Profesor Henryk Bogdan Samsonowicz (1930–2021)


  • Tomasz Jasiński Uniwersytet im. Adama Mickiewicza w Poznaniu

Słowa kluczowe:

Henryk Samsonowicz, medieval studies, University of Warsaw, Committee of Scientific Research, Ministry of National Education


Professor Henryk Bogdan Samsonowicz was born on 23rd of January 1930 in Warsaw in the family of a known University of Warsaw professor, geologist Jan Samsonowicz (1888–1959) and Henryka Samsonowicz nee Korwin Krukowska (1892–1987). He graduated in history at the Department of Humanity of the University of Warsaw, presenting a master's thesis on the policy of Gdańsk in the second half of the 14th century, written on a seminar by Marian Małowist. Professors Witold Kula and Aleksander Gieysztor have also played an important role in Henryk Samsonowicz's intellectual development, and later, during his stay in France, professor Fernandel Braudel. In 1954 he has defended his doctor's thesis, and in 1960 received his postdoctoral qualifications based on the famous work “Studies of the patrician capital of Gdańsk in the 2nd half of the 15th century”. The academic interests of professor Henryk Samsonowicz have initially focussed on the history of the Hanseatic League, and later — on the importance of myth in history and on the beginnings of the Polish state in the 10th century. In his scientific work he has created a new model of historical narration, which combines various aspects of political, economic and cultural life in one whole. He has published over a thousand reviews, articles and dissertations in print. He has occupied a series of important positions he was, among others, a dean of the Department of History of the University of Warsaw; during the times of “Solidarity” he was appointed as the Chancellor of the University of Warsaw. In 1989 he became the Minister for the National Education in the first non-communist government of Tadeusz Mazowiecki. He was an acclaimed organiser of popularisation of historical knowledge in Poland.