Family History of
General Władysław E. SIKORSKI
Family heritage states that the famed General Władysław Sikorski, who distinguished himself in repelling a Russian invasion of Warsaw in 1920, formed the Polish government-in-exile in Paris, served as its premier, and died in a mysterious plane crash in 1943, was an uncle. This would indicate that either Zenon or Aleksandra was his sibling; however, claim to such a direct relationship is highly doubtful. Władysław is only known to have one brother and two sisters. Both Władysław's father and grandfather died before Frank Sikorski was born. His elder brother had at least two sons who emigrated to Brazil.
Andrzej SIKORSKI1 (1758-1847)
Andrzej was believe to have descended from the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth (1569-1795) clan of 15 szlachta (noble) families known collectively by the coat of arms of Kopaszyna, as claimed by great-grandson General Sikorski. A biography of the general later cites his daughter Helena as saying that her father "came from a family of weavers from Przeworsk," in the southeastern corner of modern-day Poland, 100 kilometers to the east of the general's birthplace of Mielec.
He would have lived through the Partitions of Poland (1772, 1793, and 1795) between Russia, Prussia, and the Holy Roman Empire (Habsburgs), under Catherine II the Great, Frederick II and Frederick William III, and Joseph II and Francis II.
Andrzej Sikorski died in 1847.
Jakub SIKORSKI2 (1807-1852)
11. Jakub Sikorski2 (pronouned "Yakub") was born in 1807. He married Marianna Badowska and had six children:
|116.||Tomasz Sikorski3||20 May 1852||10 Dec 1885||(33)|
Jakub Sikorski died in 1852, at about the age of 45 years.
Tomasz SIKORSKI3 (1851-1885)
116. Tomasz Sikorski3 (pronounced "Tomash") was the father of the famed General Władysław Sikorski was born on May 20, 1851 or 1852. His daughter Helena noted in a biography about the general that her father "came from a family of weavers from Przeworsk" in southeastern Poland, then part of the Austro-Hungarian Kingdom of Galicia. Tomasz married Emilia Albertowicz in 1874 and had four children:
|1161.||Stanislaw Sikorski||26 Jun 1876||(>1937)||(>62)|
|1162.||Helena Sikorska||1 Feb 1878||9 Nov 1932||(54)|
|1163.||Władysław E(ugeniusz) Sikorski4||20 May 1881||4 Jul 1943||(62)|
|1164.||Eugenia Sikorska||14 Feb 1884||6 Oct 1939||(55)|
Tomasz was an organist and later a high school teacher. His forefather, perhaps Andrzej Sikorski (1758-1847), took part in Napoleon's failed campaign against Russia (1812-1813), which Napoleon termed as the "Second Polish War," to gain Polish support. Another forefather, perhaps his father Jakub Sikorski (1807-1852), participated in the failed November Warsaw Uprising (1830-1831) against Russian imperial rule.
Tomasz Sikorski tragically died on August 4, 1885, a year after his fourth child was born and his eldest was merely 9 years old. He was only about 34 years old.
Stanisław SIKORSKI (1876->1937)
1161. Stanisław Sikorski (pronounced "Staniswav") was born on June 26, 1876. He died some time after 1937, likely in his 60s. His sons Bolesław and John emigrated to Paraná state in southern Brazil, where many Poles, Italians, Ukrainians, and Germans immigrated. They first settled in Wenceslaw Bráz and later to the south in Ponta Grossa. Bolesław's family is recalled to have been informed of an inheritance from his uncle General Władysław Sikorski following his tragic death in 1943.
Gen. Władysław (Eugeniusz) SIKORSKI4 (1881-1943)
1163. General Władysław (Eugeniusz) Sikorski (pronounced "Vwadiswav Eugeniush") was born on May 20, 1881, near Mielec in Tuszów Narodowy, Poland. His father, a high school teacher, died when he was only four years old and his mother worked to give him a quality education. He fell into a military career with the Austro-Hungarian army and rose to prominence in its service during World War I, in liberating Poland, and fending off a Russian invasion. He married Olga Helena Zubczewska in 1909 and had one daughter:
|11631.||Zofia Wanda Sikorska5||2 Mar 1912||4 Jul 1943||(31)|
General Sikorski's homeland in Galicia was then occupied by the Austro-Hungarian Empire but enjoyed participation in government by the Polish aristocracy, unlike the German and Russian-occupied lands. Sikorski was later described as loyal to the Austro-Hungarian House of Habsburg.
Władysław's father died when he was only four years old on August 4, 1885, leaving his mother with four children. His mother moved the young family to Hyżne Primary School where Władysław attended school (1887-1892).
In 1898 he attended school in Rzeszów where his future father-in-law, Julian Zubczewski, served as principal. He later graduated from secondary school in Lwów (L'viv, now in the Ukraine) in 1902 and started studies in engineering at the Lwów Technical University.
Władysław served a compulsory tour in the Austro-Hungarian army from 1904 to 1906 as a second lieutenant and graduated with an engineering degree from the Lwów Technical University in 1907.
Two years later, Władysław married Olga Helena Zubczewska in 1909.
World War I and the Second Republic of Poland
In 1913, Sikorski was promoted to lieutenant just prior to World War I breaking out. During the war he served in the Austro-Hungarian army where he rose to the rank of colonel in 1916 and took command of Brigade II of the Polish Legions in Austro-Hungarian Galicia against Russia on the Eastern Front and expelled Russia from Poland (1914-1916). In February 1918, the Central Powers of Germany and Austria-Hungary sought peace treaties, unfavorable to Poland, with Soviet Ukraine and Soviet Russia. Brigade II revolted and...
As Austria-Hungary collapsed, Brigade II revolted in 1918 and gained Sikorski's support. He then began organizing Polish armed forces in Galicia that October and became a chief of staff to Major General Stanisław Puchalski (1867-1931) in the newly formed Second Republic of Poland (1918-1939). With the demise of Austria-Hungary, borders with Russia and the Ukraine were left unsettled. Soon after the Polish-Ukrainian War (1918-1919) and Polish-Soviet War (1919-1921) broke out. Sikorski served in Poland's recapture of neighboring districts in the newly founded but short-lived West Ukrainian People's Republic. Barely a year later, Poland and the Ukrainian People's Republic allied against the Soviet Union. Sikorski was promoted to brigadier general, took command of the 5th Army, and played a lead role in holding off a Russian invasion of Warsaw in 1920. Afterward General Piłsudski (1867-1935) nominated Sikorski for a chief of staff position as a major general in April 1921.
After the Polish-Soviet War, Piłsudski continued as Chief of State of Poland until the election of the Republic's first President, Gabriel Narutowicz on December 11, 1922. Narutowicz's presidency was only five days old when he was assassinated in Warsaw. Following the president's assassination, the Polish parliament appointed Sikorski as Prime Minister and Minister of Internal Affairs. He subsequently resettled in in the village of Parchanie, northwest of Warsaw. Sikorski served as Prime Minister for only five months and later held posts of Inspector General of the Infantry (1923-1924), Minister of Foreign Affairs (1924-1925), and commander of the Military Corps District VI in Lwów (1925-1928).
In May 1926, Piłsudski overthrew the president in a military coup, installed a new government, and became de facto dictator or Poland until his death in 1935. Sikorski remained neutral during the coup but later joined the anti-Piłsudski opposition and was dismissed from his posts and tranferred to the reserves in 1928.
World War II
Sikorski was unable to hold off the German invasion in 1939 and fled to Paris where he established the Polish government-in-exile where he served as both Commander-in-Chief and Prime Minister. Throughout World War II he tried to organize the Polish Army and continually negotiated with Churchill and Roosevelt to circumvent any appeasement deals between the Allies, Russia, and Germany which would come at Poland's expense. On July 4, 1943, General Sikorski was killed along with his only daughter in a suspicious plane crash at Gibraltar.
General Władysław Sikorski was buried on August 16, 1943, in Newark, about 150 km north of London.
Helena (Zubczewska) Sikorska remained in the United Kingdom. She died in Surry on February 1, 1972, one day short of her 84th birthday. She was buried on July 8, 1972, with her parents in Zakopane, near the southern Polish border with Slovakia.
Fifty years after his death, on September 17, 1993, Władysław's remains were repatriated and placed Wawel Cathedral in Kraków, along side Polish royalty and heros including Marshal Józef Piłsudski.
Zofia Wanda (SIKORSKA) LEŚNIOWSKA5 (1912-1943)
11631. Zofia Wanda Sikorska5 was born on March 2, 1912, the daughter of General Władysław Sikorski, Commander-in-Chief and Prime Minister of the Polish government-in-exile during World War II.
She served as the Chief of the Polish Women's Auxiliary, with the rank of lieutenant, during World War II and lost her husband, Lieutenant Stanisław Leśniowski, as "missing" early in the war.
Zofia was killed along with her father in a plane crash at Gibraltar on July 4, 1943. She was 31 years old. Her remains were never recovered.
Timeline and Excerpts about General Sikorski
from "Accident, The Death of General Sikorski"
by David Irving, 1967; DK 440.5 S55 Ir8
Following is a timeline of the modern history of Poland and General Władysław E. Sikorski's role in it. It shows the friction between Poland and Russia and the further difficulties created by the British desire to appease Russia and quickly end the war. It also shows the suspicious details of General Sikorski's fatal plane crash which give rise to the possibility that the crash was no accident. There are plenty of strange events, such as phone calls foretelling the accident that lead to the possibility of sabotage. The book, "Accident, The Death of General Sikorski," presents a possible assassination scenario which contends, if the crash was sabotage, that the British government removed General Sikorski because he disrupted negotiations between the British and Soviets by attempting to hold on to Poland's pre-war borders and to find more details on 10,000 troops that were executed by the Russians. The book also points out a significant fact in the sabotage scenario that tends to discredit the possibilty: the pilot of the ill-fated B-24C Liberator was chosen at the last minute by General Sikorski himself and would not have been a likely conspirator.
- 20 May 1881: Władysław E(ugeniusz) Sikorski, born in Tuszow, Narodowy, Poland.
- 29 Aug 1918: Lenin and Karakhan declare all previous treaties regarding the division of Poland as null and void. (Specifically the treaties of 1772, 1793, and 1795.)
- 1919: Russo-Polish War (1919-1921). Soviets occupy Vilna.
- 8 Dec 1919: Lord Curzon of Great Britain proposes the Curzon Line (roughly the modern eastern border of Poland).
- Apr-Oct 1920: The Soviets sweep through Poland but are held off by Sikorski's Fifth Army in Warsaw. Marshal Piłsudski counter attacks and regains 45% of Poland's territory.
- 18 Mar 1921: Treaty of Riga. Poland settles with the territory it regained and renounces all claims to the territory it lost.
- 1926-1930: Marshal Piłsudski serves as prime minister of Poland.
- 1935: Piłsudski dies.
- Aug/Sep 1939: Nazi Germany invades Poland.
- 17 Sep 1939: Russia invades Poland.
- 27 Sep 1939: Polish Army falls.
- 28 Sep 1939: Russo-German Pact divides Poland along the Narew, Bug, and San rivers.
- Sep 1939: Sikorski sets up a government-in-exile in Paris. Stanislov Mikolajczyk organizes an Underground Army in Poland.
- 26 Oct 1939: Britain begins making concession to the Soviets when Foreign Minister Lord Halifax reiterates that the Soviets rightfully border the Curzon Line of 1919.
- Apr 1940: The Soviets exterminate 10,000 Poles in the Katyn Forest.
- 22 Jun 1941: Nazi Germany breaks the Russo-German Pact and attacks the Soviet Union.
- Jun 1941: France falls and the Polish government flees to London.
- 30 Jun 1941: The Soviets reestablish relations with the Polish government-in-exile.
- 12 Aug 1941: The British propose the Atlantic Charter which states that no territorial claims will be established until the conclusion of the war. Both Poland and the Soviet Union sign.
- 14 Aug 1941: Sikorski meets Stalin in Moscow and begins forming a Polish Army on Russian soil under General Anders. Only two divisions were formed.
- Nov 1941: Polish communists parachute into German-occupied Poland to rebuild the Polish Communist Party in Warsaw.
- 6 Jan 1942: The Soviets begin to plan their border with Poland.
- 26 Jan 1942: Sikorski learns of the Soviet intention to reestablish the Curzon Line. Sikorski tells Churchill "...but that cannot be done without Polish consent..." and asks him to delay his planned meeting with Stalin until Germany penetrates further into Russia. Churchill reassures Sikorski that no post-war borders would be discussed but then advises Roosevelt that the Soviets should regain territory up to the Curzon Line. Roosevelt refuses to discuss post-war borders.
- Jan 1942: The Polish Foreign Minister reminds the Soviets that Polish soldiers that should have been freed by the Polish-Russian Agreement are still unaccounted for.
- 11 Mar 1942: Sikorski warns Churchill that he "...could not take it on his conscience..." to accept any British acceptance of Russian demands. Churchill advises Sikorski that since the Russians are the only ones succeeding that they will probably be able to chose their own borders. Furthermore, this would be more desirable than a Russo-German alliance.
- Mar 1942: While Sikorski is flying from Prestwick to Montreal, a British Wing Commander on board discovers that his sabotage device (for use if shot down over enemy territory), which he hid in his gas mask, is getting very hot. The officer conceals the device and attempts to dispose of it in the lavatory. The officer then concocts a story of sabotage to conceal his own stupidity.
- 26 May 1942: Anglo-Soviet Treaty grants concessions to the Soviets.
- 30 Nov 1942: On his third and final visit to America, both engines of his aircraft quit within seconds of lift off and 30 feet above the ground. Sikorski walks away with no injuries. Sabotage is considered a good possibility.
- 16 Jan 1943: While Churchill is in North Africa, the Soviets inform the Polish embassy that all citizens of the Soviet annexation of Poland are to be regarded as Soviet citizens. This action would posthumously make all exterminated Polish soldiers Soviet citizens.
- 4 Feb 1943: Sikorski: "The principles of the Atlantic Charter and the terms of the Treaty of Riga are alone valid in determining the eastern frontiers of Poland."
A Soviet rebuttle in Pravda states that the frontiers of 1 Sep 1939 are the valid boundary and the principle of the Atlantic Charter.
- 1 Mar 1943: Tass states that the Polish government in London will not recognize the "historic rights" of the Ukrainian and White Russian peoples to reunite with their Soviet "blood brothers". Even British Minister Lord Curzon "despite his hostility to the U.S.S.R." had recognized that Poland had no right to former Ukrainian and White Russian territories.
(At the time the Curzon Line was proposed the Russians refused it.)
- Mar 1943: Germans uncover approximately 10,000 executed Polish officers and soldiers in the Katyn Forest.
- 13 Apr 1943: Dr. Joseph Goebbel, Minister of German Propaganda, announces the finding of the buried soldiers on Berlin Radio.
- 17 Apr 1943: The Polish government requests that the International Red Cross investigate the burial mounds immediately but Churchill advises Sikorski not to push the issue since the Polish anti-Russian fervor may be viewed as pro-German.
- 26 Apr 1943: The Soviets sever diplomatic ties with the Polish government and begin to push Churchill to influence changes in the Polish government. Churchill assures Stalin there would be changes following Sikorski's return from the Middle East.
- 24 May 1943: Despite warnings, several Polish officials and Sikorski's only daughter, Madame Zofia Lesniowska, Chief of the Polish Women's Auxiliary, accompany Sikorski to the Middle East. Zofia went along to assist her father since he was suffering from a heart ailment.
The first night is spent at Gibraltar. Upon departing to Cairo, the Minister of Works, Karol Popiel, Mr. Mikolajczyk, and Deputy Minister of Defense General Modelski, all receive separate calls falsely reporting that Sikorski's plane had crashed on take off with no survivors.
- 3 Jul 1943: Sikorski requests that the pilot that flew him to Cairo, 1Lt Prchal, fly him back to Gibraltar in the same aircraft. Sikorski spends the night in the Government House on Gibraltar. The Soviet Ambassador had been scheduled to stay the night there but the governor of Gibraltar was a close friend of Sikorski's.
- 4 Jul 1943: After tours of Gibraltar and festivities, General Sikorski departs for London at 11:00pm. After reaching only 100 feet, the plane began a slow dive into the sea. Only the pilot survived. All others died or were presumed dead on impact at 11:06pm.
|1.||General Władysław Sikorski||Prime Minister and
Commander-in-Chief of Poland
|2.||Zofia Leśniowska||Chief of the Polish Women's Auxiliary|
|3.||Major General Tadeusz Klimecki||Chief of the Polish General Staff|
|4.||Colonel Andrzej Marecki||Chief of Operations Staff|
|5.||Lieutenant Jozef Ponikiewski||Naval A.D.C.|
|6.||Adam Kulakowski||Personal secretary to Sikorski|
|7.||Colonel Victor Cazalet||M.P., British Liason Officer|
|8.||Brigadier J.P. Whitely||M.P.|
|9.||Mr. W.H. Lock||(Never found, presumed dead)|
|10.||Mr. Pinder||Head of British Intelligence Service in the Middle East
(his position was never revealed to General Sikorski)
|11.||Bombardier Gralewski||(Joined the party at Gibraltar)|
|1.||1Lt Edward Maks Prchal||Captain/1st Pilot|
|2.||Squadron Leader W.S. Herring||2nd Pilot (never found)|
|3.||Warrant Officer L. Zalsberg||Navigator|
|4.||Sergeant F. Kelly||Flight Engineer|
|5.||Flight Sergeant C.B. Gerrie||Radio Operator/Air Gunner|
|6.||Flight Sergeant D. Hunder||Radio Operator/Air Gunner