Konstanty Grzybowski 1901-1970

He was born in Zator, near Oświęcim, on the 17th of February, 1901, into a family of intellectuals. In 1921 he completed a secondary school in Kraków, and then continued his education at the Faculty of Law of the Jagiellonian University. He studied under the supervision of the eminent Kraków professors; not only experts on law, but also the intellectual mainstays of the local Conservative environment, namely, Michał Bobrzyński, Stanisław Estreicher, and Władysław Leopold Jaworski. Having achieved the doctoral degree in 1927, on the basis of a thesis entitled ‘Unitarism and Federalism in Germany’, he took up work in the Office of the Attorney General and then in the municipal administration. He also collaborated with the Kraków School of Political Science, where he conducted classes on geopolitics until the outbreak of the Second World War. Quite naturally, Grzybowski’s political sympathies were connected with the local Conservative circle of ‘Stańczycy’, then still rallied around the ‘Czas’ daily - whose deputy editor-in-chief Grzybowski was in 1933-1934 – and formally organized in the National Right Wing Party (SPN). With a significant part of the Kraków Conservative environment, he supported Piłsudski’s actions in 1926, took part in the famous dinner in Dzikowo (1927), and joined the Nonpartisan Bloc for Cooperation with the Government (BBWR). In course of time, though, he got disappointed with the rule of the Sanation camp. His polemics with Janusz Jędrzejewicz regarding the academic self-government then resulted in blocking his promotion to the post of assistant professor. In the Conservative camp, Grzybowski represented a flexible attitude towards the notion of conservatism, introducing new elements rooted in the experience of the German Conservative revolution into the tradition of ‘Stańczycy’. Dwa głosy o konserwatyzmie i rewolucji (Kraków, 1931), a pamphlet he co-authored with Anatol Listowski, was a manifesto seeking to revolutionize Conservatism. It postulated that in the interest of defence of universal values Conservatism should relativize the consistency principle and, in the face of rapid political transformations, should not scruple to accustom itself to revolution as an instrument of political action. However, already in 1939, Grzybowski was moving still closer to the leftist parties and got involved in the activities of the newly established Alliance of Democrats (SD). Before the war, the attention of Grzybowski the scholar was mainly focused upon various issues concerning the system of government. The following works date back to that period: Ustrój Związku Socjalistycznych Sowieckich Republik. Doktryna i konstytucja (1929), Od dyktatury ku kompromisowi konstytucyjnemu (1930), Dyktatura prezydenta Rzeszy (1934), or Zasady konstytucji kwietniowej (1937). During the war, Grzybowski was involved in secret teaching at the Faculty of Agriculture of the Jagiellonian University, and after the year 1945 he continued his academic work. In 1946 he received the title of associate professor and was the dean of the Faculty of Law in 1948–1951. In 1959 he assumed the post of full professor and headed the Department of the State Law and the Group of Departments of the Theory of State and Law. He was the originator of the first Polish Department of History of Political and Legal Doctrines (1962). From 1969 he was also a corresponding member of the Polish Academy of Sciences (PAN). After the war, he was politically connected with the Polish Socialist Party (PPS), and wrote for magazines such as ‘Odrodzenie’ or ‘Kuźnica’; however, he never joined the Polish United Workers’ Party (PZPR). Besides, he remained an object of particular interest of the Security Office until 1960. In the first half of the 1950’s, he was kept under surveillance; then attempts were made to recruit him as informer. All such actions, however, met with a resolute resistance on his part. Grzybowski was the author of numerous works from the field of theory and practice of political systems; for instance Demokracja angielska (1946), Demokracja francuska (1947), Demokracja Stanów Zjednoczonych (1947), Ustrój Polski współczesnej, 1944-1948 (1948), Nauka o państwie (1949), Z zagadnień współczesnego parlamentaryzmu burżuazyjnego (1955). In that domain, the influence of Carl Schmitt’s doctrines was still visible in his work, which dated back to the 1930’s: during his scholarship to Berlin in 1931, Grzybowski had attended Schmitt’s lectures.


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