Kościuszko, Tadeusz°

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KOŚCIUSZKO, TADEUSZ ° (1746–1817), Polish military commander and freedom fighter. In 1775 he left Poland for America, where he joined the army of George Washington (1776), distinguishing himself at the siege of Saratoga, where he was impressed by the Jewish volunteers who participated in the fighting. Returning to Poland in 1784, he was attracted by the movement for political reforms there, and after a period of voluntary exile returned in 1794 to organize armed resistance against Russia and Prussia, then menacing the independence of Poland. In the official Gazeta Rządowa (Sept. 17, 1794) he declared that the liberation of Poland from foreign yoke would also improve the status of the Jews in the country. He praised the initiative of Berek *Joselewicz and others in organizing a cavalry regiment for the war against Poland's enemies. Even at the beginning of the rebellion many Jewish craftsmen in Warsaw took part in fighting the Russian units stationed in the town. Kościuszko was eventually wounded in 1794 and imprisoned in St. Petersburg. After two years he was set free and in 1798 arrived in Paris. He spent the last years of his life in Switzerland.


J. Szacki (Shatzky), Kościuszko a Żydzi (1917); E. Ringelblum, Żydzi w powstaniu kościuszkowskim (1938); P. Wiernik, History of the Jews in America (1912), 95–98. add. bibliography: M. Balaban, Historja i literatura Zydowska, vol. 3 (1925), 429–31; J. Tomaszewski et al., Zydzi w Polsce … Leksykon (2001), 564–65.

[Arthur Cygielman]