Anniversaries & holidays

Happy birthday to Marian Turski!

Marian Turski ubrany w niebieską koszulę i marynarkę. Podpiera twarz dłonią i patrzy przed siebie.
fot. M. Jaźwiecki / Muzeum Historii Żydów Polskich

Marian Turski is without a doubt an institution—a person who devoted his whole life to history, sharing his expertise and reflection with others. His work as an editor and head of the history section of the "Polityka" weekly, spanning over decades, is the fruit of this passion. Its material outcome is POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews, of which Marian Turski is a co-founder, ardent ambassador and, since 2009, Chairman of the POLIN Museum Council.

POLIN Museum’s success is a crowning moment in Marian Turski’s rich biography, marked by the imprisonment in the Łódź ghetto, and in Auschwitz and Buchenwald camps, and boasting decades-long work as a historian, head of "Polityka" weekly’s history section, initiator of an annual competition for the best book on history, laureate of numerous awards and medals, including the Order of Polonia Restituta, the German Grand Cross of Merit and the French Order of the Legion of Honour.

We feel proud and privileged to be able to work with you, Mr Turski. Without your boundless energy, deliberate efforts, diplomatic skills and wisdom our institution would have never come into being.

Thank you for everything! We wish you lots of joy and satisfaction with each day ahead.

POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews team

Marian Turski was born in 1926 in Druskienniki as Moshe Turbowicz. He was 14 when he was imprisoned in the Łódź ghetto, where he became engaged in the underground Trade Union Left. In 1944, he was sent in one of the last transports to the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp where the Nazis murdered his father and brother. In 1945, he survived two death marches—in January, from Auschwitz to Buchenwald and in April, from Buchenwald to Theresienstadt where he was survived in an agonal state until 8 May, i.e. the liberation by the Red Army.

After the Second World War had ended, Marian Turski settled in Lower Silesia. In 1949, he moved to Warsaw. He is a historian and journalist. He has headed the history section of Polityka weekly since 1958. He wrote and edited over a dozen books, among them:

  • "Lumumba i jego kraj" (Warsaw 1962)
  • "Operacja «Terminal»" (Warsaw 1965)
  • "Byli wówczas dziećmi" (Warsaw 1975)
  • "Ruch Pokoju. Ludzie, fakty" (Warsaw 1975)
  • "Losy żydowskie. Świadectwo żywych" (vol. I – Warsaw 1996, vol. II – Warsaw 1999, vol. III – Warsaw 2006)
  • "Polish Witnesses to the Shoah" (London 2010)
  • "Sztuka w miejscach śmierci. Europejskie pomniki ofiar hitleryzmu" (with Halina Taborska, Kraków–Budapest–Syracuse 2019)
  • "Co ofiary wiedziały o swoim losie" (Krakow 2020).

Marian Turski was granted the title of an Honorary Resident of the City of Warsaw, among others for his remarkable efforts which resulted in establishing POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews in the Muranów district. Mr Turski has acted as Chairman of the POLIN Museum Council since its inception. He is member of the board of: Association of the Jewish Historical Institute of Poland, Association of Jewish War Veterans of World War II, House of the Wannsee Conference—Memorial and Educational Centre in Berlin. He served as Vice-President of the International Auschwitz Committee until 11 June, when he was appointed its President.

Marian Turski received high honours from Poland, France, Germany, Finland, Luxembourg and Austria.