Nobility and historical

The uniform of a Sanitariuszka included beret, white/red band on jacket sleeve
and medic bag that held bandages, iodine, medicine, etc.
Sanitariuszka or Paramedic/nurse were health care worker girls performing the basic, non-proprietary medical activities in health care. World War II during the Warsaw Uprising. As nurses and couriers, they were often the most vulnerable, and female casualties were disproportionately high. All of the injured soldiers and civilians under the care of these women remembered them as 'angels.'

The Warsaw Uprising (Powstanie Warszawskie) was a major World War II operation by the Polish resistance Home Army (Armia Krajowa) to liberate Warsaw from Nazi Germany. The rebellion was timed to coincide with the Soviet Union's Red Army approaching the eastern suburbs of the city and the retreat of German forces. However, the Soviet advance stopped short, enabling the Germans to regroup and demolish the city while defeating the Polish resistance, which fought for 63 days with little outside support.
    The uprising began on August 1, 1944, as part of a nationwide plan, "Operation Tempest", when the Soviet Army approached Warsaw. The main Polish objectives were to drive the German occupiers from the city and help with the larger fight against Germany and the Axis powers.

Polska Walcząca (means: Fighting Poland) P and W stylized as anchor, a symbol of hope.

Polish Jew
Outfit of Orthodox Jew with prayer shawl holding a book (Talmud).
    The history of the Jews in Poland date back to the year 1025. For centuries, Poland was home to the largest and most significant Jewish community in the world. Poland was the centre of Jewish culture, thanks to a long period of statutory religious tolerance and social autonomy. About three-quarters of all European Jews lived in Polnad by the middle of 16th century.
  During World War II there was a nearly complete genocidal destruction of the Polish Jewish community by Nazi Germany, during the 1939-1945 German occupation of Poland and the ensuing Holocaust. Since the fall of communism, there has been a Jewish revival in Poland, characterized by the annual Jewish Culture Festival, new study programs at Polish high schools and universities, the work of synagogues, and the the Museum of the History of Polish Jews.

Polish Kings and Queens
These dolls are made by the Stanislaw Wyspianski Handcraft and Art Co-operation (Spóldzielnia Pracy Rękodzieła Ludowego i Artystycznego im. Stanisława Wyśpianskiego) in Kraków, unless otherwise stated.

  In addition to folk costumed dolls they make historical ones also. I have a few of them, as they are hard to come by and some must even be aquired by special order. Also, they cost more. Each is between 9 and 10 inches tall and have great attention to detail in the dress of the given period. They are clothed in authentic attire as certified by the Polish Ministry of Culture.

   I have given a short history on each King or Queen, as it is so interesting. Poland had about 48 kings, so I am looking to have more ordered in the future. Two I ordered from a store called Polish Art Center, in Detroit, USA, some I even found on e-bay!    Bellow are from my collection:

Stanislaw II August Poniatowski   (1732 – 1798)

 Born Count Stanisław Antoni Clolek Poniatowski. Reigned from 1764–1795. He was the last elected King and Grand Duke of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. 
   He presided over the well known May 3rd Constitution. The Constitution introduced a new division into the legislative and executive authorities, abolished the three century long division between Poland and Lithuania, and granted new rights to townspeople, Jews and peasants. In this manner, without violent change to its political system, Poland became a modern constitutional monarchy.

   However, after the final, Third Partition of Poland by Austria, Germany and Russia, Stanisław August was forced to abdicate on November 25, 1795, and left for Saint Petersburg, Russia. There, a virtual prisoner, he subsisted on a pension granted to him by Empress Catherine the Great, and died deeply in debt on February 12, 1798 (aged 66). He was buried at the Catholic Church of St. Catherine in St. Petersburg, Russia. 

Jan III Sobieski  (1629–1696)
Marie Casimire Louise de La Grange d'Arquien   (1641–1716)

Jan (John) Sobieski reigned from 1674-1696. He was one of the most notable monarchs of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, from 1674 until his death King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania. Sobieski's 22-year-reign was marked by a period of the Commonwealth's stabilization.   
   Popular among his subjects, he was an able military commander, and was most famous for the victory over the Turks in the 1683 Battle of Vienna. Following his victories over the Ottoman Empire, he was called by the Turks the "Lion of Lechistan" and held as the saviour of European Christendom by the pope.

Marie Casimire of Nevers, Burgundy, France. In Polish: Maria Kazimiera, known also by the diminutive form "Marysieńka" was consort to King John. They married in 1665 and had a total of 13 children of which 7 died in infancy.
   King John III Sobieski died in Wilanów, Poland on 17 June 1696. His wife, Maria, died in 1716 in  Blois, France, and her body was returned to Poland. They are interred together in Wawel Cathedral, Krakow, Poland.

Fun Fact: In Poland there is a vodka named after him, Sobieski vodka.

Stefan Batory  (1533 - 1586)

He was a Hungarian noble  Prince of Transylvania (1571–1586), then King of Poland (1576–1586) and  Grand Duke of Lithuania (1576–1586). He was a member of the Somlyó branch of the noble Hungarian Bathory family. Many historians consider him to be one of the greatest of the elected Kings of Poland. 
He was buried in Krakow’s Wawel Cathedral, Saint Mary's Crypt in 1588. 
I found him on e-bay a few years ago.

Fact: There were two famous ocean liners named after him. The TS/S Stefan Batory, she was brought from Holland in 1968 and began service for Polish Ocean Lines in April 1969 till 1988, replacing an older ocean liner, M/S Batory, which were located in Gdynia, Poland. My mother immigrated to Canada on the latter in 1957.

Zygmunt II August  (1520 – 1572)
Barbara Radziwill  (1520 –1551)

Sigismund II Augustus reigned from 1548–1569. He was King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania, the only son of Sigismund I the Old, whom Sigismund II succeeded in 1548. He married three times, of which Barbara Radziwill was second wife. He was the last of the Jagiellon dynasty, was childless, and thus the Union of Lublin introduced an elective monarchy after his death.

Barbara was Queen of Poland and Grand Duchess of Lithuania, and second wife to King Sigismund II Augustus. She was from a powerful Polish-Lithuanian nobility.  According to historical writings, Barbara was one of the most beautiful women in Europe. She had an interest in fashion and cosmetics; she used perfumes and face powder.
   She died on May 1551, in Krakow, five months after her coronation. There was an unproven suspicion that she had been poisoned by her mother-in-law, Queen Bona. Her wished was to be buried in Vilnius, Lithuania.
   I found them on e-bay a few years ago.

Wladyslaw II Jagiello  (1362 - 1434)
Jadwiga of Poland  (1373 - 1399)
He was Grand Duke of Lithuania (1377–1434), king consort of Kingdom of Poland (1386–1399), and sole King of Poland (1399–1434). In 1386 in Kraków he was baptized as Władysław, married the young  queen regnant Jadwiga of Poland, and was crowned King of Poland. In 1387 he converted Lithuania to Christianity. Upon the death of Queen Jadwiga, he reigned a further thirty-five years and laid the foundation for the centuries-long Polish-Lithuania union. Started the Jagiellon dynasty that bears his name. His reign extended Polish borders and is often considered the beginning of Poland's Golden Age.  

Jadwiga was monarch of Poland from 1384 to her death. Her official title was actually 'king' rather than  'queen', reflecting that she was a sovereign in her own right and not merely a royal consort. She is know in English and German as Hedwig.
    Queen regnant being relatively uncommon in Europe at the time, Jadwiga was officially crowned a King at age 10. At age 12 she was married to Jagiello, aged 26, to unite Lithuania with Poland to become a Commonwealth. She died at age 26, one month after giving birth due to complications. She is buried at the Wawel Cathedral in Kraków.
    These dolls I had made a special request to the doll manufactures in Kraków. Jadwiga holds a letter with the royal seal.

Casimir III the Great  (1310 – 1370)

Kazimierz Wielki (Casimir) was the last king of the Piast dynasty, as he had no male heirs. He reigned 1333–1370, and was the son of King Wladyslaw I.
    Casimir is the only Polish king who both received and kept the title of Great in Polish history. He built many new castles, reformed the Polish army and Polish civil and criminal law.  At the beginning of his reign, the economy was in ruins, and the country was depopulated and exhausted by wars. He allowed Jewish people to settle in Poland in great numbers and protected them as people of the king. Upon his death, he left a country doubled in size, prosperous, wealthy and with great prospects for the future. He is interred in Wawel Cathedral crypt, Kraków.
    I found him just last summer in the Old Town square of Warsaw in a gift shop.

Polish Nobleman (Szlachta)
Made by the Stanislaw Wyspianski Handcraft and Art Co-operation. Men always wore a moustache.

The szlachta (gentry) was a legally privileged noble with origins in Poland. It gained considerable institutional privileges during the 1333–1370 reign of Casimir the Great. Later as the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth evolved, its membership grew to include leaders of Lithuania and Prussia.     
    Traditionally, its members were owners of landed property. The nobility had substantial and political influence and legal privileges for itself throughout its entire history until the decline of the Polish Commonwealth. It was fully abolished in the Second Polish Republic in 1921.

These hand-made dolls have a label identifying them as
"Wyrob Lalek Regionalnych" - Andrzej Kaliszewski, Warszawa.
      They wore a garment called Kontusz, that was most popular in the 16th to 17th century and is considered a National Polish outfit. Usually made of imported and expensive materials of the time, such as velvet. The men also wore a long wide sash and a sable or sword by his side. Today many Polish Folk dance groups wear these costumes when dancing the Polonaise or Mazurka.
Different doll maker, label says:  Mirosław Wojaczek, Częstochowa.
My cousin brought these comical looking ones 15 years ago from Poland.
The ladies kontusz should not be that long, but just before her white boots.


General Thaddeus Kosciuszko  (1746-1817)

Born in Poland, Andrzej Tadeusz Bonaventure Kościuszko attended the Cadet Academy in Warsaw before continuing his engineering studies in Paris, France. He arrived to the American colonies in 1776, a skilled engineer.

     Kościuszko was commissioned as Colonel of Engineers by the Continental Congress and began his outstanding service of fortifying battle sites, many of which became turning points in America's fight for independence against the British.

      In 1778, he was made chief engineer of West Point, New York, then he was appointed Brigadier General and was awarded the Cincinnati Order Medal by General George Washington.

      After the colonies won their independence, Kosciuszko returned to Poland in 1784 to help win independence from Russian, Prussian and German powers. He was wounded in the failed revolt and taken prisoner by the Russians. When released from prison, he returned briefly to America.

     He spent the last years of this life in Switzerland, and died in 1817. He is buried in Wawel Castle in Kraków, among the tombs of Polish Kings. He is a hero of America and Poland.

This unique doll shows him on a horse wearing a Krakowski  four cornered red hat and a sukmana (white coat) riding to battle against the occupying forces. I found him last year in Kraków during the Annual Cepelia Folk Fair.

General Casimir Pulaski   (1745 – 1779)
Kazimierz Michał Wacław Wiktor Pułaski was a Polish soldier, nobleman, and politician who has been called "the father of American cavalry”
     A member of the Polish landed nobility, Pulaski was a military commander for the Bar Confederation and fought against Russian domination of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. When this uprising failed, he emigrated to America. During the American Revolutionary War, he saved the life of George Washington and became a general in the Continental Army. He died of wounds suffered in the Battle of Savannah.

Lancer uniform / Ułan

They were Polish light cavalry armed with lances, sabers and pistols.
    The first Uhlan regiments were created in the early 18th century in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in 1720's. After the start of the Napoleonic Wars, Uhlan formations were raised by the Duchy of Warsaw. Polish lancers also served with the French Army.
    The traditions of the Polish Uhlans were preserved during the Kingdom of Poland. They fought both in the November Uprising of 1830 and in the January Uprising of 1863.

This doll was a special order from the Stanislaw Wyspianski Handcraft and Art Co-operation three years ago.


  1. Hi Margaret,
    I have come across some Polish dolls the same as your Jan III Sobieski and Marie Casimire de La grange d'Arquien. I'm wondering if you might have a ballpark as to how much US dollars these dolls might be worth?

  2. Your collection is just remarkable! I had not know there is a doll Sanitariuszka! Amzing and congrats!