The Zbigniew Herbert Foundation was established in 2010 at the initiative of the poet’s widow Katarzyna Dzieduszycka-Herbert.
Katarzyna Herbert, nee Dzieduszycka, was born in 1929 at her family’s home in the small town of Zarzecze, which was then part of the Lviv voivodship. She spent her childhood, early youth and the war years in Zarzecze. After the arrest of her father and elder brothers, and the family’s eviction from their home in 1944, Katarzyna moved to Jarosław, and shortly thereafter to Rabka.
In 1948 she relocated with her whole family to Warsaw. Her upper secondary school education was soon interrupted by the necessity to work and included a stint as a manual worker in the “Common Cause” (Wspólna Sprawa) Cooperative in Pruszków. In 1956 she found work as a director’s assistant in the newly established Association of Polish Artists and Musicians (Stowarzyszenie Polskich Artystów Muzyków). Her friendship with Zbigniew Herbert began that same year.
In 1961 she moved to France and settled in Paris, where she undertook various jobs, the first of which was caring for the sick. In 1963 she found work at the Mouton Publishing House, whilst simultaneously attending lectures for foreign students at the Sorbonne on “French Civilisation.”
She married Zbigniew Herbert in March 1968, in Paris. They subsequently travelled to Berlin. In later years she accompanied Herbert on many journeys, including trips to California, Italy, France and Spain.
They returned to Poland for good in 1992.
Since Zbigniew Herbert’s death in 1998, Katarzyna Herbert has continued to reside in Warsaw.