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Indonesia. The Polish Embassy in Jakarta has published a comic book about geologist Józef Zwierzycki

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The Polish embassy in Jakarta published a comic book devoted to Józef Zwierzycki – a Polish geologist who worked in today’s Indonesia at the beginning of the 20th century. The scientist contributed to the discovery of valuable raw materials there.

The Polish Embassy in Jakarta has published a comic book about the geologist Józef Zwierzycki, who has conducted numerous studies on the Islands of the Malay Archipelago. – The professor is quite well known in Poland. On the other hand, the observations of the Embassy of the Republic of Poland in Jakarta show that the common knowledge about the achievements of prof. Zwierzycki in the Republic of Indonesia is quite limited. In order to promote this character more widely in Indonesia, it was decided to implement several projects concerning the professor, said the employees of the press office of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.


One of the projects was the creation of a comic. Work on it lasted ten months. The form is not accidental. The Embassy wanted the history of Zwierzycki to be attractive especially to young people who are just starting their scientific path.

The comic was issued in a circulation of 500 copies. It was published in Indonesian and in several dozen copies in Polish. The publication found its way to academic libraries and other entities related to scientific research. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs does not rule out the preparation of an English version of the comic.

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He looked for raw materials in Java, Sumatra, Sulawesi, Borneo and New Guinea

Józef Zwierzycki was born on March 12, 1888 in Krobia (Greater Poland Province). He finished primary school in his hometown, and was preparing for his final exams in Gniezno. Then, thanks to the scholarship he received, he studied in Berlin for five years. He earned two titles: a doctor of geology and a mining engineer.

Thanks to the scholarship, he was able to study in BerlinMinistry of Foreign Affairs

The young scientist had already conducted research in Africa, but he dreamed of going to one of the European colonies in Asia. Therefore, he applied for a job with the Dutch Geological Survey.

This is how the story of a geologist and lecturer who in the future will help in the discovery of Indonesia’s natural resources, and in post-war Poland, will co-create the University of Wrocław and contribute to the creation of the Lower Silesian Copper Basin, begins.

A geologist will contribute to the creation of the Lower Silesian Copper BasinMinistry of Foreign Affairs

Zwierzycki, who comes from Greater Poland, lived and worked for almost a quarter of a century on the islands of the Malay Archipelago, which today are part of Indonesia. In Java, Sumatra, Sulawesi, Borneo and New Guinea, he searched for raw materials. He was looking for crude oil, as well as coal, tin, silver and gold.

Zwierzycki took part in scientific expeditions to the Islands of the Malay ArchipelagoMinistry of Foreign Affairs

The Pole was gradually promoted and at the end of his stay in Asia he became the director of the colonial geological survey. He co-created the first geological map of the Indonesian islands and contributed to the discovery of valuable deposits. He also lectured at the Bandung University of Technology near Jakarta for three years.

The Polish embassy wants to present the history of Poland in Indonesia through the fate of a geologistMinistry of Foreign Affairs

In 1938 Zwierzycki returned to Poland, where he worked at the Polish Geological Institute in Warsaw. The war found him there. During the Nazi occupation, he was arrested and transported to the German concentration camp Auschwitz-Birkenau, and from there – in 1942 – to Germany, where, as a political prisoner, he was a translator in the geological service of the Third Reich.

When the situation of the Third Reich became hopeless on all fronts, Zwierzycki was sent escorted by soldiers to Warsaw, from where he was to go to the Carpathians. They wanted to use his experience in exploring oil deposits, gained while working in the Dutch India. However, he escaped from German soldiers and hid in Krakow until the end of the war, in the apartment of his dear friend, and at the same time a great mineralogist – Kazimierz Maślankiewicz.

After the end of World War II, he lectured at the Jagiellonian University and the Mining Academy in Kraków, he also co-founded geological studies at the University of Wrocław and studied deposits in the Recovered Territories. He died on May 1, 1961.

During the Nazi occupation, he was arrested and transported to the German Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz-Birkenau.Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Which elements of the scientist’s biography are in the comic? – Professor Zwierzycki was an exceptional figure, both in the context of scientific achievements, as well as patriotic attitude and civil courage. In this context, the comic tells the story of Professor Zwierzycki, and at the same time tells the history of Poland from the last years of the partitions, through war experiences (including his stay in Auschwitz) to the period immediately after World War II. At the same time, the comic is a publication that aims to introduce the figure of Professor Zwierzycki to the public in Indonesia, and thus increase the recognition of Poland in this country and the contribution of Poles to the development of the Indonesian state, inform the representatives of the ministry.

The premiere of the comic took place on December 15, 2021. at the Bandung University of Technology, the university where the professor lectured.

Main photo source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs

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