Bolesław Wieniawa-Długoszowski

Narcyz Witczak-Witaczyński - Gen. Bolesław Wieniawa-Długoszowski (107-478-4).jpg
Photograph by Narcyz Witczak-Witaczyński
Successor as President of Poland
In office
25 September 1939 – 26 September 1939
Personal details
Born(1881-07-22)22 July 1881
Died1 July 1942(1942-07-01) (aged 61)
New York City, New York
Spouse(s)Stephania Calvas, Bronisława Wieniawa-Długoszowska
ChildrenSusanna Vernon

Bolesław Ignacy Florian Wieniawa-Długoszowski (22 July 1881 – 1 July 1942) was a Polish general, adjutant to Chief of State Józef Piłsudski, politician, freemason, diplomat, poet, artist and formally for one day the President of the Republic of Poland.

He was one of the generation that fought for, and saw, the rebirth of an independent Poland on 11 November 1918 (National Independence Day) only to see that independence lost again, following the 1939 division of Poland between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union pursuant to the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact.

To World War I

Bolesław Wieniawa-Długoszowski was born 22 July 1881 on his family's estate in Maksymówka near Stanisławów in Galicia, then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, (now Ivano-Frankivsk in the Ukraine), the son of Bolesław Długoszowski (a railway engineer, who built the railway from Tarnów to Krynica-Zdrój via Bobowa) and Józefina, née Struszkiewicz. He had an elder brother Kazimierz and two sisters; Teofila (Michalewska) the grandmother of Inka Bokiewicz, the girl who first adopted Wojtek the bear and Zofia (Kubicka).

In 1877, his family bought the manor house[1] in Bobowa. Bobowa, (Bobov[2] in Yiddish), was a centre of Hassidic life in Poland. There were good relations between the Jews of Bobowa and the Długoszowski family[3] (Kazimierz, the elder brother, appears with Grand Rabbi Ben Zion Halberstam on the cover of the book "Jewish Society in Poland"[4]). There Bolesław spent his early life. He attended secondary school in Lwów, then he moved to a school in Nowy Sącz, graduating in 1900. Subsequently he studied medicine at Jan Kazimierz University (currently Lviv University) in Lwów, graduating with high distinction in 1906. In 1906 he married his first wife, the singer Stephania Calvas.[5]

After these studies he moved to Berlin, where he spent a year studying at the Berlin Academy of Fine Arts [1]. After completing his degree there in 1907, he moved to Paris, where he worked as a private physician.

Between 1907 and 1914, he lived in Montparnasse sharing to the full in the bohemian life of Paris, mixing with the Polish artist living there, many of whom were members of the Young Poland movement. In 1911 he was a founder, with the sculptor Stanisław_Kazimierz_Ostrowski [pl] of the Association of Polish Artists (Towarzystwo Artystów Polskich).[6] In 1912 he formed the "cercle parisien des sciences militaires" with Waclaw Sieroszewski [pl], Andrzej Strug and others. The next year this group joined the main Riflemen's Association (Związek Strzelecki "Strzelec"), where he met Józef Piłsudski in December 1913.[7]


Wieniawa-Długoszowski, 1934

In 1914 he moved to Kraków and joined the First Cadre Company which fought on the Austro-Hungarian side against Russia. In October 1914 he became a commander of a platoon of a squadron in 1 Pułk Ułanów Legionów Polskich [pl]. During the fighting in 1914–1915 he was promoted to lieutenant, and after the war he was awarded the V-Class Virtuti Militari. In August 1915 he moved to the special group in Warsaw. Soon he became an aide-de-camp to Józef Piłsudski. In 1918, he was sent on a mission to Russia. He was given three tasks; to persuade General Józef Haller's army,[8] then in the Ukraine, to back Piłsudski (he failed in this task), to reach the French military mission in Moscow under General Lavergne[9] (he succeeded in this task) and to return from Moscow to Paris to liaise with the government there. Unfortunately he was arrested by the Soviet Cheka as a member of the Polish Military Organisation while on a French diplomatic train on its way from Moscow to Murmansk (and Paris). He was imprisoned in the Taganka prison. He was freed thanks to the intervention of his future wife Bronisława Wieniawa-Długoszowska with the much feared Cheka operative Yakovleva, then in charge of the prison. Bronisława was at that time married to the lawyer Leon Berenson [pl], the lawyer of Felix Dzerzhinsky, the head of the Cheka. She was a Lutheran, her family having converted from the Jewish faith when she was eight.

As aide-de-camp of Józef Piłsudski during the Polish-Soviet War he helped him organize the Vilna Operation and Battle of Warsaw. He was also a commander of 1st Cavalry Division. After the war, Wieniawa was awarded many medals (including the Légion d'honneur, Cross of Valor and Cross of Independence).

Throughout the inter-war years, he was a key figure in Warsaw literary and social life.[10] He had a table reserved for him with leading Warsaw literary figures, such as Julian Tuwim and Jan Lechoń, at the mezzanine of the café Mała Ziemiańska [pl].[11] In a famous anecdote, Aleksander Wat recounts how, when Wat was imprisoned, by the government of the Second Polish Republic for his literary activities (he was the publisher of the crypto-communist magazine Miesięcznik Literacki [pl]), he received, in prison, a hamper of vodka and caviar from Wieniawa. The purpose of this story, in Wat's memoirs "My century", is to contrast his treatment at the hands of the Second Polish Republic with the vicious and barbaric treatment he was to receive in Soviet prisons during the war.[12]

In November 1921 Wieniawa became the Polish military attaché in Bucharest, Romania. He was associated with making the Polish-Romanian convention which was signed in 1922. In 1926 he passed his exams in High War School. He soon became a commander of 1 Pułk Szwoleżerów Józefa Piłsudskiego  [pl] – the most prestigious and representative Polish cavalry division, which he commanded it until 1930.

During the May Coup of 1926 he was one of Piłsudski's officers who helped him to organize the coup.

In 1930–32 he was commander of I Cavalry Division and, for some time, of II Cavalry Division. In 1932 he was promoted by President Ignacy Mościcki to the rank of Brigadier General [pl]. He was commander of the II Cavalry Division [pl], from 1932 to 14 May 1938. In 1938 he was promoted to Major-General, Generał dywizji [pl]. From 1938 to 13 June 1940, he was the Polish Ambassador in Rome.

One-day presidency

On 17 September 1939, he was nominated president of Poland by retiring President Ignacy Mościcki. On the same day, Poland was invaded by the Soviet Union and he took the train from Rome to Paris to take on his new role. His appointment was published in the Official Journal, Monitor Polski, on 25 September 1939.[13] His appointment was blackballed[why?]by the French Third Republic[14] and also opposed by Władysław Sikorski. After the capitulation of France, he emigrated to New York travelling via Lisbon.

Many sources do not list Wieniawa as President, merely "designated successor". However, according to the then constitution, when the President cannot execute his powers (as when Mościcki was interned in Romania and it was clear that he would not be released unless he resigned), the designated successor automatically became President.

After receiving appointment or becoming President, Wieniawa asked Cardinal August Hlond to become Prime Minister. Hlond refused, referring to Wieniawa as "Mr. President".

Also, in a press statement from President Lech Wałęsa's press secretary on 21 September 1994, to Dziennik Polski Wieniawa-Długoszowski was referred to as one of the legitimate Presidents in Exile.[15]

According to some opinions, Mościcki had meant to pass his office to Wieniawa-Długoszowski as caretaker, until the office could be assumed by a candidate acceptable to both Sanacja and opposition circles, General Kazimierz Sosnkowski, whose whereabouts were unknown in September 1939. Finally, after Wieniawa's resignation, a compromise candidate, Władysław Raczkiewicz, was chosen.[16]


Once in the USA, Wieniawa settled in New York. Unable to get any position in the Polish army[why?]from Sikorski, he moved to Detroit, where he was appointed editor-in-chief of Frank Januszewski's Dziennik Polski (Detroit). Finally, on 18 April 1942, Sikorski appointed Wieniawa minister plenipotentiary to the governments of Cuba, Dominican Republic, and Haiti, based in Havana. On 20 June 1942 the National Committee of Americans of Polish Extraction (KNAPP) was founded in New York,[17] with Wieniawa listed as a founder. KNAPP was strongly in favor of retaining Poland's Eastern territories, was critical of Sikorski, and was entirely distrustful of Stalin.[18] Wieniawa, after moving back to New York, caught between these two opposing forces, committed suicide on 1 July 1942.[19] Some sources[20] say he committed suicide by leaping from an upper story of his New York city residence (3 Riverside Drive), but the exact details of his death are debated among historians. He left a suicide note.[21] One month later, on 14 August 1942, the Jewish ghetto in his home village of Bobowa was liquidated; about 700 inhabitants were killed in a mass execution in the Garbacz Forest.[22][23]

Wieniawa's remains were brought back to Kraków for reburial in the Rakowicki Cemetery, on 27 September 1990, where he now lies with his fallen comrades from the World War I Polish Legions.[24]

Honours and awards



Political offices
Preceded by
Ignacy Mościcki
President of the Polish Republic
Succeeded by
Władysław Raczkiewicz


  1. ^ "BOBOWA - DWOR WIENIAWA DŁUGOSZOWSKIEGO". Retrieved 27 February 2019.
  2. ^ "BOBOWA: Gorlice". International Jewish Cemetery Project. Retrieved 28 February 2019.
  3. ^ Davies, Norman (2011). Vanished Kingdoms. London: Penguin books. p. 473. ISBN 9781846143380.
  4. ^ Skotnicki, Aleksander; et al. (2009). Jewish Society in Poland. Krakow: AA. ISBN 978-83-61060-76-5.
  5. ^ "Stefania Skotnicka (1886-1934), de domo Calvas, primo voto Długoszowska". Retrieved 27 February 2019.
  6. ^ Statut Towarzystwa Artystów Polskich w Paryżu. Paris: A. Reiffa. 1911. Retrieved 27 February 2019.
  7. ^ Grabska, Elżbieta; et al., eds. (1996). Autour de Bourdelle : Paris et les artistes polonais, 1900-1918. Paris: Paris-Musées. ISBN 978-2-87900-319-1.
  8. ^ Wołos, M. "Wieniawa-Długoszowski był uosobieniem tego, co polskie". niepodlegla.dzieje.pl. Retrieved 1 March 2019.
  9. ^ Beneteau, Arthur (2018). "Servir les intérêts français en plein chaos révolutionnaire. Étude des attachés militaires en Russie, 1916-1920". Bulletin de l'Institut Pierre Renouvin. 47: 61–72. doi:10.3917/bipr1.047.0061. Retrieved 28 February 2019.
  10. ^ Nowicki, Ron (1992). Warsaw; the cabaret years. San Francisco: Mercury House. ISBN 978-1-56279-030-1.
  11. ^ Czermański, Zdzisław (1991). Kolorowi Ludzie. Warsaw: Polonia - Polartist. ISBN 978-83-7021-139-4.
  12. ^ Wat, Aleksander (2003). My Century. New York: The New York Review of Books. ISBN 978-1-59017-065-6.
  13. ^ "Zarządzenie Prezydenta Rzeczypospolitej". Monitor Polski, Paryż (213). 25 September 1939. Retrieved 27 February 2019.
  14. ^ Beauvois, Yves (2001). Leon Noel, de Laval à de Gaulle (1888-1987). Paris: Presses Universitaires du Septentrion. pp. 172–174. ISBN 978-2-85939-646-6.
  16. ^ Olgierd Terlecki, Generał Sikorski, Kraków, Wydawnictwo Literackie, 1983.
  17. ^ Jaroszynska-Kirchmann, Anna (2004). The Exile Mission: The Polish Political Diaspora and Polish Americans, 1939–1956. Athens, Ohio: Ohio University Press. p. 47. ISBN 0821415271.
  18. ^ Pula, James (1995). Polish Americans; an ethnic community. New York: Twayne Publishers. p. 88. ISBN 0805784381.
  19. ^ Lerski, George J.; Lerski, Jerzy Jan; Wróbel, Piotr; Kozicki, Richard J. (1996). "Wieniawa-Długoszowski, Bolesław". Historical dictionary of Poland, 966–1945. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 650. ISBN 978-0-313-26007-0. Retrieved 8 July 2009.
  20. ^ Pinkowski Files. Poles.org.
  21. ^ Vernon, Gervase (2013). Belonging and Betrayal. Amazon. ISBN 978-1-4825-6684-0.
  22. ^ Oliner, Samuel (1979). Restless Memories. Berkeley, California: Judah L. Magnes Museum. ISBN 978-0-943376-28-8.
  23. ^ "The mass grave in the Garbacz Forest". Virtual Shtetl. Retrieved 1 March 2019.
  24. ^ Gajewski, Grzegorz. "Powrót Wieniawy (1990)". YouTube. Retrieved 27 February 2019.
  25. ^ Acović, Dragomir (2012). Slava i čast: Odlikovanja među Srbima, Srbi među odlikovanjima. Belgrade: Službeni Glasnik. p. 613.


By Wieniawa

  • Grabska, Elżbieta; Pytasz, Marek, eds. (1998). Szuflada generała Wieniawy : wiersze i dokumenty : materiały do twórczości i biografii Bolesława Wieniawy-Długoszowskiego. Warszawa: Państwowy Instytut Wydawniczy. ISBN 978-83-06-02719-8. Retrieved 12 February 2019.
  • Wieniawa-Długoszowski, Bolesław (1992). Wymarsz i inne wspomnienia. Warszawa: Biblioteka "Więzi". ISBN 978-83-85124-09-2.
  • Wieniawa-Długoszowski, Bolesław (2002). Wiersze i piosenki. Papier-service. ISBN 978-83-917625-1-6.
  • Wieniawa-Długoszowski, Bolesław (1938). Introduction in "Księga Jazdy Polskiej". Warszawa: Fundacja Niepodległościowa. pp. 9–14. ISBN 978-83-936207-0-8.
  • Dupont, Marcel (1993). Generał Lasalle. Translated by Wieniawa-Długoszowski. Kraków: Małopolska Oficyna Wydawnicza Krak-Buch. ISBN 978-83-85844-08-2. OCLC 749733756.
  • Dupont, Marcel (2014). Szable w garść! : dziesięć bojów kawaleryjskich (Sabre au poing! : Dix combats de cavalerie). Translated by Wieniawa-Długoszowski, Bolesław. Warsaw: Oświęcim : Napoleon V. ISBN 978-83-7889-368-4.
  • Wieniawa-Długoszowski, Bolesław; Chudek, Józef Marian (1957). Z raportów ambasadorskich Wieniawy-Długoszowskiego. Warsaw: Polski Instytut Spraw Międzynarodowych. OCLC 69298008.
  • Wieniawa-Długoszowski, Bolesław. Materiały archiwalne dotyczące Bolesława Wieniawy-Długoszowskiego (Manuscript Document, Archival Material, Wiersze, listy, wycinki prasowe, fotokopie, artykuły). Warsaw: National Library of Poland, Biblioteka Narodowa. OCLC 1042540590.
  • Wieniawa-Długoszowski, Bolesław; Emil Młynarski (1928). Moja para : piosenka ułańska na głos z fortep (with musical score). Stołeczny Komitet Obchodu Dziesięciolecia Odrodzenia Polski.
  • Wieniawa-Długoszowski, Bolesław; Rudnicki, Klemens (1937). Operacyjna użyteczność kawalerii w świetle historii. Warszawa: Wojsk. Instytut Nauk.-Oświat. OCLC 899921843.
  • Wieniawa-Długoszowski, Bolesław (1932). Ze wspomnień legjonowych. Warszawa: Wydawnictwo "Świat przez Radjo".

Wieniawa's songs

  • Wieniawa-Długoszowski, Bolesław; Królikiewicz, Adam (1936). Jeździec i koń w terenie i w skoku : metody przygotowania i zaprawy. Warszawa: Główna Księgarnia Wojskowa. OCLC 749907458.
  • Wieniawa-Długoszowski, B. (1935). "Moje piosenki". Muzyka (5–7).
  • Wieniawa-Długoszowski, Bolesław (1935). "Józef Piłsudski w muzyce i pieśni". Muzyka (5–7).
  • Makowska, Monika. "Poetic works of the first uhlan of the interwar Poland in the period of the Legions" (PDF). UNIWERSYTETU JAGIELLOŃSKIEGO. Retrieved 23 February 2019.
Zbout Wieniawa
  • Majchrowski, Jacek M. (1990). Ulubieniec Cezara B.Wieniawa Długoszowski. Wroclaw: Zakład Narodowy im Ossolińskich. ISBN 978-83-04-03433-4.
  • Majchrowski, Jacek M. (1993). Gen. Bolesław Wieniawa Długoszowski - pierwszy ułan Drugiej Rzeczypospolitej. Warszawa: Polska Oficyna Wydawnicza "BGW". ISBN 978-83-7066-347-6.
  • Vernon, Gervase (2013). Belonging and Betrayal. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform. ISBN 978-1-4825-6684-0.
  • Wittlin, Tadeusz (1996). Szabla i Koń. London: Polska Fundacja Kulturalna. ISBN 978-0-85065-267-3.
  • Grochowalski, Wojciech (2001). Ku chwale Wieniawy: W 120 rocznicę urodzin. Papier-Service. ISBN 978-83-905425-6-0.
  • Wołos, Mariusz (2000). Generał dywizji Bolesław Wieniawa-Długoszowski Biografia wojskowa. Toruń: Adam Marszalek. ISBN 978-83-7174-785-4.
  • Dworzyński, Witold (1993). Wieniawa poeta żołnierz dyplomata. Warszawa: Wydwnictwa Szkolne i Pedagogiczne. ISBN 978-83-02-05029-9.
  • Urbanek, Mariusz (1991). Wieniawa. Szwoleżer na Pegazie. Wrocław: Wydawnictwo Iskry. ISBN 978-83-7023-076-0.
  • Romański, Romuald (2011). Generał Bolesław Wieniawa-Długoszowski. Polityk czy lew salonowy?. Warszawa: Bellona. ISBN 978-83-11-12037-2.

Books about his period in France 1907-1914

Books about the period as ambassador in Rome and the "President for a day" episode

  • Romeyko, Marian (1969). Wspomnienia o Wieniawie i o rzymskich czasach. Warszawa: Ministerstwo Obrony Narodowej. ISBN 978-83-11-07754-6.
  • Wieniawa-Długoszowski, Bolesław; Chudek, Józef Marian (1957). Z raportów ambasadorskich Wieniawy-Długoszowskiego. Warsaw: Polski Instytut Spraw Międzynarodowych. OCLC 69298008.
  • Beauvois, Yves (2001). Leon Noel, de Laval à de Gaulle (1888-1987). Paris: Presses Universitaires du Septentrion. pp. 172–174. ISBN 978-2-85939-646-6.
  • Beauvois, Yves (1989). Les relations franco-polonaises pendant la drôle de guerre. Paris: L'Harmattan. ISBN 978-2-7384-0156-4.
  • Lukasiewicz, Juliusz (1989). Dyplomata w Paryzu 1936-1939: Wspomnienia i dokumenty Juliusza ¡ukasiewicza ambasadora rzeczypospolitej Polskiej. London: Polska Fundacja Kulturalna. ISBN 978-0-85065-169-0.
  • Strzałka, Krzysztof (2007). "Rozmowy Bolesława Wieniawy-Długoszowskiego z Galeazzo Ciano w okresie 1939-1940". Sprawy Międzynarodowe. 3 (LX): 103–140.
  • Strzałka, Krzysztof (2001). Między przyjaźnią a wrogością. Z dziejów stosunków polsko-włoskich (1939-1945). Kraków: Arcana).

Books about his period in America

  • Jaroszynska-Kirchmann, Anna (2004). The Exile Mission: The Polish Political Diaspora and Polish Americans, 1939–1956. Athens, Ohio: Ohio University Press. p. 47. ISBN 0821415271.
  • Pula, James (1995). Polish Americans; an ethnic community. New York: Twayne Publishers. p. 88. ISBN 0805784381.

Books mainly of photographs

Films Wieniawa helped to make

Films about Wieniawa

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