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Heryng, Helena

(1859–1916), early Polish socialist. Born in Warsaw in 1856 to a well-to-do assimilated Jewish family that had taken part in the 1863 Polish uprising, Helena Heryng (née Kon) was a member of the first circle of socialists in Warsaw. The older sister of Feliks Kon, a Polish socialist, Heryng was among a circle of women who helped to found the socialist movement in the second half of the 1870s. Arrested in 1878 along with her mother, Paulina Kon, for socialist activity, Heryng was sentenced to Siberian exile, where she met and married her husband, Zygmunt Heryng.

Upon her return to Warsaw in 1882, Heryng continued her involvement in the Polish socialist movement. She joined the illegal Polish Socialist Party (PPS) in the 1890s and during the 1905 Revolution was a member of the Warsaw division’s executive committee. She also served as a delegate to the PPS’s Eighth Party Congress in 1906, and that same year, she joined the Łódź branch of the party’s Fighting Organization. After the party split in 1906, Heryng joined the PPS–Right and was associated with this section for the rest of her life. While in Galicia between 1907 and 1914, she served on the Women’s Committee of the Polish Social Democratic Party of Galicia, the PPS’s sister organization. During World War I, Heryng worked for welfare organizations in Warsaw, serving as secretary of the Society for the Protection of Women.

Suggested Reading

Kazimierz Lepszy et al., eds., “Heryngowa Helena z Konów,” in Polski słownik biograficzny, vol. 9, p. 482 (Wrocław, Warsaw, and Kraków, 1960–1961); Alicja Pacholczykowa, “Heryngowa Helena,” Słownik biograficzny działaczy polskiego ruchu robotniczego, vol. 2, p. 519 (Warsaw, 1987).