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Poland

Republic of Poland Europe Warsaw 38,346,279 inhabitants 312,685 sq km 122.64 inhabitants/sq km zlotych (PLN) population evolution

Famous people from Poland

Here is a list of famous people from Poland. Curious if anybody from Poland made it our most famous people in the world list? Read the aformentioned article in order to find out.

Pope John Paul II

Religious Leader

Pope John Paul II, sometimes called Blessed John Paul or John Paul the Great, born Karol Józef Wojtyła, was the head of the Catholic Church from 16 October 1978 to his death in 2005. He was the second longest-serving pope in history and, as a Pole, the first non-Italian since Pope Adrian VI, who died in 1523. John Paul II was one of the most influential leaders of the 20th century. He is recognised as helping to end Communist rule in his native Poland and eventually all of Europe. John Paul II significantly improved the Catholic Church's relations with Judaism, Islam, the Eastern Orthodox Church, and the Anglican Communion. Controversially, he upheld the Church's teachings against artificial contraception and the ordination of women, he supported the Church's Second Vatican Council and its reform, and he held firm orthodox Catholic stances. He is known for his implementation of several papal documents pertaining to the role of the Church in the modern world. He was one of the most travelled world leaders in history, visiting 129 countries during his pontificate. As part of his special emphasis on the universal call to holiness, he beatified 1,340 people and canonised 483 saints, more than the combined tally of his predecessors during the preceding five centuries. He named most of the present College of Cardinals, consecrated or co-consecrated a large number of the world's past and current bishops, and ordained many priests. A key goal of his papacy was to transform and reposition the Catholic Church. His wish was "to place his Church at the heart of a new religious alliance that would bring together Jews, Muslims and Christians in a great [religious] armada". On 19 December 2009, John Paul II was proclaimed venerable by his successor Pope Benedict XVI and was beatified on 1 May 2011 after the Congregation for the Causes of Saints attributed one miracle to him, the healing of a French nun from Parkinson's disease. A second miracle, attributed to the late pope, was approved on 2 July 2013 and confirmed by Pope Francis two days later. John Paul II will be canonised on 27 April 2014, alongside Pope John XXIII. Like John XXIII, his feast day is not celebrated on the date of his death as is usual, but on 22 October, the anniversary of his papal inauguration in 1978.

Agnieszka Radwańska

Tennis Player

Agnieszka Radwańska is a Polish professional tennis player. She reached her career-high ranking of world no. 2 in July 2012, and is currently ranked world no. 4. Known for constructing points and making intelligent use of the court, she has won thirteen career singles titles. Radwańska holds a number of tennis accolades. She is the first Polish player in the Open Era to reach the singles final of a Grand Slam, the first Pole to claim a WTA singles title, and the winner of the longest three-set match played at the WTA Tour Championships. She won the WTA Award for Most Impressive Newcomer in 2006, and has been voted the WTA's most popular player for two consecutive years in polls held by WTATennis.com. For her accomplishments in sport and for representing her country with distinction, in 2013 she was awarded the Gold Cross of Merit by Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski.

Catherine II of Russia

Monarch

Yekaterina Alexeevna or Catherine II, also known as Catherine the Great, was the most renowned and the longest-ruling female leader of Russia, reigning from 9 July [O.S. 28 June] 1762 until her death on 17 November 1796 at the age of sixty-seven. She was born in Stettin, Pomerania, Prussia as Sophie Friederike Auguste von Anhalt-Zerbst-Dornburg, and came to power following a coup d'état and the assassination of her husband, Peter III, at the end of the Seven Years' War. Russia was revitalized under her reign, growing larger and stronger than ever and becoming recognized as one of the great powers of Europe. In both her accession to power and in rule of her empire, Catherine often relied on her noble favourites, most notably Grigory Orlov and Grigory Potemkin. Assisted by highly successful generals such as Pyotr Rumyantsev and Alexander Suvorov, and admirals such as Fyodor Ushakov, she governed at a time when the Russian Empire was expanding rapidly by conquest and diplomacy. In the south, the Crimean Khanate was crushed following victories over the Ottoman Empire in the Russo-Turkish wars, and Russia colonised the vast territories of Novorossiya along the coasts of the Black and Azov Seas. In the west, the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, ruled by Catherine's former lover, king Stanisław August Poniatowski, was eventually partitioned, with the Russian Empire gaining the largest share. In the east, Russia started to colonise Alaska, establishing Russian America.

Nicolaus Copernicus

Mathematician

Nicolaus Copernicus was a Renaissance mathematician and astronomer who formulated a heliocentric model of the universe which placed the Sun, rather than the Earth, at the center. The publication of Copernicus' book, De revolutionibus orbium coelestium, just before his death in 1543, is considered a major event in the history of science. It began the Copernican Revolution and contributed importantly to the scientific revolution. Copernicus was born and died in Royal Prussia, a region of the Kingdom of Poland since 1466. Copernicus had a doctorate in canon law and, though without degrees, was a physician, polyglot, classics scholar, translator, governor, diplomat, and economist who in 1517 set down a quantity theory of money, a principal concept in economics to the present day, and formulated a version of Gresham's law in 1519, before Gresham.

Marie Curie

Physicist

Marie Skłodowska-Curie was a Polish and naturalized-French physicist and chemist, famous for her pioneering research on radioactivity. She was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize, the only woman to win in two fields, and the only person to win in multiple sciences. She was also the first female professor at the University of Paris, and in 1995 became the first woman to be entombed on her own merits in the Panthéon in Paris. She was born Maria Salomea Skłodowska in Warsaw, in what was then the Kingdom of Poland, part of the Russian Empire. She studied at Warsaw's clandestine Floating University and began her practical scientific training in Warsaw. In 1891, aged 24, she followed her older sister Bronisława to study in Paris, where she earned her higher degrees and conducted her subsequent scientific work. She shared the 1903 Nobel Prize in Physics with her husband Pierre Curie and with physicist Henri Becquerel. She won the 1911 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Her achievements included a theory of radioactivity, techniques for isolating radioactive isotopes, and the discovery of two elements, polonium and radium. Under her direction, the world's first studies were conducted into the treatment of neoplasms, using radioactive isotopes. She founded the Curie Institutes in Paris and in Warsaw, which remain major centres of medical research today. During World War I, she established the first military field radiological centres.

Arthur Schopenhauer

Philosopher

Arthur Schopenhauer was a German philosopher best known for his book, The World as Will and Representation, in which he claimed that our world is driven by a continually dissatisfied will, continually seeking satisfaction. Influenced by Eastern thought, he maintained that the "truth was recognized by the sages of India"; consequently, his solutions to suffering were similar to those of Vedantic and Buddhist thinkers; his faith in "transcendental ideality" led him to accept atheism and learn from Christian philosophy. At age 25, he published his doctoral dissertation, On the Fourfold Root of the Principle of Sufficient Reason, which examined the four distinct aspects of experience in the phenomenal world; consequently, he has been influential in the history of phenomenology. He has influenced a long list of thinkers, including Friedrich Nietzsche, Richard Wagner, Otto Weininger, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Erwin Schrödinger, Albert Einstein, Sigmund Freud, Otto Rank, Carl Jung, Joseph Campbell, Leo Tolstoy, Thomas Mann, Jorge Luis Borges and Mustafa Mahmud.

Robert Lewandowski

Soccer

Robert Lewandowski is a Polish footballer who plays as striker for the German Bundesliga club Borussia Dortmund and the Polish national team.

Jerzy Janowicz

Tennis Player

Jerzy Janowicz, Jr. is a Polish professional tennis player. Runner-up in two Junior Grand Slam tournaments, Janowicz rose to fame on the pro circuit following his run to the final of the 2012 Paris Masters, during which he defeated five top-20 players, including US Open champion Andy Murray and World No. 9 Janko Tipsarević. The run made him the second man to reach the final of a Masters tournament as a qualifier since Guillermo Cañas in 2007, and the first unseeded man to make the final at the Paris Masters since Andrei Pavel in 2003. He fell in the final to David Ferrer in straight sets. However, the run to the 2012 Paris Masters final enabled Janowicz to become the Polish No. 1 and crack the top 30, later reaching a career-high of World No. 14 in August 2013. In 2013 he was awarded the Gold Cross of Merit by Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski. His current coach is Finnish former tennis player Kim Tiilikainen.

Wojciech Fibak

Tennis Tournament Champion

Wojciech Fibak or shorter Wojtek Fibak is a former Polish tennis player best known for his doubles success with Tom Okker and Kim Warwick, but also having reached the Top 10 in singles. Born in Poznań, Poland, he won his first tournament in 1976, and between then and 1982 won 15 singles titles and 52 doubles titles. His best year was arguably 1980, where he reached the quarter-finals at the French Open, the US Open and Wimbledon. Fibak's career singles win-loss record was 520–310 and he reached his career-high singles ranking of World No. 10 on July 25, 1977. His highest doubles ranking was World No. 3, which he reached in April 1979. He was consistently ranked top 20 in singles, earning $2,725,403 in career prize money. The highlight of his career was winning the Australian Open Men's Doubles in 1978 with Kim Warwick. They beat Paul Kronk and Cliff Letcher 7–6, 7–5 to take the title. In 1985 Fibak founded the Polish Tennis Club. He is also a prominent businessman and an avid art collector. Fibak spends his time between Warsaw and Monaco. He has three daughters, Agnieszka, Paulina and Nina.

Lukas Podolski

Soccer Midfielder

Lukas Josef Podolski; born Łukasz Józef Podolski on 4 June 1985 is a Polish-born German footballer who plays as a forward for Arsenal FC and the Germany national team. He is a left-footed attacker known for his strong shot, technique and probing attacks from the left side. He joined 1. FC Köln in 1995 where he broke into the first team in 2003 and made 81 appearances for the club before moving to FC Bayern Munich. With Bayern, Podolski won the Bundesliga and DFB-Pokal double in 2008. Podolski returned to 1. FC Köln in 2009. He later signed for Premier League club Arsenal FC in 2012. Although he was eligible to play for Germany and Poland, Podolski chose to play for Germany. He was first capped by Germany in 2004 and has been part of the squad in all major tournaments since then. He is currently the fifth highest goalscorer in the history of his country, having scored 46 times. On 29 May 2013, Podolski scored the fastest goal in the Germany national team's history in a 4–2 friendly win over Ecuador. He broke the deadlock within nine seconds of kick-off after taking advantage of a defensive mix-up. In addition to being the fastest goal ever scored by the German national team, Podolski's goal was the second fastest international goal in history. Only San Marino's Davide Gualtieri's strike against England at the 8.3 second mark in 1993 was faster.

Miroslav Klose

Soccer

Miroslav Josef Klose is a German professional footballer who plays as a striker for Lazio in the Serie A. Klose holds German nationality and has played 130 times and scored 68 goals for Germany. With five goals, he was the top scorer and Golden Boot winner at the 2006 World Cup in Germany, the first German player to win the award since reunification. Klose also scored five goals in his debut World Cup, the 2002 World Cup, all of which were headers. He scored four times in the 2010 World Cup, giving him a total of 14 World Cup goals and putting him joint second along with Gerd Müller on the list of top FIFA World Cup goalscorers. Klose is also one of only two players, along with Peruvian Teófilo Cubillas, to have scored at least five goals in two different World Cups, as well as the only player to have scored at least four in three different tournaments. With 68 goals in 130 matches, he is currently Germany's joint all-time top scorer with Müller.

Robert Kubica

Racing driver

Robert Józef Kubica is a Polish racing driver. He became the first Polish driver to compete in Formula One. Between 2006 and 2009 he drove for the BMW Sauber F1 team, promoted from test driver to race driver during 2006. In June 2008, Kubica took his maiden F1 victory in the Canadian Grand Prix, becoming the 99th driver to win a World Championship race. On 6 February 2011, Kubica was seriously injured in a crash at the Ronde di Andora rally, in which his forearm was partially severed. He was taking part in the rally for personal enjoyment. The Renault driver told Italian newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport in a bedside interview that he could feel the fingers in his right hand, and was determined to make a swift return to Formula One in 2011. In actuality, Kubica had to miss the whole 2011, 2012 and 2013 seasons. Kubica returned to racing in September 2012, winning a minor rally in Italy. Kubica was named one of "The Men of the Year 2012" by Top Gear magazine for his return. In 2013, he will be driving for Citroen in the European and World Rally-2 Championships.

Wernher von Braun

Physicist

Wernher Magnus Maximilian, Freiherr von Braun was a German, and later naturalized, American rocket scientist, aerospace engineer, space architect, and one of the leading figures in the development of rocket technology in Nazi Germany during World War II and, subsequently, in the United States. He is credited as being the "Father of Rocket Science". In his 20s and early 30s, von Braun was the central figure in Germany's rocket development program, responsible for the design and realization of the V-2 combat rocket during World War II. After the war, he and some select members of his rocket team were taken to the United States as part of the then-secret Operation Paperclip. Von Braun worked on the United States Army intermediate range ballistic missile program before his group was assimilated by NASA. Under NASA, he served as director of the newly formed Marshall Space Flight Center and as the chief architect of the Saturn V launch vehicle, the superbooster that propelled the Apollo spacecraft to the Moon. According to one NASA source, he is "without doubt, the greatest rocket scientist in history". His crowning achievement was to lead the development of the Saturn V booster rocket that helped land the first men on the Moon in July 1969. In 1975 he received the National Medal of Science.

David Ben-Gurion

Politician

David Ben-Gurion was an Israeli statesman. He was the main founder and the first Prime Minister of Israel. Ben-Gurion's passion for Zionism, which began early in life, led him to become a major Zionist leader and Executive Head of the World Zionist Organization in 1946. As head of the Jewish Agency, and later president of the Jewish Agency Executive, he became the de facto leader of the Jewish community in Palestine, and largely led its struggle for an independent Jewish state in Palestine. On 14 May 1948, he formally proclaimed the establishment of the State of Israel, and was the first to sign the Israeli Declaration of Independence, which he had helped to write. Ben-Gurion led Israel during the 1948 Arab–Israeli War, and united the various Jewish militias into the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). Subsequently, he became known as "Israel's founding father". Following the war, Ben-Gurion served as Israel's first Prime Minister. As Prime Minister, he helped build the state institutions, presiding over various national projects aimed at the development of the country. He also oversaw the absorption of vast numbers of Jews from all over the world. A centerpiece of his foreign policy was improving relationships with the West Germans. He worked very well with Konrad Adenauer's government in Bonn and West Germany provided large sums (in the Reparations Agreement between Israel and West Germany) in compensation for Germany's prosecution of the Holocaust against the Jews.

Paul von Hindenburg

Politician

Paul Ludwig Hans Anton von Beneckendorff und von Hindenburg, known universally as Paul von Hindenburg was a Prussian-German field marshal, statesman, and politician, and served as the second President of Germany from 1925 to 1934. Hindenburg enjoyed a long career in the Prussian Army, retiring in 1911. He was recalled at the outbreak of World War I, and first came to national attention, at the age of 66, as the victor at Tannenberg in 1914. As Germany's Chief of the General Staff from 1916, he and his deputy, Erich Ludendorff, rose in the German public's esteem until Hindenburg gradually gained more influence in Germany than the Kaiser himself. Together with Ludendorff they pushed forward the idea of Lebensraum which after the war would be adopted by Hitler's Nazi party. Hindenburg retired again in 1919, but returned to public life in 1925 to be elected as the second President of Germany. Hindenburg, as German President, appointed Nazi Party leader Adolf Hitler as Chancellor of Germany. Hindenburg personally despised Hitler, condescendingly referring to Hitler as that "Bohemian corporal", mistaking Hitler's birth town of Braunau with that of Braunau in Bohemia. Hitler repeatedly and forcefully pressured Hindenburg to appoint him as Chancellor, Hindenburg repeatedly refused Hitler's demand. Though 84 years old and in poor health, Hindenburg was persuaded to run for re-election in 1932, as he was considered the only candidate who could defeat Adolf Hitler. Hindenburg was re-elected in a runoff. Although he was opposing Hitler, the deteriorating political stability of the Weimar Republic let him play an important role in the Nazi Party's rise to power. He dissolved the parliament twice in 1932 and eventually appointed Hitler as Chancellor in January 1933. In February, he issued the Reichstag Fire Decree which suspended various civil liberties, and in March he signed the Enabling Act, in which the parliament gave Hitler's administration legislative powers. Hindenburg died the following year, after which Hitler declared the office of President vacant and, as "Führer und Reichskanzler", made himself head of state.

Manfred von Richthofen

Military Person

Manfred Albrecht Freiherr von Richthofen, also widely known as the Red Baron, was a German fighter pilot with the Imperial German Army Air Service during World War I. He is considered the top ace of that war, being officially credited with 80 air combat victories. Originally a cavalryman, Richthofen transferred to the Air Service in 1915, becoming one of the first members of Jasta 2 in 1916. He quickly distinguished himself as a fighter pilot, and during 1917 became leader of Jasta 11 and then the larger unit Jagdgeschwader 1. By 1918, he was regarded as a national hero in Germany, and was very well known by the other side. Richthofen was shot down and killed near Amiens on 21 April 1918. There has been considerable discussion and debate regarding aspects of his career, especially the circumstances of his death. He remains perhaps the most widely known fighter pilot of all time, and has been the subject of many books, films and other media.

Arthur Rubinstein

Classical Artist

Arthur Rubinstein, KBE was a Polish-American classical pianist. He received international acclaim for his performances of the music written by a variety of composers and many regard him as the greatest Chopin interpreter of his time. He was described by The New York Times as one of the greatest pianists of the twentieth century. He played in public for eight decades.

Billy Wilder

Film Director

Billy Wilder was an Austrian-born American filmmaker, screenwriter, producer, artist, and journalist, whose career spanned more than 50 years and 60 films. He is regarded as one of the most brilliant and versatile filmmakers of Hollywood's golden age. Wilder is one of only five people to have won Academy Awards as producer, director, and writer for the same film. Wilder became a screenwriter in the late 1920s while living in Berlin. After the rise of the Nazi Party, Wilder, who was Jewish, left for Paris, where he made his directorial debut. He relocated to Hollywood in 1933, and in 1939 he had a hit when he co-wrote the screenplay for the screwball comedy Ninotchka. Wilder established his directorial reputation with Double Indemnity, a film noir he co-wrote with mystery novelist Raymond Chandler. Wilder earned the Best Director and Best Screenplay Academy Awards for the adaptation of a Charles R. Jackson story The Lost Weekend, about alcoholism. In 1950, Wilder co-wrote and directed the critically acclaimed Sunset Boulevard. From the mid-1950s on, Wilder made mostly comedies. Among the classics Wilder created in this period are the farces The Seven Year Itch and Some Like It Hot, satires such as The Apartment, and the drama comedy Sabrina. He directed fourteen different actors in Oscar-nominated performances. Wilder was recognized with the American Film Institute Life Achievement Award in 1986. In 1988, Wilder was awarded the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award. In 1993, he was awarded the National Medal of Arts.

Łukasz Kubot

Tennis Player

Łukasz Kubot is a Polish professional male tennis player. Kubot achieved a career-high singles ranking of World No. 41 in April 2010 and reached the quarterfinals of the 2013 Wimbledon Championships. In 2013 he was awarded the Gold Cross of Merit by Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski.

Klaus Kinski

Actor

Klaus Kinski was a German actor. He appeared in more than 130 films, and is perhaps best remembered as a leading role actor in the films of Werner Herzog, including: Aguirre, the Wrath of God, Nosferatu the Vampyre, Woyzeck, Fitzcarraldo and Cobra Verde. He was considered a "divisive and controversial figure in Germany. His violent outbursts on set - famously captured on film in Herzog's documentary 'My Best Fiend' - are the stuff of legend." He is the father of Pola, Nastassja, and Nikolai Kinski, born of three different marriages. They have all become actors, and have worked in Germany and the United States, primarily in film and TV.

Rosa Luxemburg

Philosopher

Rosa Luxemburg was a Marxist theorist, philosopher, economist and revolutionary socialist of Polish Jewish descent who became a naturalized German citizen. She was successively a member of the Social Democracy of the Kingdom of Poland and Lithuania, the Social Democratic Party of Germany, the Independent Social Democratic Party, and the Communist Party of Germany. In 1915, after the SPD supported German involvement in World War I, she and Karl Liebknecht co-founded the anti-war Spartakusbund which eventually became the Communist Party of Germany. During the German Revolution she founded the Die Rote Fahne, the central organ of the Spartacist movement. She considered the 1919 Spartacist uprising a blunder, but supported it after Liebknecht ordered it without her knowledge. When the revolt was crushed by the social democratic government and the Freikorps, Luxemburg, Liebknecht and some of their supporters were captured and murdered. Luxemburg was shot and her body thrown in the Landwehr Canal in Berlin.

Lech Wałęsa

Politician

Lech Wałęsa is a Polish politician, trade-union organizer, and human-rights activist. A charismatic leader, he co-founded Solidarity, the Soviet bloc's first independent trade union, won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1983, and served as President of Poland between 1990 and 1995. Wałęsa was an electrician by trade. Soon after beginning work at the Gdańsk Shipyards, he became a dissident trade-union activist. For this he was persecuted by the Communist authorities, placed under surveillance, fired in 1976, and arrested several times. In August 1980 he was instrumental in political negotiations that led to the ground-breaking Gdańsk Agreement between striking workers and the government. He became a co-founder of the Solidarity trade-union movement. Arrested again after martial law was imposed in Poland and Solidarity was outlawed, upon release he continued his activism and was prominent in the establishment of the 1989 Round Table Agreement that led to semi-free parliamentary elections in June 1989 and to a Solidarity-led government. In the Polish election of 1990, he successfully ran for the newly re-established office of President of Poland. He presided over Poland's transformation from a communist to a post-Communist state, but his popularity waned. After he narrowly lost the 1995 presidential election, his role in Polish politics diminished. However, his international fame remains. Wałęsa continues to speak and lecture in Poland and abroad on history and politics.

Marta Domachowska

Tennis Player

Marta Domachowska is a Polish professional tennis player ranked World No. 37 in singles and World No. 62 in doubles. She reached 2008 Australian Open fourth round in singles and won 2006 Canberra International in doubles with Roberta Vinci. She also reached three WTA Tour singles finals at 2004 Hansol Korea Open, 2005 Internationaux de Strasbourg and 2006 U.S. National Indoor Tennis Championships. She was 2003 Australian Open finalist in girls' singles, represented Poland at the 2008 Summer Olympics and was member of Poland Fed Cup team. Domachowska was the best female Polish tennis player before Agnieszka Radwańska's successes.

Donald Tusk

Politician

Donald Franciszek Tusk is a Polish politician who has been Prime Minister of Poland since 2007. He was a co-founder and is chairman of the Civic Platform party. Tusk was officially designated as Prime Minister on 9 November 2007 and took office on 16 November. His cabinet won a vote of confidence in the Sejm on 24 November 2007. He is currently the longest serving Prime Minister of the Third Republic of Poland. In October 2011, Tusk's Civic Platform won a plurality of seats in the Polish parliamentary election, meaning that Tusk became the first Prime Minister to be re-elected since the fall of communism in Poland. Tusk began his public career as an activist in his home town of Gdańsk, supporting Solidarity and organizing his fellow university students. With the exception of one four-year stretch, Tusk has served in the Third Republic parliament almost continuously since its first elections in 1991. He was Vice Marshal of the Senate from 1997 to 2001 and Vice Marshal of the Sejm from 2001 to 2005. He also served as Leader of the Opposition from 2003 to 2007.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Theologian

Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a German Lutheran pastor, theologian, dissident anti-Nazi and founding member of the Confessing Church. His writings on Christianity's role in the secular world have become widely influential, and many have labelled his book The Cost of Discipleship a modern classic. Apart from his theological writings, Bonhoeffer became known for his staunch resistance to the Nazi dictatorship. He strongly opposed Hitler's euthanasia program and genocidal persecution of the Jews. He was also involved in plans by members of the Abwehr to assassinate Adolf Hitler. He was arrested in April 1943 by the Gestapo and executed by hanging in April 1945 while imprisoned at a Nazi concentration camp, just 23 days before the German surrender.

Krzysztof Penderecki

Opera Artist

Krzysztof Eugeniusz Penderecki is a Polish composer and conductor. According to The Guardian, Penderecki has been called Poland's greatest living composer. Among his best known works are his Threnody to the Victims of Hiroshima, St. Luke Passion, Polish Requiem, Anaklasis, four operas, eight symphonies and other orchestral pieces, a variety of instrumental concertos, choral settings of mainly religious texts, as well as chamber and instrumental works. Born in Dębica to a lawyer, Penderecki studied music at Jagiellonian University and the Academy of Music in Kraków. After graduating from the Academy of Music, Penderecki became a teacher at the academy and he began his career as a composer in 1959 during the Warsaw Autumn festival. His Threnody to the Victims of Hiroshima for string orchestra and the choral work St. Luke Passion, have received popular acclaim. His first opera, The Devils of Loudun, was not immediately successful. Beginning in the mid-1970s, Penderecki's composing style changed, with his first violin concerto focusing on the semitone and the tritone. His choral work Polish Requiem was written in the 1980s, with Penderecki expanding it in 1993 and 2005.

Zygmunt Bauman

Author

Zygmunt Bauman is a Polish sociologist. Since 1971, he has resided in England after being driven out of Poland by an anti-semitic campaign, engineered by the Communist government he had previously supported. Professor Emeritus of Sociology at the University of Leeds, Bauman is one of the world's most eminent social theorists writing on issues as diverse as modernity and the Holocaust, postmodern consumerism, and liquid modernity.

Zbigniew Brzezinski

Politician

Zbigniew Kazimierz Brzezinski is a Polish American political scientist, geostrategist, and statesman who served as United States National Security Advisor to President Jimmy Carter from 1977 to 1981. Major foreign policy events during his term of office included the normalization of relations with the People's Republic of China; the signing of the second Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty; the brokering of the Camp David Accords; the transition of Iran from an important U.S. client state to an anti-Western Islamic Republic, encouraging dissidents in Eastern Europe and emphasizing human rights in order to undermine the influence of the Soviet Union; the financing of the mujahideen in Afghanistan in response to the Soviet deployment of forces there and the arming of these rebels to counter the Soviet invasion; and the signing of the Torrijos-Carter Treaties relinquishing overt U.S. control of the Panama Canal after 1999. Brzezinski is currently Robert E. Osgood Professor of American Foreign Policy at Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies, a scholar at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and a member of various boards and councils. He appears frequently as an expert on the PBS program The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, ABC News' This Week with Christiane Amanpour, and on MSNBC's Morning Joe, where his daughter, Mika Brzezinski, is co-anchor. In recent years, he has been a supporter of the Prague Process. His son, Mark Brzezinski, is an American diplomat and the current United States Ambassador to Sweden since 2011.

Mariusz Pudzianowski

Strongman

Mariusz Zbigniew Pudzianowski is a Polish former strongman and current mixed martial artist. His nickname in Poland is "Pudzian". During his career as a strongman, Pudzianowski won five World's Strongest Man titles; that's more than any other athlete until the point of his retirement, and the third all-time place as of May 2013. Pudzianowski also won two runner-up titles. In 2009, Pudzianowski debuted as a mixed martial artist.

Irena Sendler

Nurse

Irena Sendler was a Polish Roman Catholic nurse/social worker who served in the Polish Underground during World War II, and as head of children's section of Żegota, an underground resistance organization in German-occupied Warsaw. Assisted by some two dozen other Żegota members, Sendler smuggled some 2,500 Jewish children out of the Warsaw Ghetto and then provided them with false identity documents and with housing outside the Ghetto, saving those children during the Holocaust. The Nazis eventually discovered her activities, tortured her, and sentenced her to death, but she managed to evade execution and survive the war. In 1965, Sendler was recognized by the State of Israel as Righteous among the Nations. Late in life she was awarded Poland's highest honor for her wartime humanitarian efforts. She appears on a silver 2009 Polish commemorative coin honoring some of the Polish Righteous among the Nations.

Joanna Krupa

Fashion Model

Joanna Krupa is a Polish-American model and actress. She is best known for her appearances on the reality television shows Dancing with the Stars, Poland's Next Top Model and The Real Housewives of Miami.

Heinz Guderian

Military Commander

Heinz Wilhelm Guderian was a German general during World War II. He was a pioneer in the development of armoured warfare, and was the leading proponent of tanks and mechanization in the Wehrmacht. Germany's panzer forces were raised and organized under his direction as Chief of Mobile Forces. During the war, he was a highly successful commander of panzer forces in several campaigns. He had major conflicts with Adolf Hitler over Hitler's interference in the management of the campaigns. This culminated in the German defeat before Moscow. He was placed in reserve until significant losses in the panzerwaffe made it imperative that he be brought back to rebuild it. A special position was created for him, and in February 1943 he became Inspector General of Armoured Troops and promoted to the rank of Generaloberst. His efforts at rebuilding met with considerable resistance from Hitler himself. He was ultimately promoted to the highest rank in the army, Chief of the Oberkommando des Heeres, or Chief of the General Staff of the Army. By this point, however, Hitler had undermined the authority of the position, and Guderian was compelled to play the part of a figurehead for the last year of the war.

Günter Grass

Playwright

Günter Wilhelm Grass is a German novelist, poet, playwright, illustrator, graphic artist, sculptor and recipient of the 1999 Nobel Prize in Literature. He is widely regarded as Germany's most famous living writer. Grass was born in the Free City of Danzig. In 1945, he came to West Germany as a homeless refugee, though in his fiction he frequently returns to the Danzig of his childhood. Grass is best known for his first novel, The Tin Drum, a key text in European magic realism, and the first part of his Danzig Trilogy, which also includes Cat and Mouse and Dog Years. His works are frequently considered to have a left-wing political dimension and Grass has been an active supporter of the Social Democratic Party of Germany. The Tin Drum was adapted into a film, which won both the 1979 Palme d'Or and the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. The Swedish Academy, upon awarding him the Nobel Prize in Literature, noted him as a writer "whose frolicsome black fables portray the forgotten face of history".

Maryla Rodowicz

Singer

Maryla Rodowicz is a Polish singer.

Maximilian Kolbe

Priest

Saint Maximilian Maria Kolbe, O.F.M. Conv., was a Polish Conventual Franciscan friar, who volunteered to die in place of a stranger in the Nazi German death camp of Auschwitz, located in German-occupied Poland during World War II. Kolbe was canonized on 10 October 1982 by Pope John Paul II, and declared a martyr of charity. He is the patron saint of drug addicts, political prisoners, families, journalists, prisoners, and the pro-life movement. John Paul II declared him "The Patron Saint of Our Difficult Century". Due to Kolbe's efforts to promote consecration and entrustment to Mary, he is known as the Apostle of Consecration to Mary.

Daniel Libeskind

Architect

Daniel Libeskind is an American architect, artist, and set designer of Polish Jewish descent. Libeskind founded Studio Daniel Libeskind in 1989 with his wife, Nina, and is its principal design architect. His buildings include the Jewish Museum in Berlin, Germany, the extension to the Denver Art Museum in the United States, the Grand Canal Theatre in Dublin, the Imperial War Museum North in Greater Manchester, England, the Michael Lee-Chin Crystal at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, Canada, the Felix Nussbaum Haus in Osnabrück, Germany, the Danish Jewish Museum in Copenhagen, Denmark, and the Wohl Centre at the Bar-Ilan University in Ramat-Gan, Israel. His portfolio also includes several residential projects. Libeskind's work has been exhibited in major museums and galleries around the world, including the Museum of Modern Art, the Bauhaus Archives, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Centre Pompidou. On February 27, 2003, Libeskind won the competition to be the master plan architect for the reconstruction of the World Trade Center site in Lower Manhattan.

Jakub Błaszczykowski

Soccer Midfielder

Jakub "Kuba" Błaszczykowski is a Polish footballer who plays as a winger for the German Bundesliga club Borussia Dortmund. He is the captain of the Poland national football team.

Casimir III the Great

Monarch

Casimir III the Great who reigned in 1333–1370, was the last King of Poland from the Piast dynasty, the son of King Władysław I the Elbow-high and Duchess Hedwig of Kalisz. Born in Kowal, Casimir the Great first married Anna, or Aldona Ona, the daughter of Grand Duke Gediminas of Lithuania. The daughters from this marriage were Cunigunde, who was married to Louis VI the Roman, the son of Louis IV, Holy Roman Emperor, and Elisabeth, who was married to Duke Bogislaus V of Pomerania. Aldona died in 1339, and Casimir then married Adelaide of Hesse. He divorced Adelaide in 1356, married Christina, divorced her, and while Adelaide and possibly Christina as well were still alive, married Hedwig of Głogów and Sagan. His three daughters by his fourth wife were very young at their father's death, and regarded as of dubious legitimacy because of Casimir's bigamy. Because all of the five children he fathered with his first and fourth wife were daughters, Casimir left no lawful male heir to his throne. When Casimir, the last Piast king of Poland, died in 1370 from an injury received while hunting, his nephew King Louis I of Hungary succeeded him to become king of Poland in personal union with Hungary.

Marek Grechuta

Sung poetry Artist

Marek Grechuta was a Polish singer, songwriter, composer, and lyricist.

Wojciech Jaruzelski

Politician

Wojciech Witold Jaruzelski is a retired Polish military officer and Communist politician. He was the last Communist leader of Poland from 1981 to 1989, Prime Minister from 1981 to 1985 and the country's head of state from 1985 to 1990. He was also the last commander-in-chief of the Polish People's Army. He resigned from power after the Polish Round Table Agreement in 1989 that led to democratic elections in Poland. Alongside the Soviet Union's Mikhail Gorbachev and East Germany's Egon Krenz, Jaruzelski is the oldest of the last surviving leaders of an Eastern Bloc nation as of 2013.

Edith Stein

Philosopher

Edith Stein, also known as St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, O.C.D., was a German Jewish philosopher who became a convert to the Roman Catholic Church and later a Discalced Carmelite nun. She is regarded as a martyr and saint of the Catholic Church. Stein was born into an observant Jewish family, but was an atheist by her teenage years. Moved by the tragedies of World War I, in 1915 she took lessons to become a nursing assistant, and worked in a hospital for the prevention of disease outbreaks. After completing her doctoral thesis in 1918 from the University of Göttingen, she obtained a teaching position at the University of Freiburg. From reading the works of the reformer of the Carmelite Order, St. Teresa of Avila, Stein was drawn to the Christian faith. She was baptized on 1 January 1922 into the Roman Catholic Church. At that point she wanted to become a Discalced Carmelite nun, but was dissuaded from this by her spiritual mentors. She then taught at a Catholic school of education in Münster. As a result of the requirement of an "Aryan certificate" for civil servants promulgated by the Nazi government in April 1933, as part of its Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service, Stein had to quit her teaching position. She was admitted to the Discalced Carmelite monastery in Cologne the following October. She received the religious habit of the Order as a novice in April 1934, taking the religious name Teresa Benedicta of the Cross. In 1938, she and her sister Rosa, by then also a convert and an extern Sister of the monastery, were sent to a Carmelite monastery in Echt, the Netherlands for their safety. Despite the Nazi invasion of that country in 1940, they remained undisturbed until they were arrested by the Nazis on 2 August 1942 and sent to the Auschwitz concentration camp, where they died in the gas chamber on 9 August 1942.

Krzysztof Kieślowski

Film Director

Krzysztof Kieślowski was an influential Polish film director and screenwriter known internationally for The Decalogue, The Double Life of Véronique, and The Three Colors Trilogy. Kieślowski received numerous awards throughout his career, including the Cannes Film Festival Jury Prize, FIPRESCI Prize, and Prize of the Ecumenical Jury; the Venice Film Festival FIPRESCI Prize, Golden Lion, and OCIC Award; and the Berlin International Film Festival Silver Bear. In 1995 he received Academy Award nominations for Best Director and Best Writing. In 2002 Kieślowski was listed at number two on the British Film Institute's Sight & Sound Top Ten Directors list of modern times.

Isaac Bashevis Singer

Author

Isaac Bashevis Singer was a Polish-born Jewish-American author. The Polish form of his birth name was Izaak Zynger and he used his mother's first name in an initial pseudonym, Izaak Baszewis, which he later expanded to the form under which he is now known. He was a leading figure in the Yiddish literary movement and won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1978. He won two U.S. National Book Awards, one in Children's Literature for his memoir A Day Of Pleasure: Stories of a Boy Growing Up in Warsaw and one in Fiction for his collection A Crown of Feathers and Other Stories.

Jerzy Dudek

Soccer

Jerzy Dudek is a Polish former footballer who played as a goalkeeper. After beginning his career in his home country, he went on to have successful spells in Netherlands and England, winning the UEFA Champions League with Liverpool in 2005, appearing in 186 official games for the club over the course of six seasons. He also spent four years at Real Madrid. Dudek played 60 times for Poland – the second most-capped player in his position for several years – representing the nation at the 2002 World Cup.

Rudolf Virchow

Academic

Rudolph Carl Virchow was a German doctor, anthropologist, pathologist, prehistorian, biologist, writer, editor, and politician, known for his advancement of public health. He is known as "the father of modern pathology" because his work helped to discredit humorism, bringing more science to medicine. He is also considered one of the founders of social medicine. In 1861, he was elected a foreign member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. In 1892, he was awarded the Copley Medal. Among his most famous students was anthropologist Franz Boas, who became a professor at Columbia University. The Society for Medical Anthropology gives an annual award in Virchow's name, the Rudolf Virchow Award.

Zalman Schachter-Shalomi

Rabbi

Zalman M. Schachter-Shalomi and commonly called "Reb Zalman" is considered one of the major founders of the Jewish Renewal movement.

Wacław Berent

Novelist

Wacław Berent was a Polish novelist, essayist and a literary translator from the Art Nouveau period, publishing under pen names S.A.M. and Wł. Rawicz. He studied natural sciences in Kraków, Zurich, and obtained a PhD in Munich before returning to Warsaw and embarking on a literary career around the turn of the century. Berent became member of the prestigious Polish Academy of Literature in 1933.

Grażyna Rabsztyn

Woman

Grażyna Rabsztyn is a retired Polish hurdler.

Karol Kurpiński

Composer

Karol Kazimierz Kurpiński was a Polish composer, conductor and pedagogue. Karol began his studies under his father, Marcin Kurpiński, an organist. At the age of 12, he became organist at a church in Sarnowa near Rawicz, where his uncle Karol Wański was a parish priest. In 1800 his other uncle, the cellist Roch Wański, took him to the estate of count Feliks Polanowski near Lviv, who had a private orchestra of which Wański was a member, and in which the young Kurpiński played violin. There, around 1808, Kurpiński composed his first opera, Pygmalion. In 1810 settled in Warsaw. With the help of Józef Elsner he became a conductor of the Warsaw Opera, a position he held until 1840. He taught music at several prominent schools including one he founded. In 1815 he became a member of many musical societies in Poland and abroad, including the Société des Enfants d'Apollon in Paris. He became Kapellmeister of the Polish royal chapel in 1819 and in the same year received a lifetime achievement award for his services to music. In 1820 he founded and edited the first Polish music newsletter. He was decorated with the Order of Saint Stanislaw in 1823.

Janusz Korczak

Educator

Janusz Korczak, the pen name of Henryk Goldszmit, was a Polish-Jewish educator, children's author, and pediatrician known as Pan Doktor or Stary Doktor. After spending many years working as director of an orphanage in Warsaw, he refused freedom and stayed with his orphans when the institution was sent from the Ghetto to Treblinka extermination camp, during the Grossaktion Warsaw of 1942.

Max Born

Physicist

Max Born was a German-British physicist and mathematician who was instrumental in the development of quantum mechanics. He also made contributions to solid-state physics and optics and supervised the work of a number of notable physicists in the 1920s and 30s. Born won the 1954 Nobel Prize in Physics for his "fundamental research in Quantum Mechanics, especially in the statistical interpretation of the wave function". Born entered the University of Göttingen in 1904, where he found the three renowned mathematicians, Felix Klein, David Hilbert and Hermann Minkowski. He wrote his Ph.D. thesis on the subject of "Stability of Elastica in a Plane and Space", winning the University's Philosophy Faculty Prize. In 1905, he began researching special relativity with Minkowski, and subsequently wrote his habilitation thesis on the Thomson model of the atom. A chance meeting with Fritz Haber in Berlin in 1918 led to discussion of the manner in which an ionic compound is formed when a metal reacts with a halogen, which is today known as the Born–Haber cycle. In 1921, Born returned to Göttingen, arranging another chair for his long-time friend and colleague James Franck. Under Born, Göttingen became one of the world's foremost centres for physics. In 1925, Born and Werner Heisenberg formulated the matrix mechanics representation of quantum mechanics. The following year, he formulated the now-standard interpretation of the probability density function for ψ*ψ in the Schrödinger equation, for which he was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1954. His influence extended far beyond his own research. Max Delbrück, Siegfried Flügge, Friedrich Hund, Pascual Jordan, Maria Goeppert-Mayer, Lothar Wolfgang Nordheim, Robert Oppenheimer, and Victor Weisskopf all received their Ph.D. degrees under Born at Göttingen, and his assistants included Enrico Fermi, Werner Heisenberg, Gerhard Herzberg, Friedrich Hund, Pascual Jordan, Wolfgang Pauli, Léon Rosenfeld, Edward Teller, and Eugene Wigner.

Zbigniew Preisner

Film score Artist

Zbigniew Preisner is a Polish film score composer, best known for his work with film director Krzysztof Kieślowski.

Justyna Kowalczyk

Cross-country skier

Justyna Kowalczyk is a Polish cross country skier who has been competing since 2000. Kowalczyk is an Olympic Champion and a double World Champion. She is also the only skier who won the Tour de Ski four times in a row and one of two female skiers, who won the FIS Cross-Country World Cup three times in a row. Kowalczyk holds the all-time record for the most wins in Tour de Ski with 14 competitions won and 29 podiums in total. She is a member of cross country ski department of AZS AWF Katowice and is coached by Aleksander Wierietielny.

Elisabeth Schwarzkopf

Singer

Dame Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, DBE was a German-born Austrian/British soprano opera singer and recitalist. She was among the most renowned opera singers of the 20th century, much admired for her performances of Mozart, Schubert, Strauss, and Wolf.

Tomasz Adamek

Professional Boxer

Tomasz Adamek is a Polish professional heavyweight boxer. He is a former WBC Light Heavyweight Champion and former IBF, IBO & The Ring Cruiserweight Champion, and currently holds the IBF North America Heavyweight title.

Fritz Haber

Chemist

Fritz Haber was a German chemist, who received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1918 for his development for synthesizing ammonia, important for fertilizers and explosives. The food production for half the world's current population depends on this method for producing fertilizer. Haber, along with Max Born, proposed the Born–Haber cycle as a method for evaluating the lattice energy of an ionic solid. He has also been described as the "father of chemical warfare" for his work developing and deploying chlorine and other poisonous gases during World War I.

Władysław Szpilman

Composer

Władysław "Wladek" Szpilman was a Polish pianist and classical composer, of Jewish origin. Szpilman is widely known as the protagonist of the 2002 Roman Polanski film The Pianist, which is based on the book "The Pianist" recounting his survival of the German occupation of Warsaw and the Holocaust.

Krystian Zimerman

Classical Artist

Krystian Zimerman is a Polish classical pianist who has been hailed as one of the finest living pianists.

Kurt Lewin

Psychologist

Kurt Zadek Lewin was a German-American psychologist, known as one of the modern pioneers of social, organizational, and applied psychology. Lewin is often recognized as the "founder of social psychology" and was one of the first to study group dynamics and organizational development.

Wisława Szymborska

Poet

Wisława Szymborska-Włodek was a Polish poet, essayist, translator and recipient of the 1996 Nobel Prize in Literature. Born in Prowent, which has since become part of Kórnik, she later resided in Kraków until the end of her life. She was described as a "Mozart of Poetry". In Poland, Szymborska's books have reached sales rivaling prominent prose authors: although she once remarked in a poem, "Some Like Poetry", that no more than two out of a thousand people care for the art. Szymborska was awarded the 1996 Nobel Prize in Literature "for poetry that with ironic precision allows the historical and biological context to come to light in fragments of human reality". She became better known internationally as a result of this. Her work has been translated into English and many European languages, as well as into Arabic, Hebrew, Japanese and Chinese.

Wojciech Szczęsny

Soccer

Wojciech Tomasz Szczęsny is a Polish footballer who plays for Arsenal and the Poland national team as a goalkeeper. His composure, agility, and command of his area led to his establishment as Arsenal's first choice when he was 20. After winning his place in the first team, Szczęsny expressed his desire to continue as Arsenal's first choice goalkeeper for the rest of his career.

Jacek Kaczmarski

Sung poetry Artist

Jacek Kaczmarski was a Polish singer, songwriter, poet and author. Kaczmarski was a voice of the Solidarity trade union movement in 1980's Poland, for his commitment to a free Poland, independent of Soviet rule. His songs criticized the ruling communist regime and appealed to the tradition of patriotic resistance within Poles. He remains best known for his protest songs on social and political subjects. However, he was more a poet than a political singer, and his texts have not lost their relevance with the demise of the Soviet union and its communist bloc. He made his debut in 1977 at the Student Song Festival, where he was awarded first prize for his work "Obława" based on song "Охота на волков" by Vladimir Vysotsky. In 1980 he won Second prize at the Opole Song Festival for "Epitafium dla Włodzimierza Wysockiego". Kaczmarski was on tour in France when the martial law was declared in Poland in December 1981. He lived in exile until 1990. During these intervening years he gave concerts in western Europe, the United States, Canada, Australia, South Africa and Israel. From 1982 he worked as an editor and journalist with Radio Free Europe and hosted his own radio program, "Kwadrans Jacka Kaczmarskiego".

Artur Boruc

Soccer

Artur Boruc is a Polish footballer who currently plays as a goalkeeper for Premier League club Southampton. He has previously played for Polish clubs Pogoń Siedlce, Dolcan Ząbki and Legia Warsaw, Scottish club Celtic and Italian team Fiorentina. Boruc began his career in the Polish third division with Pogoń Siedlce. He joined Ekstraklasa team Legia Warsaw in 1999 and, whilst still a reserve, had a spell on loan at Dolcan Ząbki in 2000. Boruc broke through to the Legia Warsaw first team in 2002 and by 2003 had become the club's first choice goalkeeper. Boruc made his international debut against the Republic of Ireland in April 2004 and became a regular in the Polish international squad. In the summer of 2005, Boruc joined Scottish Premier League side Celtic. In his five years in Glasgow, Boruc made 221 appearances for the club, winning the Scottish Premier League three times, the Scottish Cup once and the Scottish League Cup twice. Boruc frequently found himself at the centre of controversy in his time at Celtic and was on various occasions fined by the club and the Scottish Football Association and was even issued with a formal caution by Strathclyde Police. Celtic fans nicknamed Boruc, 'The Holy Goalie'.

Łukasz Piszczek

Soccer Midfielder

Łukasz Piszczek is a Polish footballer who plays for the German Bundesliga club Borussia Dortmund as a right defender, having previously played for Hertha BSC and Zagłębie Lubin. He has been capped by Poland at international level.

Tomasz Gollob

Man

Tomasz Gollob is a Polish motorcycle speedway rider who has appeared in every Speedway Grand Prix series since its inaugural season in 1995. His brother Jacek is also a speedway rider.

Gerhart Hauptmann

Novelist

Gerhart Hauptmann was a German dramatist and novelist who received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1912.

Pola Negri

Actor

Pola Negri was a Polish stage and film actress who achieved worldwide fame during the silent and golden eras of Hollywood and European film for her tragedienne and femme fatale roles. She was the first European film star to be invited to Hollywood, and become one of the most popular actresses in American silent film. She also started several important women's fashion trends that are still staples of the women's fashion industry. Her varied career included work as an actress in theater and vaudeville; as a singer and recording artist; as an author; and as a ballerina.

Kazik Staszewski

Alternative rock Artist

Kazik Staszewski is a Polish lead singer, songwriter, and leader of the band Kult. Kazik founded Kult in 1982; their latest album, Prosto, was released in May 2013. In 1991, he launched a solo career as Kazik with what may be the first Polish rap album Spalam się. Kazik's latest album, Los się musi odmienić, was released in 2005. Kazik is an immensely popular and somewhat controversial artist thanks to his famous criticism of politics — Poland's politics in particular. His songs often comment on daily life, whether that life be of a typical man, a Pole, or the artist. What is distinctive of Kazik's lyrics is that they typically contain a lot of references to pop culture, high culture, current events; as well as self-references, often cryptically conveyed and sometimes seemingly random.

Marcin Gortat

Basketball Center

Marcin Gortat is a Polish professional basketball center with the Washington Wizards of the National Basketball Association. The 6'11", 240 pound big man is the son of boxer Janusz Gortat. He was a second-round draft choice of the Phoenix Suns in the 2005 NBA Draft and was traded for future cash considerations to the Orlando Magic. In 2010, he was traded back to Phoenix. Gortat started his career in ŁKS Łódź, then he played 3 seasons in RheinEnergie Cologne in Germany's Basketball Bundesliga. With them he won the domestic championship in 2006 and played in the 2006-07 Euroleague season for the first time in the team's history.

Osip Mandelstam

Poet

Osip Emilyevich Mandelstam was a Russian poet and essayist who lived in Russia during and after its revolution and the rise of the Soviet Union. He was one of the foremost members of the Acmeist school of poets. He was arrested by Joseph Stalin's government during the repression of the 1930s and sent into internal exile with his wife Nadezhda. Given a reprieve of sorts, they moved to Voronezh in southwestern Russia. In 1938 Mandelstam was arrested again and sentenced to a camp in Siberia. He died that year at a transit camp.

Marcin Matkowski

Tennis Player

Marcin Matkowski is a right-handed Polish professional tennis player whose speciality is in doubles. His current partner is Mariusz Fyrstenberg; they have been playing together since 2003, he occasionally plays mixed doubles with Caroline Wozniacki. Matkowski and Fyrstenberg qualified as the eighth and final contenders in the 2006 Tennis Masters Cup. This was mainly because of the best Grand Slam result in their history, in which they reached the semi-finals at the Australian Open until 2011 when they reached the US Open Men's Doubles Final.

Bronisław Malinowski

Author

Bronisław Kasper Malinowski was a Polish-born British anthropologist, one of the most important 20th-century anthropologists. He has been also referred to as a sociologist and ethnographer. From 1910, Malinowski studied exchange and economics at the London School of Economics under Seligman and Westermarck, analysing patterns of exchange in aboriginal Australia through ethnographic documents. In 1914 he was given a chance to travel to New Guinea accompanying anthropologist R. R. Marett, but as war broke out and Malinowski was an Austrian subject, and thereby an enemy of the British commonwealth, he was unable to travel back to England. The Australian government nonetheless provided him with permission and funds to undertake ethnographic work within their territories and Malinowski chose to go to the Trobriand Islands, in Melanesia where he stayed for several years, studying the indigenous culture. Upon his return to England after the war he published his main work Argonauts of the Western Pacific which established him as one of the most important anthropologists in Europe of that time. He took posts as lecturer and later as a chair in Anthropology at the LSE, attracting large numbers of students and exerting great influence on the development of British Social Anthropology. Among his students in this period were such prominent anthropologists as Raymond Firth, E.E. Evans-Pritchard, Hortense Powdermaker, Edmund Leach and Meyer Fortes. From 1933 he visited several American universities and when the second World War broke out he decided to stay there, taking an appointment at Yale. Here he stayed the remainder of his life, also influencing a generation of American anthropologists.

Mary Faustina Kowalska

Nun

Maria Faustyna Kowalska, commonly known as Saint Faustina, was a Polish nun who has been canonized as a saint by the Roman Catholic Church. She is considered to have been a mystic and visionary and is known and venerated as the Apostle of Divine Mercy. Throughout her life, Faustina reported having visions of Jesus and conversations with him, which she wrote about in her diary, later published as the book The Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska: Divine Mercy in My Soul. Her Vatican biography quotes some of these reputed conversations regarding the Divine Mercy devotion. At age 20 she joined a convent in Warsaw and was later transferred to Plock and then to Vilnius where she met her confessor, Father Michael Sopocko, who supported her devotion to the Divine Mercy. Faustina and Sopocko directed an artist to paint the first Divine Mercy image, based on Faustina's reported vision of Jesus. Sopocko used the image to celebrate the first Mass on the first Sunday after Easter - which later became known as Divine Mercy Sunday. Faustina was canonized on 30 April 2000.

Lech Kaczyński

Politician

Lech Aleksander Kaczyński was a Polish lawyer and politician who served as the President of Poland from 2005 until 2010 and as Mayor of Warsaw from 2002 until 22 December 2005. Before he became a president, he was also a member of the Law and Justice party. He was the identical twin brother of the former Prime Minister of Poland and current Chairman of the Law and Justice party, Jarosław Kaczyński. On 10 April 2010, he died in the crash of a Polish Air Force Tu-154 that occurred on a landing attempt at Smolensk-North airport in Russia.

Izabella Scorupco

Actor

Izabella Scorupco is a Polish-Swedish actress and model, best known for her portrayal of Bond girl Natalya Simonova in the 1995 James Bond film GoldenEye.

Paul Tillich

Philosopher

Paul Johannes Tillich was a German-American Christian existentialist philosopher and theologian. Tillich is widely regarded as one of the most influential theologians of the 20th century. Among the general public, he is best known for his works The Courage to Be and Dynamics of Faith, which introduced issues of theology and modern culture to a general readership. Theologically, he is best known for his major three-volume work Systematic Theology, in which he developed his "method of correlation", an approach of exploring the symbols of Christian revelation as answers to the problems of human existence raised by contemporary existential philosophical analysis.

Anja Rubik

Fashion Model

Anja Rubik is a Polish model.

Witold Gombrowicz

Novelist

Witold Marian Gombrowicz was a Polish novelist and dramatist. His works are characterised by deep psychological analysis, a certain sense of paradox and absurd, anti-nationalist flavor. In 1937 he published his first novel, Ferdydurke, which presented many of his usual themes: the problems of immaturity and youth, the creation of identity in interactions with others, and an ironic, critical examination of class roles in Polish society and culture. He gained fame only during the last years of his life, but is now considered one of the foremost figures of Polish literature.

Tede

Hip hop Artist

Jacek Graniecki, known professionally as Tede and DJ Buhh is a Polish rapper. Also known as Tas De Fleia, TDF, Tedeusz, Tedzik, Tedunio, Tedzio, Chory Pastor. He began his career in the band 1 kHz. In 1996 Janmario and Tede created a band named Trzyha and in 1998 the group changed their name into Warszafski Deszcz. In 2000 Tede began his solo career and in 2001 he recorded his first album. In 2002 he founded his own record label - Wielkie Joł. He was classified as third on a music magazine Machina toplist of thirty best polish rappers in 2011.

Zbigniew Boniek

Soccer

Zbigniew "Zibì" Kazimierz Boniek is a former Polish footballer and coach.

Anna Jantar

Singer

Anna Jantar-Kukulska was a popular Polish singer and mother of Natalia Kukulska. Born in Poznań as Anna Maria Szmeterling, she graduated from Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań. She began her career in 1968 with the song Po ten kwiat czerwony. A year later she became the lead vocalist of the band Waganci. Her most well-known song from this period is Co ja w tobie widziałam. Jarosław Kukulski, whom she married on 11 April 1971, was also a member of the group. In 1972, Anna began her solo career as Anna Jantar. In 1973 she took part in the National Festival of Polish Song in Opole with the song Najtrudniejszy pierwszy krok. Her husband Jarosław Kukulski composed many of her hit songs.

Chava Alberstein

Singer

Chava Alberstein is an Israeli singer, lyricist, composer, and musical arranger.

Paul Ehrlich

Academic

Paul Ehrlich was a German physician and scientist who worked in the fields of hematology, immunology, and chemotherapy. He invented the precursor technique to Gram staining bacteria, tissue made it possible to distinguish between different type of blood cells, which led to the capability to diagnose numerous blood diseases. His laboratory discovered arsphenamine, the first effective medicinal treatment for syphilis, thereby initiating and also naming the concept of chemotherapy. Ehrlich popularized the concept of a "magic bullet". He also made a decisive contribution to the development of an antiserum to combat diphtheria and conceived a methodology for standardizing therapeutic serums. In 1908, he received a Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his contributions to immunology.

Władysław Sikorski

Military Commander

Władysław Eugeniusz Sikorski was a Polish military and political leader. Prior to World War I, he established and participated in several underground organizations that promoted the cause of the independence of Poland from the Russian Empire. He fought with distinction in the Polish Legions during the First World War, and later in the newly created Polish Army during the Polish-Soviet War of 1919 to 1921. In that war he played a prominent role in the decisive Battle of Warsaw. In the early years of the Second Polish Republic, Sikorski held government posts including prime minister and minister of military affairs. Following Józef Piłsudski's May Coup of 1926 and the installation of the Sanacja government, he fell out of favor with the new regime. During the Second World War Sikorski became Prime Minister of the Polish Government in Exile, Commander-in-Chief of the Polish Armed Forces, and a vigorous advocate of the Polish cause in the diplomatic sphere. He supported the reestablishment of diplomatic relations between Poland and the Soviet Union, which had been severed after the Soviet pact with Germany and the 1939 invasion of Poland — however, Soviet leader Joseph Stalin broke off Soviet-Polish diplomatic relations in April 1943 following Sikorski's request that the International Red Cross investigate the Katyń Forest massacre. In July 1943, a plane carrying Sikorski plunged into the sea immediately after takeoff from Gibraltar, killing all on board except the pilot. The exact circumstances of his death have been disputed and have given rise to a number of conspiracy theories surrounding the crash and his death. Sikorski had been the most prestigious leader of the Polish exiles, and his death was a severe setback for the Polish cause.

Julian Tuwim

Poet

Julian Tuwim, known also under the pseudonym "Oldlen" when writing song lyrics, was a Polish poet of Jewish descent, born in Łódź, Congress Poland. He was educated in Łódź and in Warsaw where he studied law and philosophy at the Warsaw University. In 1919 Tuwim co-founded the Skamander group of experimental poets with Antoni Słonimski and Jarosław Iwaszkiewicz. He was a major figure in Polish literature, admired also for his contribution to children's literature. He was the recipient of a prestigious Golden Laurel of the Polish Academy of Literature in 1935.

Tamara de Lempicka

Painting Artist

Tamara de Lempicka, born Maria Górska in Warsaw, Poland, was a Polish Art Deco painter and "the first woman artist to be a glamour star".

Samuel Reshevsky

Chess Player

Samuel "Sammy" Herman Reshevsky was a famous chess prodigy and later a leading American chess grandmaster. He was a strong contender for the World Chess Championship from the mid-1930s to the mid-1960s: he came equal third in the 1948 tournament, and equal second in the 1953 Candidates Tournament. He was an eight-time winner of the U.S. Chess Championship. An outstanding match player throughout his career, Reshevsky excelled at positional play, and could be a brilliant tactician when required. He took a long time over his opening moves, and often found himself under time pressure – but this sometimes unsettled his opponent more than it did Reshevsky. He was an accountant by profession, and a well-regarded chess writer.

Friedrich Daniel Ernst Schleiermacher

Philosopher

Friedrich Daniel Ernst Schleiermacher was a German theologian, philosopher, and biblical scholar known for his attempt to reconcile the criticisms of the Enlightenment with traditional Protestant Christianity. He also became influential in the evolution of Higher Criticism, and his work forms part of the foundation of the modern field of hermeneutics. Because of his profound impact on subsequent Christian thought, he is often called the "Father of Modern Liberal Theology" and is considered an early leader in liberal Christianity. The Neo-Orthodoxy movement of the twentieth century, typically seen to be spearheaded by Karl Barth, was in many ways an attempt to challenge his influence.

L. L. Zamenhof

Language Creator

Ludwig Lazarus Zamenhof was a Polish-Jewish doctor, linguist, and the creator of Esperanto, the world's most successful constructed language.

Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit

Physicist

Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit was a Dutch-German-Polish physicist, engineer, and glass blower who is best known for inventing the mercury-in-glass thermometer, and for developing a temperature scale now named after him.

Agnieszka Holland

Film Director

Agnieszka Holland is a Polish film and TV director and screenwriter. Best known for her political contributions to Polish cinema, Holland is one of Poland's most prominent filmmakers.

Andrzej Sapkowski

Author

Andrzej Sapkowski is a Polish fantasy writer. He is best known for his best-selling book series The Witcher.

Samuel Goldwyn

Film Producer

Samuel Goldwyn, also known as Samuel Goldfish, was an American film producer. He was most well known for being the founding contributor and executive of several motion picture studios in Hollywood.

Wacław Kuchar

Soccer

Wacław Michał Kuchar was a Polish sports champion, olympian, and multiple soccer, track and field and ice skating champion of the country. Kuchar excelled in many sports – track and field, soccer, skiing, speed skating and ice hockey. Even though born in Łańcut, his whole life was connected with Lwów, where he played for Pogoń Lwów – one of the most important and most popular sports clubs of interwar Poland. After finishing his career, he became a referee, coach and sports official. To this day Kuchar is regarded as an excellent example of fair play. In 1926, in a poll held by the Polish sports daily Przegląd Sportowy, Kuchar was chosen as the athlete of the year. A year later he came in 10th in the same poll. In 1924, at the Paris Olympic Games, he played on the Poland national football team. Wacław Kuchar was champion of Poland in: ⁕800-meter race, ⁕110-meter hurdle race, ⁕400-meter hurdle race, ⁕high jump, ⁕tentathlon. As a soccer player representing Pogoń Lwów, Kuchar achieved these successes: ⁕years of career – 1912–1935,