Lech Walesa is a Polish dissident and statesman. From 1990 to 1995, Walesa served as the first elected president of Poland. A Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Walesa was adjudged Time Person of the Year in 1981. In 1999, he was named in the magazine's most important people of the 20th century list.
Konstantin Rokossovsky was a Soviet and Polish officer. One of the most important Red Army commanders during the Second World War, Rokossovsky also served as Poland's Defence Minister from 1949 to 1956. He also served as the Marshal of Poland and as the Marshal of the Soviet Union.
Kazimierz Pułaski was a Polish nobleman, military commander, and soldier. Dubbed the father of the American cavalry, Pulaski is credited with creating the Pulaski Cavalry Legion and reorganizing the American cavalry. He played an important role in the American Revolutionary War and is remembered for fighting for the independence of Poland and the United States.
Tadeusz Kościuszko was a Polish-Lithuanian statesman, military leader, and military engineer. Thanks to his participation in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth's fight against Prussia and Russia and his role in the American Revolutionary War, Tadeusz Kościuszko is widely regarded as a national hero in the United States, Poland, Belarus, and Lithuania.
Józef Piłsudski was a Polish statesman and one of the most influential personalities in Polish politics post World War I. From 1918 to 1922, he served as the Chief of State. From 1926 to 1935, he was regarded as the de facto leader of the Second Polish Republic and was largely viewed as the father of Interwar Poland.
Well-educated and well-traveled, John III Sobieski initially joined the Swedes as a soldier, in opposing Polish ruler John Casimir. He then switched to the Polish side. He gradually rose through the ranks to become a grand marshal and a grand-hetman, and eventually became the king of Poland.
Polish Catholic nun Faustyna Kowalska is remembered for her diary, which recorded her multiple visions of Jesus and was later published. She later got an artist to paint the Image of the Divine Mercy, based on her visions. Known as the Apostle of Divine Mercy, she was canonized as a saint in 2000.
Sigismund III Vasa was the elder son of Swedish king John III Vasa. As the king of Poland and Sweden, he not only enjoyed prosperity but also tried to unite the two states, although he ended up creating conflicts between them. His lust for power also resulted in the Zebrzydowski Rebellion.
Born to former Polish slave laborers of the Nazi period, Donald Tusk initially wished to become a footballer but was drawn to the Solidarity movement. He later formed the LDC and the PO parties. He has been the president of the European Council.and now presides over the EPP.
Ignacy Jan Paderewski was a Polish musician who went on to become the third Prime Minister of Poland after being a spokesman for Polish independence for a long time. He also played a significant role as the nation's foreign minister in 1919 when he signed the Treaty of Versailles, an important event that marked the end of World War I.
Andrzej Duda is a Polish politician, lawyer, and the current President of Poland. Duda has been in the forefront of the ongoing Polish constitutional crisis where his government has been blamed for its inability to adhere to the Polish and European constitutional law. Despite the crisis, Andrzej Duda was awarded Poland's highest honor, Order of the White Eagle.
Władysław Sikorski was a Polish political and military leader. He played important roles in both the First and Second World War. A supporter of Polish independence prior to the war, Sikorski fought in the Polish Legions during World War I. He was also an influential figure in the newly created Polish Army that took part in the Polish–Soviet War.
Mateusz Morawiecki is a Polish historian, economist, and politician. The current Prime Minister of Poland, Morawiecki has also held other important positions; between 2015 and 2018, he served as the Minister of Development as well as the Minister of Finance. Mateusz Morawiecki also served as the Deputy Prime Minister of Poland from 2015 to 2017.
Former president of Poland Lech Kaczyński had also served as the mayor of Warsaw. Son of an engineer father and a philologist mother, he had starred in a movie as a child actor, along with his twin brother. A qualified lawyer, he had initially been part of anti-communist underground movements.
Janusz Korwin-Mikke is a Polish politician, author, and paleolibertarian. He is credited with founding the Eurosceptic and right-wing libertarian political party Wolność. Counted among the most controversial politicians of his time, Korwin-Mikke is known for his absurd remarks and allegations. Janusz Korwin-Mikke became a member of the Sejm in 2019.
Wojciech Jaruzelski was a Polish politician and military officer. From 1981 to 1989, he was the dictator of the Polish People's Republic. He also served as the prime minister and president of Poland during his influential political career. He also served as the Polish People's Army's last commander-in-chief; Polish People's Army became the Polish Armed Forces in 1990.
Edward Rydz-Śmigły was a Polish statesman, politician, poet, Marshal of Poland, painter, and supreme commander of Poland's armed forces. He was a much admired and respected public figure in Poland during the interwar period and was widely regarded as a national hero for his service as an army commander during World War I and the Polish–Soviet War.
Polish military general Józef Antoni Poniatowski was initially part of the Austrian army and was later drafted into the Polish army on the instructions of his uncle, King Stanisław II August Poniatowski. Best remembered for his exploits in the Napoleonic Wars, he was later made a marshal but drowned after being wounded.
Former president of Poland, Bronisław Komorowski also served as Minister of Defense and the Marshal of the Sejm. Hounded by the communist regime in Poland, he and his family had to move from place to place, till they settled in Warsaw, where he grew up since his teens.
An ideal elite Renaissance woman, Bona Sforza was the queen of Poland and the wife of Sigismund I the Old. She is remembered for her fiery resistance to the Holy Roman Emperor, Maximilian I, when he suggested Bona be planted as a Habsburg spy to counter the Jagiellonian dynasty.
Austrian Communist International leader Karl Radek had been imprisoned for a year for his association with the Russian Revolution. Born Karol Sobelsohn, he changed his name to Radek, after a character in the book Syzyfowe prace. He lost his life during the Great Purge initiated by Joseph Stalin.
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.
Wenceslaus III became King of Hungary following the death of Andrew III whose only daughter, Elizabeth, was engaged to Wenceslaus. Wenceslaus renounced his hereditary rights to Austria and claim to Hungary before succeeding his father as King of Bohemia and Poland. His reign in Bohemia was however cut-short as he was assassinated before he could invade his rival's territories in Poland.
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.
Avraham Stern was one of the most important leaders of Irgun, a Zionist paramilitary organization. The members of this organization were recruited by the Israel Defense Forces at the beginning of the 1948 Arab–Israeli War. Avraham Stern is also credited with founding Lehi, a Zionist terrorist organization that aimed at evicting British authorities from Palestine.
Widely known as the illegitimate son of Napoleon Bonaparte and his Polish noblewoman mistress, Countess Marie Walewska, Alexandre Colonna-Walewski was a French diplomat and politician. Apart from serving as a foreign minister, he is also believed to have collaborated with Alexandre Dumas on an opera.
Polish professor of hydroelectric engineering and statesman Gabriel Narutowicz served as first President of Poland after the country regained sovereignty from partitioning powers. A pioneer of electrification, Narutowicz served as the Minister of Public Works and as the Minister of Foreign Affairs before becoming the first president of the Second Polish Republic. He was assassinated five days after assuming office as the head of state.
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.
Jon Lech Johansen is a Norwegian programmer best known for his work on reverse engineering data formats. He is credited with writing the DeCSS software, a free computer program which has the ability to decrypt content on a DVD video disc. A self-trained software engineer, Jon Lech Johansen was honored with the EFF Pioneer Award in April 2002.
Emilia Plater was a Polish-Lithuanian revolutionary and noblewoman. Often compared with France's Joan of Arc, Plater is seen as a national heroine in Belarus, Lithuania, and Poland. Emilia Plater's story has inspired numerous works of art and literature and she is often seen as a symbol of women empowerment in Lithuania.