Józef Ankwicz

Józef Ankwicz
Coat of arms Abdank
consort Anna Biberstein-Starowieyska
Noble family Ankwicz
Father Stanisław Walenty Ankwicz
Mother Salomea Schwarcemberg-Czerna
Born c. 1750
Died 9 May 1794 (Warsaw)

Józef Ankwicz (Polish pronunciation: [ˈjuzɛf ˈaŋkfit͡ʂ]; 1750 – 9 May 1794), of Awdaniec coat of arms, also known as Józef z Posławic and Józef Awdaniec, was a politician and noble (szlachcic) in the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. He held the office of castellan of Nowy Sącz from 1782. Deputy to the Great Sejm, and most infamously, the Grodno Sejm: for his actions during the latter he is remembered as one of the most prominent collaborators with the foreign partitioners of Poland.


Son of Stanisław Walenty Ankwicz and Salomea Schwarcemberg-Czerny. Married to Anna Biberstein-Starowieyska, father of Andrzej Alojzy Jan Stanisław Ankwicz (archbishop of Lviv) and daughters Kordula and Krystyna.[1]

He was also awarded with Order of Saint Stanislaus in 1781. In 1782 he received the office of castellan of Nowy Sącz.[2] Elected deputy to the Sejms in the period 1782 - 1790, he was a member of the royal faction.[2] In 1784 he received the Order of the White Eagle from king of Poland, Stanisław August Poniatowski, as well as the title of count (hrabia) from Empress of Maria Theresa of Austria-Hungary; later, he also received the office of Chamberlain at the Austrian court. He was a chief member of the diplomatic mission sent to Denmark in 1791, acting as the Polish ambassador.[2] While in Denmark, he supported the Polish position, and is said to have vocally opposed the Russian diplomats there.

In 1792 a number of Polish diplomatic missions were cancelled, and Ankwicz was recalled to Warsaw. This meant that he lost his main source of income. He was able to briefly return to Denmark, but the end of the Polish–Russian War of 1792 (after the passage of the Constitution of 3 May) saw him in Warsaw once again. Known for his lavish lifestyle, poor investments and as a gambler,[3][4] he quickly fell in debts and was recruited by Russian ambassador and Jacob Sievers.[3] He became associated with the Targowica Confederation.[2] Subsequently, he was known for his support of foreign powers (Austro-Hungary, Prussia, Russian Empire), most infamously during the last Sejm of the Commonwealth - the Grodno Sejm of 1793, he was the leader of the "Russian Party"[5] and the deputy who concluded that the unwillingness of other deputies to speak (threatened by Russian soldiers present in the room) means that they accept the demands of the Prussian and Russian Empires (the Second Partition of Poland).[2][6] For that he was rewarded by his Russian masters with a pension and a position in the Permanent Council.[6]

During the Kościuszko Uprising he was captured by the Polish revolutionaries. On the request of Polish Jacobins, he was sentenced by the summary revolutionary court to hanging, together with some of the leaders of the Targowica Confederation: Józef Kossakowski, hetman Piotr Ożarowski and hetman Józef Zabiełło.[5] He was executed on 9 May 1794 in Warsaw, in the aftermath of the Warsaw Uprising, a part of the Kościuszko Uprising.[2][5] His last actions earned him further recognition, as he gave the executioner a golden box, to commemorate the moment of the execution, and put the rope on his neck himself.[4]


  1. "Józef hr. Ankwicz z Posławic h. Awdaniec (M.J. Minakowski, Genealogia potomków Sejmu Wielkiego)". Sejm-wielki.pl. Retrieved 2011-10-22.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Jacek Jędruch (1998). Constitutions, elections, and legislatures of Poland, 1493–1977: a guide to their history. EJJ Books. p. 192. ISBN 978-0-7818-0637-4. Retrieved 13 August 2011.
  3. 1 2 Józef Ignacy Kraszewski (1903). Polska w czasie trzech rozbiorów, 1772-1779: 1791-1799. Gebethner i Wolff. p. 312. Retrieved 21 October 2011.
  4. 1 2 Radosław Truś. Beskid Mały: przewodnik. Oficyna Wydawnicza "Rewasz". p. 267. ISBN 978-83-89188-77-9. Retrieved 21 October 2011.
  5. 1 2 3 Norman Davies (1982). God's Playground, a History of Poland: The origins to 1795. Columbia University Press. p. 540. ISBN 978-0-231-05351-8. Retrieved 21 October 2011.
  6. 1 2 Jacek Jędruch (1998). Constitutions, elections, and legislatures of Poland, 1493–1977: a guide to their history. EJJ Books. p. 186. ISBN 978-0-7818-0637-4. Retrieved 13 August 2011.

External links

Wikisource has the text of an 1879 American Cyclopædia article about Józef Ankwicz.
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