Jadwiga Pilsudska-Jaraczewska, who has died at the age of 94, was a Second World War pilot and a daughter of Marshal Jozef Pilsudski, the father of Polish independence.
She was the younger of two daughters of the celebrated military leader who helped Poland regain its independence at the end of the First World War after being wiped off the map for 123 years.
He commanded Polish troops in the 1920 victory against Bolshevik forces known as “The Miracle on the Vistula” that turned the tide in Poland’s favour during the Polish-Bolshevik war of 1919-1920. He went on to guide the country until his death in 1935.
Four years later his daughters fled the Nazi invasion and settled in Britain. Pilsudska-Jaraczewska was among the female pilots who worked the Air Transport Auxiliary, transporting warplanes around the country, alongside such British women as Freydis Sharland and Maureen Dunlop.
In 1944 she married a Polish Navy officer, Andrzej Jaraczewski, and later earned a degree in architecture, working for the Polish immigrant community in her free time. The sisters returned to Warsaw after the fall of communism in 1989. Her sister, Wanda, died in 2001.
Jadwiga was born in 1920, the second out-of-wedlock daughter of Pilsudski and his companion Aleksandra Szczerbinska. At the time he was unable to marry Szczerbinska because his first wife refused a divorce. They married after Pilsudski’s first wife died in 1921. From their earliest years Pilsudski’s daughters joined him in public appearances. They lived for a time in Belweder, a Warsaw palace that is now a presidential residence.
Jadwiga Pilsudska-Jaraczewska, pilot: born 28 February 1920; died 16 November 2014.Reuse content