Second Poland

Józef Kasparek

Józef Kasparek (1915–2002) was a Polish lawyer, historian and political scientist. Until World War II he lived in southeastern Poland (in Poland's southern Kresy), in an area that is now in western Ukraine.


Józef Kasparek was born in 1915 in Broumov (German: Braunau), Bohemia, Austria-Hungary, in the present-day Czech Republic, near that country's border with Silesia, Germany (Poland's present-day Lower Silesian Province). He was the son of Teodor Kasparek, a lawyer and a former judge in Austrian-ruled Bosnia who was then serving as a volunteer in Józef Piłsudski's Polish Legions.

Carpathian Rus

In late 1938, soon after the Munich Conference, Józef Kasparek as a 23-year-old Lwów University law student helped initiate and carry out, under Polish General Staff direction, covert operations in Carpathian Rus. The object was to subvert the Nazi-German-aligned regime of Avhustyn Voloshyn and restore that easternmost, smallest region of Czechoslovakia to Hungary. Carpathian Rus was being turned by the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists into a Piedmont to aspirations for Ukrainian national independence, which might have been won essentially for the first time in history (as distinct from medieval Kievan Rus).

A sich (military camp) outside the Rusyn capital, Uzhhorod, was, under German tutelage, training Ukrainians from southeastern Poland for prospective action in Poland jointly with Germany. This constituted a clear and present danger to the Polish population just across the Carpathian Mountains in largely Ukrainian-populated southeastern Poland, as Adolf Hitler worked to complete a near-total encirclement of Poland on her north, west and south.

Hungary had ruled Carpathian Rus from the Middle Ages until defeated in World War I, and had been lobbying Adolf Hitler to sanction Hungary's repossession of Rus. Under the First Vienna Award in November 1938, in the wake of the Munich Conference, Hungary received some largely Hungarian-populated areas of Rus.

Further coordinated Polish-Hungarian partisan operations ultimately led to the restoration, in mid-March 1939, of Hungarian sovereignty over all of Carpathian Rus and the re-establishment of the historic common Polish-Hungarian border.

Six months later, during the invasion of Poland in September 1939, that common border would become of pivotal importance when Hungarian Regent Miklós Horthy's grateful government, as a matter of "Hungarian honor", declined Hitler's request to transit German forces across Rus into southeastern Poland to speed Poland's conquest. This in turn allowed the Polish government and tens of thousands of Polish military personnel to escape into neighboring Romania and Hungary, and from there to France and French-mandated Syria to carry on operations as the third-strongest Allied belligerent after Britain and France.

World War II

Kasparek fought in defense of Poland during the country's invasion in September 1939. By refusing General Władysław Langner's order to surrender to Soviet forces, he avoided becoming a victim of the Katyn massacres. Soon after, he joined the nascent Polish Resistance movement.

Arrested and interrogated six months by the Soviet NKVD, he was sentenced to eight years in Soviet forced labor camps. He barely survived two years before being "amnestied" with other Poles by the Soviets after Hitler's invasion of the Soviet Union (June 1941).

Joining General Władysław Anders' new Polish army being formed in the USSR, he was evacuated to the Middle East. From there he transferred into the Polish Air Force in Great Britain.

United States

In December 1951 Kasparek moved his family to the United States, where he would live for the next fifty years until his death.

Resuming an interest in comparative constitutional systems that he had begun in law school, he wrote a doctoral thesis that became the book, The Constitutions of Poland and of the United States. The book compares, and traces mutual influences upon, the constitutions of the United States and Poland, including the world's first modern codified national constitution, the United States Constitution that went into effect in 1789, and the world's second, Poland's Constitution of May 3, 1791.

See also



  • Joseph Kasparek, The Constitutions of Poland and of the United States: Kinships and Genealogy, Miami, FL, The American Institute of Polish Culture, 1980.
  • Józef Kasparek, "Poland's 1938 Covert Operations in Ruthenia", East European Quarterly, vol. XXIII, no. 3 (September 1989), pp. 365-73.
  • Józef Kasparek, Przepust karpacki: tajna akcja polskiego wywiadu (The Carpathian Back Door: a Covert Polish Intelligence Operation), Warszawa, Wydawnictwo Czasopism i Książek Technicznych SIGMA NOT, 1992, ISBN 83-85001-96-4.
  • Edmund Charaszkiewicz, "Referat o działaniach dywersyjnych na Rusi Karpackiej" ("Report on Covert Operations in Carpathian Rus"), in Zbiór dokumentów ppłk. Edmunda Charaszkiewicza, opracowanie, wstęp i prypisy [A Collection of Documents by Lt. Col. Edmund Charaszkiewicz, edited, with introduction and notes by] Andrzej Grzywacz, Marcin Kwiecień, Grzegorz Mazur (Biblioteka Centrum Dokumentacji Czynu Niepodległościowego, tom 9), Kraków, Księgarnia Akademicka, 2000, ISBN 83-7188-449-4, pp. 106-30.
  • Paweł Samuś, Kazimierz Badziak, Giennadij Matwiejew, Akcja "Łom": polskie działania dywersyjne na Rusi Zakarpackiej w świetle dokumentów Oddziału II Sztabu Głównego WP (Operation Crowbar: Polish Covert Operations in Transcarpathian Rus in Light of Documents of Section II of the Polish General Staff), Warsaw, Adiutor, 1998.

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