Yan Yankovsky

Yan Yankovsky

Polish politician
Date of Birth: 06.05.1882
Country: Poland

  1. Biography of Jan Jankowski
  2. Early Political Career
  3. Role in Polish Independence
  4. Resistance and Imprisonment
  5. Arrest and Death

Biography of Jan Jankowski

Jan Jankowski was a Polish politician and a prominent figure in the Polish Resistance during World War II. He was born on May 6, 1882, in a noble family in the village of Krassów Wielki, located 60 km from Warsaw. Jankowski studied in the Austro-Hungarian Galicia and obtained a degree in agricultural engineering.

Early Political Career

From a young age, Jankowski was involved in politics. In 1906, he was one of the founders of the socialist National Workers' Union. In 1912, he became a member of the Temporary Commission of United Parties in Support of Independence (TKSSN), an alliance of Polish parties advocating for Austria-Hungary as the sole power capable of uniting and liberating the divided Polish lands.

Role in Polish Independence

During World War I, Jankowski served in the Polish Legions. After Poland regained independence in 1920, he co-founded the National Workers' Party and led it until 1923, and then served as the deputy chairman until 1933. He also served as the Minister of Labor and Social Policy of Poland from 1921 to 1926 and was a member of the Polish Sejm from 1928 to 1935.

Resistance and Imprisonment

Following Poland's defeat in the early days of World War II, Jankowski remained in the country and participated in the reestablishment of his party in underground conditions. In 1941, he became the Director of Labor and Social Protection Affairs for the Polish Government-in-Exile's representative in the country. When the representative, Jan Piekałkiewicz, was arrested by the Gestapo in February 1943, Jankowski took his place and obtained the formal status of Deputy Prime Minister of Poland.

Jankowski supported the decision to initiate the Warsaw Uprising on July 31, 1944. During the fighting in Warsaw, he remained near the headquarters of the Home Army but lost contact with most of the resistance cells in other parts of Poland. After the surrender of Warsaw to the Germans, he left the city with civilians and took refuge in rural areas, continuing to fulfill his duties.

Arrest and Death

After the entry of Soviet troops into Poland, Jankowski, along with other leaders of the non-communist Resistance, was invited to a "conference" to discuss their possible inclusion in the pro-Soviet Provisional Government. However, on March 27, 1945, he was arrested by the NKVD and transported to Moscow. During the investigation, he displayed bravery and protested against his arrest, stating, "We do not wish for Poland to become the 17th republic of the USSR; we want freedom and will fight for it." He also refused to disclose the identities of the leaders of the underground council of ministers in Poland, citing his allegiance to the Polish government in London.

From June 18 to 21, 1945, the so-called "Trial of the Sixteen" took place, during which Jankowski and other defendants were accused of collaborating with the Nazis, sabotage, terrorism, conspiracy to form a military alliance with Nazi Germany, and possession of a radio transmitter, among other charges. He was sentenced to eight years of imprisonment. However, he died in the Vladimir Central Prison on March 13, 1953, just two weeks before the end of his sentence. The exact circumstances of his death and burial site remain undisclosed, and some authors speculate that he may have been killed. A memorial plaque was erected in his memory at the Vladimir Cemetery. Jankowski was posthumously awarded the Order of the White Eagle in 1995 for his participation in the Warsaw Uprising.