Jadwiga Piłsudska

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Jadwiga Piłsudska
Born (1920-02-28)28 February 1920
Warsaw, Poland
Died 16 November 2014(2014-11-16) (aged 94)
Warsaw, Poland
Nationality Polish
Other names Jadwiga Jaraczewska
Education Wanda Szachtmajer Female High School
Alma mater Newnham College, Cambridge
Polish University Abroad
Occupation architect
Employer Office of Urban Planning (London County Council)
Spouse(s) Andrzej Jaraczewski
Children Krzysztof Józef Jaraczeski
Joanna Maria Onyszkiewicz
Parent(s) Józef Piłsudski (father)
Aleksandra Szczerbińska (mother)
Relatives Wanda Piłsudska (sister)
Military career
Allegiance  Poland
 United Kingdom
Service/branch Roundel of Poland (until 1993).svg Polish Air Forces
RAF roundel.svg RAF: Air Transport Auxiliary
Years of service 1942-1944
Rank Second Officer (ATA).svg Second Officer (Flying Officer)
Unit 1st Ferry Pool, White Waltham
Awards Commander's Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta Bronze Cross of Merit with Swords Air Force Medal National Places of Remembrance Guardian's Gold Medal
Air Transport Auxiliary Veteran's Badge Cadre Company March Participant's Badge

Jadwiga Piłsudska-Jaraczewska (28 February 1920 – 16 November 2014) was a Polish pilot, who served in the Air Transport Auxiliary during the Second World War. She was one of two daughters of Marshal and Chief of State Józef Piłsudski.

Life and career

Learning to fly, aged 17
Marshal Piłsudski with daughter

Piłsudska was born on 28 February 1920, in Warsaw, Poland, the younger daughter of Marshal Józef Piłsudski, Poland's Chief of State (1918–22) and dictator (1926–1935), by the woman who would later become his second wife, Aleksandra Piłsudska (née Aleksandra Szczerbińska).

In 1937 Pilsudska began flying gliders and obtained a pilot's licence. In 1939 she graduated from secondary school and decided to study aircraft engineering at the Warsaw Polytechnic.

In September 1939, Poland was invaded by Germany, initiating the Second World War, and her family realized that under the circumstances it would be prudent to leave the country immediately. Piłsudska fled with her mother and elder sister, Wanda, to Lithuania and eventually arrived in the United Kingdom. She resumed her studies, in 1940, matriculating at Newnham College, Cambridge University.

Later she acquired her aircraft pilot's license, and in July 1942, she joined the Air Transport Auxiliary. With the rank of Second Officer[1] (Flying Officer) she flew unarmed military aircraft in the dangerous skies of wartime Britain and was, with Anna Leska and the Lithuanian-Pole Barbara Wojtulanis, one of several Polish women who served as wartime ferry pilots in Britain.

In 1944, she took a leave of absence to continue her studies by enrolling in the Polish School of Architecture at Liverpool University. In 1946 she graduated with an engineering degree in architecture.

In 1944, she also married Lieutenant Andrzej Jaraczewski, an officer in the Polish Navy. She has two children: a son, Krzysztof (in English, Christopher), and a daughter, Joanna.

Due to the Communist takeover in Poland, she remained in England after the War, as a political émigré. She has never accepted British citizenship. She used a Nansen passport, valid for all countries in the world, except Poland.[2]

In 1990, with the collapse of the Communist government, she returned to Poland and lived in Warsaw.

She died on 16 November 2014, in Warsaw at the age of 94.[3][4]


She has been honoured with a Bronze Cross of Merit with Swords and the Commander's Cross of the Polonia Restituta.

See also


  1. T. J. Krzystek, Personel Polskich Sił Powietrznych w Wielkiej Brytanii w latach 1940-1947 łącznie z Pomocniczą Lotniczą Służbą Kobiet (PLSK-WAFF), Agencja Lotnicza ALTAIR - Krajowa Rada Lotnicza, Warszawa 2007
  2. A. Romanowski, Piękne wczoraj, "Apokryf", No 13 (in Tygodnik Powszechny, No 45/1998)
  3. http://wiadomosci.onet.pl/kraj/nie-zyje-jadwiga-pilsudska-jaraczewska-miala-94-lata/dphwz
  4. Jadwiga Pilsudska-Jaraczewska: Pilot daughter of Marshal Pilsudski who served the Air Transport Auxiliary during WW2