The Polish "Nobel"



Colonel eng. Witold Zglenicki


NOBEL FOUNDATION – was established in 1900 with initial capital of 31,000,000.00 Swedish Crowns. According to Sverige Bank in Sweden that time it was app. 8,000,000.00 USD and this is an equivalent of 160,000,000.00 USD of today’s value.

Was somebody else in the whole world whose done same thing???? Or, more??? Yes, it was.

His name was Witold, Leon, Julian Zglenicki.

Born on January the 6th, 1850 in the village of Wargawa Stara, in the district of Mazowsze, Poland. His family was a member of local Nobility and his parents owned a small 170-hectare farm. Witold was baptized in the Catholic Church of Witonia on the 21st of July 1850.

During the period from 1859 – 1866 he studied in the Gubernial Gymnasium in Plock. From 1859 –1866 he studied Physics and Math in the General School of Warsaw. From 1870 – 1875 was a student at the Geophysical Institute in St. Petersburg, Russia.

One of his professors Dmitri Ivanovich Mendelejev, was the constructor of the Periodic Table of Atomic Weights for Chemical Elements. He recognized the talents of young student, but Witold decided to choose another scientific career and dedicated himself to the new technology of digging for crude oil.

He graduated head of his class, and as an engineer and miner, was released from the mandatory military service, of Russia. In 1875 at the age of 25, Witold was sent by the Ministry of Natural Resources to a mining plant in Eastern Poland.

During the years from 1874-1876 Witold was a blast furnace supervisor in a steel plant in the town of Mroczkow. As well as helping to modernize the steel industry he dedicated his time to geological research. In 1884 he was laid off from his job when he was falsely accused for misconduct. It took him 6 years to clear his name, after which he returned to government service.

In 1890 Witold was sent to work in the Treasury Department in Riga for two years. During that time he proved himself as a skilled administrator, and received a proposition to become the head engineer of the Doniecki District Mining Enterprises. He refused that offer, which wasn’t understood kindly by the Tsar’s administration. He instead, using the help and protection of Duke Beckendorff found work in the Baku Mining and Geological Institute, along the shores of the Black Sea. That same town eventually became a world leader in the crude oil industry.

Those days, Baku was a place when officials with disciplinary problems were sent. In some way it was similar to a Klondike town, full of crooks and thieves and also hard working and dedicated people. The world’s biggest refinery was under construction and in 1873 there were 9 drilling pits. A few years later in 1879 the number of drilling pits had grown to 231, and in 1900 the number reached a staggering 1,710. In 1901 the Baku area alone was supplying almost 50 % of the world’s crude oil. At that time several prominent people such as the Nobel brothers (Alfred, Ludwig, and Robert) were beginning to spread their wings, as well as the Baron Alphonse Rothschild.

As the Head of the Institute, Witold Zglenicki proved himself to be a very competent, skilled and honest organizer. But his real passion was searching for new sources of oil and he spent all his private money and time for that purpose. He developed, patented and gave to the oil industry an apparatus that allowed for vertical drilling. Drilling errors were common at that time causing fires, explosions, damage to equipment, and human fatalities. His new methods and techniques helped to improve all types of drilling safety, including uses for drilling from underwater platforms.

He also, developed a machine for underwater drilling that makes him absolute World’s Pioneer in that. It wouldn’t be modern Drilling Platforms without discovery of Mr. Zglenicki.

He found underwater oil pools and predicted its values. All together he discovered 31 oil rich areas, also numerous underwater oil pools. He found deposits of: iron ore, pyrite, barite, cobalt, molybdenum, coal, manganese, copper, salt, gold, silver and arsenic.

His dedication, stubbornness in reaching his goals, his professionalism and vital importance of his developments to Oil Industry, gave him not only a rank of Colonel, but were recognized by Tsar’s Government. As a gesture of appreciation for his work, he obtained mining rights to oil pools in Baku and on Caspian Sea. More he bought, using his own money.

The destiny wasn’t blessed him; he was diagnosed with diabetes, impossible to cure those days. In his last will he gave his wealth and all income coming from that, to Science in Poland and his new country Russia, as an appreciation for education he received in St. Petersburg.

According to his legacy in every district of Gubernya of Polish Kingdom must be build a Catholic Church and technical school for poor students having free education, also help must be provided to Scientific Communities, and prices must be issued for important discoveries and scientific work.

In charge of distribution of his wealth was Mianowski's Monetary Found in Warsaw. Any sale of his oil pools was prohibited; earned income must be given to Science. Profits from one of them were given to the Imperial Russian Technical Society. He didn’t forget about the Polish Catholic Charity Society, he also gave funds to private persons, not forgetting his own servants, either.

Witold, Julian, Leon Zglenicki died July 06, 1904.

Just after his death his legacy was criticized by many, having trouble to understand what oil is for. It was enough of it on land, but exploring pits under water seemed a waste of time and money. Realisation of Mr. Zglenicki’s last will was under control of his close friend, engineer and lawyer, who against provisions of it, tried to sell some of oil pools. Majority of them he leased to Caspian-Black Sea Company owned by family of Bankers, the Rothschilds. According to opinion of other members of Zglenicki Family no more than only 20% of earned money reached Mianowski’s Monetary Fund and the Foundation Account.

In years 1908 - 1915 Rothschilds paid to Mianowski’s Found 2,4 mil. of USD what was according to factors obtained from the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis - 46 millions of today’s value. They however supposed to pay 12 millions what transferred into present value gives 220 millions.

Nevertheless, coming sums were so large that Foundation wasn’t able to spend them in due time.

And that was only beginning. Even 2.4 millions gained a public attention and because of inability to manage coming funds, by Mianowski’s Found, under pressure of public opinion, Russian Court decided to repeal previous contracts with Rothschilds and exploration rights were proposed to Rylski Family, Polish origin Industrialists from Caucasus. They offered much better deal. Unfortunately Supreme Court decided otherwise, and rights were given back to Rothschilds. They didn’t enjoy fast coming wealth for long time, due to WWI, and October Revolution coming right after.

Bolsheviks had nationalized all privately owned properties. Zglenicki’s legacy was a part of peace negotiation in Riga, Estonia after Polish – Soviet War in 1920.

Soviet Union, hypocritically agreed to respect his will, if Polish Government would accept their rights to all other possessions of Western Capital in former Russia.

The Poles flatly refused.

After WWII Zglenicki Family asked newly formed in 1944, Government of Polish Socialistic Republic (PKWN), to solve Foundation problems, but without a shred of success.

Last Executive Officer of Mianowski Monetary Fund, Professor of l’Ecole Politechnique of Lvov Maksymilian, Tytus Huber was forced to surrender all actives of Zglenicki’s Foundation to Polish Academy of Science.

Certainly, because the largest part of Eng. Zglenicki legacy money was never paid by Rothschilds, Zglenicki’s Foundation wasn’t so rich as Nobel’s, but his contribution to science was possibly greater because every penny from his oil fields was according to his last will – Charity Money.

But if Zglenicki Foundation were received all funds, which Rothschilds supposed to pay, the World would call Zglenicki the biggest Philanthropist, ever known.

Never Polish scholars received more funds since established and supported by King Kazimierz the Great and Queen Jadwiga, wife of the King Wladyslaw Jagiello, Academy of Krakow.

Presently his possessions are a part of Azerbaijan Republic and it’s possible to claim a return of them to their original owner - Zglenicki’s Foundation.

Foundation after almost 50 years of non-existence was reborn in small town Rumia, Northern Poland, actually a suburb of Gdynia, the larges port on the Baltic Sea. Two men brought that into life, again.

Mr. Marek Zawadzki, in that present time the President of Zglenicki Foundation and eng. Mr. Franciszek Bach whose donation helped to pay registration fee and all expenses attached to that.

None of them is paid for whatever they are doing but somehow those two, cutting hour of rest, after whole day of hard work, managed to make Foundation running, collected some money and equipment and donated that to Schools. Main idea is simple and bright. Poland is a member of EU now, but to give Polish kids a chance to have in their schools the same equipment as their colleagues in France, Germany, and UK etc. we must beg and search for help wherever we can.

It’s necessary to pump into Polish Education System a vast amount of money.

It was an idea of Zglenicki, unfortunately his money never reached Foundation because were taken away by reach and powerful, because it’s easy to pray on defenceless or poor.

With very little money coming from Polish donors President of Zglenicki Foundation contacted Mr. Z.W. Gamski of Richmond, Canada, offering him a Chairman of Zglenicki Foundation position, hoping that he will be able to spread information about Zglenicki in North America and in every part of the World where even one Polish soul lives.

He tried hard, wrote many letters to people being important in American Polish Community. He wrote to Mr. Moskal, the President of Polish Congress, wrote to Barbara Piasecka - Johnson – none of his letters ever have been answered. After long line of failures Mr. Gamski decided to direct his appeal to the common People, to everybody in whose veins is even one drop of Polish blood. With help of Mr. Jasinski – Herbert, editor of the Polonia Today – On Line (www.poloniatoday.com/blacksons0404.htm) , Mr. Gamski, using story supplied by Mr. Zawadzki was able to publish his first article “Black Sons of Poland”. He was promised that a second one would be about Zglenicki.

Now Mr. Herbert is fulfilling what he promised.

We people of Zglenicki Foundation (www.nobelpolski.zschie.pl) are making an appeal to everybody who is Polish origin, who has Polish Ancestors or, who just is close to our Nation and well being of Polish kids is important to them.

HELP US to spread news about Zglenicki, maybe if we all start screaming in one voice, something can be done. We want that money because needs are overwhelming. We are not begging for donation, we want support of you. Foundation as a mater of fact will appreciate every, financial help we can get.

We are already begging in Poland and whole Europe in search for electronics that very often are discarded by many companies upgrading their equipment. We are collecting some cash too, but we believe in all our hearts that education and future of Polish Kids in EU not supposed to be built on charity. That is, however, only thing we can do.

Since established in 2003 the Eng. Zglenicki Foundation was able to donate electronic equipment for amount of app. 25,000 USD. But that is a drop in the Ocean of needs.

Prince Jan Zamoyski, the Crown Chancellor wrote: “Takie są losy Rzeczypospolitych jakie ich młodzieży chowanie” In English it is: “How Children we raise the destiny of our Nation depends on”.

Capt. Zbigniew Wojciech Gamski MM / MNI

Chairman of Zglenicki Foundation, Richmond BC, Canada


Marek Zawadzki

President of Zglenicki Foundation. Rumia, Poland

84-230 Rumia Poznanska 14 / 41

mz.pl@wp.pl ; ma_za@poczta.onet.pl


Biography of Zglenicki based on book by: professor Andrzej Chodubski – “Polski Nobel”