About Jerzy Gabryelski

Jerzy Gabryelski was born on October 30, 1906, in Lwów (Lvov). He completed his elementary education there as a youth. Being raised in the spirit of the great romantics, Mickiewicz, Slowacki and Krasicki, explains his attraction to the dramatic arts. He descended from sort of an artistic family, his father, Filip Gabryelski, owned a showroom and a piano factory. At the age of thirteen Gabryelski fought in the defense of Lwów, as Orlatko (an eaglet). While defending the city, he lost his parents. He was then raised by the Jesuit priests in Herów, nearby Cracow. His performing art studies began in Cracow. Soon he applied to and was accepted by the Instytut Sztuki Teatralnej (the Institute of Theatrical Arts) in Warsaw. Because of the amassed knowledge of literature, drama and acting abilities, he was allowed to skip the first year in the Institute. His written thesis, "Pierwiastek filmowy w utworach Stanisawa Wyspiaskiego" (The cinematographic element in the works of Stanislaw Wyspianski) demonstrates the abilities and imagination of the young graduate. He graduated with honors.

In the early thirties, Gabryelski was awarded a government scholarship to study in Paris, to pursue his graduate studies in film.  There, he worked in Studio Eclair, assisting Jean Renoir and Rene Clair. Toward the end of the three year‑long apprenticeship, he made a short anti-war, experimental, avant garde film "Les Bottes" (Boots)(1934).  The film was well received by the French critics and the press. As the result, he was offered work in Studio Eclair, the German company UFA, and American Warner Brothers. Instead, he chose to return to his fatherland.

After his return to Poland, Jerzy Gabryelski made two movies before the onset of World War II. "Cop‑Stalowa Wola" (1938) was a documentary, propaganda oriented movie about an industrial region in Poland. "Czarne diamenty" (1939) was a full length feature film about a struggle of Silesian miners to keep their mine from falling into the hands of foreign industrialists who only want to exploit the workers. This movie is maybe more relevant today than when it was made. The Encyklopedia Powszechna (PWN)(Universal Polish Encyclopedia) includes a following note about Jerzy Gabryelski:

Jerzy Gabryelski (1906‑1978), director, screen writer: received film training in Paris, where he made an experimental film "Buty" (1934); after return [to Poland] worked with government owned film production company "Kohorta"; there he directed documentary, "COP‑Stalowa Wola" (1938), and feature "Czarne diamenty" (1939)(not distributed) films; chronicler of the Warsaw Uprising; after the war was persecuted and banished from his profession; after 1956 directed documentary films...; emigrated to USA in 1964. (Translated from Polish). (Encyklopedia Polska, PWN, Warszawa 1995, t. II.)