Olga Małkowska

* 01.09.1888 (Krzeszowice near Krakow) 15.01.1979 (Zakopane) Poland
Fields of activity: international And Polish scouting
Author: Maria Sondej

 „Do not look for past injustice,
Do not look for other people's flaws
With a loop of youthful hearts
Encircle the whole world”

Olga Małkowska

Why I consider this woman to be an important person?

Olga Małkowska is very important person for the Polish Female Scouting. She founded the first Polish female scouts team in Lviv, she had a very high position in the world female scout movement. She was of well-known, liked and respected in the world, which allowed her to transfer to other organizations the specific Polish scouting values.


Olga Drahonowska-Małkowska’s parents were the Czech, but she from an early age felt Polish. Her father was the manager of count Adam Potocki’s estate. After graduation she moved with her parents to Lviv. During her studies she came in contact with her future husband - Andrew Małkowski - and the promoted by him idea of scouting. Already in 1911 she founded the first Polish Lviv Girl Guides (Girl Scouts) team. At the end of 1912, Olga suffered lung illness and in the spring of 1913 - together with Andrew Małkowski - went to Zakopane for treatment. There, on June 19th they took a “scout’s” marriage: both were in uniforms. After the outbreak of the I World War organized secret hiding places of weapons in the Tatra caves, and when Austrian police discovered them - with fake passports they emigrated to the United States. There Olga gave birth to a son, and a year later she came with him to Europe. Her husband at the time fought in the Canadian Army, he died in a shipwreck in the Mediterranean Sea in January 1919. Olga Małkowska returned to Zakopane in November 1921. She began to work in international scouting, she was the chairman of the Polish delegation to the Third World Conference of Girl Scouts in England. Thanks to her the efforts the School of Scouts Work was founded in Sromowcace Wyżne. Girl Scouts taught the local housewives how to grow vegetables, spin wool, handicrafts, everyday hygiene. They also promoted reading and cultural activities. The school also expanded free medical care over the surrounding population.

In 1927 dh. Olga Małkowska became the Scoutmaster of the Republic, and the Polish government awarded her - in recognition of her contribution to the work for independence and the scouts the Officer's Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta and the Cross of Independence. In 1931 she was selected as the representative of the youth scouts of the whole world in the Committee for the Care of Children and Youth in the League of Nations (now the United Nations) in Geneva.

After the outbreak of the II World War, Olga decided to leave the country because she was on the list of persons wanted by the Gestapo. Already in October 1939 she was in England, where a month later, the British Queen at the London Headquarters of the Girl Scouts personally decorated her with the Bronze Cross of Merit. Shortly later (January 1940) Olga Małkowska opened in Dortmounth the Polish Home for Children. To obtain funds for its maintenance, she travelled around England with lectures about Poland. She was also active in the Polish and international scouting, she was also the chairman of the Supreme Committee, which was considered as the wartime representation of the Polish Scouting Association.

She also worked in the worldwide Scouting movement: was a member of the World Committee for Emergency Relief for Scouts Girl, chairman of one of the subcommittees of the Interim Committee Girl Scouts (former World Bureau of Girl Scouts and guides) and was the co-founder of GIS (Girls International Service) - an organization offering assistance to countries ravaged by war, and in particular surrounding with care the sick and homeless children.

After 1945 the Girl Scout Małkowska decides to stay in England. Buys a beautiful mansion on the south coast of England and once more organizes the Home for Polish Children. She returns to Poland in April 1961 and lives in Zakopane. She is 73 years old at the time.

She is active: gives English lessons, conducted extensive correspondence with girl scouts and friends from all over the world. She was over eighty years old when she still went alone for walks in the mountains.

She died on the 15th of January 1979 at the age of 91, and at the cemetery, despite the powerful frost (about -25 ° C), she was farewelled by a few hundred people.

The senate unanimously adopted a resolution on the establishment of the year 2008 as "Year of Andrew and Olga Małkowski architects of the Polish Scouting."


  • Olga Małkowska – życie i działalność Zofia Florczak, Anna Krassowska- Olszańska, „”, Wydawnictwo Głównej Kwatery Harcerek Triforium, ZHR, Warszawa 1998

  • Barbara Wachowicz, „Druhno Oleńko! Druhu Andrzeju”, Oficyna Wydawnicza RYTM, Warszawa 2005