Z MINIONYCH CZASÓW Wuzupełnieniu do działalności Profesora Józefa Zwierzyckiego (1888–1961)

Marek Graniczny, Halina Urban


Work and life of Professor Józef Zwierzycki (1888–1961): some additional data.
A b s t r a c t. In 1938, Józef Zwierzycki returned to Poland after retiring in the Dutch East Indies to get an offer of employment from the Polish Geological Institute (PGI). He accepted the offer to get appointed to the position of the Head of the Department of Oil and Salt. In two years he made several reconnaissance trips to the Carpathian Mts. and Kujawy region and supervised drillings near Busko Zdrój to find mineral waters and small oil plays. The results of his studies were published in two papers on oil and gas prospecting in Poland. At the beginning of World War II (6 September, 1939), PGI Director Karol Bohdanowicz nominated Professor Zwierzycki as the deputy director in charge of the property management and protection for the time of evacuation of part of the staff to the East. After the surrender of Warsaw, Zwierzycki and other PGI employees began an initial assessment of war damage in the institute. Another problem faced by him and his team was an increase of wave of looting and robbery which also affected the institute. This forced Zwierzycki to intervene in the Civil Guard Headquarters of Warsaw. A document found in the PGI archives proves that on 4 October, 1939 the headquarters authorized Zwierzycki and Czesław Kuźniar to take
care of the PGI assets and purchase building materials for indispensible repairs. Zwierzycki also made a successful approach to a new German commandant of Warsaw, Lieutenant General Conrad von Cochenhausen, to secure formal protection of the institute buildings and assets. In April 1941, Zwierzycki was arrested by Gestapo on charges of collaboration with the Polish resistance movement, and sent to the Auschwitz concentration camp. He was released from Auschwitz thanks to efforts undertaken by Dutch
and German geologists to be directed to work as a researcher with the status of prisoner in "Reichsstelle für Bodenforschung" in Berlin. In 1944, he escaped from a convoy in Cracow to hide until the Red Army entered that area. From Cracow, he came back to Warsaw to find his apartment completely ruined by raids of looters. Under these circumstances, he decided to move to Wrocław to support the re-establishment of the Polish Geological Institute from there.

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