Warsaw – Prince Józef Poniatowski Monument

This is a monument to Prince Józef Poniatowski, located within the courtyard of the Presidential Palace in Warsaw.

Józef Poniatowski lived from 1763 until 1813 and although he was born in Austria and initially joined the Austrian army, he later became an important Polish military leader. He must have been good at this military thing, since he was also invited to join the Russian army at the invitation of Tsar Alexander I. He later supported Napoleon in his military efforts, with Poniatowski managing to judge his allies well and ensuring that his actions were in the interests of Poland. He died in action and he became something of a Polish hero for his bravery and courage.

A monument in honour of Poniatowski was designed by the Danish sculptor Bertel Thorvaldsen and installed in Warsaw in 1832. It moved about a bit, primarily due to the Russians not liking it, with the monument being located in what is now Belarus between 1842 until 1922, before it was returned to Warsaw.

Like most things in Warsaw, the monument didn’t survive the Second World War. The Germans initially hid the monument behind scaffolding, before destroying it on 16 December 1944. A copy was made after the war and was unveiled at Łazienki Park in 1952, before taking its current place outside the Presidential Palace in 1965. It seems that some remnants of the original are still on display, I shall hunt them down…..