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Temporary exhibition: ‘Tadeusz Pietrzykowski - a warrior with the artist's soul’

Tue, 05/11/2021 - 09:10
Temporary exhibition: ‘Tadeusz Pietrzykowski - a warrior with the artist's soul

On Saturday, May 15th, in the foyer on level -2, a temporary exhibition ‘Tadeusz Pietrzykowski - a warrior with the artist's soul’ will be on show. The exhibition commemorates a famous Polish boxer, one of the first prisoners of Auschwitz concentration camp - Tadeusz Pietrzykowski known as ‘Ted’. Live coverage of the official speech opening the exhibition will start on May 15th at 12:00 and will be available for viewing on the Museum's social media sites.

The exhibition consists of 29 works of art by Tadeusz Pietrzykowski made using various techniques and media and covering many topics. The exhibition at the Museum of the Second World War in Gdańsk will be on display until August 31st this year, and admission is free. The project was heralded by the presentation of reproductions of works of art by this famous Polish boxer at the Olivia Star office tower on the occasion of a Rocky Boxing Night gala, named after Tadeusz ‘Ted’ Pietrzykowski.

Pre-war, Tadeusz Pietrzykowski was the runner-up as champion of Poland and champion of Warsaw in the bantamweight category. In 1939 he fought in the defence of Warsaw, and in the spring of 1940 he made an attempt to join the Polish army that was forming in France. After his arrest in Hungary, on June 14th, 1940, Pietrzykowski was sent in the first transportation of prisoners to Auschwitz concentration camp, where he was assigned the number 77. According to various estimates, he fought over 40 boxing matches while he was in the camp. According to many of the prisoners, he was considered to be the overall champion of all weight categories in the Auschwitz camp. But he also became involved in the activities of the camp resistance movement - the Union of Military Organization (ZOW) established by Witold Pilecki. In 1943, he was deported to Neuengamme concentration camp, where he fought in further boxing matches. Later he went to the Bergen-Belsen camp and he stayed there until its liberation in April 1945. Tadeusz Pietrzykowski, after regaining his freedom, joined the 1st Armored Division of General Stanisław Maczek, where he organized sports activities among the soldiers, as well as boxing in the rings of liberated Europe, incl. in Belgium, Germany and France.

After the war, he returned to Poland and graduated from the Academy of Physical Education in Warsaw and became a sports coach and physical education teacher.

Tadeusz Pietrzykowski went down in history as a famous boxer, fighting for his life in Auschwitz, but  it turns out he was also interested in painting and painted all his life. To bring this interesting fact closer to public attention, at the Museum of the Second World War in Gdańsk  we have decided to present his original works of art in an exhibition. He wanted to study architecture at the Warsaw University of Technology, a dream which was prevented by the outbreak of the war, and after his liberation he attended the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw. At the exhibition, we present 29 of his original works of art, made using various techniques and media and covering many topics. Let this exhibition commemorate this man, an extraordinary boxer and - ‘a warrior with the artist's soul’.


EXHIBITION CURATOR: dr Janusz Janowski


CATALOGUE EDITOR: dr Janusz Janowski

SCIENTIFIC CONSULTATION: prof. dr hab. Grzegorz Berendt


COORDINATORS: Marta Baranowska, Monika Bączek, Izabela Boguszewska, dr Paweł Czapczyk, Patryk Dąbrowski, Bartłomiej Garba, Adrianna Garnik, Natalia Gawryluk, Łukasz Gurfinkiel, Magdalena Hajduk, Krystian Iwanow, dr hab. Michał Jandura, Wojciech Kiełpiński, Zofia Kraszewska, Adrianna Paradowska, Krzysztof Ptak, Maja Strzemińska, Eleonora Szafran-Pietrzykowska, Karol Szejko

The paintings in the exhibition come from the Private Archive of Eleonora Szafran-Pietrzykowska