2 Izabella Miko(Actress)
Polish actress, dancer, film producer and environmental activist Izabella Miko is noted for starring in the films Coyote Ugly and The Forsaken and in the music videos Mr. Brightside and Miss Atomic Bomb by The Killers. She debuted as film producer with Desert Dancer. She runs the eco foundation called EkoMiko and has a sustainable candle line called EkoMiko Candles.
3 Olga Tokarczuk(Polish Writer Best Known for Her Novel 'Flights' and Winner of 2018 Nobel Prize in Literature)
Olga Tokarczuk is a Polish writer and public intellectual. She is one of the most critically acclaimed authors of her generation in Poland. She was awarded the 2018 Nobel Prize in Literature, becoming the first female Polish writer to receive the honor. Her works have been translated into almost 40 languages. She is also a clinical psychologist.
4 Gerda Weissmann Klein(Writer, Human rights activist)
Gerda Weissmann Klein is a Polish American writer. She survived the Holocaust in which her entire family perished. Later on, she wrote an autobiographical account of the Holocaust, All but My Life, which was adapted into a short film. She and her husband became advocates of Holocaust education. She was given the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011.
5 Ferdinand Lassalle(Writer, Politician, Economist, Lawyer, Philosopher)
Enamoured by the ideas of French and German philosophers, Ferdinand Lassalle initially aspired to be a lecturer. He later joined the socialist cause and spearheaded Germany’s social democratic movement. He also introduced terms such as the iron law of wages and concepts such as Lassallism, or achieving socialist ideals through the state.
6 Joseph Rotblat(Physicist)
Joseph Rotblat was a physicist remembered for his work on the Manhattan Project at the Los Alamos Laboratory during World War II. He left the laboratory on grounds of conscience and his work on nuclear fallout played a key role in the events preceding the 1963 Partial Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. In 1995, Joseph Rotblat won the Nobel Peace Prize.
7 Mordecai Anielewicz(Political Activist)
Mordecai Anielewicz was a Polish political activist who was the leader of the Jewish Fighting Organization. He was a key player in the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, the largest Jewish insurrection during World War II. He was killed when the Germans found out his hideout and gassed the bunker. His image represents Jewish resistance during the Holocaust to this day.
8 Marek Edelman(Activist)
Marek Edelman was a Polish social and political activist and cardiologist. A well-known revolutionary, Edelman helped establish the Jewish Combat Organization which played a key role in launching the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising in 1943. He was one of the most important leaders of the resistance movement. After the war, Marek Edelman went on to become a noted cardiologist.
9 Nadia Oleszczuk(Activist)
Polish activist Nadia Oleszczuk is the founding member of the Consultative Council that was created by All-Poland Women's Strike in the context of the October 2020 Polish protests. Her role in the non-Government council includes taking care of rights issues of workers including workforce casualisation and wages for housework.
10 Charlie Riina(Model)
Born in Poland, Charlie Riina moved to Canada in her younger days and won various chess contests there. She later studied criminology but changed her tracks after winning Miss Toronto. Now a popular adult star and beachwear model, she has also been a coveted Playboy Playmate of the Year.
11 Anna Walentynowicz(Trade unionist)
Anna Walentynowicz was a Polish trade unionist. She was credited with co-founding a Polish trade union called Solidarity, which played a key role in ending the Communist rule in Poland. In 2006, Anna Walentynowicz was honored with the Order of the White Eagle. She was also named in Time magazine's 100 Women of the Year list in 2020.
12 Anna Grodzka(First openly transgender Member of Parliament in Poland)
Polish politician Anna Grodzka became the first openly transgender Member of Parliament in Poland and third openly transgender member of a national parliament worldwide after she got elected to the Sejm of the Republic of Poland during the 2011 Polish parliamentary elections. She co-founded the Polish LGBT rights organization called Tras-Fuzja and served as its first president.
13 Yitzhak Zuckerman(Revolutionary)
Yitzhak Zuckerman was a revolutionary best remembered for his leadership role in conducting the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising against Nazi Germany during the Second World War. His 1976 interview about the uprising was turned into a book and was later translated into English. The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising inspired the war drama miniseries Uprising where Yitzhak Zuckerman was played by David Schwimmer.
14 Stanisław Wojciechowski(Politician)
Stanisław Wojciechowski was a major figure in the Polish independence movement against Russia and later also served as the president of Poland. The Polish Peasant Party member had initially also contributed to the socialist periodical Przedświt. Though friends with Józef Piłsudski, he later disagreed with him, and eventually resigned.
15 Johannes Zukertort(Journalist, Chess player)
Johannes Zukertort was a Polish chess player who dominated the international chess scene during the 1870s and 1880s. The Réti Opening was originally called Zukertort's Opening as he often used Nf3 as his opening move. A multi-talented personality, Johannes Zukertort also achieved success as a musician, soldier, journalist, political activist, and linguist.
16 Leon Pinsker(Physician)
Russian-Polish physician Leon Pinsker didn’t just practice medicine in Odessa but also pioneered the Zionist movement, setting the stage for activists such as Theodor Herzl. His enthusiasm to get equal rights for Jews was cut short by the Odessa Pogroms. He established the Hovevei Zion in response to such pogroms.
17 Arnold Zweig(Writer)
Arnold Zweig was a German writer and socialist best known for his six-part cycle on World War I. He was well-educated as a young man and was influenced by Friedrich Nietzsche's philosophy. He fought in World War I and became an active socialistic Zionist after the war. He wrote many anti-war novels, many of which were later made into films.
18 Hugo Kołłątaj(Politician)
Hugo Kołłątaj was a Polish educationalist and constitutional reformer who played a major role during the Polish Enlightenment. An influential social and political activist, Kołłątaj was one of the authors of the Constitution of 3 May 1791, which aimed at implementing a constitutional monarchy. Hugo Kołłątaj's work also influenced many subsequent reformers.
19 Ernestine Rose(Social reformer)
Born to a Polish rabbi, Ernestine Rose was much ahead of her times. As a teenager, she spoke up against the regressive Jewish customs that hindered women’s freedom. She later became a pioneering feminist and suffragist from her community and was also inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame.
20 Klementyna Suchanow(Writer)
Klementyna Suchanow is a Polish activist, writer, and editor. She is credited with co-founding a women's rights social movement called All-Poland Women's Strike. Despite being arrested on a couple of occasions for protesting against the government and officials, Klementyna Suchanow continues to participate in street protests for various causes. Her biography Gombrowicz: I, the Genius has received critical acclaim.
21 Nahum Sokolow(Writer)
Nahum Sokolow was a Zionist leader, writer, and translator. He is credited with coining the name Tel Aviv, which he used as a Hebrew title while translating Theodor Herzl's novel Altneuland. In 1909, the first modern Hebrew-speaking city was named Tel Aviv after Nahum Sokolow's translation.
22 Mariusz Szczygiel(Journalist)
Mariusz Szczygiel is a Polish writer and journalist who broke several taboos when he published The Shrift, a collection of reportages about lesbian and gay youth in Poland. He was also the first person to utter the word orgasm on Polish television. Mariusz Szczygiel’s popular book Gottland won Polish Booksellers prize as well as the European Book Prize.
23 Henryk Jankowski(Priest)
Henryk Jankowski was a Polish Roman Catholic priest who became known for his support towards the Solidarity movement during the 1980s. He was one of the priests who opposed the communist government in favor of the Solidarity movement. In the late-1990s, Jankowski was accused of child molestation but wasn’t convicted. In 2019, his statue in Gdańsk was destroyed by protestors.
24 Jerzy Giedroyc(Writer)
Jerzy Giedroyc was a Polish political activist and writer. He also served for several years as the editor of the influential literary-political magazine, Kultura. The magazine was so influential that it helped lay the groundwork for Poland's eastern policy after the downfall of communism. Today, his name is synonymous with Kultura.
25 Wojciech Korfanty(Politician)
Born to a miner in the German Empire, Wojciech Korfanty initially worked as a journalist and then joined the secret society Z, which worked against the Germanization of the Polish people of Upper Silesia. He later headed Poland as its deputy prime minister.
26 Ferdynand Goetel(Novelist)
A member of the Polish Academy of Literature, Ferdynand Goetel is best remembered for his novels and autobiographical writings. Interned by Russia in Tashkent during World War I, he later worked with the Red Army. From Day to Day remains one of his best-known works and has also been made into a film.
27 Antoni Grabowski(Chemical engineer, Activist)
Antoni Grabowski was a Polish activist and chemical engineer. A well-known and respected figure in the field of chemical engineering, Grabowski is remembered for a multitude of technological innovations and inventions. Antoni Grabowski also played a significant role in the development of Esperanto, the most widely spoken international auxiliary language.