President in Exile of Poland Dies in Colchester

Sombre news from the website of the Order of St. Stanislas:

Count Juliusz Nowina Sokolnicki,  President of Poland in Exile, 8th Grand Master of the Order of St Stanislas passed away at 0300 GMT today [17 August].

I blogged on the Count back in January, when I wrote an entry on various “Chivalric Orders”. He had been a member of the UK-based Polish Government in Exile (PGIE), of which he created a rival faction in 1971 that never recognised the post-Communist regimes in Poland. A 1996 essay by a certain Mark Harrison gives some interesting purported background, including a statement supposedly made by the official PGIE in 1987:

A certain Juliusz Sokolnicki declared himself President of the Republic of Poland and has been active for more than 10 years in the Polish exile community. He nominated prime ministers, generals (even on Field Marshal of a non-existent army), ambassadors and consuls. He confers awards and bestows decorations. In 1984 he created the Order of St Stanislas, the recipients of which have to pay sums varying from $100 to $1,000 according to the class of the order. Awarding orders is, therefore, a source of Mr Sokolnicki’s income…The activities and titles of this usurper would seem to be taken out of a burlesque or an operetta and would be highly amusing if they were not so harmful. Some foreigners have no understanding of the activities of the Polish emigrés led by their legal President and Government in Exile and accept Mr Sokolnicki’s fictitious nominations and awards. Apparantly some even support him financially. Unfortunately there are some Poles, although not many, who are eager to receive distinctions from him.

Poles in Poland should also be warned against the pernicious activities of this usurper. By his “decree” of 5 March 1985 he announced the formation of a “Special Penal Tribunal” in Warsaw with jurisdiction over the whole country. Its aim is to pass judgement on “political crimes perpetrated by the Communists and their collaborators, for physical and mental cruelty against citizens, and for betrayal of national interests”. These crimes will carry the eath penalty and there will be no right of appeal. A “special underground operative unit” will be entrusted with execution of sentences.

We have no intention of defending the Communist rulers of Poland but the formation of such a “tribunal” is against all principles of law and order and must be condemned as a provocative diversion.

A second essay, by Rafal Heydel-Mankoo, adds further claims:

In 2001 the Order of St. Stanislas was featured on a Canadian (CBC TV) investigative journalism show. Part of the exposé dealt with the Order’s offer of membership to the expansionist Russian war-hawk Vladimir Zhirinovsky (a rather bizarre offer for an allegedly patriotic Polish group).

Sokolnicki lives modestly in Colchester, Essex…In addition to describing himself as former President of the Polish Republic, and Grand Master of Saint Stanislas, he also claims other dubious “honours.” Sokolnicki claims to have given the grand collar of his Order to the late Pope – a letter from the retired Bishop of Koszalin-Kolobrzeg diocese dated 4 April 1995 confirmed that he was given several gifts to pass on to His Holiness on the occasion of his 1991 Polish visit, including a “Diploma and Insignia of the Order of St Stanislas”. The Bishop states that he “gave all those gifts to the Vatican delegation … some were taken to Rome some were left in Koszalin. The grand collar of the Order was left in Koszalin and it is in diocesan collection of Holy Father visit souvenirs”. Saint Stanislas also has branches across the world and, for some reason, appears to be particularly active in New Zealand…

In New Zealand, the Order is represented by a veteran of the Rhodesian Light Infantry. The “Order of St. Stanislas” appears to appeal to anti-Communist types; perhaps its most famous member was Gen William Westmoreland, the US war commander in Vietnam who became notorious for his dismissal of civilian casualties on the grounds that “death is not a big deal” in the “Orient”.

Meanwhile, a third piece, by “Dr. Pangloss”, informs us that:

There is also a whimsical side to the count as evidenced by his close collaboration with Mr. George King, aka “His Serene Highness Prince Doctor George King de Santorini, Count of Florina, Prince and Grand Master of the Mystic Order of St. Peter”…and president of the “Aetherius Society”, which maintains extra-planetary contacts with the inhabitants of the planet Saturn!

Apparently, there was a schism in 2004, which led to the head of the Ukrainian branch, Pavlo V’yalov, forming a rival organisation of the same name.

4 Responses

  1. […] is the original post: President in Exile of Poland Dies in Colchester « Bartholomew's … Share and […]

  2. Pardon the digression, but one of the more (in)famous recepients of dubious ‘Polish’ bling was an international man of mystery called James Shortt. See also:

  3. […] Creme’s beliefs are rooted in theosophy; he was also formerly Vice-President of the Aetherius Society, although he left in 1959 over “differences” (I blogged on another Aetherius Society-linked figure here). […]

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