Professor Jerzy Zdzisław Holzer (1930-2001)
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Publication date: 2005-12-31
GNPJE 2005;204(11-12):65-88
Prof. Jerzy Zdzisław Holzer, through his studies and academic career, was linked with the Warsaw School of Economics (SGH) for more than 50 years. He worked at SGH from September 1950, when he became a junior assistant at the Faculty of Statistics, until his sudden death on Sept. 29, 2001. The author presents the professor’s biography and scientific achievements, both at home and abroad, and his contribution to the academic community, including his work as director of the Institute of Statistics and Demography in 1978-1999. Prof. Holzer set up a team of demographers and prepared them for work on the international arena. Managing demographic research in Poland and establishing ties with international researchers, Prof. Holzer contributed to the development of Polish demography and its international acclaim. The article sheds new light on the life of this internationally-renowned scholar, showing him as a wonderful man loved and admired by his students, colleagues and friends. These warm feelings climaxed after the professor’s death. In a series of recollections published in a special issue of Studia Demograficzne (No. 2/140 of 2001), Holzer is portrayed as a “humanist sensu largo,” as Prof. J. Tazbir put it. He was a man of extensive scientific interests, profound knowledge and wisdom, concerned about the common good, well-wishing and showing respect for everyone around him. These accounts yield the image of a steadfast man of indomitable spirit, faithful to his value system and principles. His reliability and responsible treatment of his duties met with general appreciation and admiration. He always set high requirements not only for others but first of all for himself. As a result, whatever he turned his hand to was remarkably proficient. Statements by various people from both the Polish and European demographic communities-representing different disciplines of the professor’s endeavor-add up to a surprisingly uniform image of Prof. Holzer as a truly exceptional figure.
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