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Wacław Żdżarski „Kozłowski”

Lt. Wacław Żdżarski „Kozłowski” was born 10 September 1913 in Warsaw. In 1932, he graduated from Adam Mickiewicz High School in Nowogródek (now in Belarus). From 1932 to 1935, he studied Law at the Stefan Batory University in Vilnius; and later, from 1935 to 1938, he continued his studies at the Higher School of Journalism in Warsaw. From 1936, he worked as a reporter in the “Rój” Publishing Agency in Warsaw, co-founded by writer Melchior Wańkowicz. He did his military training in Włodzimierz (now in Ukraine) in 1938. In September 1939, he fought with the 44th Infantry Battalion American Legion in Równo region. Captured first by the Soviets and then by the German, he was held at Stalag VI B in Meppen-Versen. He was released as a war invalid on 30 October 1941. Żdżarski returned to Warsaw and joined the underground activities of the Home Army (AK) Bureau of Information and Propaganda (BIP). From 1942, he became the manager of the photographic section. He was responsible for organizing cells, leading schooling, and managing a photo lab, which he ran with his wife, Sabina, in their apartment at 6/8 Śliska Street. The archived photographs taken during this time were destroyed during the Uprising. In February 1944, his conspiracy activities were found out, and he changed his name to Michał Wrzosek. He was active as a Military Field Reporter (PSW) in the Uprising, under the pseudonym ‘Kozłowski’. On 30 August, he crossed the sewer canals to Mokotów, where Sabina was living as a photo reporter. In the final days of September, the Żdżarski family travelled out to Wilanów, and from there, to Milanówek. After the war, he began working in the editing department of the „Kurier Codzienny” (“Daily Courier”) and actively took up film journalism. He was the organizer and first President of the Polish Journalists’ Association Field Film-Reporters Club; as well as a member of FIPRESCI, the International Federation of Film Critics. In the years 1948-1950, he was a lecturer for journalism theory and techniques and stenography for the Journalism department of the Academy of Political Studies. He worked for several magazines, for ex. “Kinotechnik”, „Przyjaciel Rzemieślnika”, „Film”, „Świat”, „Słowo Powszechne”, „Stolica”, etc. Żdżarski is the author of books: Od obiektywu do negatywu (‘From lens to negative’) (1946), Historia Fotografii Warszawskiej (‘The History of Warsaw Photography’) (1974), Almanach Fotoamatora (‘The Amateur Photographer’s Almanac’; jointly with J. Sunderland and L. Sempoliński), Fotografujemy Zorką (‘We photograph with a Zorka camera’) (1975), and Zaczęło się od Daguerre'a, (‘It Started with Daguerre’) (1975). He was decorated countless times for his underground activities during the occupation; and for his developments in photography in post-war Poland. He died 5 March 1983 in Warsaw.

 

  • Wacław Żdżarski documented the Uprising as a Military Press Reporter (PSW) under pseudonym “Kozłowski”. In August, he shot images in City Center; and from September, after exiting the canals, in Mokotów district. A small number of photographs remain from that time. The collection of nearly 300 negatives were destroyed during a German attack on Mokotów district. Only the few original film frames inside his camera survived. Few photographs taken in City Centre preserved thanks to copies made in an insurgent photo lab inside the basement of a Wedel store on Szpitalna Street. They show the initial development of photographic material, that was later used in the insurgent press. The pseudonym of the photographer, a date stamp, and a short description of who and what is in the picture are all noted on the reverse. 
MPW-IK/1686
MPW-IK/1686
MPW-IK/1692
MPW-IK/1692
MPW-IK/1693
MPW-IK/1693
MPW-IK/1732
MPW-IK/1732
MPW-IK/1733
MPW-IK/1733
MPW-IP/2193
MPW-IP/2193
MPW-IP/2256
MPW-IP/2256
MPW-IP/2275
MPW-IP/2275
MPW-IP/4065
MPW-IP/4065
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