With great sadness Polonia Institute announces
the passing of its co-founder
Jan Michał Małek
John Michael Malek
March 19, 2022; It is with heartfelt sorrow that we announce the passing of Jan Michał Małek, the co-founder, director, and benefactor of the Polonia Insitute, a great Polish patriot, and a great Man.
As a Polish-American engineer, entrepreneur, real estate investor and developer, economics enthusiast, towering intellectual, activist, and philanthropist Jan Michal Małek will be remembered for his extraordinary support for the Polish causes, for his generous charitable contributions to Poland and the Polonia community in the United States, and for his leadership and significant contributions to the field of a free-market economy and economic development that leads to prosperity. Jan Michal Malek, a beacon of possibilities, stands as a shining example to all of us.
Born on May 18, 1928, in Piotrków Trybunalski, Poland, Jan M. Małek received a master’s degree in chemical engineering from Warsaw University of Technology (Politechnika Warszawska) and subsequently worked in the pharmaceutical industry. In 1958, unable to tolerate Poland’s Soviet-imposed communist system which squelched political and economic freedom and private enterprise, he succeeded in leaving Poland for France where he was granted political asylum in Paris and worked as an engineer for 8 years.
Jan M. Małek arrived in the United States in the summer of 1967 and worked for 10 years at two successive engineering companies as a chemical process engineer. During his time as an engineer and inventor, Małek obtained several US patents for his innovations in the field of coal liquefaction. After several years of engineering and consultation practice, he began to divide his time and endeavors between real estate investments & development and philanthropic activities – areas in became his passion.
Despite emigrating from Poland, Jan M. Małek continued to care deeply for his fatherland. He became an active member of various Polish-American organizations, including the Polish American Congress and the North American Study Center for Polish Affairs (STUDIUM), an organization composed largely of American and Canadian university professors of Polish origin. After the introduction of martial law in Poland in 1981, Małek also became very involved in the anti-Yalta movement and in the Pomost organization, whose main purpose was to serve as a bridge between American Polonia and the Solidarity Movement in Poland.
After the fall of communism in Poland, Jan M. Małek became actively involved in promoting economic education with the goal of familiarizing Poles with the principles of the free market economy including the mechanisms of national wealth creation. In the early 1990s, he translated from English into Polish the book Anti-Capitalistic Mentality written by the famous economist and propagator of the free market Ludwig von Mises. He also contributed financially or as a translator to the publication of other important free-market books in Poland, including Mises’ Human Action, Hernando de Soto’s The Mystery of Capital: Why Capitalism Triumphs in the West and Fails Everywhere Else, and the anthology Clichés of Politics. These undertakings eventually led Małek to found the Polish-American Foundation for Economic Research and Education (PAFERE) in the year 2000 and its Polish counterpart – PAFERE Polska – in 2007. The guiding philosophy of PAFERE is that the injunction “Thou Shalt not Steal!” He strongly believed that compliance with this injunction, by both governments and citizens, is a prerequisite for optimal economic development and prosperity.
John Michael Malek was a member of the prestigious Mont Pelerin Society, whose membership includes over 500 economists from around the world, including at least six Nobel Prize winners.
Together with Zbigniew Zarywski, a Polish entrepreneur, Małek established a literary prize named in honor of famous Polish writer Józef Mackiewicz. The Mackiewicz Prize has been awarded every year since 2002 at a special ceremony at the Literary Institute in Warsaw on Polish Independence Day, November 11.
In 2015, Jan Michał Małek co-founded Polonia Institute, a tax-exempt organization in the United States, whose mission is to protect the reputation of Poland, Poles, and Polonia in the United States and around the world, as well as to advocate for Poland’s and Polonia’s aspirations via education, research, analysis, advocacy, and legal solutions.
On November 22, 2016, Jan Michał Małek was awarded the Commander’s Cross of Polonia Restituta for lifetime achievements in furthering the good of Polonia and Poland by the President of the Republic of Poland. He leaves behind his wife Krystyna, daughter Babett, and two grandchildren.
Jan Michał Małek (John M. Malek) will be buried in his native Poland.
Wieczny odpoczynek racz mu dać Panie
a światłość wiekuista niechaj mu świeci na wieki wieków Amen.