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Józef Jerzy Karpiński „Jerzy”

Lt. Józef Jerzy Karpiński was born in 1911 in Ignaców near Grójec. Before the war, he studied chemistry at Stefan Batory University in Vilnius, and later lived and worked in Warsaw. In 1939, he took part in the civil defense of Warsaw. During the occupation, despite the photography ban, he tried his best to document the everyday life of the city. In 1941, he was arrested for photographing the bombarded railways in Towarowa Street. He spent 4 months in Pawiak prison. Thanks to the efforts of his family, he was bailed and released. He hid around the city  until 1944, and continued his photographic documentations. During the Uprising, he was an officer at “Północ” Group’s disposal, organizationally connected with W. Łukasiński Battalion. Captured by the Germans, he exited the city with the civilians. He miraculously avoided execution by the Ukrainians on Chłodna Street. At the transfer camp  in Pruszków, he was qualified as “heavily sick” and directed to the hospital in Milanówek. He escaped during the journey, and hid in his family’s home in Błędów near Grójec until the end of the occupation. After the war, he continued his studies in the Diplomatic-Consular Department of Reyman Academy of Political Studies (a private school), and co-worked with the editors of “Służba Zdrowia” (“Health Service”) magazine. He later worked at the Physics Institute of Warsaw University, and the Food and Nutrition Institute. He continued amateur photography. He also had a passion for motors and motorsports. He was one of the first founders of AZS (University Sport Association) Motors Section by the Warsaw University of Technology. He died in 2010 in Warsaw.

 

  • Under the pseudonym “Jerzy” during the Uprising, Karpiński photographed the life of  fighting Old Town. Right before the fall of Old Town, he tried his best to hid photographic materials in the building ruins around Długa Street. Upon his return to Warsaw in winter 1945, he sought them out. Hidden in a pile of bricks, the small suitcase filled with materials documenting the German occupation and Uprising, as well as a Leica Standard camera, succumbed to the fires. The sole survivor was a metal tin can holding six negative rolls, hidden in the water pipes at 12 Franciszkańska Street, where he was quartered with his troop. This insurgent negative collection records a trip to Lviv before the outbreak of war, as well as post-war documentation of ruined Warsaw, and snapshots of AZS Motors Section activities.
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