During his amazing life, through his journey that encompassed four continents, Dr. Tadeusz Grygier made significant contributions to psychology, criminology and international yacht racing.


In law, Tadeusz wrote many books and articles, the most revolutionary being a model criminal code only 37 pages in length (The Social Protection Code 1977). Life experience, even more than books, made him an advocate of fair and flexible justice. One common theme was an interest in rehabilitation and a humanitarian approach to justice. The new version of his penal code, which he called the “Code of Humanist Justice” (Fairness and Justice: the essence of morality, law and health, 2008), tried to reduce the pain of sanctions, especially to limit the use of prison to the very minimum necessary for peace and order, and aimed at the reconstruction and restoration of society through greater cooperation and trust. Dr. Maria Łoś, Professor Emeritus of the University of Ottawa and a long-time friend and colleague, notes that: “….. It is not often remembered that the now celebrated idea of “restorative justice” was introduced and elaborated in 1962 by W. T. McGrath and Tadeusz Grygier at a national conference of criminal justice organizations.”


As a psychologist, Tadeusz's published PhD thesis Oppression (1954) grew out of his experiences during the war in the Soviet Gulag and Komi Republic, where he successfully defended himself against two charges of sabotage while still in the camp, worked in partial freedom with an emninent soviet neurologist, trained Soviet divers and sailors for sabotage missions against the German navy, and counter-attacked the Terror of Siberia after 15 hours of torture and deprivation. He also represented the Polish government-in-exile and took care of Polish citizens in Komi, and worked for the Polish embassy (but in fact for Polish, British and American intelligence) first in Kuybyshev and then in Teheran. These were beautifully documented in his intellectual autobiography Exile: The Road to Knowledge (2002).


His contributions to the Allied effort continued after the war as he became Director of the Department of Special Studies (focused on the U.S.S.R) in London for the Polish government-in-exile and subsequently a consultant for the Soviet Section, Research Division of the British Foreign Office. His psychological contributions continued with the development of the Dynamic Personality Inventory and other personality tests that were conceived during his Rockefeller fellowship at Chicago, California and Harvard, and further developed during his research in England with hospitals, the Home Office, Vickers Armstrong, the Admiralty, and the British Army Operational Research Group


In 1967, law and psychology begat criminology as Dr. Grygier founded the Department of Criminology at the University of Ottawa.This was a realization of his longstanding dream. Since the age of 15, he believed that criminology was a discipline that contained “everything” and hoped to promote its development. He remained the Research Director at the Department of Criminology until his retirement and Professor Emeritus until his death.


Intellectual pursuits and sailing were Grygier’s two passions. They were intertwined throughout his life. He was nominated to compete in the Olympic sailing competitions twice: the first was to represent Poland at the 1940 Olympic Games, but the war interfered; the second was to represent Great Britain at the 1948 Games, but he was disqualified by the Olympic Committee for not having been a resident of Great Britain for the required five years. After immigrating to Canada in 1960, he represented Canada in social sciences, law, and his favourite sport: sailing. He managed to win about the same number of trophies from racing as his published works, 200 each.


Sailors at Britannia Yacht Club (BYC) in Ottawa, where he was a member for half a century have fond memory of Tad and his passion for sailing. John Vines, a former commodore at BYC and sailing friend of more than 50 years, remembers: “While in England, where he was a leading sailing dinghy racer on the Thames in London, Tad’s engaging arguments made the prolonged protest meetings a spectacle as well as stimulating, his arguments on the rules of racing were usually correct. These arguments contributed to the development and drafting of the rules of racing that are used internationally to this day.” On September 7, 2010, at the BYC annual sailors meeting, after a wet race, everyone stood for a minute in silence in memory of Tad.


Link: Tadeusz Grygier Prize, University of Ottawa


Print: a long biography (pdf); a short biography (pdf); espionage (pdf)