing them coming, Jan took his son, jumped onto nearby sleigh and started running away. Aware of the fact that he would not be able to escape for much longer and wishing to save his son, Jan threw away a bundle with the baby inside it at the turning of the road. Shortly afterwards, a drunk bunch of raiders hunted Jan down and killed him. The “saved-by-the-bell” infant was found by peasant women and returned to his mother. This miraculously rescued boy was none other than Karol Olszewski, a future scientist; a great chemist, nominated for the Nobel Prize for Physics, an inventor and innovator of world class stature in the field of low-temperature physics and cryogenics.

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Maria Skłodowska-Curie

The Woman of Many Firsts



Maria Skłodowska-Curie is probably one of the greatest scientists of all time. Her accomplishments brought her worldwide fame and you probably know or at least might have heard of her too. She was the first woman to receive two Nobel prizes in different fields. But that is not the end of her achievements, this is only an introduction to an amazing history of a woman who changed our everyday reality.

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Mikołaj Kopernik (Nicolaus Copernicus)

The Man Who Revolutionised Science



Since he was primarily an astronomer, people tend to forget he was a true polymath. Copernicus not only revolutionised the way our solar system was perceived back in the 15th century, but on a daily basis served the episcopate of Warmia (a province located in north-east Poland). Furthermore, he was the communities primary canon and medic. Let me introduce you to Nicolaus Copernicus, one of the all-time greats in the field of science.

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Karol Wojtyła / Pope John Paul II

The Millennial Pope



So far John Paul II has been the first and the only pope descending from Poland. His pontificate, which lasted, is the third longest one on the record. However, what makes it significant is not just its length, but also what was achieved during its time. Arguably, what contributed to John Paul II becoming one of the most influential and well-recognized Popes of all time, was not only his skill to communicate and work well with various world leaders, but also his ability to fulfill his apostolic duty in an era when faith is very often abandoned by the young generation.

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Fryderyk Chopin

A Musician Deprived of His Own Motherland



Original photography of Fryderyk Chopin (1849)


Fryderyk Chopin is considered one of the greatest composers of all time, a person so gifted, that his first compositions were published when he was just 7 and at the age 15 he played for the czar Alexander I of Russia. His works have been performed all over the world at famous concert halls by numerous outstanding pianists.

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Roman Polański

A Pole in Hollywood


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Polański on set of “The Pianist”


Roman Polański is without doubt the most recognizable Polish movie director, the author of such masterpieces as ”Chinatown” or ”Rosemary’s Baby”. Throughout his career, which began back in 1955, Polański had won countless awards including an Oscar for directing ”The Pianist” in 2003.

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