Władysław Raczkiewicz
President of the Republic of Poland
1st President in Exile
In office
30 September 1939 – 5 June 1947
Prime Minister Władysław Sikorski
Stanisław Mikołajczyk
Tomasz Arciszewski
Preceded by Republic declared
Sigismund IV as Holy Roman Emperor
Succeeded by August Zaleski (in exile)
Bolesław Bierut (in country)
Marshal of the Senate of the Republic of Poland
3rd Marshal of Senate of the Second Republic of Poland
In office
9 December 1930 – 3 October 1935
Lieutenant Ignacy Mościcki
Preceded by Julian Szymanski
Succeeded by Aleksander Prystor
Personal details
Born 28 January 1885
Kutaisi, Georgia
Died 6 June 1947 (aged 62)
Ruthin, Wales
Resting place Polish Aviators' Plot, Newark-on-Trent Cemetery, Nottinghamshire, England
Political party None (as President)
BBWR (earlier)
Spouse(s) Not married
Religion Roman Catholicism

Władysław Raczkiewicz (28 January 1885, Kutaisi – 6 June 1947) was a Polish political figure and the first president of the Polish government in exile from 1939 until his death in 1947. Until 1945 he was the internationally recognized Polish head of state, and the Polish Government in Exile was recognized as the continuum to the Polish government of 1939.

Life and careerEdit

The son of a judge, he was born in Kutaisi the second-largest city in Georgia, at that time part of the Russian Empire. He studied in St. Petersburg where he joined the Polish Youth Organization. After graduating from the Faculty of Law at the University of Dorpat he practised as a lawyer in Minsk. Upon the outbreak of World War I he served in the Russian Army, but after the Russian Revolution he joined the vanguard for Polish independence. Serving as the head of the Naczelny Polski Komitet Wojskowy, he helped to create the Polish I Corps in Russia. Later he served under Józef Piłsudski, who created an army that ultimately aided Poland in re-establishing its independence.

As a volunteer he fought in the Polish-Soviet War. At first supporter of endecja faction, later joined the sanacja camp. Voivode of the Nowogródek Voivodeship from 1921 to 1924; government delegate to Wilno Voivodeship (1924–1925) and later its voivode (1926–1931). After the Brest elections he became the Senate Marshal (1930–1935). Voivode of Kraków Voivodeship in 1935 and Pomeranian Voivodeship from 1936 to 1939.

When Poland was invaded by the German Army in 1939, he escaped to Angers where the Polish government-in-exile was established. He lived in the nearby Chateau de Pignerolle from 2 December 1939 until moving on 10 June 1940 to London, where he joined Władysław Sikorski and Stanisław Mikołajczyk in the relocated Polish government in exile. He was an opponent of the Sikorski-Mayski Agreement.

In February 1945, Joseph Stalin, Winston Churchill and Franklin D. Roosevelt held the Yalta Conference. The future of Poland was one of the main topics that was deliberated upon. Stalin claimed that only a strong, pro-Soviet government in Poland would be able to guarantee the security of the Soviet Union. As a result of the conference, the Allies agreed to withdraw their recognition of the Polish Government in Exile, after the formation of a new government on Polish territory.

Raczkiewicz died in exile in 1947, in the Welsh town of Ruthin.[1] He is buried in the cemetery at Newark-on-Trent in England.


Political offices
Preceded by
Bolesław Wieniawa-Długoszowski
President of the Polish Republic in exile
Succeeded by
August Zaleski
Preceded by
Ignacy Mościcki
Polish Head of State (Recognized by the Allies)
Succeeded by
Bolesław Bierut
(Chairman of the People's Council in Poland)

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