100th Birthday Anniversary of Prof. Jerzy Zubrzycki, the Father of Australian Multiculturalism

Jerzy (George) Zubrzycki – a centenary reminiscence

Author: Jan Pakulski, MA, PhD, ASSA

Jerzy (George) Zubrzycki, AO, CBE (military), who was born in Cracow, Poland, in January 1920 and died in Canberra in May 2009, was among the most prominent Australian scholars, public intellectuals and government advisors, and was known as the “father of Australian multiculturalism”.

Zubrzycki grew up during the period of wars, uprisings and economic depressions that marked the beginning of the “Age of Extremes” in central Europe.  He was educated in Krakow at the same school as Karol Wojtyla, the future Pope John Paul II.  Both shared patriotic and religious commitments as well as a pro-democratic ethos – a commonality that resulted in life-long friendship.

Like most young Poles of his generation, young Jerzy enrolled in the Cavalry Officer Cadet School as preparation for university studies.  Alas, this preparation instead proved to be a prelude for long military service.  The German and Soviet invasions in September 1939 caught young Zubrzycki on the rapidly moving front lines.  After four weeks of fighting he was taken prisoner but managed to escape from the POW transport to join the Polish anti-Nazi Underground.  The Underground command sent him on a special intelligence mission to Slovakia, Hungary, Yugoslavia, Italy and France when, after the French surrender in 1940, he was posted to Britain.  His fluent English combined with military training attracted the attention of his military superiors.  After a short period of training he was posted to the legendary Polish Parachute Brigade operating under the Special Operations Executive (SOE) – an organization formed by Churchill to “set ablaze” German-occupied Europe.

The SOE planned and conducted the most daring and dangerous military operations, including intelligence gathering, sabotage, diversion, coordination of resistance and supply of materials to underground forces.  The most famous operation which Zubrzycki planned involved the smuggling out of German-occupied Poland in June 1944 of an intact German V2 warhead, the widely feared “flying bomb”.  For his contribution to this operation Zubrzycki was decorated in 1945 Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE).  He also received numerous Polish and Australian military decorations in recognition of his distinguished military service.

The end of war found George Zubrzycki and his family stranded in Britain.  The road home was closed by the Iron Curtain, and they decided to stay in Britain as political refugees.  Encouraged by his friends, George started university studies.  In 1945 he enrolled in the BSc and then MSc (Econ) degrees at the London School of Economics (LSE), topped up with a doctorate at the Free Polish University in London.  His Masters and PhD dissertations were on migration and population dynamics – the topics to which he remained faithful throughout his life.

While his early education in Poland and his war experiences shaped his character and personality, the years of studies at the LSE proved most formative intellectually.  In the late 1940s and early 1950s the School became a crucible of the most influential ideas that shaped the post-war era.  It carried strong traditions of Fabian Socialism combined with the liberal philosophy of Friedrich Hayek and Karl Popper.  George was most impressed by the libertarian spirit of freedom permeating academic debates, as well as the accompanying commitment to social justice and individual responsibility.  This moral-philosophical orientation became a trademark of Zubrzycki’s subsequent academic work on migration and social integration.

In late 1955 Zubrzycki accepted an appointment as Research Fellow in Demography in the Research School of Social Sciences at the Australian National University and moved with his family to Canberra.  This was an academic environment that he was longing for – focussing on applied, socially relevant research.  Together with his Australian colleagues, Zubrzycki conducted research and collected population statistics influential in shaping government social policies.  In 1965 he became a Professorial Fellow, and in 1970 was appointed Founding Professor and Head of the newly formed Department of Sociology, where he served with distinction until his retirement in 1986.

Migration and migrant social adaptation remained Zubrzycki’s major academic preoccupation throughout his career.  In the 1970s he joined the Australian Ethnic Affairs Council and the Interim Council for the Institute of Multicultural Affairs.  He wrote and edited a number of important policy papers, research reports and recommendations that formed a basis of newly formulated multicultural policies, subsequently embraced on a bi-partisan basis by all Australian governments.  The strategies proposed by Zubrzycki and the Council promoted ethnically diverse but controlled migration, assisted social integration, and respected ethnic traditions and equality of opportunity as key conditions of migrant adaptation.  The program has proven successful and since the late 1970s it has guided Australian immigration programs.  In recognition of his research and advocacy of this integrative (as he always stressed) multiculturalism, Zubrzycki was awarded in 1984 the Order of Australia (OA).

Retirement in 1986 did not slow down Zubrzycki’s work.  He continued his involvement in public debates about immigration and multiculturalism, as well as intense voluntary work for numerous organizations including Lifeline, the Australian Family Association, the National Museum and the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences.  In 1991 Zubrzycki became the first President of the newly formed Australian Institute of Polish Affairs (AIPA) and in this role he made great contributions in fostering relations between Australia and newly democratized Poland, as well as promoting Polish-Jewish dialogue in Australia.

Zubrzycki died in 2009 and has been remembered fondly by his friends in Australia and Poland.  In 2013 his biography, written by John H. Williams and John Bond, was published in Australia and launched by Malcolm Fraser, the former Australian PM.  Three years later a Polish translation of the book was launched in Krakow and Warsaw attracting large numbers of Zubrzycki’s friends and admirers.  Perhaps most importantly, nearly half a century after its formulation, his favourite program of integrative multiculturalism continues to guide Australian migration and nation-building policies.

Jan Pakulski, MA, PhD, ASSA

Professor Emeritus, University of Tasmania

Contact: 0419 526 750, jan.pakulski@utas.edu.au

W 100 rocznicę urodzin Jerzego Zubrzyckiego

W styczniu tego roku mija 100 lat od urodzenia Jerzego Zubrzyckiego, walecznego żołnierza Drugiej Wojny Światowej, wybitnego polsko-australijskiego socjologa, intelektualisty i doradcy rządowego znanego w Australii jako “ojciec wielokulturowości”. Zubrzycki, nazywany przez australijskich przyjaciół „Georgem”, był gorącym patriotą polskim i australijskim, założycielem pierwszego w Australii wydziału socjologii na Australijskim Uniwersytecie Narodowym, długoletnim członkiem Australijskiej Akademii Nauk Społecznych (ASSA), a także organizatorem życia polonijnego i niezmordowanym filantropem. W setną rocznice urodzin warto przypomnieć naszym słuchaczom o jego życiu i osiągnięciach.

Jerzy Zubrzycki urodził się w Krakowie w 1920 roku. Z domu rodzinnego wyniósł patriotyczne wychowanie, gorącą wiarę oraz poczucie społecznego obowiązku, tak typowe dla wojennego pokolenia, które nazywano w Polsce ‘Kolumbami’. Jego kolegą szkolnym w Krakowie był Karol Wojtyła, przyszły Papież Jan Paweł II. Ta znajomość zaowocowała długoletnią przyjaźnią i współpracą, szczególnie w ramach Pontyfikalnej Akademii Nauk Społecznych, w której pracach Zubrzycki uczestniczył do końca życia.

Wprost ze szkoły młody Jerzy trafił na front kampanii wrześniowej, potem do niewoli niemieckiej, a wreszcie do podziemnego ruchu oporu, gdzie został skierowany do specjalnej misji wywiadowczej na Węgry, do Jugosławii, Włoch i Francji. Po upadku Francji, ewakuowano go do Londynu, a następnie do legendarnej Polskiej Brygady Spadochronowej i Szwadronu Specjalnych Zadań, który działał w ramach słynnej brytyjskiej Special Operations Executive (SOE). Zadaniem SOE, jak to określił Churchill, było “rozniecanie pożogi oporu w Europie”. Pod pseudonimem “Płomieńczyk”, Zubrzycki szkolił  “cichociemnych” i koordynował antyniemieckie akcje dywersyjne, za co został odznaczony Orderem Brytyjskiego Imperium (MBA). Po zakończeniu wojny założył rodzinę i rozpoczął studia w słynnej London School of Economics (LSE) oraz na londyńskim Wolnym Polskim Uniwersytecie na Uchodźstwie. Tam tez obronił doktorat pod opieką naukową znanego polsko-amerykańskiego socjologa, Floriana Znanieckiego. Studia łączył z praca zarobkową w BBC oraz Foreign Office.

W 1955 roku Zubrzycki wraz z rodziną przeniósł się do Australii. Tam w 1965 roku otrzymał nominacje profesorską na Australijskim Uniwersytecie Narodowym (ANU) jako Profesor-Założyciel pierwszego w Australii wydziału socjologii. Jego analizy i raporty naukowe stały się podstawa integracyjnej wielokulturowości – programu rządowego zaakceptowanego od lat 70tych przez wszystkie rządy Australii, niezależnie od ich partyjnej orientacji. Wśród australijskich polityków był znany jako „intelektualny ojciec wielokulturowości”. W uznaniu zasług, został odznaczony w 1977 roku Srebrnym Medalem Jubileuszowym, a następnie tytułem Komandora Imperium Brytyjskiego (CBA), a w 1984 roku Oficerem Orderu Australii (AO).

Zubrzycki był także niestrudzonym animatorem życia polonijnego. Angażował się w organizowanie pomocy dla Solidarności, był pierwszym Prezesem Australijskiego Instytutu Spraw Polskich (AIPA), pracował honorowo dla Lifeline, Australian Family Association i National Museum. W 1994 roku został zaproszony przez Jana Pawła II do Papieskiej Akademii Nauk Społecznych w Watykanie, gdzie jego glos współkształtował doktrynę społeczną kościoła.

Jerzy Zubrzycki zmarł w 2009 roku. Dopiero z nekrologów dowiedzieliśmy się o jego licznych odznaczeniach: Krzyżem Walecznych, Srebrnym Krzyżem Zasługi z Mieczami, Orderem Polonia Restituta z Gwiazdą, wojennymi odznaczeniami brytyjskimi i tytułem Oficera Orderu Australii (AO). Pozostawił po sobie nie tylko wielkie osiągniecia naukowe oraz ciepłą i serdeczną pamięć przyjaciół w Australii i Polsce, ale także – wspólnie z zona Aleksandra – zapis testamentowy dla Fundacji Polcul, który stal się podstawa corocznie przyznawanych nagród dla wybitnych polskich społeczników. W 2013 roku ukazała się biografia Jerzego Zubrzyckiego, autorstwa Johna Williamsa i Johna Bonda zatytułowana „The Promise of Diversity.” Na jej promocji w Melbourne przemawiał były Premier Australii, Malcolm Fraser. W 2016 roku ukazała się polska wersja tej książki pod tytułem „Jerzy Zubrzycki – wielki Polak i Australijczyk”. Promocje tej książki – najpierw w Krakowie, a potem w Warszawie – przyciągnęły ponad stu polskich naukowców, intelektualistów, członków rodziny i przyjaciół Zubrzyckiego.

W setną rocznicę urodzin oddajemy hołd pamięci tego wybitnego – jak sam się określał – „australijskiego Polaka”.

Jan Pakulski

PRESIDENT’S REPORT. ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING OF AIPA, 28 NOVEMBER 2017

PRESIDENT’S REPORT

ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING OF AIPA, 28 NOVEMBER 2017

There is no doubt that fifteen months that have passed since the last Annual General Meeting in August 2016, was the period of particularly intensive work for our Institute. Perhaps its intensity had a lot to do with the breadth of activities undertaken by AIPA during this time.

I would like to group these activities in four categories:

  1. AIPA-sponsored lecture tours that are our signature activities.

Since the last AGM, AIPA organized three visits of distinguished guests:

Whilst I won’t be going through the entire program of each of our guests, I would only like to highlight that during his visit, Dr Rzońca met with the officials from the Reserve Bank of Australia, officials from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, with Sydney University’s Sydney Democracy Network, and had a lecture at the University of Melbourne - to name just a few most important engagements.

The program of Janusz Onyszkiewicz’s visit included, among others: meeting with the officials from Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, presentations at the Centre for Independent Studies in Sydney, University of Melbourne and Institutes of International Affairs both in Sydney and Hobart.

The program of his visit included public meetings at Sydney Jewish Museum, Melbourne Kadimah Cultural Centre and media interviews with ABC Radio National and Australian Jewish News. This program was shortened due to illness of our guest.

It is evident that our organization and our members put in place for our guests programs of activities that can only be described as sophisticated and well-targeted. For example, meetings with DFAT officials in Canberra have become a norm for our visitors who specialize in socio-economic, security and political issues. The same can be said of such influential organisations as Centre for Independent Studies or University of Melbourne. We’re developing promising contacts with the ABC radio.

In the area of Polish-Jewish relations I was particularly pleased to see a very successful liaison with the Sydney Jewish Museum and deepening of relations with Australian Society of Polish Jews and their Descendants. I should also mention that our last guest, Janusz Makuch, had an opportunity to listen to the best Melbourne-based Jewish musicians eg. Deborah Conway and her husband Willi Zygier who gathered to perform in front of him. This does not require any further comments.

  1. Two commemorative functions marking 25th anniversary of AIPA
  1. Launch of the Polish-Language edition of the book about Jerzy Zubrzycki

The promotion of the book written by John Bond and the late John Williams, both associated with the Initiative of Change (John Williams served also as Secretary of AIPA in the late 1990s) took place on 29 September 2017. It was held in the the Hall of Mirrors of the Staszic Palace which is the headquarters of the Polish Academy of Sciences. One could not find a more prestigious venue for such event. The current Ambassador of Australia to Poland, Paul Wojciechowski, was one of the speakers. Two former Polish Ambassadors to Australia – Agnieszka Morawinska, currently the director of the National Museum and Ambassador Pawel Milewski, who ended his mission in August this year, were also present. The launch attracted attendance of a number of Polish academics and artists. Prior to the event Jan Pakulski and Wojtek Zagala gave, separately, interviews to the Polish radio. Also interviewed was the author of the book, John Bond.

  1. Fifth Congress of Polish Academic Societies in the World

Between 16th and 21st October 2017, The Polish Academy of Arts and Sciences (Umiejętności in Polish) organized the 5th Congress of Polish Academic Societies in the World which attracted attendance of a large number of Polish academics and community leaders from around the world as well as from Poland. The President of AIPA was invited to join the Honorary Committee of the Congress as sole representative from Australia and was also the only speaker from Australia presenting paper at the Congress. The title of his presentation was: “The Australian Institute of Polish Affairs”. The text is available on AIPA website. The President of AIPA was also interviewed, as one of only two participants, by the Polish Press Agency PAP. In total, around 40 speakers delivered their presentations during the Congress.

What do these four events tell us about AIPA. First of all, they tell us that AIPA brand is recognizable both in Poland and Australia and is associated with such qualities as professionalism, dedication, broad-mindness but is also associated espousal of values of modern patriotism – with its stress on forward-thinking, inclusiveness and concrete action rather than on pretentious celebration of the past. How else would we be able to attract so many eminent public figures to our events. How else would be able to gain trust and respect of both Polish and Australian diplomatic missions? But rather than me speculating on this subject, let me quote from the farewell letter that AIPA received from the departing Ambassador Pawel Milewski in August this year: I quote “ During my 4 year mission in Australia I have concluded on numerous occasions that AIPA is an organization whose role in the promotion of Poland in Australia , I value highly. You are the symbol of all those good changes that led Poland to its independence and sovereignty..…. The fact that for more than 25 years of your existence you have persevered with explaining those often complex changes that took place in Poland to Australians and more than anything else, that you have promoted the indisputable successes and achievements of our country…. is for me an important value in itself. I thank you greatly for this as Polish Ambassador and Polish patriot….”end of quote.

As I end my 2 year term as President of AIPA today and will not be seeking an extension in this role, I would like to thank all my colleagues from the Executive Committee for their dedication, support and great collaboration during the last 2 years. I am for ever indebted to you, to the regional representatives: Marek, Olek, Ola and Janek for making such value-adding contributions to the programs of our guests; to Janek for organizing almost single-handedly the very successful promotion of the book about our first President; to Malgosia for your wise counsel and your skillful handling of our finances that continue to be in such a good order; to Ania for organizing this great event in Sandringham Yacht Club earlier this year and last but not least to Stefan for keeping us all informed through the regular Newsletters and for your great support with everything else. Thank you all and I wish AIPA and all the members another fantastic year of activities.

Adam Warzel

The Promise of Diversity

“Jerzy Zubrzycki was widely described as the “father of multiculturalism” in Australia. He contributed enormously to the social development of this country....”
Malcolm Fraser, Prime Minister 1975 - 83

The Australian Institute of Polish Affairs

invites you

to the launch of “The Promise of Diversity” ,
the book by John Williams and John Bond about the architect of multicultural Australia, Jerzy Zubrzycki, by

The Rt Hon. Malcolm Fraser AC CH

Date: Tuesday, 16 April 2013, 6PM

Address: Armagh, 226 Kooyong Road, Toorak

Jerzy Zubrzycki AO CBE (1920 – 2009) was the founding professor of sociology at the Australian National University and is credited with helping to steer Australia towards adopting multiculturalist settlement policies. His commitment to multiculturalism was born in the ashes of World War II, during which he served with the Polish resistance and with Britain’s Special Operations Executive. After the war, he studied sociology at the London School of Economics.
In 1976 he became the first chair of the Ethnic Affairs Council which would advise Minister for Immigration on migrants’ settlement and integration issues. In 1977 he co-authored (with Jean Martin) a ground-breaking policy document “Australia as a Multicultural Society”, which stated, “We believe Australia should be working towards not a oneness but a unity, not a similarity but a composite, not a melting pot but a voluntary bond of dissimilar people sharing a common political and institutional structure.”
A contemporary and friend of Pope John Paul II - the two attended the same high school in Krakow - Professor Zubrzycki was also a founding member of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences in the Vatican.