We usually think and expect that those who worked and dedicated their lives for the glory of the nation are treated with a high level of respect and gratitude. After all, risking your life and enduring all the challenges to serve and help the country achieve its goals was something worth recognizing and awarding, right? Unfortunately, that is not always the case, even if you were once the Prime Minister’s favorite. Krystyna Skarbek’s story proved just that.
Flaming Polish Patriot
Maria Krystyna Janina Skarbek was born in Warsaw in 1908. Her father married her mother from a wealthy Jewish family, so he could use the dowry to pay for his debts and continue his luxurious lifestyle. Krystyna loved riding horses and skiing, which she honed during their visits to Zakopane in the Tatra mountains of southern Poland. In all these things, she took after her father.
She met her husband on that same mountain. She was skiing on a slope when she lost control but was fortunately saved by a man who stepped into her path to stop her momentum. It was Jerzy Giżycki, a brilliant, eccentric, short-tempered, wealthy guy who ran away from home at an early age and eventually became an author.
The two fell in love and married on November 2, 1938, in Warsaw. her husband found himself consul general of Poland by the time that Germany invaded the country. When World War II broke out, the two went to London in exile as their country was dismembered Nazi Germany and the USSR who began WWII as allies.