STANISLAW PATEK - A SKETCH TO A BIOGRAPHY: STATE OF RESEARCH, SOURCES, AND PROBLEMS
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Polish historiography lacks a biography of Stanislaw Patek (1866-1944), whose name appears in numerous studies on the period, which depict him as one of the prominent protagonists of the described events. True, we have at our disposal an excellent biogram by Zbigniew Landau in 'Polski slownik biograficzny' (Polish Biographical Dictionary), but many fragments of his life remain unknown or unclear. We know that Patek was one of the leading lawyers in the Kingdom of Poland in 1903-–1914, and a celebrated defender in political trials. Moreover, he was associated with the freemasons and the socialists but predominantly with the liberals, the continuators of positivistic thought, people engaged in socio-political activity, frequently of a pro–independence nature. Already during the revolution of 1905 Patek established contact with Józef Pilsudski and in the following years became one of his collaborators. As Pilsudski's representative he was dispatched to the Paris peace conference in December 1918. During the war waged against Bolshevik Russia Patek fulfilled the function of minister of foreign affairs (16 December 1919 - 9 June 1920). In the years 1921-1926 he acted as an envoy to Tokyo, and in 1927-1932 - to Moscow; from 1933 to 1936 he was the Polish Ambassador to Washington. During the 1936-1939 period Patek was appointed by the President to the Senate of the Republic of Poland and was a member of the Senate Committee for Foreign Affairs. He was also one of the opponents of Józef Beck, the then minister of foreign affairs. Stanislaw Patek was indubitably one of the more interesting figures in the Kingdom of Poland and the Second Republic. From a defender of terrorists - this being the name given at the time to revolutionaries and independence activists - and subsequently a supporter of the freemasonry and the liberal movement, he became a diplomat of the independent Republic. Chief place in Patek's professional work and life was occupied by Russian issues, which probably comprise a key to his biography.
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