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Famous / Iconic Polish Women

ShelleyS 14 | 2,883
26 Sep 2008 #1
I know little about Polish history or the history of "Great" women in Poland, it would be interesting to learn more.
Grzegorz_ 51 | 6,146
26 Sep 2008 #2
OP ShelleyS 14 | 2,883
26 Sep 2008 #3
I'd prefer it if people wrote something rather than adding links, it's creates a more interesting thread.

But thanks for starting the ball rolling.
Lodz_The_Boat 32 | 1,523
26 Sep 2008 #4
1. Helena Rakoczy (Famous Gymnast)
2. Wislawa Szymborska (Famous Poet)
3. Irena Szewińska (Famous Athlete)

... ofcourse there are more.

Yes, they might not have turned the world around... but they have made great contributions towards firmly establishing the picture of Poland infront of the globe.
OP ShelleyS 14 | 2,883
26 Sep 2008 #5
could people elaborate a little on the person they are writing about, the whole idea of the thread was so I could learn about little bit about women who helped to shape Poland or contributed to it's history.
PolskaDoll 28 | 2,098
26 Sep 2008 #6
Helena Rubinstein, cosmetics, born in Krakow and eventually became Elizabeth Arden's biggest rival. She made millions and her cosmetics are still a world best seller.

HR Cosmetics

Sorry I don't know too much more about her off the top of my head. If you google her there will be plenty about her. :)
OP ShelleyS 14 | 2,883
26 Sep 2008 #7
Helena Rubinstein

How strange my first "grown up" perfum was Roses & Roses by Helena Rubinstein which i got for my 10th birthday :)

Thanks for that PD, that was along the lines of what I was looking for :)

But there but have been women who fort for the resistence who are a house hold name in Poland.
PolskaDoll 28 | 2,098
26 Sep 2008 #8
I wonder if you can still get that perfume.

But there but have been women who fort for the resistence who are a house hold name in Poland.

I kind of thought you were after something like that but I can't think of anyone at the moment. Helena sprang into mind when I read "famous" and of course "iconic" made me think of Marie Curie but I see Grzegorz already posted a link about her. :)
lesser 4 | 1,311
26 Sep 2008 #9
The most famous and with the greatest worth are "Matki Polki". :)
OP ShelleyS 14 | 2,883
26 Sep 2008 #10
Matki Polki

Polish mums?

Not what I was looking for really, but that's for the effort
z_darius 14 | 3,960
26 Sep 2008 #11
Krystyna Skarbek - WW2 SOE agent in British service. Decorated up to her teeth very her many services, and then pretty much dumped by the British once she was no longer needed.

Anna Borkowska (a Catholic nun, Sister Bertranda) helped Jews during WW2 (including smuggling of weapons to Warsaw Ghetto. She survived WW2 and a concentration camp. Spielberg mad no movies about her.

Zofia Kossak-Szczucka - a cofounder of Zegota, a Polish organization devoted solely to helping Jews escape the holocaust. No movies about her by Spielberg either.

Wanda Krahelska-Filipowicz a founder of Provisional Committee for Aid to Jews, which was a predecessor to Zegota. Again, Spielberg has some catching up to do.

Krystyna Chojnowska-Liskiewicz - the first woman to sail solo around the world.

the first flight by a woman.
loco polaco 3 | 352
26 Sep 2008 #12
there really haven't been any polish women that one would call iconic. all of the ones above may be famous but i sure wouldn't say iconinc about any of them. heck, there have been just a few iconinc polish men.
Magdalena 3 | 1,835
26 Sep 2008 #13

Ewa Demarczyk (a famous Sixties chanteuse) and
Kalina Jędrusik (the Polish Marilyn Monroe, only sexier and smarter)

spring to mind.
lesser 4 | 1,311
26 Sep 2008 #14
Nobody mentioned queen Jadwiga.
Switezianka - | 463
26 Sep 2008 #15
From 19th century:

Military leader:

A great actress:

And a Norwegian woman, iconic for Polish Modernism:
jonni 16 | 2,476
26 Sep 2008 #16
Irena Szewińska, the sprinter who won 7 Olympic medals in the 60s and dominated womens' sprinting

Marie Rambert, the ballet dancer

Agnieszka Holland, the film director

Wanda Landowska, the 20th century's most famous harpsichordist

Eva Hoffman, the bestselling writer,

to name but a few
Mermaid - | 29
26 Sep 2008 #17
Wanda Rutkiewicz - considered by many to be the best female mountain climber in the world. She was the third woman to climb Mt. Everest (the first western woman to do so) and the first woman to climb K2. She climbed 8 peaks over 8000 meters. She intended to become the first woman to climb all 14 8000meter peaks.
z_darius 14 | 3,960
26 Sep 2008 #18
all of the ones above may be famous but i sure wouldn't say iconinc about any of them

The first woman to have received a Nobel Prize. The only person one with Nobel Prizes in two different sciences, and the first female prof. at the University of Paris.

Her daughter (Irène Joliot-Curie) was also a Nobel Prize winner.

How much more iconic can one be?
joepilsudski 26 | 1,388
27 Sep 2008 #19
Grazyna Bacewicz

The greatest of the 20th century women composers, who is also perhaps the greatest woman composer of all time, is Grazyna Bacewicz (1906-1969). She came from a family of artists: her Lithuanian father was a music teacher, her brother Kiejstut became a famous Polish cellist.

No copy/paste...
Polonius3 983 | 12,333
27 Sep 2008 #20
Thread attached on merging:

How about Pola Negri (Apolonia Chałupiec), Stephanie Powers (Fiderkiewicz), Gail Kobe and Martha Stewart (Kostyra)
beckski 12 | 1,611
27 Sep 2008 #21
There's also the talented Ms. Pat Benatar (Patricia Mae Andrzejewski.)
OP ShelleyS 14 | 2,883
6 Oct 2008 #22
Thanks guys, it's amazing the achivements of these women..something to be celebrated. :)

How much more iconic can one be?

Probably some peoples idea of "iconic" is quite different! She goes down in history for great achievments and i dont personally think you can get more Iconic than that :)
Del boy 20 | 254
6 Oct 2008 #23
Barbara Piasecka Johnson
She was born in Poland and started as a cook and chambermaid to J. Seward Johnson, Sr., of the Johnson & Johnson grabber?
HWPiel 1 | 64
11 Oct 2008 #24
Wanda Krakus.

sylwia - | 2
8 Dec 2009 #25
Matka Polka should be translated as Mother Pole, and it's not the same as a Polish mum. It's a cultural archetype here in Poland, created exactly because there were so many iconic women that they needed a generic name.

Matka Polka isn't necessarily a biological mother. She's rather a mother, a backbone, of the nation than a mother to her own kids. It's thought that Poland survived the time of inexistance in the 19th century, both World Wars, and communism thanks to them.

Typically Matka Polka fought in the 19th century insurrections as well as in both World Wars. There were thousands of women fighting, so one wouldn't be able to mention them all by name. They also organised underground life, publishing and education (for both men and women) throughout much of the last two centuries. They are, in other words, a symbol of Polish resistance.

Matka Polka tends to be a lonely figure, because her husband, father and brothers would be taken from home or killed by the enemy powers. She had to carry all the burden - domestical and patriotic - on her own.

The mere fact that Maria Curie-Skłodowska was able to receive two Nobel Prizes starts with another woman, Jadwiga Szczawińska, who organised the Flying University - the only courses of higher education available to women in the 19th century Poland under Russian occupation.

Emilia Plater, the first female commanding officer in the Polish Army in the early 19th century, died a virgin, and yet she's a typical Mother Pole.

Approximately 4,000 women fought on the first day of the Warsaw Uprising 1944 and many more joined within the next weeks. They were the first female soldiers granted POW status by an enemy in world history. They are Mother Poles too, but many of them were just teenagers.

The first Mother Pole was Wanda - a legendary ruler of Poland, who commited a suicide in order to avoid an unwanted marriage and at the same time spare her people from invasions on her territory by the unwanted suitor.

In other words Mother Poles are women who pursue higher goals, sacrifycing their own convenience for the country. Often they're fighers or martyrs, but scientists and writers count too. A traitor would not be a Mother Pole even if she achevied a lot, and a gold digger wouldn't be one either.

Many of them received high distinctions. The first woman received Virtuti Militari - the highest distinction for bravery in battle - yet in the early 1800s. To answer your question then all Polish iconic women are Mother Poles, even if not all of them are famous.
10 Dec 2009 #26
Interesting post, Sylwia.
McCoy 27 | 1,268
10 Dec 2009 #27
irena kwiatkowska - 'the working woman'. famous actress from Poland:
Jowita - | 13
15 Dec 2009 #28

I am pasting here the English translation of the poem by Mickiewicz (translated as To a Polish mother). It was one of the most popular Romantic poems here,and quotations from it entered the Polish everyday language for well (not only 'Polish mother' but also 'długie nocne rodaków rozmowy', here translated as 'fellow patriots' whispered words by night'. I might translate this 'compatriots' conversations up to the small hours' ;) because it is often used without political meaning, indicating Polish passion for long discussion, hopefully not entirely lost...

Kwiatkowska, with her great stamina and sense of humour, as a lady who survived it all (I mean Polish history..) and succeded, is a very positive version of the Polish Mother for me...

sylwia - | 2
31 Jan 2010 #29
Thanks a lot for the translation, Jowita! I've been looking for it and couldn't find anywhere.

Do you happen to have the two missing lines before "Breathe the foul vapours of a hidden grave"?

I like Kwiatkowska too!
Jowita - | 13
8 Feb 2010 #30
Sorry, I haven't been around for a while. The text was a print-screen from an old online pdf source, and seems my software cropped too much from it. I like this poem too.

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