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Garlinski, Jozef 1913–2005

Garlinski, Jozef 1913–2005

OBITUARY NOTICE—See index for CA sketch: Born October 14, 1913, in Kiev, Ukraine; died November 29, 2005. Historian, insurance agent, soldier, and author. A survivor of Auschwitz who also fought for the Polish resistance movement, Garlinski had a varied career but is best known for his books about Poland during World War II. Born in the Russian-dominated Ukraine, he and his family fled the country in 1921 to escape the worsening conditions in the Soviet Union after the revolution. Moving to Poland, Garlinski studied law at the University of Warsaw for four years before Germany invaded in 1939. Enlisting in the army, he served in the 1st Light Horse Regiment and then as a commander in the Reserve Warsaw Lancers Regiment. Taken prisoner by the Germans, he managed to escape and joined the resistance move-ment in Warsaw as part of the Union of Armed Struggle. He rose to the rank of lieutenant and became involved in counter-intelligence before being arrested in 1943 by the Gestapo. This time, he was sent to concentration camps in Auschwitz and then Neuengamme, where he would remain until U.S. forces liberated the camp in 1945. He worked as an interpreter for the U.S. Seventh Army division for a time, but with Poland coming under the domination of the Soviet Union, Garlinski decided to leave the country. He moved with his wife to London and became active in numerous Polish organizations. Among these were the Polish Ex-Combatants Association, for which he was on the executive committee from 1947 to 1967; the Association of Home Army Soldiers, where he was also on the executive committee; the Polish Writers in Exile Association, for which he served as chair and started its journal; and the Ex-Political Prisoners of German Prisons and Concentration Camps, which he also chaired for a time. From 1956 to 1957, he worked at the Hoover Institute and Library at Stanford University, where he tried to obtain archives from Soviet bloc political groups and exiled governments. There was little material available at the time, however, so Garlinski made his living as an insurance agent for the Canadian company Confederation Life Assurance. Meanwhile, his interest in history led to his obtaining a Ph.D. in 1973 from the London School of Economics and Political Science. Even before this, however, he had begun publishing books about Polish history during the war. Writing initially in Polish, his first three books were translated by his wife, Eileen, and at the time were among the few resources available to scholars on this subject. Later, he penned his histories in English. Among his books are Poland, SOE, and the Allies (1969), Hitler's Last Weapons (1978), and Poland in the Second World War (1985). Garlinski also contributed to newspapers, such as the London Daily Telegraph, keeping the memories of what the Nazis had done in Poland alive and refuting the claims of extremists such as David Irving, who declared the gas chambers never existed. Later in life, Garlinski supported Germany's entrance into the European Union and felt that the country had come far enough along to be forgiven for its war crimes. For his many contributions to the study of Polish history, he earned the chevalier's, officer's, and commander's crosses of the Order of the Rebirth of Poland.



Garlinski, Jozef, The Survival of Love: Memoirs of a Resistance Officer, Blackwell (Cambridge, MA), 1991.


Daily Tribune (London, England), December 1, 2005.

Guardian (London, England), December 2, 2005, p. 37.

Times (London, England), December 30, 2005, p. 51.

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