12 Most Famous Polish People
Poland is a country which born some great people. Let's see the most Famous Poles? I am sure you even didn't realize they are all Polish. A lot of people still believe that Frederick Chopin is French, but this is wrong. Maybe his body is in France, but his heart is in Warsaw for a reason.
Famous Poles (History & Recent)
You can't even imagine that some of those were Polish
I am living in Poland since 2014, but before I met my wife, Poland was a completely unknown country for me.
Slowly I am learning the history of Poland, and I am surprised to find out that all those names are famous Polish people.
The list contains famous Poles out of different fields.
READ ALSO: How to Plan a DIY Trip to Poland
1. Mikołaj Kopernik - Nicolaus Copernicus
Everyone knows the famous mathematician and astronomer Copernicus.
Did you know that he was Polish? and born in Toruń, one of the most beautiful cities in Poland?
Nearly every city has a statue of Nicolaus Copernicus and Poland is really proud of him and in Warsaw, one of the most famous museums has his name.
He formulated a model of the universe that placed the Sun rather than Earth at the center of the universe, in all likelihood independently of Aristarchus of Samos, who had formulated such a model some eighteen centuries earlier
Nicolaus Copernicus was born on 19 February 1473 in the city of Toruń (Thorn), in the province of Royal Prussia, in the Crown of the Kingdom of Poland.
Toward the close of 1542, Copernicus was seized with apoplexy and paralysis, and he died at age 70 on 24 May 1543.
There was even banknote with the head of Mikolaj Kopernik (1000 Złotych).
2. Frederick Chopin
Yes, it might be a surprise for you, especially if you never visited Warsaw and you have already been to Paris.
Frederick Chopin, born in Zelazowa Wola, which is a small village very close to Warsaw.
He moved just after he born and lived half of his life in Warsaw and then the other half of his life in France.
He always wanted to return to Poland, but unfortunately, he was not able.
In the last moments of his life, he asked that his heart be transferred to Warsaw, so his body is in France and his heart in Poland.
He was one of the greatest composers and one of the greatest pianist players.
He died on the 17th of October in 1849 and buried in the cemetery of Père-Lachaise in Paris.
Especially in Warsaw, Frederick Chopin is like a symbol and you can find his footsteps in every corner of the city.
If you are a fan of F. Chopin, maybe you can enjoy a Frederick Chopin Tour in Warsaw and Zelazowa Wola.
READ ALSO: All You Need to Know About Warsaw
3. Pope John Paul II
He might be the most famous Polish person around the world.
Karol Józef Wojtyła, was born in the Polish town of Wadowice, 50 kilometers southwest of Krakow.
He was elected pope by the second papal conclave of 1978, which was called after Pope John Paul I, died after just 33 days.
During his papacy (16 October 1978 - 2 April 2005) is recognized as helping to end Communist rule in his native Poland and eventually all of Europe.
John Paul II significantly improved the Catholic Church's relations with Judaism, Islam, and the Eastern Orthodox Church.
4. John III Sobieski (1629 - 1696)
Every person living in Europe should know about this great King of Poland.
Born into Polish nobility, Sobieski was educated at the Jagiellonian University (Krakow) and toured western Europe in his youth.
Sobieski demonstrated his military prowess during the war against the Ottoman Empire and established himself as a leading figure in Poland and Lithuania.
By Andreas Stech «pinakoteka.zascianek.pl» - Source
His greatest success came in 1683 with the great victory at the Battle of Vienna against the Ottoman Turks who were invading Europe.
On the 12th of September, with the Ottoman army (143,000 Turks) close to breaching the walls, Sobieski ordered a full attack.
The Polish-German army of around 70,000 soldiers, attacked the Turkish force.
Around 5 pm, after observing the battle, Sobiecki led the Polish husaria cavalry along with Austrians and Germans in a massive charge down the hill.
Finally, around 5:30 pm, Sobieski entered the deserted tent of Kara Mustafa, and the Battle of Vienna ended.
The Pope and other foreign dignitaries hailed Sobieski as the «Savior of Vienna and Western European civilization.»
In a letter to his wife, he wrote, «All the common people kissed my hands, my feet, my clothes; others only touched me, saying: 'Ah, let us kiss so valiant a hand!' »
The victory in the Battle of Vienna was so important that many historians believe that the attack on the 11th of September of 2001 is connected to the date of the Battle.
Source - Read More: John_III_Sobieski
5. Maria Skłodowska-Curie
Maria Salomea Skłodowska-Curie born on November 7, 1867, in Warsaw and died on July 4, 1934, in France.
Something very interesting is that In 1891, Maria Skłodowska left the Polish Kingdom for Paris to study at the Sorbonne.
The reason was that in the nineteenth-century, women could not study in Poland, so she developed her scientific career there.
By nieznany - Source
She was awarded the Nobel Prize for the first time in 1903 - in physics, with her husband Pierre Curie and Henri Becquerel for research into the phenomenon of radioactivity discovered by Becquerel.
It was awarded for the second time in 1911 - for chemistry, for the discovery of polonium and radium, the isolation of pure radium, and the study of the chemical properties of radioactive elements.
6. Robert Lewandowski
We do not have to make any special introductions to the greatest and most famous Polish football player.
You can see him in TV advertisements and also in street posters around the city.
Enjoy Lewandowski - 5 goals in only 9 minutes. I remember in this game a friend saying:
«He scored 5 goals in only 9 minutes and I am still looking the remote control to switch on the TV».
The only sure is that we all know that Lewandowski is indeed the most famous Polish football player in the world.
7. Wisława Szymborska
Ok ok, the name is 100% Polish without any doubt. She born on the 2nd of July in 1923 and she died 1st of February, 2012.
She was a poet, essayist, and translator which awarded for the Nobel Prize in Literature during 1996.
When World War II broke out in 1939, she continued her education in underground classes.
From 1943, she worked as a railroad employee and managed to avoid being deported to Germany.
During this time, her career as an artist began with illustrations for an English-language textbook, writing stories, and occasional poems.
Surrounded by friends and relatives, Szymborska died peacefully of lung cancer in her sleep at home in Kraków in 2012, aged 88.
READ ALSO: The Best of Krakow and Important Travel Info
8. Roman Polański
Who doesn't know the famous Polish-French film director, producer, writer and actor.
Born in France on the 18th of August, 1933, but they moved back to Poland (Krakow) in 1937.
Just 2 years after moving back to Poland, World War II started and Poland was invaded by the Nazis, causing the Polanskis trapped in the Krakow Ghetto.
After his mother and father were taken in raids, Polanski spent his formative years in foster homes, trying to survive the Holocaust.
He made his first film in 1962 in Poland (Knife in the Water) and was nominated for a United States Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.
It won France's César Awards for Best Picture and Best Director and received three Oscars.
He later produced and directed «The Pianist» (2002), a drama about a Polish-Jewish musician escaping Nazi persecution.
The film won three Academy Awards including Best Director, along with numerous international awards.
9. Irena Sendler
The woman Hero who saved several thousand Jewish children during the Holocaust.
Irena Sendler 1943 - Source
Irena Stanisława Sendler also known as Sendlerowa, born on 15 February 1910 in Warsaw.
Polish humanitarian, social worker, and nurse who served in the Polish Underground Resistance during World War II in German-occupied Warsaw.
During the war, she pursued conspiratorial activities, such as rescuing Jews.
Sendler participated, with dozens of others, in smuggling Jewish children out of the Warsaw Ghetto and then providing them with false identity documents and shelter with willing Polish families or in orphanages and other care facilities.
10. Helena Rubinstein (Chaja)
Helena is one of the most famous Polish-American businesswomen in the world and she born in Krakow 25 of December in 1872.
For those who have no idea who she is, mostly I guess men, she is the founder and eponym of Helena Rubinstein Incorporated cosmetics company.
This made her one of the world's richest women.
Helena Rubinstein by Paul César Helleu (1859-1927) - Source
What is important to note, is that she emigrated from Poland to Australia in 1896, with no money and little English.
Her stylish clothes and milky complexion did not pass unnoticed among the town's ladies, however, and she soon found enthusiastic buyers for the jars of beauty cream in her luggage.
Except for being a businesswoman, she is also a well-known art collector, and philanthropist.
Finally, at the outbreak of World War I, she and her husband Titus moved to New York City, where she opened a cosmetics salon in 1915, the forerunner of a chain throughout the country.
Chaja died in Manhattan, New York the 1st of April, 1965.
11. Miroslav Klose
I am not expecting many women to know this very famous Polish football player, but at least the majority of the guys should know about him.
Yes, the majority of people know this «German» football player who he was part of the German National Team that won the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
Klose is the men's top goalscorer of the FIFA World Cup with 16 goals, having scored five goals in his debut World Cup in 2002.
He also won the Golden Boot at the 2006 World Cup in Germany by again scoring five times.
He also scored four times in the 2010 World Cup and twice at the 2014 World Cup, the latter tournament where he overtook Ronaldo's then-record of 15 goals to top the all-time list.
Guess what. Klose was born in June of 1978 in Opole, Poland with both parents being athletes.
Before leaving communist Poland in 1978 to play for French club Auxerre.
Josef Klose was an Aussiedler whose family had remained behind when Silesia was awarded to Poland after World War II and decided to bring his family to Germany.
12. Daniel Fahrenheit
Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit (1686 - 1736), was a physicist, inventor, and scientific instrument maker.
Fahrenheit's inventions ushered in the first revolution in the history of thermometry (branch of physics concerned with methods of temperature measurement).
Daniel invented the mercury-in-glass thermometer for the measurement of room temperature.
He also invented the Fahrenheit scale, which uses the degree Fahrenheit (symbol: °F) as the unit.
Fahrenheit was born in Danzig (Gdańsk), then in the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, but lived most of his life in the Dutch Republic.
Let us explain the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. Formally, the Crown of the Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania.
After 1791, the Commonwealth of Poland – was a dual state, a bi-confederation of Poland and Lithuania.
Source and Read More: Daniel_Gabriel_Fahrenheit
What's Your Favorite Famous Pole?
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Hope you Enjoy the List of the Most Famous Polish People!
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