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Family History of
General Władysław E. SIKORSKI

March 2012

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. Kopaszyna Coat of ArmsThis 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.

Surname Gender
Note that per Polish naming conventions, females frequently take the feminine "-ska" suffix rather than the masculine "-ski" suffix. As such, when in doubt, maiden names that were used back in Poland are here listed with the female suffix. Ladies born in the U.S. will follow the American practice of simply taking the father's surname without changing the suffix unless I see the female suffix used in records.

Andrzej SIKORSKI1 (1758-1847)

1. Andrzej Sikorski1 is the first known ancestor, the great-grandfather, of General Władysław Sikorski. He was born in 1758. Andrzej is held to have had at least one son:

11. Jakub Sikorski2 1807 1852 (45)
"Second Polish War"

Napoleon created the Duchy of Warsaw from Prussian-held lands upon signing the Treaty of Tilsit (1807), which ended France's war with the Prussian and Russian empires, and under a new French-Russian alliance pitted Russia against the British Empire in the Anglo-Russian War (1807-1812). Once Napoleon defeated Austria, he invaded Russia (1812-1813) and branded it the "Second Polish War" against Russia to gain Polish support. If other references to the general's lineage hold true, it was likely Andrzej who took part in Napoleon's failed campaign against Russia (1812-1813).

Kopaszyna Coat of Arms 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:

111. Wojciech Sikorski --  --  -- 
112. Maria Sikorska --  --  -- 
113. Jan Sikorski --  --  -- 
114. Roman Sikorski --  --  -- 
115. Apolonia Sikorska --  --  -- 
116. Tomasz Sikorski3 20 May 1852 10 Dec 1885 (33)

Jakub Sikorski died in 1852, at about the age of 45 years.

Warsaw Uprising, 1830-1831
After Napoleon's defeat in Russia, Russia and Prussia partitioned Poland, with the east and southern regions coming under Russian influence, and the west and northern regions ceded to Prussia. The "Congress Kingdom of Poland," with Russian Tsar Nicholas I as its king, was established in 1815 with a certain measure of sovereignty, but its deterioration led to the November Warsaw Uprising (1830-1831). General Sikorski's ancestor (perhaps Jakub) is said to have participated in that uprising. After nearly a year's war with Russia, the defeated Polish army crossed into Prussia and surrendered to the Prussians rather than the Russians, thus ending the uprising and ceding all Polish sovereignty to Russia. During World War I, "Congress Poland" was overrun by the Central Powers in 1915 and replaced by the German puppet "Kingdom of Poland" in 1916.

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)

General Władysław SIKORSKI 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)
According to family tradition, General Sikorski was Blanche Sikorski's uncle (unknown if on father's or mother's side). However, the inability to correlate Blanche's parents with any of the General's three known siblings makes this unlikely. Regardless, Blanche's keen interest in collecting newspaper articles along with family photos suggests a likely familial relationship, although undiscernible at this time.

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.

Tuszów Narodowy and Mielec

Tuszów Narodowy and Mielec are located in the region historically known as Galicia, which was then part of the Austrian Empire and is now divided between Poland and the Ukraine. The Polish half consists of the two southern Polish administrative districts of Tuszów and the Subcarpathian administrative district of Podkarpackie. Tuszów obviously is located in the Tuszów administrative district and Mielec, Hyżne, and Rzeszów now lie in the Subcarpathian administrative district. The region lies up the Wisła (Vistula) River from Warsaw about 70 miles (110 km) before getting to Kraków.

Galicia is also referred to as "Lesser Poland," which distinguishes it from "Greater Poland" ("Wielkopolska") in central Poland. Depending on period of history, "Lesser Poland" roughly equates to the southeastern third (four southeastern administrative districts) of modern Poland or all of Polish-Ukrainian Galicia.

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.

Southern Poland

World War I and the Second Republic of Poland

May 2010

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, CHURCHILL, and DE GAULLE 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)

Zofia (SIKORSKA) LESNIOWSKA 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.

B-24C Liberator AL523
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
(never found)