Muzeum II Wojny Światowej


On October 1st this year, Dr. Marek Szymaniak, the current head of the Research and Education Department of the Museum of the Second World War, assumed the position of the Deputy Director for Scientific Affairs. Dr. Marek Szymaniak was appointed a Deputy Director of the Museum of the Second World War in Gdańsk on the basis of a decision by prof. Piotr Gliński, Vice-President of the Council of Ministers, Minister of Culture, National Heritage and Sport.


The duties of the MSWW Deputy Director for Research, appointed on October 1st, 2021, include the supervision and coordination of the works of the Film Documentation Department, the Research and Education Department, the MSWW publishing house, the Conservation Department, the Collections Department, the Exhibitions Department and theMSWW Library. Moreover, Dr. Marek Szymaniak will continue his participation in the work of the team preparing the permanent exhibition of the Museum of Westerplatte and the War of 1939.


Dr. Marek Szymaniak (born 1974) is a graduate of the Faculty of Humanities in the field of history with a teaching specialization at the Pedagogical University in Bydgoszcz (2000). After completing full-time doctoral studies, he defended his doctorate with honours at the Faculty of Humanities at the Kazimierz Wielki University (2005).


He has been associated with the Museum of the Second World War in Gdańsk since July 2017: first as the head of the Scientific Department, from 2018 the Scientific Department and publishing house of the MSWW, and after changing the organizational structure in 2019 as the head of the Scientific and Educational Department, while still managing the museum publishing house.


As the chairman of the team for the evaluation of the core exhibitions at the MSWW, in 2017–2018 he was responsible for the preparation of the content, implementation and the process of changes and any additions which were introduced into the main exhibition. He is one of the originators of the MSWW yearbook ‘War and Memory’, and since 2018 he has been acting as its thematic editor. He is the author of the content of a commemoration dedicated to Prime Minister Jan Olszewski, which was unveiled at the Museum in 2019.


Dr. M. Szymaniak is the co-author of the narrative for the temporary exhibition; ‘Fighting and Suffering. Polish citizens during the Second World War’. In 2019, he coordinated the organization of the international scientific conference ‘Pact of War. The collusion of Hitler and Stalin on the 23rd of August 1939 from the perspective of 80 years from the outbreak of World War II‘, and in 2020 the organization of the conference ‘The Fallen of Westerplatte. The graves and remains of Westerplatians in the light of archaeological, genetic and historical research and in the context of legal procedures’. He co-edited the post-conference volume from the World Forum of Battlefield Museums international meeting. He is also the author of scientific and popular science texts in the field of history, as well as the co-originator and co-author of popular science cycles published on various social media on the subject of World War II.


Between the years 2006–2017, he worked at the Institute of National Remembrance - Commission for the Prosecution of Crimes against the Polish Nation in Bydgoszcz, in  branch offices, including the fields of public education, national education and commemorations of battles and martyrdom. As the head of the Bydgoszcz science and education team, he prepared exhibitions and exhibition catalogues, published and edited scientific works on the recent history of Poland, participated in scientific conferences and organized and implemented dozens of activities popularizing the history of Poland in the 20th century, particularly for schools, youth centres, teachers, veterans and local communities. He is also the author of several scripts for historical documentaries broadcast by the national television stations, TVP. On the initiative of Marek Szymaniak, from 2012 until mid-2017, approximately 50 meetings were held by the Bydgoszcz Historical Club under the direction of General Stefan Rowecki "Grot". Dr. Szymaniak is a member of the Club's Program Council. During that time, he prepared and gave his expert opinion on the content of several commemorations concerning World War II, combatants belonging to the Polish post-war independence underground and the anti-communist opposition. In 2014, he participated in a seminar for educators on the Holocaust at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem. In 2015, the director of the IPN Branch in Gdańsk appointed him to their Honorary Chapter along with their ‘Witness to History’ award. Since 2017, he has been a member of the advisory team of the Kuyavian-Pomeranian Region, taking part in the implementation of the Independence 2018 program.


Since 2018, he has been a member of the Scientific Council of the Janusz Kurtyka Foundation.

Awards, medals and distinctions:

- 2018: Medal of the 100th Anniversary of Regaining Independence awarded by the Prime Minister.

- 2016: Bronze Cross of Merit awarded by the President of the Republic of Poland Andrzej Duda "for merits in documenting and commemorating the truth about the recent history of Poland",

- 2015: Medal of the World Association of the Home Army Soldiers, Bydgoszcz District "for many years of cooperation with the local community of veteran soldiers",

- 2008: the award of the President of the Institute of National Remembrance Janusz Kurtyka "for exemplary performance of official duties".


Dr. Marek Szymaniak, Deputy Director of the Museum of the Second World War in Gdańsk