Famous Gdańsk inhabitants

Ostatnia aktualizacja: 10 maja 2017 r.

Lech Badkowski

Writer, journalist, political activist. Born 24 January 1920 in Torun into a family of a Polish clerk, died 24 February 1984 in Gdansk. He attended a secondary school in Torun. Participated in the Battle of the Bzura in September 1939. In January 1940 he worked his way through Hungary to France. As a soldier of Polish Independent Highland Brigade he fought in the Battles of Narvik in Norway and in the Polish Navy on the Atlantic Ocean and on the Mediterranean Sea. Demobilized, returned to Poland in 1946. Initially he lived in Gdynia and in 1951 settled down in Gdansk. In 1949 he graduated from the Higher School of Marine Trade in Sopot and two years later from the University of Lodz with a degree in law. From 1946 worked for a local press and in 1954-1956 acted as a literary manger in the Miniatura Theatre in Gdansk. In 1953 Lech Badkowski joined the Association of Polish Writers and in 1957-1966 acted as a chairman of its branch in Gdansk. He was a member of the Kashubian-Pomeranian Association founded in 1956 and co-author of its ideological programme. Lech Badkowski was an author of numerous articles, reportages, essays, novels and plays dedicated to an ancient and current history of Gdansk Pomerania. He never accepted the communist regime in Poland and protested against changes introduced into the Constitution of the People's Republic of Poland in 1975. He was victim of political harassment. In August 1980 he was active as a member of the Strike Coordination Committee in the Gdansk Shipyard. He was a co-author of the August Agreements in Gdansk and co-founder of the Independent Self-governing Trade Union "Solidarity", as well as its first spokesman. Under his editorship, in November 1980, a weekly magazine "Self-governance" started to be published. It was suspended during the Martial law. Lech Badkowski died after suffering from a serious illness and is buried on the Srebrzysko cemetery. His funeral was a great antigovernment manifestation of the entire local opposition. In December 2000 he was posthumously awarded a title of the Honourable Citizen of Gdansk. Since 1986 he is a patron of the prize in Literature of the Kashubian-Pomeranian Association.

Abraham van den Block
Izaak van den Block

Outstanding artists coming from a family deriving from Flanders. Sons of Wilhelm, well known Flemish sculptor who was active in Krolewiec, Poland and Gdansk and a mother Dorota, nee Wolff.
Abraham was presumably the oldest from seven children of Dorota and Wilhelm. He was born in 1572 in Krolewiec (according to some historians in 1571), died 31 January 1628 in Gdansk. Sculptor and an architect. From 1584 together with his father and brothers he lived in Gdansk. He started to learn a sculptor profession in his father's workshop and continued it in 1590-1595 in the Netherlands. In 1596 he was awarded a citizenship of Gdansk, in 1597 became a master, and one year later established his own workshop near a gateway at Dluga street. In 1598-1611 he made a stone altar in St. John's church (preserved). In 1611 he became a municipal architect. In 1612-1614, following his own project, he erected the Golden Gate, made a front elevation of the Artus' Court (1616-1617), built the Golden Tenement House (1609), in 1606-1613 he made elements for the Neptune's well and on the Olowianka Island he built a granary for a king Zygmunt III Waza, called the Royal Granary. Author of tombstones and epitaphs in St. Mary's church in Gdansk, a tombstone of Justyna and Szymon Bahr (1614-1620), tombstones in churches in Lowicz, Chelm, Gniezno, Wloclawek. Abraham v. den Block created unique works. He introduced a new type of epitaph with an emphasis on a dead person portrait. As a talented sculptor he was also active as an architect creating monumental works.
Izaak van den Block. Painter. He was born after 1572 and died 28 January 1626. A son of a sculptor Wilhelm, a brother of a sculptor and an architect, Abraham. Presumably a student of Hans Vredeman de Vries and Anton Moller. In 1606-1608 painted 25 canvas pictures of different size for a ceiling of the Big Hall of the Council in the Hall of the Main City. It was the biggest work of Izaak van den Block contributing to his deserved fame. He also painted allegorical pictures in the Winter Hall in the Hall of the Main City (out of five pictures survived only one - "Punishment and a prize") as well as four pictures of a biblical coverage (series of biblical deluge and "the Construction of the Babel Tower" - preserved) in Kamlaria Hall, also in the Hall of the Main City. Izaak van den Block was engaged in the decoration of tenement houses in Gdansk. In 1611 he painted three pictures for the main altar in St. Catherine's church in Gdansk, as well as one picture for the Artus' Court, "the Diana's hunt". He was a co-founder of Gdansk painters guild in 1612 and a senior of this organization in 1622. Izaak van den Block was one of the most remarkable painter artists working in Gdansk in the first quarter of XVII century satisfying the most important needs of the city in this field.

Jan (Giovanni) Bernard Bonifacio

Marquis of Oria, bibliophile. Born 10 April 1517 in Naples, died 24 March 1597 in Gdansk. Italian, deriving from an old Neapolitan aristocratic clan. After his father's death in 1536 he inherited his goods and a title. Never married. He dedicated himself to studies of Protestantism issues. Amateur of books, gathered a precious library. As an ardent reformation believer he had to leave his country in 1557 to avoid persecution. He traveled to centers of dissident movement within the whole Europe. He lived in Krakow and in Lithuania (6 years). In summer 1591 he traveled by sea from England to Gdansk together with his library. The ship run aground near Wisloujscie and sank. The rescued part of the library, approximately 1160 books, J. B. Bonifacio gave to the Gdansk City Council in return for a permanent settlement in the building of the Gdansk Gymnasium where he died in 1597. The collection of books donated to Gdansk by a blind marquis became a foundation of the Gdansk Senate Library (the City Council Library), inheritor of which at present is the Gdansk Library of the Polish Academy of Sciences.

Daniel Chodowiecki


Drawer, graphic artist, painter. Born 26 October 1726 in Gdansk, died 7 February 1801 in Berlin. His father was a cereal merchant Gottfried, deriving from the Wielkopolska nobility (the region of Greater Poland) and a mother, Marie Henriette, a daughter of a goldsmith from Lipsk and a French Huguenot. Destined by his parents to become a merchant he learnt the profession in Gdansk and Berlin. Artistically talented, he learnt miniature painting in Berlin (1743). He gave up the profession of a merchant and dedicated himself to the art, achieving fame in Europe as a very talented and prolific drawer and a graphic artist. He specialized in miniature realistic scenes and portraits. These days well known are two thousand of his works, stored in museums and private collections. In 1797 Daniel Chodowiecki was appointed a director of the Academy of Fine Arts in Berlin. He lived and worked in Berlin. Frequently traveled. He visited Gdansk in 1773 and in 1780. He left a diary and a repeatedly published album of his drawings from the trip to his home town in 1773. Daniel Chodowiecki kept consciousness of his Polish origin which is distinctly confirmed in his correspondence. He comes under the artists whose Gdansk had given to countries abroad. In the best manner he expressed himself through small drawings, indicating independent observation, accurate capture of situation and its exact reconstruction.

Jan Dantyszek
(von Hoefen, de Curiis, Dantiscus, Lindesmon)


Diplomat, poet, bishop of Chelmno and . Born 1 November 1485 in Gdansk, died 27 October 1548 in Lidzbark Warminski. Grandson of a Gdansk ropemaker and a son of a minor Gdansk merchant. He attended a parish school in Grudziadz. Studied first in Gryfia and from 1500 in Krakow on the art faculty. From 1504 he worked as a secretary of king Aleksander Jagiellonczyk and an expert for Prussian matters, followed by a diplomatic service for king Zygmunt I Stary (Sigismund I the Old). He made many journeys and diplomatic missions to Western Europe countries. Participated in monarch conventions in 1515 in Bratislava and Vienna. He led to paying the homage to Polish king Sigismund I the Old by Grand Master of the, Albrecht Hohenzollern (Prussian homage) in 1525 in Krakow. In 1532 he took holly orders. However, his ecclesiastical career started earlier. In 1521 he received from the king a presbytery in Golab and in 1523 a presbytery of St. Mary's church in Gdansk. In 1533 he became a bishop of Chelmno and in 1537, until his death, was a bishop of Warmia. He is buried in the Frombork Cathedral. Jan Dantyszek was an outstanding poet of the Renaissance and an author of many poems. He propagated apotheosis of Jagiellonian Poland, defended its interests and sharply attacked its opponents, mainly the Teutonic Knights and Germans.

Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit


Physicist. Born in May 1686 in Gdansk, died 16 September 1736 in the Netherlands. He was descended from a merchant's family. Educated in Gdansk. In 1701, after his parents' death, he was sent to Amsterdam to learn a profession of a merchant. Privately studied there physics and carried out experiments with devices for measuring temperature and atmospheric pressure. In Gdansk stayed shortly in 1710 and in 1712 when together with a professor of the Gdansk Gymnasium Pawel Pater, carried out experiments on the construction of temperature and pressure meters. He continued the experiments in 1714 in Dresden working in glassworks. Around 1715, as a first person in the world used mercury in thermometers. In 1724, in a periodical of the Royal Society in London he published results of his studies on the new construction of thermometer, barometer and aerometer (meter of the density of the liquid), which he carried out for many years. He was also a member of this very important in Europe society. In 1721 he discovered phenomenon of water cooling and he found dependence between the temperature of boiling water and the pressure. The thermometer with a scale invented by Fahrenheit is used until today in Anglo-Saxon countries.

Daniel Gralath

Mayor, burgrave, scientist. Born 30 May 1708 in Gdansk, died 23 July 1767 in Gdansk. From 1724 he attended the Gdansk Gymnasium and from 1728 studied nature science and physics at universities in Halle and Marburg. In 1734 returned to Gdansk. Carried out studies on electricity and published works from this scope. As the first person in the world he explained the way a leyden jars work and measured the strength of interaction between charged electrodes. Co-founder of the Gdansk Research Society in 1743. From 1754 worked in the administration of the city of Gdansk. In 1754-1758 a juror in a city court, a councilor in 1758, in 1763-1767 a Mayor of Gdansk. Royal burgrave (a king's representative in Gdansk) in 1762. He initiated and partially financed establishment of a linden avenue between Gdansk and Wrzeszcz (1767-1769), completed after his death.

Günther Grass


Writer, graphic artist, journalist, musician. He was born 16 October 1927 in Gdansk in a family of German-Kashubian origin. He attended schools in Wrzeszcz where his family lived - at present 13 Lelewela street. At the end of the Second World War he was conscripted into the German army. For a short period of time he was in American captivity. After the war he worked in Germany as a farm worker, a miner and a jazz musician. He studied sculpture in the Academy of Fine Arts in Duesseldorf. The first his novel "The Tin Drum" was published in 1959 and won numerous German and international prizes. It was translated to many languages. Further novels strengthened his international fame. The plot of most of them takes place in his home town Gdansk. Also to this city is connected the last his writing "Crabwalk", dedicated mainly to a tragedy of a ship Wilhelm Gustloff, sank by Russians in January 1945. Apart from literary works Grass also creates artistic works. Very popular became his series of drawings "Calcuta" created as a result of his trip to India. Grass' works reached Poland with a significant delay. Guenther Grass is the Doctor Honoris Causa of the University of Gdansk and since 1993 the Honourable Citizen of Gdansk. In 1999 he won the Nobel Prize in Literature.

Jan Heweliusz (Johannes Hevelius)


Born 28 January 1611 in Gdansk, died 28 January 1687 in Gdansk. ActuallyJohann Hewelke (Hevelke). He was descended from a family of a Czech origin, for many years engaged in the brewing of beer. From 1618 he attended the Gdansk Gymnasium and privately took math lessons with Piotr Kruger. From 1618 he studied law at the university in Leiden (the Netherlands) In 1631-1634 he lived in England and France and studied mathematics, astronomy and drawing. He participated in astronomical observations and scientific disputes, as well as learnt techniques of construction of a sundial and instruments for sky observation. From 1634 until the end of his life he stayed in Gdansk. The owner of Gdansk breweries. In 1641-1651 a juror in the Old City Court and in 1651-1687 a councilor of the Old City. For many years he carried out astronomical observations from an observatory located on a roof of his own tenement houses at Korzenna street. He corresponded with scientists from the whole Europe. His friends and protectors were Polish kings John II Casimir and John III Sobieski. They visited the astronomer and participated in astronomical demonstrations. One of the newly discovered constellation Hevelius called "Sobieski's Shield". In 1664 he became a member of the Royal Society in London. He constructed and built many unique devices for astronomical observations, familiar to us from illustrations included in his works. He printed his works in his own print shop, illustrations and drawings were made by well known painters and graphic artists working in Gdansk and some of them were made by Hevelius himself. A grave and an epitaph of a great astronomer are placed in St. Catherine's church.

Jacob Kabrun


Merchant. Born 9 January 1759 in Gdansk, died 24 October 1814 in Gdansk. Rich cereal merchant from a family of Scottish descent settled down for a long time in Gdansk. Collector of pictures. While traveling around Europe he gathered a great collection of pictures and engravings mostly from XVII and XVIII centuries. In 1799 he initiated and financed construction of the Gdansk City Theatre (1799 - 1801), entire cost of which was 90,000 then marks in gold. Before his death he gave the magnificent collection to his home town. According to an inventory from 1856 it consisted of 349 paintings, 1950 watercolours, approximately 7,000 copperplates and 1742 drawings. They constituted a majority of the collection of the City Museum founded in 1870. He also donated to Gdansk 100,000 thalers for establishing and maintaining the Academy of Trade - a high school educating young people in merchant and trader professions. It was established in 1832 at 10 Ogarna street.

Blessed priest Bronislaw Komorowski

Priest of the Roman Catholic church. Born 25 May 1889 in Barlozno near Stargard Gdanski. Murdered 22 March 1940 in a forest near Stutthof. He attended Collegium Marianum in Pelplin and Chelm. He graduated from a seminary in Pelplin and in March 1914 took holy orders. In 1915-1924 he acted as a vicar in St. Nicholas' church in Gdansk. From 1915 he actively promoted patriotic awareness within local Polish community. In 1919 he strove for the annexation of Gdansk to Poland. In 1921-1922 he was a co-organiser of the Polish Commune, Macierz Szkolna (the School Matrix, educational association) and the Polish Gymnasium in the Free City of Gdansk. He strove for an establishment of Polish church in the Free City of Gdansk. Together with a group of church members he converted an old military riding school at present Legiony avenue in Wrzeszcz into a church. The St. Stanislaw the Bishop's church was blessed in May 1952 where priest Bronislaw Komorowski, its rector, carried out cultural and educational activities. He was still active within many Polish organizations in the Free City of Gdansk, supported Polish educational system and catholic youth organizations. For this activity he was arrested by Nazis in the morning of 1st September 1939. He was kept in a well known Victoriaschule (the School of Victoria) at Kladka street in Gdansk, where he was beaten and abused. In the end he was placed in the newly formed camp of mass destruction in Stutthof, near Gdansk. He was accompanied by Gdansk priests Fr. Rogaczewski and M. Gorecki, as well as other priests from the Pomerania region. Among other prisoners he found many of his parishioners and friends from Polish organizations in the Free City of Gdansk. He was sentenced to death and shot together with other leading Polish activists from the territory of the Free City of Gdansk on Good Friday, 22 March 1940 in a forest near Stutthof. Ashes of the victims were exhumed in 1947 and buried on the Cemetary of the Victims of Fascism in Gdansk Zaspa. Beatification of priest B. Komorowski and 107 of his brothers and sisters, the victims of German terror, pope John Paul II announced during a mass in Warsaw on 13 June 1999.

Franciszek Kubacz

Doctor, politician, social activist. Born 17 May 1868 in Nowy Zielen, near Dzialdowo, died 14 January 1933 in Gdansk. He attended a gymnasium in Koronowo and studied medicine in Wurzburg and Rostock, where he did his PhD degree. He lived in Gdansk form 1892 where he run a private doctor's practice. During his school and studies he was active in Polish organisations. Repeatedly he was appointed a chairman of the Educational Association "Ogniwo" ("Link") in Gdansk. In 1907-1912 he led the Polish Election Committee to the German Parliament on the territory of Gdansk. In 1918 he actively participated in attempts to annex Gdansk to Poland. Although these attempts were crowned with no success and Gdansk and its district became the Free City of Gdansk, the position of the social activist was already strengthened. He was co-founder and the first chairman of the Polish Commune and Macierz Szkolna (the School Matrix, educational association) in Gdansk. After 1927 he retired from the public life and carried out his private doctor's practice. Franciszek Kubacz is a man of merit, a freedom fighter and a social activist in the end of XIX and the first quarter of XX centuries. For his activities he was decorated with the Order of Polonia Restituta (the Order of Poland Reborn) At presence, the grave of Franciszek Kubacz can be found at the cemetery in Gdansk Zaspa.

Antoni Lendzion

Tailor, political activist. Born 10 July 1888 in Samplawa near Lubawa, murdered in Stutthof 22 March 1940. His father, who he lost in a childhood, was a raftsman. He attended primary and vocational schools in Torun. Then, he worked as a tailor journeyman. He came to Gdansk in 1908 and established his own workshop. He joint Polish cultural and educational organisations and trade unions in the city. For many years he acted as a chairman of a branch of the Polish Trade Unions. The First World War he spent in German army. From November 1918 he was an activist of the Polish Soldiers Council in Gdansk and after the formation of the Free City of Gdansk (1920) a leading political, social and trade union activist of Polish colony in Gdansk. Three times he was a Polish deputy in Volkstag, the parliament of the Free City of Gdansk (1927-1939) and a vice-chairman of the Polish Council (1928-1937). He was arrested on 1st September 1939 and put by Nazis in the camp of mass destruction in Stutthof, shot on Good Friday, 22 March 1940 in a forest near the camp. In in 1947 ashes of the victims were exhumed and buried on the Cemetery of the Victims of Fascism in Gdansk Zaspa.

Gottfried Lengnich


Lawyer, historian. Born 4 December 1689 in Gdansk, died 28 April 1774 in Gdansk. He learnt Polish language at school in Gniew, then from 1702 and again from 1707 a pupil of the Gdansk Gymnasium. In 1710-1713 he studied law at university in Halle completed with a PhD degree. In 1729-1749 worked as a professor of pronunciation and poetry at the Gdansk Gymnasium and in 1749-1750 as a professor of law and history. In 1750-1774 syndic of the city of Gdansk. In 1737 he was a teacher of Stanislaw Poniatowski's sons, the Voivode of Masovia, including a future king Stanislaw II August Poniatowski. He was an outstanding expert of history of Poland and the Royal Prussia, the Polish law and the local law of Gdansk and an author of several dozen of science works in these fields. He initiated an establishment of the Society of Literature ("Societas Litteraria") Historians call him "the first prominent historian of he Age of Enlightenment in Poland".

Anton Möller

Artist painter. Born in 1563 in Krolewiec, died 1 February 1611 in Gdansk. He settled down in Gdansk around 1586. Möller was an excellent, called by others "a painter of Gdansk". Enchanted by the architecture of the city which was in its highest prosperity, he immortalised in his pictures the most beautiful buildings and the most charming fragments. He presented the evangelical parable "Rent penny" with the Long Market street in the background (1601, the picture can be seen in the City Hall) The place of action of another painting, showing St. Peter finding a coin in fish's mouth, he connected with the Long Quayside (vanished in 1945). The Gdansk panorama painted to the City Council order was given to the Republic of Venice as a token of gratitude for the commercial privileges. His interests were not limited only to the architecture circle. He was fascinated by the whole life in those days. In his works are scenes showing full of dignity patricians and rich merchants, silhouettes of middle class females, entertainment, dance and music. He also painted many religious pictures, e.g. "the Acts of Mercy" (1607) and pictures for the main altar of St. Catherine's church. Considerable strength of influence had "the Last Judgment" from the Artus' Court (1602-1603). Moller's significant contribution to painting and Gdansk arts was the introduction of the real picture of the surrounding world together with its diversity of phenomenon and richness of human types.

Krzysztof Celestyn Mrongovius

Educator, scientist, pastor. Born 19 July 1764 in Olsztynek, died 3 June 1855 in Gdansk. From 1782 he studied theology and Polish philology at university in Krolewiec. After he graduated he worked as a Polish language teacher at school in Krolewiec. In 1798 he took holy orders in the Protestant Church what enabled him to perform a function of a Polish preacher in St. Anna's chapel at the Trinity church in Gdansk, as well as a position of a Polish language lecturer at the Academic Gymnasium. In 1812 he also started teaching Polish language at St. John's school. After its conversion into a higher civil school the Polish language classes became optional and in 1842 were completely eliminated. After his wife death (1820) he dedicated himself mainly to scientific works. He lived at present 19 Kladka street. Many times he stood up in defence of Polish matters and Polish language within Gdansk Pomerania. His petitions to the Prussian king in 1842 brought the Polish language, and Polish religious classes back to Pomeranian schools in 1844. He left a huge amount of scientific works and publications. Among others, he published in Polish: language church songs (1800), the Annals of Christian Sermons (1802), Sunday and holy gospels and lessons (1806), Polish language and Polish grammar textbooks (1805) and a big German-Polish dictionary (1823). He maintained contacts with Polish scientists in Warsaw and Poznan. He was buried in Gdansk, on the Salvatora cemetery (now nonexistent).

Arthur Schopenhauer


Philosopher. Born 22 February 1788 in Gdansk, died 20 September 1860 in Frankfurt am Main. Son of Joanna and Henryk Floris Schopenhauer. He was born in a house at 114 Sw. Duch street (Holy Ghost street) in Gdansk. In 1793 together with his parents he moved from Gdansk to Hamburg. Within the next few years he traveled with them throughout Europe. After his father's death in 1806 he learnt a merchant profession in Hamburg. However, soon after that he started to study medicine and nature studies in Gottingen and then classical philology in Berlin. He received his PhD degree in Jena in 1813 with a work "On the Fourfold Root of the Principle of Sufficient Reason"(Polish edition 1904) In 1819 he published his first work Die Welt als Wille und Vorstellung (The World as Will and Representation), on the basis of which he habilitated in Berlin. He worked there as an assistant professor at the university and continued his study and philosophical analysis. Fought by adherents of Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel in 1831 he resigned from working at university and moved to Frankfurt am Main. He worked independently as a scientist there until the end of his life. Successive works brought him a fame and recognition. His philosophy had a great influence on German society during their battle for a democratic country (the Spring of Nations 1848 - 1849). Arthur Schopehauer as a philosopher and a great thinker proclaimed a historical programme and presented extremely pessimistic views. In his works he considered problems and issues of freedom, as well as responsibility of moral individual and moral evil. He also analysed discrepancy between reality and moral ideals. His philosophy had an impact on formation of personality and views of Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche, an outstanding German philosopher of the second half of XIX century.

Johanna Henriette Schopenhauer

Writer. Born 9 July 1766 in Gdansk, died 16 April 1838 in Jena. She was born into a family of Gdansk merchant, Christian H. Trosiener at 81 Sw. Duch street (Holy Ghost street) She received an all-round education. In 1785 she married a rich merchant, Heinrich Floris Schopenhauer. She traveled with the husband around Europe, among others to England, Scotland and France. On the basis of these journeys she created interesting sketches. On the 22nd February 1788 in Gdansk she gave birth to her son Arthur and in 1797 in Hamburg to her daughter Adela. In March 1793 the Schopenhauer family, not willing to be a subject to the Prussian king (the second partition of Poland, the annexation of Gdansk to Prussia) moved to Hamburg and left Gdansk forever. In the next years the Schopehauers traveled a lot. After a tragic death of the husband in 1806 she settled down with her daughter in Weimar for 23 years and established well known in the whole Germany literary salon, a meeting place of people of culture from almost the whole Europe. She was a very good friend of Johann W. Goethe who also lived in Weimar. She was a polyglot, a person with a high culture and wide interests. She wrote novels, poems, and small literary works, resume reprinted many times. After she left Weimar in 1829 she stayed in Bonn where she started writing her memoirs from the years of her childhood and her youth in Gdansk. She died in Jena where she lived from 1837. Her unfinished diary was published by her daughter Adela in 1839. In Poland it was published in 1959 as "Gdansk Memoirs of Youth". J. H. Schopenhauer showed in her memoirs a picture of Gdansk from the middle of XVIII century. Language and a humour make this book that is rich in facts well appreciated by historians and literature historians.

Johann Carl Schultz

Painter and graphic artist, educator. Born 5 May 1801 in Gdansk, died 12 June 1873 in Gdansk. He was a son of Gdansk merchant. In the beginning he attended the School of Fine Arts in Gdansk and later, from 1823, academies in Munich and Berlin. Scholarship enabled him artistic journeys in 1824-1828 throughout Germany and Italy where he returned for seven months in 1837. From 9 June 1832 he acted as a professor of the School of Fine Arts in Gdansk, in 1834-1873 as its principal. He educated many pupils. In 1836 he became a member of the Royal Academy of Art in Berlin. He was a co-founder of the Friends of Fine Arts Society founded in 1835 in Gdansk and in 1856 the Monument Architecture and Arts Protection Society. He knew a rank and a value of Gdansk historical monuments and fought for the rescue of every historical building, gothic walls and Renaissance fortifications as they were to be demolished under the city's reconstruction. He left pictures of Gdansk subject matter, above all precious collection of 54 copperplates comprised in three albums. They documented appearance and life of Gdansk in the middle of XIX century. He immortalised in his works fragments of the city which in his time already disappeared from the Gdansk landscape. Because of this, as well as a high artistic level of his works, he counts among the most famous and appreciated artists of XIX century Gdansk.

Johann Speymann
(Speman, Speyman, Speiman, Speimann von der Speie)

Mayor, merchant, lawyer, collector. Born in 1563 in Gdansk, died 3 September 1625. After he finished his education in Gdansk he went in 1580 to study in Krakow. Further education he completed in Strasburg, Wittenberg, Krolewiec, Heidelberg, Padua, Pisa and Siena. After he returned to Gdansk he was engaged in selling grain and carrying the cargo by ship to Italy. In 1592 he went by ship to Venice with which he kept commercial and cultural contacts. As a proof of recognition for the help to a starving Italy he was granted by the pope Clement VIII a title of nobility. He was one of principals of construction of the Neptune Fountain. Thanks to him the Artus' Court gained a beautiful Renaissance facade. Together with a mayor Bartlomiej Schachmann he initiated a construction of the Great Armoury, the Golden Gate and Renaissance fittings of the Main City Hall. He was an owner of so called the Golden Tenement House at Dlugi Targ (Long Market street) distinguished itself with a richness of fittings and a beauty. He purchased books, works of art and magnificent armours, which he stored in his residence. In the city's administration: 1601-1603 a juror in a city court, 1603-1613 councilor, 1613-1625 the Mayor of the City of Gdansk.

Jan Strakowski
Jerzy Strakowski

Jan Strakowski and his son Jerzy belonged to the most splendid Gdansk architects. Their surname was written in many different ways: Strakoffsky, Strakwitz, Strokowski.
Jan was born in 1567 and died in March 1642 in Gdansk. Presumably he came from Pomerania although some of historians and architecture historians claim that he derived from Silesia. He came to Gdansk around 1587 as an experienced bricklayer and stonemason. He started cooperation with a famous architect Anton van Obberghen. The first bigger work made in Gdansk was a stone décor of the Old City Hall. He performed it very well and gained a reputation as a oconscientious, talented and hardworking builder. He worked at the extension of Wisloujscie Fortress, conversion of a gateway at Dluga street into a prison, as well as the construction of the Great Armoury. In 1595 he became a municipal builder and around 1603 a municipal architect. In 1610-1620 as a scholar of the Gdansk City Council he studied construction of the fortification systems in Holland and Germany. After his return to Gdansk he worked at reconstruction of the city's fortifications, designed and erected among others the Lower Gate (1626) and the Zulawska Gate (1628) and reconstructed St. Jacob's Gate.
Jerzy was born 30 January 1614 in Gdansk and died 17 May 1675 in Gdansk. In 1630-1635 and in 1635-1640 as a scholar of the Gdansk City Council he studied construction of the fortification systems in Holland. He designed and supervised a reconstruction of St. Elizabeth and the Corpus Christi bastions which were an important element of Gdansk fortifications from the Western side. From 1642 he was an engineer of the city of Gdansk. In 1643-1645 he designed the project and supervised construction of the Small Armoury in Stare Przedmiescie (Old Suburb). He worked at the erection of new entrenchments around the Wisloujscie Fortress. From 1655 he fortified the territory of Biskupia Gorka, Siedlce and Grodzisko.

Johann Uphagen

Merchant, councilor, collector. Born 9 February 1731 in Gdansk, died 17 November 1802 in Gdansk. Son of Peter, a merchant and city councilor, Calvinist. He graduated from the Gdansk Gymnasium and studied history, law and philosophy at university in Gottingen. After his studies he traveled throughout Germany, Holland and France. During his journeys he purchased many precious books which became a foundation of his future library. In 1775, after his father's death, he took over a family business. In 1776 was appointed a position of a juror in a city court and in 1792 in the City Council. After the annexation of Gdansk to Prussia in 1793 (the second Partition of Poland) he retired from politics. From 1775 he was engaged in scientific works and his hobby of collecting books. When he was alive his library consisted over 20,000 volumes concerning the humanities, law and history of arts. In 1879 it was included into the collection of the City Library (at present the Gdansk Library of the Polish Academy of Sciences) where it is kept to this day. He was an author of publications from the scope of the city history. In 1775 he purchased a tenement house at 12 Dluga street (Long street) with a workshop and thoroughly restructured it. In 1779 moved in there with his wife Abigal, nee Borckmann. Realising that he will not have a descendent (despite being married two times) he established in 1789 the Family Fundation on the principle of majorat, which was to take care over his property at Dluga street and the library, retaining the original interior. He died on 17 November 1802 in his manor house "Mon Plaisir" in Gdansk Wrzeszcz. Properties of Uphagen's family at 12 Dluga street were leased and in 1911 converted into the Museum of Middle-class Interior. The building was demolished in 1945 and restructured in 1953. In 1998 it was reopened as a branch of the Gdansk History Museum.

Lech Wałęsa

Lech Wałęsa

Electrician, politician. Born 29 September 1943 in Popowo, near Lipno. Electrician by trade. He attended a vocational agricultural machinery school. In the beginning he worked in Panstwowy Osrodek Maszynowy (the Government-owned Machinery Centre) in Lochocin and from 1967 in the Gdansk Shipyard. In December 1970 he was a member of the strike committee. He was dismissed from the shipyard in 1976 for participating in the strike and worked in other enterprises in Gdansk. In 1978 he was one of the founders of the Free Trade Unions of the Coast Committee. Persecuted by Sluzba Bezpieczenstwa (Security Service)for illegal activities. In August 1980 he was a leader of the Inter-Enterprise Strike Committee at the Gdansk Shipyard. On 31 August in a famous Health & Safety hall he signed so called the August Agreements (or the Gdansk Agreements). Co-author and the first chairman of the Independent Self-governing Trade Union "Solidarity". Interned during the Martial law, released in November 1982 again was a leader of the underground authorities of "Solidarity". In October 1983 he won the Nobel peace prize, which was collected on his behalf by his wife, Danuta. He was a leader of the opposition in the Round Table Talks. After the legalization of the Independent Self-governing Trade Union "Solidarity" in April 1989 he legally took the lead of the trade union. In December 1990 he was elected the President of Poland. As a president he was appreciated the most for his foreign politics. Among others, he led to the withdrawal of the Russian garrison from Poland and to self-dissolution of the Warsaw Pact. He was not elected for the second cadency in 1995. He returned to Gdansk and concentrated his activities on the international arena. He is one of the most famous Polish people in the world. In June 1997 he became the Honourable Citizen of Gdansk. He is the Doctor Honoris Causa of the University of Gdansk and many other universities in the world.

Authors of the study: dr Miroslaw Glinski i dr Jerzy Kuklinski (the Gdansk History Museum)