Michał Wójcik
Baroness. On the Trail of Wanda Kronenberg

The story of a shockingly beautiful and dangerous secret agent

At the beginning of April, 1943, Anna confessed to a weakness in her report to the AK. She informed headquarters that she had been flirting with a certain American in Warsaw. This was George Scott, a well-known black musician. Before the war he was a force to be reckoned with. It was he who imported American jazz to Poland. He performed in Artur Gold’s swing band, then later he had his own group. He was the star of the Adria. Literally everybody was fascinated with his solos: prime ministers, officials, the whole crème de la crème. Scott didn’t only compose and perform, he also educated the Poles musically. After the outbreak of the war he remained in Warsaw and continued to perform, not just in the Adria. In the Chameleon Café, on the corner of Mokotowska and the Plac Zbawiciela, he conducted jazz mornings for a very chosen public. As Andrzej Łapicki recalled, ‘each Sunday, young people gathered in the Cameleon – the place where decisions were made about verdicts and other Underground activities. How the Germans permitted those performances in the café I still can’t figure out, to this very day. The band was fantastic. Scott directed it American-style…’

Scott also performed at the restaurant U Aktorek, on Mazowiecka. Here too the audience was select: the pre-war élites, patriots, members of the Underground. Was it there that Wanda met him? Their first contact was certainly of a private nature. The rest, not so. In her report to the AK Wanda revealed that Scott had been performing in the German Savoy club for some six months. It was there probably, that he met some well-positioned German who facilitated the regulation of his status as a foreigner before the outbreak of the war with the Americans in 1941. ‘In this way he avoided internment. He still holds on to his old American passport. Scott feels 100% American. He’s a very clever and worldly-wise man,’ she wrote before getting to the point. She revealed that she had been tasked by the Gestapo with spying on him. The walls were slowly closing in around him. (…)

Wanda requested the Underground to take the jazzman under its protection. However, she wrote in such a way so as not to reveal that there was anything between them. It was just a professional suggestion made in the course of her service as an agent: ‘If, however, he is politically engaged on behalf of the Anglo-Americans, it would be proper to warn him that the local Gestapo has its eye on him.’ Scott survived the occupation, and the Warsaw Uprising as well. How their acquaintance developed – is unknown. The American was not Wanda’s only male interest, however. In the end, I found what I was looking for. It’s a dramatic story of her relations with a certain young Pole. Was it love? I don’t know. Perhaps it was only a crush and, in her hazel eyes, he saw only a shark of the Underground, a giant of the conspiracy, a mistress of political intrigue? At any rate, he seems to have forgotten himself, until the warning system started to blare Pull up! Pull up! As a result, Wanda was able to wind him around her little finger, and for his erotic adventure, he paid a stiff price.

Excerpt translated by Charles S. Kraszewski

Michał Wójcik
Baroness. On the Trail of Wanda Kronenberg

The story of a shockingly beautiful and dangerous secret agent

Publisher: Znak Publishers, Kraków 2018
Translation rights: Znak Publishers,

As was the case in many cities during wartime, in Nazi-occupied Warsaw many intelligence agencies were at work: that of the Poles, associated with the Home Army (Armia Krajowa); those of the British and the Soviets, as well as more than one semi-private spy network. The Nazi special services, from the Gestapo to the Abwehr, did battle with them all. In such a labyrinth wandered a certain young, beautiful, and unscrupulous woman trying to survive – and maybe climb her way to the summit. Seventy years after the war, a Polish historian strives to find the thread of Ariadne, which will lead him to the heart of this maze.

The journalistic research undertaken by Michał Wójcik, a reporter who specialises in the history of the Second World War (his previous work Treblinka, concerning the armed uprising in the death camp, was awarded by Newsweek), can’t cross all the ’t’s and dot all the ’i’s; he can’t arrive at any solid final conclusions. But this is, perhaps, impossible in the face of such material as arises from the fluid game of spy vs. spy in a Warsaw gutted by the Warsaw Uprising.

The entanglement of Wanda Kronenberg began early: in September of 1939 when, along with her ‘wartime husband’ Witold Jasiłkowski, she landed in Lwów, which was then under Soviet occupation – and there, most likely, she began to collaborate with the NKVD. But even this prologue must be fitted out with the caveat ‘most likely’, which is all the more necessary considering all her later involvements: her return to Warsaw, still before the outbreak of the Nazi-Soviet war and all the consecutive stages of her cooperation with ever more professional German services, from the SiPo through the Gestapo to the Abwehr.

There were several such collaborators as she. The difference with her lies in the fact that, at the same time, Wanda advanced in parallel fashion through the ranks of the agents working on behalf of the Home Army. As a double agent, Wanda is, in both of her roles, strikingly authentic. One reason for this is the fact that she is never entirely professional. From the several reports of hers which have survived, written in a clumsy young hand and in the style of a 19, 20-year-old girl, we find her succumbing to bouts of megalomania, to infatuation, never comprehending for a moment the entire context of the mortal conflict, which – especially as far as Poland was concerned – was the world war. Wanda was head-over-heels fascinated with the game.

How was it possible that organisations so professional as the Abwehr, the Home Army, and – it cannot be entirely discounted – the British and Soviet secret services failed to notice her inconsistencies, the misrepresentations, in her reports?

This story is something of a melodramatic film noir, like The Maltese Falcon. The author masterfully toys with the pathos, again and again deciding on such campy phrases as ‘the empty eye-sockets of death.’ However, in those places where Wójcik succeeded in arriving at important research discoveries, he presents them with an icy logic.

Wojciech Stanisławski, translated by Charles S. Kraszewski

Selected samples

Julita Deluga
Wojtek Wawszczyk, Tomasz Leśniak
Anna Kańtoch
Andrzej Bobkowski
Wisława Szymborska
Zdzisław Kranodębski
Andrzej Nowak
Wiesław Myśliwski
Jarosław Jakubowski
Anna Piwkowska
Roman Honet
Miłosz Biedrzycki
Wojciech Chmielewski
Aleksandra Majdzińska
Tomasz Różycki
Maciej Hen
Jakub Nowak
Elżbieta Cherezińska
歐菈·沃丹斯卡-波欽斯卡(Ola Woldańska-Płocińska)
作者:沃伊切赫·維德瓦克(Wojciech Widłak), 插圖:亞歷珊德拉·克珊諾夫斯卡(Aleksandra Krzanowska)
文字:莫妮卡·烏特尼-斯特魯加瓦(Monika Utnik-Strugała), 概念和插圖:皮歐特·索哈(Piotr Socha)
作者:亞格涅絲卡·斯特爾馬什克(Agnieszka Stelmaszyk)
尤安娜·日斯卡(Joanna Rzyska)、阿嘉妲·杜德克(Agata Dudek)、瑪格熱妲·諾瓦克(Małgorzata Nowak) Druganoga出版社,華沙2021
艾麗莎·皮歐特夫斯卡(Eliza Piotrowska)
米科瓦伊·帕辛斯基(Mikołaj Pasiński)、瑪格熱妲·赫爾巴(Gosia Herba)
歐菈·沃丹斯卡-波欽斯卡(Ola Woldańska-Płocińska)
瑪麗安娜·奧克雷亞克(Marianna Oklejak)
拉法爾·科希克(Rafał Kosik)
亞歷珊德拉·沃丹斯卡-波欽斯卡(Aleksandra Woldańska-Płocińska)
巴托米耶·伊格納邱克(Bartłomiej Ignaciuk), 阿嘉塔·洛特-伊格納邱克(Agata Loth-Ignaciuk)
文字和插圖:皮歐特·卡爾斯基(Piotr Karski)
文字和插圖:皮歐特·卡爾斯基(Piotr Karski)
羅珊娜·延澤耶夫斯卡-弗魯貝爾 (Roksana Jędrzejewska-Wróbel)
作者:普舎米斯瓦夫·維赫特洛維奇(Przemysław Wechterowicz) 插圖:艾米莉·吉烏巴克(Emilia Dziubak)
尤斯提娜·貝納雷(Justyna Bednarek) 插圖:丹尼爾·德拉圖爾(Daniel De Latour)
尤安娜·巴托西克(Joanna Bartosik)
瑪格熱妲·斯文多夫斯卡(Małgorzata Swędrowska)、尤安娜·巴托西克(Joanna Bartosik)
Jan Kochanowski
Jarosław Marek Rymkiewicz
Olga Tokarczuk
Władysław Stanisław Reymont
An Ancient Tale
Stanisław Rembek
Elżbieta Cherezińska
Henryk Sienkiewicz
Maria Dąbrowska
Stefan Żeromski
Bronisław Wildstein
Zbigniew Herbert / Wisława Szymborska
Karol Wojtyła
Wiesław Myśliwski
Czesław Miłosz
Anna Świrszczyńska / Melchior Wańkowicz
Tadeusz Borowski / Gustaw Herling-Grudziński
Wiesław Helak
Góra Tabor
Adriana Szymańska
Paweł Rzewuski
Mariusz Staniszewski
Radek Rak
Urszula Honek
Kazimierz Orłoś
Rafał Wojasiński
Antonina Grzegorzewska
Józef Mackiewicz
Tobiasz Piątkowski, Marek Oleksicki
Daniel Odija
Bronisław Wildstein
Józef Mackiewicz
Józef Mackiewicz
Witold Szabłowski
Andrzej Muszyński
Wiesław Helak
Bartosz Jastrzębski
Dariusz Sośnicki
Łukasz Orbitowski
Jakub Małecki
אנדז'יי ספקובסקי
Elżbieta Cherezińska
Wiesław Myśliwski
Jakub Małecki
Aleksandra Lipczak
Jacek Dukaj
Wit Szostak
Bartosz Biedrzycki
Zyta Rudzka
Maciej Płaza
Wojciech Chmielewski
Paweł Huelle
Przemysław "Trust" Truściński
Angelika Kuźniak
Wojciech Kudyba
Michał Protasiuk
Stanisław Rembek
Krzysztof Karasek
Elżbieta Isakiewicz
Artur Daniel Liskowacki
Jarosław Jakubowski
Zbigniew Stawrowski
Szczepan Twardoch
Wojciech Chmielarz
Robert Małecki
Zygmunt Miłoszewski
Anna Piwkowska
Dominika Słowik
Wojciech Chmielewski
Barbara Banaś
Rafał Mikołajczyk
Jerzy Szymik
Waldemar Bawołek
Julia Fiedorczuk
Jakub Szamałek
Witold Szabłowski
Jacek Dukaj
Grzegorz Górny, Janusz Rosikoń
Paweł Piechnik
Andrzej Strumiłło


Marta Kwaśnicka
Piotr Mitzner
Paweł Sołtys
Wacław Holewiński
Anna Potyra
Wiesław Helak
Urszula Zajączkowska
Marek Stokowski
Hubert Klimko-Dobrzaniecki
Jakub Małecki
Łukasz Orbitowski
Małgorzata Rejmer
Rafał Wojasiński
Wojciech Kudyba
Włodzimierz Bolecki
Jerzy Liebert
Wojciech Zembaty
Wojciech Chmielarz
Bogdan Musiał
Joanna Siedlecka
Krzysztof Tyszka-Drozdowski
Jarosław Marek Rymkiewicz
Marek Bieńczyk
Leszek Elektorowicz
Adrian Sinkowski
Szymon Babuchowski
Lech Majewski
Weronika Murek
Agnieszka Świętek
Stanisław Szukalski
Barbara Klicka
Anna Kamińska

She climbed her first peaks in a headscarf at a time when women in the mountains were treated by climbers as an additional backpack. It was with her that female alpinism began! She gained recognition in a spectacular way. The path was considered a crossing for madmen. Especially since the tragic accident in 1929, preserved … Continue reading “Halina”

Wojciech Chmielarz

First, Marysia, a student of an exclusive private school in Warsaw’s Mokotów district, dies under the wheels of a train. Her teacher, Elżbieta, tries to find out what really happened. She starts a private investigation only soon to perish herself. But her body disappears, and the only people who have seen anything are Gniewomir, a … Continue reading “Wound”

Anna Kańtoch

A young girl, Regina Wieczorek, was found dead on the beach. She was nineteen years old and had no enemies. Fortunately, the culprit was quickly found. At least, that’s what the militia think. Meanwhile, one day in November, Jan Kowalski appears at the police station. He claims to have killed not only Regina but also … Continue reading “Penance”

Marek Krajewski

The year is 1922. A dangerous time of breakthrough. In the Eastern Borderlands of the Republic of Poland, Bolshevik gangs sow terror, leaving behind the corpses of men and disgraced women. A ruthless secret intelligence race takes place between the Lviv-Warsaw-Free City of Gdańsk line. Lviv investigator Edward Popielski, called Łysy (“Hairless”), receives an offer … Continue reading “A Girl with Four Fingers”

Ks. Tomasz Stępień

This question is closely related to the next one, namely: if any goal exists, does life lead us to that goal in an orderly manner? In other words, is everything that happens to us just a set of chaotic events that, combined together, do not form a whole? To understand how the concept of providence … Continue reading “Order and Love”

Jakub Małecki
Szczepan Twardoch
Wiesław Helak
Maria Wilczek-Krupa
Anna Kańtoch
Rafał Kosik
Paweł Sołtys
Dorota Masłowska
Wiesław Myśliwski
Martyna Bunda
Olga Tokarczuk
Various authors
Mariola Kruszewska
Waldemar Bawołek
Marek Oleksicki, Tobiasz Piątkowski
Wojciech Tomczyk
Urszula Zajączkowska
Marzanna Bogumiła Kielar
Ks. Robert Skrzypczak
Bronisław Wildstein
Anna Bikont
Magdalena Grzebałkowska
Wojciech Orliński
Klementyna Suchanow
Andrzej Franaszek
Natalia Budzyńska
Marian Sworzeń
Aleksandra Wójcik, Maciej Zdziarski
Józef Łobodowski

The work of Józef Łobodowski (1909-1988) – a remarkable poet, prose writer, and translator, who spent most of his life in exile – is slowly being revived in Poland. Łobodowski’s brilliant three- volume novel, composed on an epic scale, concerns the fate of families and orphans unmoored by the Bolshevik Revolution and civil war and … Continue reading “Ukrainian Trilogy: Thickets, The Settlement, The Way Back”

Piotr Zaremba
Wacław Holewiński
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