The historical milieu in Toruń, built from scratch after the Second World War by people working at the universities in Vilnius and Lvov before 1939, has always boasted eminent personages. One of these is Janusz Małłek, who, under the influence of his family, especially his father, Karol, an eminent activist and columnist from Masuria, and also of his history teacher from the pedagogical secondary school in Mrągowo, abandoned the idea of earning a living through literary activity and focused on developing his interest in history. Embarking on a degree in history at Nicolaus Copernicus University in 1955 determined the life and career of the future professor and the connection then established with the university in Toruń has lasted for over half a century.
The significance of Professor Janusz Małłek’s contribution to the consolidation of the academic standing of Toruń’s historical milieu should be recognised. His publications, in which he focused, especially in the early stages of his research, on the history of Ducal and Royal Prussia in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries and the history of the Reformation in Poland and Europe, were received with great interest not only by Polish historians but also provoked lively discussions and polemics among specialists in other European countries. When he broadened the scope of his research to cover matters connected with the history of Scandinavia and Germany, he became one of the most recognisable Polish historians abroad. The variety of the lines of research, which increased considerably with the passage of time, resulted in Professor Janusz Małłek publishing over 350 papers. They all display profound knowledge and erudition, as well as the outstanding skills to which the Professor always attached great importance and which should be a role model for other researchers. The high academic position of the Professor is testified by his membership of numerous academic societies and organisations, including Verein für Reformationgeschichte, Historische Kommission für Ost- und West12 preussiche Landesforschung, and the Polish Academy of Arts and Sciences (Polska Akademia Umiejętności). Not many outstanding academics possess the ability to combine academic work with administrative work. Professor Janusz Małłek’s organisational achievements are considerable. Suffice it to mention his duties as head of the Department of Modern History and History of Scandinavian Countries, deputy director of the Institute of History and Archive Studies, the first dean of the Faculty of Historical Sciences, and finally pro-rector of NCU from 1999 to 2002. Of these, which do not exhaust the list of positions held by the Professor, the most important are surely, though this is a subjective evaluation, the duties of dean. It is thanks to the activities undertaken in 1993 that the Faculty was created and has existed in almost unchanged form for almost twenty years, testament to the clear vision of the Professor. The four-volume publication comprising only selected works by Professor Janusz Małłek can merely remind the reader of some of his many works written over fifty years of rich, creative research, works which are still very much in circulation.
Dr. hab. Jacek Gzella, university professor
Dean of the Faculty of Historical Sciences