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·         Brief history of the Lviv (Lemberg, Leopol, Lwow, Lvov)

·         Actuaries in Lviv before 1939

·         World-class mathematicians in Lviv before 1939: Mathematics from the Scottish Café (Café Szkocka in Lviv)

·         Henri Lebesgue visited Lviv in 1938 and obtained honorary doctorate from Jan Kazimierz University (now Ivan Franko National University of Lviv)

·         Famous mathematicians, economists and lawyers who called the city Lviv home








Brief history of the city Lviv (Lemberg, Lwow, Lvov)


·         Lviv was founded as a fort in the mid-13th century by Prince Danylo Halitski of Galychyna (Galicia), a former western princedom of Kievan Rus Empire (ancient Ukraine with its capital city Kiev - the most powerful and, geographically, largest state in Europe in the 11th century; Kiev was razed by Mongol raiders in the 12th century). The Galicia became the Kingdom of Galicia after Danylo had been crowned in Peremyshl (now Przemysl, Poland). The city Lviv was named after King Danylo’s son Lev (Leo). The first mention of Lviv in early chronicles is from 1256, although archaeological excavation in 1993 revealed that the first settlements appeared in the 6th century. Galicia, with Lviv as its chief city, has kept its identity despite many boundary changes and centuries of rule by outside powers.

Danylo – King of the Kingdom of Galicia (Western Ukraine)










·         Lviv quickly became the centre of trade and commerce for the region. The city's favourable location on the crossroads of trade routes led to its rapid economic development.

·         Galicia was taken over by Poland in the 14th century. Its nobility eventually adopted the Polish language and religion - Roman Catholicism but the vast majority of people remained Ukrainian Orthodox (Greek form of Christian worship accepted from Constantinople by Kievan Rus in 988) and later joined the Ukrainian Catholic Church which acknowledged the Pope's spiritual supremacy but adhered to the area's Greek Orthodox forms of worship. Poland changed the name of Lviv to Lwow. From 1356 the burghers had the right of self-government, which implied that all city issues were to be solved by a city council, elected by wealthy citizens. In 1661 the first university was opened and was named after the name of the King of Poland, Jan Kazimierz II (now Ivan Franko National University of Lviv).

·         In the First Partition of Poland (1772), Galicia became part of the Hapsburg Austro-Hungarian Empire but remained dominated by Poles. Austria changed the name of Lwow to Lemberg and made it the capital of the Kingdom of Galicia.  








·         In 1784, after break the former Jan Kazimierz University was reopened and then renamed after Austrian emperor Kaiser Jozef II. Lectures were held in Latin, German, Polish and Ukrainian.

·         In 1844 the Technical Academy was opened in Lemberg (later it became Technical School in 1877, Lviv Polytechnic Institute in 1939 and National University “Lviv Polytechnic” in 1994).

·         In the second half of the nineteenth century, construction, trade, transport and industry started to develop rapidly until the First World War started. Austria contributed parks, cobble stone streets, quality architectural buildings and Lviv Opera House (a small copy of the Opera House of Vienna).

·         Towards the end of the 19th century, Lviv became the centre of a new Ukrainian national movement. Many prominent cultural and political leaders lived in Lviv, among them Ivan Franko, Mykhailo Hrushevsky, it was a meeting place of Ukrainian, Polish, and Jewish cultures.

·         With the collapse of the Hapsburg Empire at the end of Word War I, Lviv was proclaimed capital of the independent Republic of West Ukraine. But the troops of the re-emergent Poland seized the city, and Lviv returned to Polish rule until the Soviet Army took control in September, 1939 (In accordance with the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact Lviv together with Western-Ukrainian lands was annexed to the Soviet Union). Lviv was occupied by Germany from 1941 to 1944. Almost entire Jewish population of Lviv was murdered by Nazis. In 1944, Lviv again went under Soviet rule. During the periods 1939-1941 and 1944-1949 hundreds of thousands of Western Ukrainians were treated by Stalin regime as an enemy of Soviet Union, and as a result they were murdered or exiled to labour camps in Siberia (Eastern part of Russia).  Part of Ukrainian and Polish populations of Galicia did manage to escape to Western Europe, North America and Australia before Soviet occupation.

·         Soviet Union changed the name of Lviv to Lvov. Lviv was an important centre of activities of Ukrainian dissidents in 1960s. Since late 1980s, during Gorbachev’s perestroika, the city became a leading force in Ukraine's movement towards sovereignty and democracy.

·         The activity of the Ukrainian Catholic Church, prohibited in 1946, started again, the RUKH movement won the elections. On August 24, 1991 Lviv began a new era as the Supreme Council of Ukraine adopted a declaration of independence.

·         Now, Lviv is a major economic and cultural centre on the Western region of independent Ukrainian state. Despite tremendous difficulties, economics reforms (among them privatization of enterprises and land) proceed in Lviv more rapidly than in many other Ukrainian economics centres.

·         In 1998 Lviv was inscribed on the UNESCO list of World Heritage Cities.





Actuaries in Lviv before 1939


The UAS Actuarial Education and Reference Centre is looking for historical materials about actuarial activity in Western Ukraine before 1939.  So far the Centre has already found some citations of three actuaries that worked in Lviv in insurance companies as actuaries. The names of first two actuaries are

·        Koltuniuk Jaroslaw – actuary of the Insurance Company “Dnister”, 20 Ruska st., Lemberg, 1909

·        Kulaczkowski Jaroslaw – Dr., actuary, Director of the Insurance Company “Dnister”, 20 Ruska st., Lemberg, 1909


and they were found on the list of Members of the International Actuarial Association in the Proceedings of the Sixth International Congress of Actuaries that was held in Vienna, June 7 to 13, 1909.  Please see excerpts of the Proceedings in PDF format (page 6).


The name of the third actuary is


·        Taborski Jozef – actuary of “l’Etablishment d’Assurance des employes a Leopol”, 1 Piekarska st., Leopol ( Lwow), 1930


and it was found on the list of Members of the International Actuarial Association in the Proceedings of the Ninth International Congress of Actuaries that was held in Stockholm, June 16 to 20, 1930.  Mr. Taborski attended the International Congress of Actuaries in Stockholm in 1930. Please see excerpts of the Proceedings in PDF format (last page).


It seems that in Russian Empire before Bolshevik Revolution 1917 (at that time both Central and Eastern parts of Ukraine belonged to Russia) the actuarial activity mostly was viable in St Petersburg and was represented by the following three famous Russian actuaries

·        Prof. Savitch Sergei

·        Pokotiloff

·        Schetalov Ivan

They were active members of the IAA. For many years Prof. Savitch was a Delegate of the Russian Actuarial Society in the IAA and occupied a post of vice-president of the International Congress of Actuaries (ICA).  Prof. Savitch was the main organiser of the ICA in St. Petersburg in 1915, but unfortunately the congress was not held because of the World War I. Wrote a textbook in Russian on actuarial mathematics (this book was republished by Dr. Vsevolod Malinovski in Moscow in 2003). Prof. Savitch escaped to Paris just after Bolshevik Revolution and worked there as an actuary.


The Centre is grateful to Mr. Yuri Krvavych who found out these materials and sent them to us.



World-class mathematicians in Lviv before 1939: Mathematics from the Scottish Café   


The history of the Scottish Book provides amazing insight into the mathematical environment in Lviv (Lwow) before World War II. Before World War II, the city of Lwow belonged to Poland. A group of mathematicians, including Stanislaw Ulam, Stefan Banach, Mark Kac, S. Mazur, Hugo Auerbach, Hugo Steinhaus, W. Orlicz, Juliusz Schauder and many others, frequently met in coffee houses "Cafe Roma" and "Cafe Szkocka" ("Scottish Cafe"), where they discussed many mathematical problems from a wide range of mathematics: summability theory, functional and real analysis, group theory, point set topology, measure theory, and probability.


On both pictures the Scottish Café is on the right, with the café Roma on the left.

At present the Bank “Universalny” is located in the building of the Scottish Café.




















In 1935 a large notebook was purchased by Banach and deposited with the head waiter of the "Scottish Cafe". Mathematics questions/problems which after considerable discussions were found suitable were recorded in the "book". Occasional visitors (Henri Leon Lebesgue, John von Neumann, Waclaw Sierpinski) also recorded their problems there. Some of the problems were solved immediately or shortly after they have been posed. Quarter of the problems remain unsolved to this day. When World War II started, Lwow was occupied by the Soviet Union. The last entry into the book was made on May 31, 1941, - less than a month before the war betweeen Germany and Soviet Union began. When the World War came Mazur putted the book in a little box and buried near the goal post of a certain soccer field in Lviv. The book survived and was found after the war by the son of Banach (who died in 1945) in Lviv. It was given to Steinhaus who in 1956 sent a copy of it to Ulam in US (Los Alamos, New Mexico).

Every problem in the book carries the name of the person who suggested the problem. Frequently a prize is offered for solution of the problem. Prizes range from "two small beers" to "fondue" in
Geneva. The book contains about two hundred problems, written mostly in Polish, but also in German, Russian, French and English. The book was translated to English and published in Los Alamos by Ulam in 1957. It came to be known among mathematicians as "The Scottish Book". Later a corrected reprint was made in 1977. In 1981 a version with comments, as well as lectures of "The Scottish Book Conference" was published by Birkhauser publishers (Boston) under the name "The Scottish Book: Mathematics from the Scottish Cafe" edited by R. Daniel Mauldin.


Remark: currently the UAS Actuarial Education and Reference Centre is jointly working with its International Partners (actuaries and mathematicians) and Bank “Universalny” (Lviv) on republishing “The Scottish Book” by Daniel Mauldin in Ukraine in Ukrainian.






Henri Lebesgue visited Lviv in 1938 and obtained honorary doctorate from Jan Kazimierz University (now Ivan Franko National University of Lviv).


As we can see by perusing the Scottish Book, a significant number of problems were inscribed by distinguished foreign mathematicians who passed through Lviv. One of the most famous of these visitors and probably the most famous one at that time was Henri Lebesgue.

Lebesgue came to Lviv in May 1938 and received an honorary doctorate from the Jan Kazimierz University (now Ivan Franko National University of Lviv).  Extensive interesting story about Lebesgue’s visit to Lviv was presented by Marc Kac in "The Scottish Book: Mathematics from the Scottish Cafe" edited by R. Daniel Mauldin.




Famous mathematicians, economists and lawyers who called the city Lviv home











Stefan Banach 

(1892-1945) - Mathematician, born in Krakow, Poland but lived and died in Lviv. He is regarded as one of the founders of functional analysis, and he founded an important school of Polish mathematicians. He made major contributions to the theory of topological vector spaces. In addition, he contributed to measure theory, integration, and orthogonal series.












Stanislaw Marcin Ulam

(1909-1984) - from 1936 in USA. Mathematician - born in Lemberg (Lviv), Galicia, contributed to Polish Mathematical Society in Lviv. He moved to USA in 1936 and joined Society of Fellows in Harvard. He was a member of the Manhattan Project, which produced the first atom bomb, 1943-45, and from 1946 collaborated with Edward Teller on the design of the hydrogen bomb, solving the problem of how to ignite the bomb. All previous designs had collapsed. He also devised the 'Monte-Carlo method' widely used in solving mathematical problems using statistical sampling. He died in Santa Fe, NM, USA in 1984.














Juliusz Pawel Schauder

(1899-1943) – Mathematician - born, lived and died in Lviv. Schauder is author of fixed point theorems for finite dimensional spaces, fixed point theorems for Banach spaces. His 1934 paper on topology and partial differential equations is of major importance. Existence proofs for complicated nonlinear problems using his fixed point theorem have become standard. The topological method developed in the 1934 Leray-Schauder paper is now utilised not only to obtain qualitative is now utilised not only to obtain qualitative results but also to solve problems numerically on computers. He was shot by Gestapo in October 1943 in Lviv.













Ludwig von Mises

(1881 - 1973) – Economist. Mises was born in 1881 in the Austro-Hungarian city of Lemberg, the son of a successful engineer. At the age of 19, he entered the University of Vienna, and received his doctorate at 27. He taught economics in Austria, warning against the dangers of both communism and fascism. With the Nazis threatening Austria, he fled to England (the United Kingdom) where he spent almost the rest of his life. He was known for his contribution to liberalism in economic theory and his belief in the power of the consumer. He was one of the most influential capitalist economists of the twentieth century. See citation of von Mises in the article “Money to the people” by Prof. Krzysztof Ostaszewski (American-Polish actuary and mathematician).

Ludwig von Mises was one of the greatest economic thinkers in the history of Western Civilization. - Ronald Reagan, Former President of the United States.











Louis B. Sohn

Louis B. Sohn was born in Lemberg (Lviv), Galicia in 1914 (the year World War I began). He earned his first law degree at Jan Kazimierz University in Lwow. Louis B. Sohn is of the world's foremost international law scholars. Sohn began teaching at Harvard in 1946, and was named Bemis Professor of International Law in 1961. Sohn pioneered courses on UN law, international human rights, the law of the sea, and the protection of the environment. He took part in the San Francisco Conference that established the United Nations. He worked at the United Nations on the settlement of international disputes, disarmament, human rights, and law of the sea.

He co-wrote with Grenville Clark, World Peace through World Law, which has been translated into a dozen languages and is now in its third edition.








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