THE KULSKI FOUNDATION was founded on 10 June 2015. Since then we have been documenting and promoting the life and legacy of Julian Spitosław Kulski and his son Julian Eugeniusz Kulski for the advancement of science, civic thought and culture as well as to shape social attitudes. We highly value building a dialogue between various communities and supporting institutions that work every day to advance the protection and respect for human rights and dignity.
We are particularly focused on Warsaw and its cultural heritage, working to strengthen the Warsaw identity and emotional ties of its citizens to the history of this city. We see value in protecting the multicultural heritage of Warsaw and the Warsaw region, including the artistic, natural, architectural and archaeological cultural property. We believe that the need for tradition is inherent; it is a testament of continuity that reminds us about values and the significance of history.
History of the foundation
Julian Spitosław Kulski (b. 5 December 1892) was a soldier of Józef Piłsudski’s Polish Legions, combatant in the 1920 Polish-Soviet war, pre-war Deputy Mayor of Warsaw (from 1935) and a deputy and friend of Stefan Starzyński. After Starzyński was arrested, the Nazi occupation authorities made Julian Kulski “an offer he could not refuse”, i.e. to become commissioned mayor of Warsaw, head the Municipal Government and the entire municipal administration and infrastructure under direct German supervision. With the approval of the Head of Delegate’s Office of the Polish government in exile Cyryl Ratajski and the Commander of the underground Service for Poland’s Victory (SZP) General Michał Tokarzewski-Karaszewicz, Kulski assumed office, serving as Mayor of Warsaw on behalf of the Undergound Polish State and Polish government in exile until the first days of the Warsaw Uprising in August 1944.
For the entire period of occupation, he constantly operated under the watchful eye of the occupation authorities, supervised by Ludwig Leist, German plenipotentiary of the Warsaw District Governor, and the Governor Ludwig Fischer himself, who were additionally assisted by an entire police and military apparatus. Julian S. Kulski led the Polish Municipal Government, supervising the administration of individual city districts and municipal services such as public transport, electricity, gasworks, sanitation and the fire department.
Retaining the Warsaw administration and civil service in Polish hands and ensuring that they can operate properly was of vital importance, not only for the ordinary citizens of Warsaw but also for members of the resistance, who were given enormous scope of operation and safety. Thanks to public servants, with Mayor Kulski’s knowledge and approval, many members of the resistance found real or fictional employment at the City Hall. At its peak, the number of people actually employed within institutions governed by the Municipal Government under Kulski’s supervision was nearing 25,000. Another 5,000 were fictional jobs created in order to be able to issue authentic German documents to members of the resistance and people wanted by the Germans. That way, thousands of citizens of Jewish descent who worked in municipal structures or were hiding from the Germans, including ghetto fugitives and members of Jewish families who were given shelter by Poles, acquired false identities.
Julian S. Kulski handed in his resignation on 5 August 1944, which was accepted by Stanisław Jankowski, Polish Government Delegate. After spending several weeks in the Warsaw Old Town, shortly before the district’s surrender, he made his way through the municipal sewer system to the district of Żoliborz, where his 15-year-old son lived and fought as a member of the Home Army “Żniwiarz” assault company. After the Uprising collapsed, the former Mayor of Warsaw shared the fate of thousands of civilians, passing through a transit camp in Pruszków.
Immediately after the war, Julian S. Kulski worked on preparing reports on the Municipal Government and its activities during the war and occupation for the City Archives. In 1946, he worked at C. Hartwig, a forwarding agent in Gdynia; in 1947, he was employed at Społeczne Przedsiębiorstwo Budowlane (SPB) in Warsaw and later at Zakład Osiedli Robotniczych (ZOR). He retired in 1960, devoting himself to historical research and political opposition. He died in Warsaw on 18 August 1976 and was buried in the Powązki Cemetery Avenue of Notables.
Mayor Kulski was awarded the Medal for Bravery three times for his service in the Polish Legions; the Silver Cross of the Order of Virtuti Militari and three times the Cross of Valour for the war against the Bolsheviks; the Commander’s Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta for his services to Poland’s independence and his community work; the fourth Cross of Valour in 1939 for the defence of Warsaw and Grand Cross with Star of the Order of Merit from the Order of Malta for services to its hospital.
Julian Eugeniusz Kulski (b. 3 March 1929, Warsaw) is a son of Eugenia Kulska (née Solecka) and Julian Spitosław Kulski, wartime Mayor of Warsaw secretly cooperating with the Polish Underground State and Polish government in exile.
During the occupation, he lived in the Warsaw district of Żoliborz. In 1941, he joined the resistance as a member of the Union of Armed Struggle/Home Army (ZWZ/AK) under the code name “Chojniacki” and “Goliat”. He then fought in the Baszta regiment and later in the Home Army “Żniwiarz” 9th Company of Military Subversion. A participant of the Warsaw Uprising in Żoliborz, he was wounded twice. He was decorated with the Medal for Bravery and Silver Cross for bravery and valour in combat.
After the Warsaw Uprising collapsed, he was sent along with other Home Army soldiers to the POW camp Stalag XI-A Altengrabow. In May 1945, the camp was liberated by the Americans, whereupon Julian E. Kulski moved to Britain. Once in Britain, he went to Portora Royal School in Northern Ireland and then took a degree in architecture at Oxford. Three years later, following the advice of his personal mentor and family friend Jan Nowak-Jeziorański, he emigrated to the United States, where he enrolled in the Faculty of Architecture at Yale University, completing his degree in 1953.
In 1966, he obtained a doctorate at the Warsaw University of Technology Faculty of Architecture. His employers included the University of Notre Dame, George Washington University and Howard University in Washington, D.C. For more than sixty years he has coordinated over three thousand architectural projects in the US and worldwide. As a World Bank expert, he coordinated educational and cultural projects in Asia, South America, Africa and Europe.
He wrote several versions of his autobiography, which have been published in the US, Poland and Brazil and are also textbooks on the modern history of Poland, especially the Second World War. In the United States, his book entitled “Legacy of the White Eagle” is a history textbook used in public schools. It was also published in Poland in 2012 under the title “Julek Powstaniec”. In Poland, his two-volume biography was published in 2004 under the title “Dziedzictwo Orła Białego” by the Świat Książki publishing house and again in 2011 by Granmark.
Julian E. Kulski’s latest book entitled “The Color of Courage: A Boy at War: The World War II Diary of Julian Kulski” (Aquila Polonica, 2014) was translated into Portuguese and came out in Brazil under the title “A Cor da Coragem. A Guerra de um Menino: O Diario de Julian Kulski na Segunda Guerra Mundial” (Edittora Valentina, 2016).
In 2007, he was presented with the Commander’s Cross with Star of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland by Polish President Lech Kaczyński. In 2017, Polish President Andrzej Duda decorated Julian Kulski with the Commander’s Cross with Star of the Order of Polonia Restituta for his distinguished services to Poland’s independence and cultivating Polish national traditions. Kulski was also awarded the Bene Merito medal by the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs for promoting Poland and strengthening its international position.
Currently, Julian Kulski is Director of the Kosciuszko Foundation in New York City and works as professor of international affairs at the prestigious Daniel Morgan Graduate School of National Security in Washington, D.C.