Sign In

Forgot Password Create Account

Edward Kossoy was a Polish lawyer, publicist and an activist for victims of Nazism.

Kossoy was born in Radom.  His family moved to Yekaterinoslav, Ukraine during World War I.  After the Polish-Soviet War and the Peace of Riga in 1921, Kossoy's family returned to Poland.

Kossoy attended the Tytus Chałubiński National Gymnasium in Radom and then studied at the Law School of Warsaw University, graduating in 1934.

During the Nazi invastion of1939, Kossoy fled from Warsaw to Lviv.  When Lviv was taken by  Soviet Russia following the invasion of Poland, Kossoy planned to locate his family in Lviv while he traveled to France via Romania to join the Polish army, which was then forming in France. However, he was arrested by the Soviet militia, charged with smuggling watches he was trying to sell to raise money for his family and for travel to France. During interrogation he admitted to having had a higher education and was handed over to the NKVD which charged him with espionage and "counter-revolutionary activity".

He was sentenced to eight years in the Gulag and sent to the sub-camp Vorkuta, Pechora, where he worked on the construction of the railway which connected the mouth of the Pechora River with the southern end of the Urals. According to Kossoy, of the 20,000 Poles who arrived at the camp in 1941, only 6,000 were alive two years later.  He was released after two years because of the Sikorski–Mayski Agreement, leaving the Soviet Union with the Anders Army.

During World War II, Kossoy's, father, wife and daughter were murdered by the Germans as part of Operation Harvest Festival.

He was officially discharged from the Anders Army in 1943 in Teheran. By late 1943 he was in the British Mandate of Palestine.  In Tel Aviv in 1944, he wrote and published a series of essays, Stołypinka (named after the rail cars used to transport prisoners to the gulag), based on his experiences, which remained unpublished in book form until 2003.

In Palestine, Kossoy joined the Irgun., In 1948, fought with the Irgun during the War of Independence.

Kossoy remained in Israel until 1954, before returning to Germany, where he studied in Munich andCologne and later in Switzerland, at the Graduate Institute of International Studies in Geneva, where he obtained a Ph.D. in law and political science.

In Geneva he began his long time association with Wacław Micuta, a former member of the Polish Home Army and a United Nations staff member.  Micuta was the first to inform Kossoy about the liberation of the Gęsiówka concentration camp by Polish resistance during the Warsaw Uprising. At first Kossoy was skeptical, but he decided to investigate the matter farther and located some survivors of the camp among his clients, who confirmed Micuta's story. Kossoy wrote several historical articles on the subject, which were published by Yad Vashem and in the Polish emigre press (with the help from Jerzy Giedroyc).

As an attorney, he represented around 60,000 victims of the Holocaust, involving restitution and reparations from the German government. His clients included Jews, Poles and Romani.

Kossoy published several books in various languages (English, German and Polish) and historical articles related to restitution for Nazi crimes, contemporary international relations and Polish-Jewish dialogue. Many were published in Zeszyty Historyczne (Historical Journals), published by the Literary Institute of Paris. His memoirs, entitled On the Margin..., were published in 2006, and nominated for the Nike Award in 2007. 

At the time of his death he was an honorary senator of the University of Tübingen.


Archived