|President of Poland|
4 June 1926 - 30 September 1939
|W?adys?aw Raczkiewicz (in Exile)|
Boles?aw Bierut (in Poland)
|Born||1 December 1867|
Mierzanowo, Congress Poland, Russian Empire
|Died||2 October 1946 (aged 78)|
|Political party||Proletariat (until 1892)|
|Spouse(s)||Michalina Czy?ewska (d.1932) |
Maria Dobrza?ska (m.1933)
Ignacy Mo?cicki (Polish pronunciation: [i?'nats? m't?itsk?i]; 1 December 1867 – 2 October 1946) was a Polish chemist, politician, and President of Poland from 1926 to 1939. He was the longest serving President in Poland's history. He was serving as the president of Poland when Nazi Germany invaded the country on 1 September 1939, starting the Second World War.
Ignacy Mo?cicki was born on 1 December 1867 in Mierzanowo, a small village near Ciechanów, Congress Poland. After completing school in Warsaw, he studied chemistry at the Riga Polytechnicum. There he joined the Polish underground leftist organization, Proletariat.
Upon graduating, he returned to Warsaw, but was threatened by the Tsarist secret police with life imprisonment in Siberia and was forced to emigrate in 1892 to London. In 1896 he was offered an assistantship at the University of Fribourg in Switzerland. There he patented a method for cheap industrial production of nitric acid.
In 1912 Mo?cicki moved to Lemberg (Polish: Lwów; modern Lviv, Ukraine), in the Kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria within the Austro-Hungarian Empire, where he accepted a chair in physical chemistry and technical electrochemistry at the Lemberg Polytechnic. In 1925 he was elected rector of the Lwów Polytechnic (as it was now called), but soon moved to Warsaw to continue his research at the Warsaw Polytechnic. In 1926, he became an Honorary Member of the Polish Chemical Society.
After Józef Pi?sudski's May 1926 coup d'état, on 1 June 1926, Mo?cicki - an erstwhile associate of Pi?sudski's in the Polish Socialist Party - was elected president of Poland by the National Assembly, on Pi?sudski's recommendation (after Pi?sudski himself refused the office).
As president, Mo?cicki was subservient to Pi?sudski, never openly showing dissent from any aspect of the Marshal's leadership. After Pi?sudski's death in 1935, Pi?sudski's followers divided into three main factions: those supporting Mo?cicki as Pi?sudski's successor; those supporting General Edward Rydz-?mig?y; and those supporting Prime Minister Walery S?awek.
With a view to eliminating S?awek from the game, Mo?cicki concluded a power-sharing agreement with Rydz-?mig?y, which saw S?awek marginalized as a serious political player by the end of the year. As a result of this agreement, Rydz-?mig?y would become the de facto leader of Poland until the outbreak of the war, while Mo?cicki remained influential by continuing in office as president.
Mo?cicki was the leading moderate figure in the regime, which was referred to as the "colonels' government" due to the major presence of military officers in the Polish government. Mo?cicki opposed many of the nationalist excesses of the more right-wing Rydz-?mig?y, but their pact remained more or less intact.
Mo?cicki remained president until September 1939, when he was interned in Romania following the German invasion of Poland, and was forced by France to resign his office. He transferred the office to General Boles?aw Wieniawa-D?ugoszowski, who held it for only one day before General W?adys?aw Sikorski and the French government ousted him in favour of W?adys?aw Raczkiewicz.
Mo?cicki was planning to leave for Switzerland after leaving office as President. From 1908 to 1920, he was a citizen of Switzerland; he was also an honorary citizen of the Fribourg commune. The Romanian authorities gave their provisional consent to his departure, but Germany opposed it. Mo?cicki was offered to US President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who was determined to have Mo?cicki go to Switzerland. The intervention of the US government forced the Romanian authorities to agree. General Sikorski also ordered the Polish embassy in Bucharest to provide all assistance to Mo?cicki. The president stayed in Romania until December 1939.
Mo?cicki came to Switzerland through Milan, where he met with Boles?aw Wieniawa-D?ugoszowski. Initially, he lived in Friborg, where he was allowed to continue his scientific work. During this period, among others, he wrote down his memories, which were published by the New York magazine Independence. Mo?cicki donated money to soldiers of the Polish Army in France, Warsaw residents in prisoner-of-war camps, concentration camps and labor camps. For five months, he taught at the University of Fribourg. Later, he was forced to take up paid work. In 1940, he moved to Geneva, where he worked in the Hydro-Nitro Chemical Laboratory.
Mo?cicki's health deteriorated rapidly after 1943. He passed away on October 2, 1946, in Versoix, near Geneva. In 1984, his descendants requested that the remains of Mo?cicki and his wife be moved from Switzerland to Poland. The relevant Polish authorities agreed that a funeral was to be held in Warsaw and be completely private, without any state ceremonies. However, the authorities of the Canton of Geneva in Switzerland withdrew their agreement for political reasons after protests related to Solidarity from emigrants. In 1993, Mo?cicki's remains were transported, on behalf of incumbent President Lech Wasa, to Poland and deposited in the crypt of St. John's Archcathedral, Warsaw. Mo?cicki's symbolic grave is located in the Avenue of Merit at the Pow?zki Cemetery in Warsaw, where his second wife is buried next to him.
Polish president in Augustów, 1932
Plaque commemorating Mo?cicki's stay as a refugee in the Mihail Constantine Palace in Romania.