Mourning for Maria Nowak (1935-2022)

I am mourning the loss of Maria Nowak, economist, pioneer of micro-credit in France following the footsteps of Muhammad Yunus, and Grand officer of the French Legion of Honor. I had the privilege to know her because of my PhD research in connection with her father. Antoni Nowak-Przygodzki (1897-1959) was a patriotic Polish solder and lawyer who fought throughout his life for a free and independent Poland. After WW2, he chose exile and brought his family from Poland to France. In 1952, he joined the Free Europe University in Exile (FEUE) in Strasbourg. The FEUE was founded in 1951 by the American anticommunist organization National Committee for a Free Europe to assist refugee students coming from the Iron Curtain with study grants and thus enable them to pursue their interrupted university studies because of the communist takeover in their respective countries and their escape to the West. Antoni Nowak-Przygodzki was head of the Polish exiled student group. Maria Nowak gave me an account of his father’s life and told me that she was a FEUE fellowship recipient during the year of 1955-1956. My article dealing with Antoni Nowak-Przygodzki and his archival records held at the Polish Library of Paris will be published in the next issue of the French historical review Matériaux pour l’histoire de notre temps, too late for Maria Nowak to read. I will always remember her kindness and the conference we held at the Polish Library of Paris in 2019 together with archivist Elzbieta Pajor. I offer my deepest and most sincere condolences to her family.

Veronika Durin-Hornyik PhD

Cite this blog post
Veronika Durin-Hornyik (2022, December 23). Mourning for Maria Nowak (1935-2022). University in Exile Research Project. Retrieved May 23, 2024, from

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