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The Polish University in Exile has had a long and complex history. It was established on 1 December 1939 in Paris. When Germany invaded France and came to Paris, the university was moved to Great Britain; at that time there were Polish faculties at the universities in Edinburgh, Liverpool, Oxford and London. In 1947 all the fields of Polish academic education were taken over by the Polish University College (being part of London University), which existed until 1953. In 1949 an independent Polish University in Exile was established; it has existed until today in London. In 1998 the Government of the Republic of Poland enacted a law on the recognition of the scholarly degrees conferred by the Polish University in Exile (until 1990). The achievements of the University have also been recognized. Ethnology as a subject was offered for the first time to the Polish community when Professor Cezaria Baudouin de Courtenay-Jedrzejewiczowa came to London in 1947. In 1958 she was elected rector of the Polish University in Exile and served as a rector until her death in 1969. Her successor, Prof. Lucjan Turkowski, was appointed professor of the Polish University in Exile in 1969 and lectured there until 1976. Professor Lucjan Turkowski was succeeded by Roderyk Lange, who was appointed professor of the Polish University in Exile in 1979 and taught ethnology until 1992. The group of Polish pre-war ethnographers, who came to London, included also Irena Karpinska-Kowal and Kazimiera Domaniewska-Sobczak, who specialized in genetic anthropology. The latter was appointed professor of the Polish University in Exile in 1985.
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