Krzysztof Skubiszewski’s Study

The Study of Krzysztof Skubiszewski, the lawyer and Poland’s foreign affairs minister between 1989 and 1993, was opened at the Poznań Institute for Western Affairs on December 12, 2014. It has been furnished with items taken from Krzysztof Skubiszewski’s actual studies located in his Poznań, Warsaw and Hague apartments. They include furniture from his parent’s apartment, a portrait of himself as well as those of his father and mother and various personal belongings such as family photographs, typewriters and office accessories. These furnishings and items found in Krzysztof Skubiszewski’s Study are part and parcel of his legacy. Its central and largest part are the book collection and archive materials, all held at the Institute for Western Affairs. The Study display features selected books from the Professor’s holdings.

The part of legacy described above has been donated to the Poznań Institute for Western Affairs by the Skubiszewski family. The idea to place the collection in the Institute for Western Affairs came from mgr Łukasz Dembski, whose project has been approved by the concerned parties and who has received technical, logistic and financial support from the project sponsors. Mr. Dembski also took an active part in carrying the project out.

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Desk from the Study of Minister Krzysztof Skubiszewski.

There is a good reason why Krzysztof Skubiszewski’s collection has been placed in the Institute for Western Affairs of which he was a member. This former minister was born and raised in Poznań, it is here that he earned his university degree and began his academic career. First and foremost, however, in his own words, he always felt he was a Poznanian.

The archive materials include a documentary record of Skubiszewski’s life, professional work and the posts he held (in the form of e.g. diplomas and nominations), and miscellaneous other documents and notes, including a large collection of press clippings, his personal and official correspondence, and documents associated with his work as foreign affairs minister and as judge in international courts in the Hague. In addition to the archive materials, a vital part of Krzysztof Skubiszewski’s legacy is his book collection. The vast compendium represents a valuable body of material for research into the personal life and professional and political activities of this outstanding lawyer and one of the main actors behind the political transformations which took place in Poland following 1989.

A large proportion of the archive holdings are documents having to do with Krzysztof Skubiszewski’s research on the legal relationship between Poland and Germany. These pertain to his relations with Germany during his term as Minister of Foreign Affairs. These archive materials are of particular value for the Institute for Western Affairs due to the organization’s main research interest. Krzysztof Skubiszewski’s Study, recreated by means of furniture, paintings and sundry objects and keepsakes, is intended to bring the man closer to home for all those interested in Poland’s latest history, particularly young people.

The Directors of the Institute for Western Affairs wish to express their heartfelt thanks to Minister Władysław Bartoszewski for his support for the idea to place the Krzysztof Skubiszewski collection in Poznań and arrange his Study. This project could not have been completed without the substantial financial support from the Foundation of Polish-German Cooperation, the Polish-German Foundation for Learning, Poznań Authorities and Volkswagen Sp. z o.o. The Directors of the Poznań Institute for Western Affairs thank them all.