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Books on Genocide and related topics in Polish
Ludobójstwo BibliografiaRecent books:
Baruch Milch, 1907-1989.Testament / Baruch Milch ; z Archiwum Zydowskiego Instytutu Historycznego, Warszawa : O´srodek Karta, 2001, 291 p.
Natal´ia Sergeevna Lebedeva, Katy´n : zbrodnia przeciwko ludzko´sci / Natalia Lebiediewa ; przelozyl Kazimierz Bidakowski. Warszawa : Dom Wydawniczy Bellona, 1998., 362 p.
Tomasz Kranz, Zbrodnie nazizmu w ´swiadomo´sci i edukacji historycznej w Polsce i Niemczech / pod redakcja Tomasza Kranza. Publisher: Lublin : Pa´nstwowe Muzeum na Majdanku, c1998.Subject(s): Pa´nstwowe Muzeum na Majdanku. World War, 1939-1945 Study and teaching Poland. World War, 1939-1945 Study and teaching Germany. National socialism Study and teaching Poland. National socialism Study and teaching Germany. Students Poland. Students Germany. 166 p.
Joanna Nowakowska-Malusecka, Odpowiedzialno´s´c karna jednostek za zbrodnie popelnione w bylej Jugoslawii i w Rwandzie Katowice : Wydawn. Uniwersytetu ´Slaskiego, 2000, 221 p.Summaries in English and French. Subjects: International Tribunal for the Prosecution of Persons Responsible for Serious Violations of International Humanitarian Law Committed in the Territory of the Former Yugoslavia since 1991. International Tribunal for Rwanda. Yugoslav War Crime Trials, Hague, Netherlands, 1994- War crime trials--Rwanda. Humanitarian law.Witold Nieciu´nski, Przemoc i masowe zbrodnie hitleryzmu i stalinizmu : próba studium porównawczego Warszawa : Wydawn. Nauk. Scholar, 1998. 97,  p.Subject(s): Totalitarianism Case studies. Political atrocities Germany. Political atrocities Soviet Union. State-sponsored terrorism Germany. State-sponsored terrorism Soviet Union. Germany Politics and government 1933-1945. Soviet Union Politics and government 1917-1936. Soviet Union Politics and government 1936-1953.Wladyslaw Siemaszko, Ludobójstwo dokonane przez nacjonalisto´w ukrai´nskich na ludno´sci polskiej Wolynia, 1939-1945 / Wladyslaw Siemaszko, Ewa Siemaszko. Warszawa : Wydawn. von borowiecky, 2000. Related Names: Siemaszko, Ewa. Description: 2 v. : ill., maps ; 25 cm. Notes: Vol. 2 includes bibliographical references (p. 1295-1336) and index.
Subjects: World War, 1939-1945--Atrocities. World War, 1939-1945--Ukraine--Volhynia. Poles--Crimes against--Ukraine--Volhynia. Volhynia (Ukraine)--History--20th century.
Ryszard Szawlowski, "Rafal Lemkin - twórca pojecia "ludobójstwo" i glówny architekt Konwencji z 9 XII 1948 (w czterdziestolecie smierci)" Panstwo i Prawo 1999 Nr 10, s. 74 www.panstwoiprawo.pl
Szymon Datner, Janusz.Gumkowski, Kazimierz Leszczynski, Glówna Komisja Badania Zbrodni Hitlerowskich w Polsce. Genocide, 1939-1945 / by Szymon Datner, Janusz Gumkowski, Kazimierz Leszczynski. Publisher: Warszawa : Wydawnictwo Zachodnie, 1962.
Eberhard Fechner, Proces : obóz na Majdanku w ´swietle wypowiedzi uczestników rozprawy przed Sadem Krajowym w Düsseldorfie / Eberhard Fechner ; z niemieckiego tlumaczyl, przedmowa i obja´snieniami opatrzyl Tomasz Kranz. Uniform [Prozess. Polish] Lublin : Pa´nstwowe Muzeum na Majdanku, 1996. Related Names: Kranz, Tomasz. Description: 163 p.Subjects: Majdanek (Concentration camp) Trials (Genocide)--Germany--Düsseldorf. War crime trials--Germany--Düsseldorf. Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945)--Poland.
Gebarski, Bohdan, 1905-1978. Main Title: Morituri : opowie´s´c o 1915 roku / Bohdan Gebarski. Published/Created: Warszawa : Polskie Tow. Ludoznawcze, Oddzial w Warszawie, Kolo Zainteresowa´n Kultura Ormian, 1992. Description: 109 p. ; 21 cm. Subjects: Armenian massacres, 1915-1923--Fiction. Series: Publikacja (Polskie Towarzystwo Ludoznawcze. Kolo Zainteresowa´n Kultura Ormian) ; 24.
Gebski, Józef, 1939- Main Title: Z Archipelagu Gulag / Józef Gebski ; [przedmowa opatrzyl Kazimierz Stembrowicz ; wiersze przelozyla z rosyjskiego Ewa Rajewska-Olejarczuk]. Published/Created: Warszawa : Pax, 1991. Description: 104 p.
Glówna Komisja Badania Zbrodni Hitlerowskich w Polsce. O´swiadczenie w sprawie nieprzedawnienia zbrodni wojennych i zbrodni przeciw ludzko´sci = Declaration on the non-applicability of statutory limitation to war crimes and crimes against humanity, Warszawa : Glówna Komisja Badania Zbrodni Hitlerowskich w Polsce, 1968. 37 p.
Glówna Komisja Badania Zbrodni Hitlerowskich w Polsce--Instytut Pamieci Narodowej. Zbrodnie na polakach dokonane przez hitlerowców za pomoc udzielana zydom / Waclaw Bielawski. Publisher: Warszawa : Glówna Komisja Badania Zbrodni Hitlerowskich w Polsce, 1987. 135 p.Subject(s): World War, 1939-1945 Atrocities. World War, 1939-1945 Registers of dead Poland. World War, 1939-1945 Jews Rescue Poland. World War, 1939-1945 Underground movements Poland. Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945) Poland. Righteous Gentiles in the Holocaust Poland.
Glówna Komisja Badania Zbrodni Hitlerowskich w Polsce. Czeslaw Pilichowski, Hitlerowskie ludobójstwo w Polsce 1939-1945 : wybór dokumentów = Nazi genocide in Poland 1939-1945 : a dokumentation [sic]. Nazi genocide in Poland 1939-1945 Publisher: [Poland] : Ministerstwo Sprawiedliwo´sci, Glówna Komisja Badania Zbrodni Hitlerowskich w Polsce, [1978?]Subject(s): Glówna Komisja Badania Zbrodni Hitlerowskich w Polsce Sources Translations into English. World War, 1939-1945 Atrocities Sources Translations into English. War crimes Poland Sources Translations into English. 11 pts. in portfolio ; 32 cm. Notes: English translation from Polish of papers from the Central Commission for Investigation of Nazi Crimes in Poland.
Grzybowska, Anna. Bidzi´nska-Jakubowska, Barbara. Sobanski, Tomasz. Glówna Komisja Badania Zbrodni Hitlerowskich w Polsce. Zbrodnie hitlerowskie na dzieciach i mlodziezy polskiej, 1939-1945 / redaktorzy, Anna Grzybowska, Barbara Jakubowska, Tomasz Sobanski. Publisher: Warszawa : Wydawn. Prawnicze, 1969, 168 p.Subject(s): World War, 1939-1945 Children. World War, 1939-1945 Atrocities. World War, 1939-1945 Poland.
Daszkiewicz, Krystyna. Zbrodnie hitlerowskie w prawie karnym Niemieckiej Republiki Federalnej, Pozna´n : Instytut Zachodni, 1972. 238 p.Subject(s): Crimes against humanity, German. War crimes. Criminal law Germany (West)
Stanislaw Kania, Proces zbrodniarzy z Majdanaka Warszawa : Wydawn. Prawnicze, 1987. Description: 73 p. ;Subjects: Majdanek (Concentration camp) Trials (Genocide)--Germany--Düsseldorf. War crime trials--Germany--Düsseldorf. Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945)
Stanislaw Kania, Rada Ochrony Pomników Walki i Mecze´nstwa (Poland) Glówna Komisja Badania Zbrodni Hitlerowskich w Polsce. Zbrodnie Hitlerowskie w Polsce = Die Nazistischen Verbrechen in Polen = Nazi crimes in Poland / Stanislaw Kania ; Rada Ochrony Pomników Walki i Mecze´nstwa ; Glówna Komisja Badania Zbrodni Hitlerowskich w Polsce. Variant Nazistischen Verbrechen in Polen Nazi crimes in Poland Publisher: Warszawa : "Sport i Turystyka", 1983.114 p.Languages: In English, German and Polish. Subject(s): World War, 1939-1945 Atrocities.
Aleksander.Korman, Piate przykazanie boskie--Nie zabijaj! : nieukarane ludobójstwo dokonane przez Ukrai´nskich szowinistów w latach 1939-1945 Londyn : Kolo Lwowian, 1989. 46 p. ;Subject(s): World War, 1939-1945 Poland. Poland History Occupation, 1939-1945. Poland Relations Ukraine. Ukraine Relations Poland. 22 cm. Notes: In Polish; summary in English.
Marian Puchalski, Zachodnia Agencja Prasowa. Eksterminacja ludno´sci w Polsce w czasie okupacji niemieckiej, 1939-1945 / okladke projektowall, Marian Puchalski ; [Zachodnia Agencja Prasowa]. Publisher: Pozna´n : Wydawn. Zachodnie, 1962. 315 p.
Viktor Polishchuk, 1925- Falszowanie historii najnowszej Ukrainy ; Woly´n--1943 i jego znaczenie Toronto ; Warszawa : W. Poliszczuk, 1996. 90 p.
Jerzy Sawicki, Zburzenie Warszawy; zeznania generalów niemieckich przed polskim prokuratorem, czlonkiem polskiej delegacji przy Miedzynarodowym Trybunale Wojennym w Norymberdze. Katowice, Skl. gl.: Awir, 1946. Related Names: International Military Tribunal. [from old catalog] Poland. Glówna Komisja Badania Zbrodni Hitlerowskich w Polsce. [from old catalog] Description: 319 p.
Dr. Tadeusz Cyprian i dr. Jerzy Sawicki, Prawo Norymberskie, Warszawa – Kraków 1948, str. 433.
Sawicki, Jerzy, Ludobójstwo; od pojecia do konwencji, 1933-1948. Kraków, L.J. Jaroszewski, 1949. Description: 224 p.
Sawicki, Jerzy. Ludobójstwo od pojecia do konwencji 1933-1948 / Jerzy Sawicki. Publisher: Kraków : L.J. Jaroszewski, 1949. Subject(s): United Nations. International relations. Human rights. 224 p.
Jerzy Sawicki, Sprawy polskie w procesie norymberskim. Poznan: 1956
Tadeusz Cyprian & Jerzy Sawicki, Nuremberg in Retrospect. People and Issues of the Trial, Varsovie, 1967, p. 176.
Sawicki, Jerzy. From Nuremberg to the new Wehrmacht. Warsaw, Polonia Pub. House, 1957. Description: 459 p. 21 cm. Notes: Translation of Od Norymbeigi do ukaladei paryskiego. Subjects: Germany (West)--Defenses. Germany (West)--Politics and government.
Kazimierz Smole´n and Teresa Swiebocka and RenataBoguslawska-´Swiebocka (Pa´nstwowe Muzeum O´swiecim-Brzezinka). Auschwitz : zbrodnia przeciwko ludzko´sci O´swiecim : Pa´nstwowe Muzeum O´swiecim-Brzezinka ; Warszawa : Ksiazka i Wiedza ; [Beograd?] : Jugoslavijapublik, 1990,  p.
Michal Zawrotniak, Zbrodnie niemieckie w Zamojszczy´znie od poczatków wrze´snia 1939 r. do ko´nca lipca 1944 r Zamos´c : [s.n.], 1946. 45 p.Subject(s): World War, 1939-1945 Atrocities. World War, 1939-1945 Poland Zamos´c. Zamo´s´c (Poland) Ethnic relations.
Zbrodnie i sprawcy : ludobójstwo hitlerowskie przed sadem ludzko´sci i historii / red. nauk. Czeslaw Pilichowski ; [wstep Jerzy Bafia] ; Glówna Komisja Badania Zbrodni Hitlerowskich w Polsce. Warszawa : Pa´nstwowe Wydawn. Nauk., 1980 (Bialyst : BZG) Related Names: Pilichowski, Czeslaw. Glówna Komisja Badania Zbrodni Hitlerowskich w Polsce. Description: 943,  p.
Marek Tarczy´nski, Zbrodnia katy´nska : upamietnienie ofiar i zado´s´cuczynienie / [pod redakcja Marka Tarczy´nskiego Warszawa : Niezalezny Komitet Historyczny Badania Zbrodni Katy´nskiej : Polska Fundacja Katy´nska, 1998. Related Names: . Description: 143, p.
Subjects: Katyn Massacre, Katyn´, Russia, 1940.
The Sarmatian Review January 1999 Volume XIX, Number 1
Poland's Holocaust: Ethnic Strife, Collaboration with Occupying Forces and Genocide in the Second Republic, 1918-1947 By Tadeusz Piotrowski. Jefferson, NC and London: McFarland & Company 1998. xiii + 262 pages. Appendix, notes, bibliography, illustrations, index. Hardcover. $55.00. Judith Olsak-Glass For 123 years, Poles lived under Russian, Prussian, or Austro-Hungarian rule. During World War I, all three of these imperialist empires collapsed. Seizing an opportunity, the Poles declared independence on 11 November 1918. A plethora of daunting problems immediately confronted the war-ravaged Second Republic of Poland. Author Tadeusz Piotrowski posits that along with a struggling economy, two problems above all others would ultimately contribute to Poland's holocaust in World War II: Poland's borders and Poland's sizeable minorities. By 1921, after a series of armed conflicts with neighboring states, Polish borders were finalized. Although the process resulted in territorial gains, especially in the east, it also fostered much hostility and open resentment both within and outside Poland. Besides the enmity of Germany and the Soviet Union, Poland was forced to contend with rising minority discontent. As Piotrowski points out, 'the political objectives of all radical nationalists were, after all, separatist.' (5) Thus, the yearnings for an independent 'greater Ukraine,' a reunited Belarus or a Jewish state within the Polish one smoldered relentlessly. When war erupted in 1939, 'the radical members of these minorities, rather than supporting Poland in its hour of need, chose to side with the enemy and vied with one another in their support of the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany, hoping thereby to achieve their objectives at Polish expense.' (6) Continuing along the lines of his previous work on interwar Poland, Polish-Ukrainian relations and Ukrainian nationalism, Tadeusz Piotrowski presents a detailed examination of collaboration with the Soviet and Nazi occupation forces of the ethnic minorities living mainly in the eastern provinces of pre-World War II Poland. The first two chapters, titled 'Soviet Terror' and 'Nazi Terror,' provide a brief overview of Poland's subjugation. Zones of occupation and their ethnic composition are likewise discussed, as are Soviet and Nazi occupation policies and practices. Citing a comprehensive list of Soviet crimes and misdeeds, from the Katyn massacre to the 1945 Moscow show trial of sixteen kidnapped political leaders of the Polish underground, Piotrowski argues that from the very beginning, it was Stalin's aim to ensure that an independent Poland would never reemerge in the postwar period. The prisons, ghettos, internment, transit, labor and extermination camps, roundups, mass deportations, public executions, mobile killing units, death marches, deprivation, hunger, disease, and exposure all testify to the 'inhuman policies of both Hitler and Stalin' and 'were clearly aimed at the total extermination of Polish citizens, both Jews and Christians. Both regimes endorsed a systematic program of genocide.' (32) Such large-scale operations needed helpers. As a final segment to this preliminary examination, Piotrowski defines 'collaborator' and 'accomplice' to mean voluntary complicity with the Soviets or Germans for the express purpose of destroying Poland, its citizens, or its underground Home Army. He reminds the reader that collaborators were only a small percentage of Poland's 35 million pre-war citizens, but because of their cooperation with Soviet or Nazi forces, over six million Polish citizens were murdered, both Jews and Christiansall of them, he reiterates, victims of Poland's Holocaust. As a self-described 'naturalized American citizen of Polish descent who happens to be a sociologist,' Professor Piotrowski teaches Sociology of the Holocaust at the University of New Hampshire. He broadens the scope of the term 'Holocaust' to include all Polish citizens who were murdered as a result of both Nazi and Soviet genocidal policies and practices. Although the Jewish exclusivity of the Holocaust is generally accepted, this comprehensive approach offers a broader and more accurate account, lending itself to a deeper understanding of an extremely complicated period. As the book demonstrates, the ethnocentric goals of collaborators meant a death sentence for ordinary Polish citizens. Also, with the ebb and flow of Soviet and Nazi forces over Poland's eastern territories, loyalties often switched back and forth in order to insure the fulfillment of various political agendas. All aspects of collaboration by Jews, Poles, Belarusians, Lithuanians, and Ukrainians on Polish soil are painstakingly presented in their own densely packed chapters. Piotrowski's narrative tells the story of complicity through eyewitness testimonies, memoirs, diaries, military field reports, periodicals, hundreds of secondary sources as well as his own insights and interpretations. The book does an excellent job of integrating scholarship on the subject, much of it of recent vintage. Almost one hundred pages of notes provide much more than mere citations. Besides 15 tables within the text, ten tables illustrating population losses and deportations appear in Piotrowski's text; it also includes a discussion between scholars over the intent of the Polish Home Army General Bor-Komorowski's Order No. 116was it aimed against Jewish partisans or against bandits, some of whom may have been Jewish?1 As detailed as the notes and text are, the book assumes some background knowledge; for example, the positions of major personalities, such as Józef Beck or Jozef Pilsudski, are not explained on first mention, nor is the 30 July 1941 Sikorski-Maisky agreement. Such instances are rare and ultimately do not detract from the presentation. The Appendix with thirteen documents (e.g., the 1919 Minorities Treaty, the NKVD Instructions Relating to 'Anti-Soviet Elements,' Beria's letter to Stalin on the execution of thousands of Polish prisoners of war, and the UB [Soviet-controlled Communist Security Police] chronology of the Kielce Pogrom released in 1989) are included along with four maps, although sites mentioned do not always appear on the maps. The Bibliography is extensive and state-of-the-art, but its full value might be limited to those who read Polish or Ukrainian. The Index is excellent; particularly good are the cross references. Finally, the copy editor and proofreader deserve credit for a virtually flawless text. Each chapter seems designed to stand on its own, closes with an assessment of responsibility and fixes blame squarely on those who colluded with the enemy to the detriment of the Polish state and the Polish people. The chapter on Jewish collaboration is provocative, yet it has important implications for Polish-Jewish relations and the historiography of the Holocaust. Acknowledging the existence of anti-Jewish sentiment in Poland, ranging from benign to murderous, but never state-sponsored before and during the war, Piotrowski questions its causes and its extent. Part of the responsibility, he argues, 'must surely rest on the shoulders of the Jews themselves.' (36) In the interest of truth and fairness, he asserts that 'to single out and humiliate Poland for its real or manufactured anti-Semitism is, therefore, grossly unfair.' (38) His aim is not to excuse or justify wrongdoing, but to give a full accounting of circumstances surrounding events which have poisoned Polish-Jewish relations and led unjustly to blanket charges of Polish anti-Semitism. Among the factors which negatively affected perceptions and experiences are Jewish ethnocentrism and aloofness; limited contact with Poles due to voluntary isolationism; failure to assimilate; unfulfilled political expectations; immigration of persecuted Jews from Nazi Germany to pre-war Poland; and socioeconomic conflicts. Addressing the correlation between the deterioration of Polish-Jewish relations and the Soviet invasions of Poland in 1919-1920, 1939-1941, and 1944-1945, the author states that 'some Polish Jews became co-participants in the Soviet reigns of terror.' (36) It is significant that Poles in the eastern provinces vividly recall Jews kissing Soviet tanks in 1939 and, as survivors, again in 1944. Many Poles were victims of Jewish-Soviet collaboration, targeted as they were for deportation or execution by lists drawn up partially by Jews. The author demonstrates that Jewish communists within the Soviet apparatus were quite numerous and visible in 1944-1948, holding key positions at the national and local levels. It is not hard to imagine how this situation affected Polish sensibilities. To explain is not to justify nor excuse, but serves to illuminate human failings on all sides. To bring the picture back into balance, noting that life was often difficult for Polish Jews, Piotrowski readily admits that the overwhelming majority of Jews were not communists, nor did they side with either the Soviets or the Nazis. However, during the Nazi occupation, some Jews were willing collaborators and the remainder of the chapter on Jewish collaboration decribes their role in the Polish Holocaust. The chapter 'Polish Collaboration' under Soviet and Nazi occupation might be familiar material to some, yet Piotrowski does much to strip away the myths surrounding these terrible times. He questions the accuracy of the often repeated allegations that the Polish underground, including the Home Army, were guilty of collaboration with the Nazis and of committing anti-Semitic atrocities. One treatment of this question focuses on the events at the shtetl of Ejszyszki (now in Lithuania), an alleged 1944 pogrom near Wilno [Vilnius]. On 3 April 1995, an article defaming Poles in that connection appeared in the U.S. News & World Report. It was followed up with an extensive piece in the New York Times on 6 August 1996. Piotrowski also deals with the activities of the Polish National Armed Forces (Narodowe Sily Zbrojne), a right-wing military organization which aligned itself, for the most part, with the Home Army in early 1944, but was never under its control. The chapter continues by relating the Soviet attempts to liquidate the Home Army, the assistance given to the Warsaw Ghetto revolt, the role of the Polish 'Blue' Police in the murders of Jews, civilian complicity, Polish assistance to the Jews, and the post-World War II years. In his final chapter, Piotrowski examines Soviet and Nazi involvement with Ukrainian nationalists to explain how the policy of ethnic cleansing in Western Ukraine evolved and was carried out. Based on personal recollections and recent scholarship, Piotrowski brings to light a grim period of savage barbarity, one to which most English-only readers have not yet been exposed. Overall, this book makes a valuable contribution to several fields of study. Students of the Holocaust, of wartime collaboration, of Polish, Central European and Russian history will be well served by Piotrowski's volume. 1 General Bor-Komorowski's Order reads as follows: Well-armed gangs ramble endlessly in cities and villages, attack estates, banks, commercial and industrial companies, houses and apartments, and larger peasant farms. The plunder is often accompanied by acts of murder which are carried out by Soviet partisan units hiding in the forests or by ordinary gangs of robbers. The latter recruit from all kinds of criminal subversive elements. Men and women, especially Jewish women, participate in the assaults. This infamous action of demoralized individuals contributes in a considerable degree to the complete destruction of many citizens who have already been tormented with the four year struggle against the enemy. The [German] occupier has not basically opposed the existing state of affairs. When German security organs are sometimes called in, in the more serious instances, they refuse to help, avoiding the bandits. Often the reverse occurs - the greater act of banditism calls down repression upon the innocent population. In order to give some help and shelter to the defenseless population, I have issued an order- with the understanding of the chief Delegate of the Government - to the commanders of regions and districts regarding local security. I have ordered the commanders of regions and districts, when necessary, to move with arms against these plundering or subversive bandit elements. I emphasized the need to liquidate the leaders of bands and not efforts to destroy entire bands. I recommended to the local commanders assuring the cooperation of the local population and of the representative of the Government's Delegate in organizing self-defense and of a warning system. (Piotrowski 324)
September 2001 Volume XXI, Number 3
Poland: An Illustrated History Reviewer: Marek Jan Chodakiewicz -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Poland: An Illustrated History By Iwo C. Pogonowski. New York: Hippocrene Books, 2000. 270 pages. Tables, index. Hardcover. $14.95. Did you know that the Magna Carta predated the Act of Cienia (safeguarding laws at the expense of the monarch's power) by thirteen years only? However, Poland's Neminem Captivabimus preceded England's Habeas corpus by over 150 years. Easily accessible nuggets of the Polish past come in handy if one teaches, as I do, Western Civilization at a small California college. The standard textbooks I use are predictably mum on Poland. Their most salient feature is the glorification of the Anglo-Saxon and Germanic traditions as the worthy successors of the Greek and Roman civilizations. After gliding through Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece, and Rome, a typical textbook anchors itself firmly in Western Europe. Germany figures prominently in the narrative, but its past is depicted almost exclusively in conjunction with Western European developments: the wars of the Holy Roman Emperors in Italy and France, the feudal fragmentation of the Empire, and religious strife that followed the Protestant Revolution. Nothing on the Drang nach Osten. England and France occupy the central part of the textbook with "Rome" moving in and out of the narrative usually to signal utter corruption of the Papacy and the wickedness of the Catholic Church. "Italy" pops up suddenly for a brief spell during the Renaissance, to disappear again until the 19th century. Spain surfaces for a fleeting moment during the Age of Discovery, to retreat into obscurity soon after, save for the Inquisition, everyone's favorite whipping boy. Scandinavian countries are mentioned only to the extent that their denizens created havoc in Germany, France, and England, from the Vikings to Gustavus Adolphus. The Balkans and its peoples exist as a background for the Byzantine and Ottoman Empires. Bohemia and Moravia merit but a perfunctory nod thanks to Jan Hus. Slovakia is a part of Hungary which is Austria, unless it hosts Attila the Hun. Russia's early history is covered in a superficial, Moscow-centered way, reflexively stressing continuities and similarities between Moscow and Kiev and mechanically upholding the former's spurious claims to "all Russia," including the Grand Duchy of Lithuania which at any rate is hardly mentioned. Jewish history is largely limited to anti-Jewish violence. Monotheistic Yahveh, the Old Testament, and Moses Maimonides are given a rather short shrift. Poland is practically dismissed in a few pedestrian entries. Hence, along with many other European nations, Poland is one of the best kept secrets of history. To put it otherwise, standard textbooks on Western Civilization shortchange my students. I have taken steps to remedy the situation. After all, my class is usually their one and only scholarly encounter with the past. ("Western Civ. requirement sucks, but you gotta take it, man, to graduate. And it's transferable, too.") Therefore, usually, I set aside two class periods to talk about Central, South-East, and Eastern Europe. I prepare my lectures using Michal Bobrzynski, Barbara Jelavich, Oskar Halecki, George Vernadsky, Meir Balaban, Norman Davies, and others. I find it disruptive however to consult them when I work on my "Western European history" lectures. Lately, instead of leafing through Davies et al., I have been able to pepper my lectures with data handily drawn from Professor Iwo Pogonowski's Poland: An Illustrated History. His whistle-stop tour of Poland is an indispensable teaching tool. It is also a treasure for quick self-defense and a soothing potion for Polish pride. Is it inappropriate to juxtapose John Lackland's fleeting concessions to his lay and spiritual lords with Ladislas III's solemn promise to preserve "just and noble laws according to the council of bishops and barons?" Is it intolerant to state that, although the Inquisition was introduced into Poland in 1318, the institution remained mostly dormant for the duration of its existence, while anti-Catholic laws are still on the books in England (e.g., a British monarch may not marry a Catholic or become one)? Is it cultural chauvinism to recall that Pawel Wlodkowic expounded the basic principles of international law over two hundred years before Hugo Grotius? Is it politically incorrect to reveal that the Constitution Nihil Novi of 1505 extended the franchise to about 10 percent of the population, a feat unmatched elsewhere in Europe until Britain's reforms of the early 19th century? After all, old Poland was well ahead of its times in democracy, tolerance, and justice. Should we not stress those achievements which are relevant to our liberal democratic society? And so my lectures are peppered with the occasional "by the way, did you know that at the time in Poland. . ." I know that I sound very self-congratulatory about Poland's past. It is quite fashionable to confess the sins of our forefathers and apologize for them. But Pogonowski would have none of that. And why not look him up? And he is not the only one. For example, the Polonophile Professor Joseph Rothschild of Columbia University used to lecture on things Polish as if Poland were the center of Western Civilization. Horror of horrors, he was even rather fair to Poland's Nationalists, while positively gloating over the Pilsudskites. Pogonowski is rather even-handed on both. Nonetheless, I'm afraid Norman Davies would frown upon Pogonowski's insistence that the Slavs (presumably some of them proto-Poles) were already settled in the Central and Eastern European area in the 5th century BC. Like historian Adam Zamoyski, Professor Pogonowski is a true-blue equestrian Sarmatian. He is also an impatient erudite. Linguistic extrapolations, scientific discoveries, artistic styles, and scholarly personae abound on the pages of Poland: An Illustrated History. We learn that in the middle of the 20th century, "the Polish language had over 100,000 words; of these, about ten percent were in use by an average Pole. Of this ten percent, one-fourth was of Old Slavonic origin." Pogonowski makes tongue-twisters like Swarozyc ("sfah-ro-zhits") sound amiable, even if he keeps silent about the dark secrets of this sun deity. Panie Profesorze, is it true that maybe human sacrifice was involved? I have no idea but I'm curious. Nonetheless, I bet it is not common knowledge that "the earliest written polyphonic religious music by anonymous Polish composers can be traced back to the 12th century." Strangely, dudy, or bagpipes, merited transliteration, while gesle (a proto- violin) did not. Pronounce that! Pogonowski is at his best while covering the Noble Commonwealth of the 16th and 17th centuries. One can just imagine him haranguing his peers in the Sejm, enacting freedom- loving legislation, and disrupting the proceedings with a liberum veto. Noble democracy and equality seem to be his favorite topics. "Throughout the huge territory of Poland-Lithuania, every Polish or Polish-Lithuanian noble, no matter how small his holdings, was proclaimed equal to a provincial governor." Even the common people were alright, in particular when they fought for Poland: "the peasant elite infantry soon became renowned for its patriotism." Forever enamored of the "winged cavalry" (husaria), Pogonowski reminds us that "the 17th century Polish saber became the European and American standard and remained so until World War II." Pogonowski's chirping prose becomes somber when dealing with the downfall of the Commonwealth in the 18th century and its subsequent partitions. Only occasional rays of sunshine shoot through his narrative, while the author regales us with the tales of cultural and scientific achievements of captive Poles. But triumph is overshadowed by tragedy, bloody wars and uprisings. None was more tragic than World War II. For the Poles, it was a war against two enemies: Hitler and Stalin. "Hitler's Plan East to obliterate Poland and other Slavic countries included the planned genocide of 51,000,000 Slavs in order to open to German colonization the fertile lands between Riga and the Black Sea. The extermination of the Polish intellectual community started from the first days of war. Both the Germans and the Soviets had long lists prepared of those Polish citizens who were to be executed." The results were staggering. "6,028,000 or 22.2 percent of Polish citizens were killed by the Germans, including 644,00 in combat; an additional 1,000,000 perished as a result of the deportation of 1,900,000 to the Soviet Union." These statistics have been recently revised downward to about 3 million Jewish and over 2 million Christian victims (including approximately 500,000 Catholic Poles killed by Soviet communists and their supporters). In any event, Pogonowski correctly reminds us that Poland's refusal to join Hitler against Stalin in all likelihood saved the Soviet Union and the world from German supremacy. In his very brief treatment of the post-1989 period, the author takes an exceedingly critical view of the political and economic developments. Unlike most of the contemporary Polish (and Polonian) elite, Pogonowski is a Euro-skeptic. He worries about "the threat of German economic domination." He also states that "the cultural history of Poland constitutes an uninterrupted and original achievement which, unfortunately, has not been reflected in her political history. However, the spirit of the Polish nation lives on with the knowledge that the Poles have done great things together and have the will to do them again." Interrupting my paean, I would like to register a few objections. In his book, Pogonowski advances his pet theory about the quest for oil by the 20th century dictators, by Stalin in particular. In his opinion, Stalin was strongly supportive of the creation of the state of Israel, not because he favored the Jews but because he hoped that such a state would soon pit Israel (and hence the West) against the Arab Muslim world. Although plausible enough, such a theory is yet to be substantiated by a search in the post-Soviet archives. It is not a given that "oil" was behind the alleged secret police anti-Jewish provocation in Kielce in July 1946. The author also impishly indulges in sniping at contemporary cultural icons and institutions. Although I have read the Stalinist verse of Wislawa Szymborska, who later won the Nobel price for poetry, I did not know that the venerable Catholic weekly Tygodnik Powszechny was, so to speak, blessed by the NKVD to commence its operations in March 1945. A tidbit like this does not belong in a short entry of a reference book without footnotes. Is it perhaps because Poland: An Illustrated History reads like a telegraphic outline of a much more extensive work still brewing in its author's brain? There are a few other critical remarks that can be made about Pogonowski's book. One of them is the problem of proofreading. In that connection, perhaps Pogonowski should challenge his English editor to a duel. That would be so deliciously Sarmatian. Suing is so--Anglo-Saxon.
Transitions Online www.tol.cz 11 July 2an 2000 Coping With Stalinism by Wojciech Stanislawski 10 January 2000 Ilustrowana historia Polski stalinowskiej, 1944-1956 (Illustrated Guide to Stalinist Poland, 1944-1956) by Dariusz Baliszewski and Andrzej Krzysztof Kunerta Warsaw: Wydawnictwo Naukowe PWN, 1999. WARSAW—Ten years after regaining independence, Poles are still wrestling with their communist past, particularly in its most cruel manifestation: Stalinism. The public is debating what to do with objects and icons from that gloomy period, or more difficult still, how to document the barrage of memories. In November last year, the editors of the State Scholarly Press—one of the most eminent publishing houses in Poland—issued the first volume of the Illustrated Guide to Stalinist Poland. The book is written by two young historians, Dariusz Baliszewski and Andrzej Krzysztof Kunerta, and is a follow-up to their earlier Illustrated Real History of Poland The editors have proven they can feel the mood of the market: the book has already received an influential history prize in Poland from the Alliance of Historical Books' Editors; the first edition is almost out of print, and interest in future volumes is growing. The writers have announced that after the publication of all five volumes, selected parts will be available on CD Rom. The first volume focuses on everyday life in the years 1944-45 when local Soviet-backed communist forces—a small minority—took control of the country. Stylistically, the volume is somewhere between an anthology of original source texts and a reference book. It includes a chronology, hundreds of newspaper clippings, and numerous drawings, posters, and cartoons—mostly state propaganda imposing the new vision of the world. The majority of these images depict the half million Home Army soldiers loyal to the government in exile, as Nazi collaborators or as "reactionary forces." Recognized as part of the Allied forces, the Home Army existed in Nazi and Soviet-occupied Poland from 1940 until 1945. After 1945, the Soviet-installed government persecuted and executed its members and officers. The guide also has a rich bibliography, maps, and statistical data. The success of the guide has taken Warsaw booksellers by surprise, as interest in history books covering the last 50 years has recently been on the wane. But the history of Stalinism in Poland seems to be an exception to this apathy. Perhaps its legacy as the cruelest chapter of communist rule, which still causes much collective pain, explains why this period is still relatively intriguing for modern-day Polish readers. During this time tens of thousands of political prisoners were deported to Soviet labor camps; the state had control over almost all aspects of life; most forms of religious activity were banned; and the country lost any real independence in international politics. A variety of new historical works have been published— more than half of them concerning Stalinism—from monographic works on life in political prisons to materials from newly opened archives. Poland has also found its place—in a chapter written by Professor Andrzej Paczkowski—in the fairly well-known "Black Book of Communism," edited by Stephan Courtois and published last year. REFUSING TO LET GO In recent years various attempts have been made to punish those guilty of crimes in the past. A parliamentary bill passed in 1997 established a special body to prosecute perpetrators who would still be punished regardless of the length of time that has passed since they committed crimes. As a result of the bill a few trials have been held. In 1997 Adam Humer, an "investigative officer," and some of his former colleagues, received prison sentences for beating and torturing political prisoners in the 1950s. Some of those convicted were "conditionally released" because they were elderly or infirm. But memorializing is more widespread than retribution. The memory of victims of Stalinist terror has been kept alive by the appearance of a number of monuments. One, in the vicinity of St. Catherine's church in Warsaw, where victims of terror were secretly buried in the graveyard, a brick wall has been dotted with bullet traces to symbolize, and remember, the hundreds of executions. Scores of Polish non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are sprouting up with the sole purpose of uncovering and preserving the past. One such NGO, the Karta Center, has archived oral histories and memoirs recollecting everyday life in postwar Poland. The Karta Center also publishes the most widely circulated modern history journal Karta, a quarterly that publishes monographs, memoirs, maps, and letters from prisoners of Nazi and Soviet concentration camps. The process of remembering has also involved cataloguing and describing the ideological perspectives of the opponents of the Stalinist regime. That was done in a series of monographs written by Andrzej Friszke, Pawel Machcewicz, Robert Jarocki, and Jacek Zakowski. In them they describe the activities of the Christian Democratic opposition—a group of Catholic intelligentsia who edited the famous Tygodnik Powszechny weekly. Young anti-communist radicals from the Republican League—an NGO made up mainly of students and young professionals whose slogan is "not letting the past be forgotten"—are working to remind the public of the military opposition to the regime. They recently organized a photo exhibition that detailed the guerrilla campaign waged against communist police until the mid-fifties. For many Poles such exhibitions are the first chance to learn about a hushed-up slice of history. There are numerous other initiatives, from photo exhibitions to web sites offering glimpses of everyday life under communism. Stalinist iconography has been preserved through innumerable monuments of Stalin, statues of local communist heroes, or solemn socialist realism paintings. Of this kind, the best known collection in Poland is at the Zamoyskich museum in Kozlowka, in the south-east. THE TROUBLESOME PALACE The debate about keeping alive the memory of the past, while settling the score with Stalinism, has been peaking over the past few years as the fate of Warsaw's Palace of Science and Culture is under discussion. Located downtown, the palace is a unique monument to the Stalinist past. Erected and built as a gift from the Soviet Union in 1951 to the Polish nation, the building was first named after Josef Stalin. After his death in 1953 and the beginning of the "destalinization" era, its original moniker was abandoned. The building, with its monstrously aggrandized elements of classical architecture carved in gray concrete, has somehow grown its roots into the city's tissue. It has been one of the few artifacts from the Stalinist era in Warsaw that has found a place in modern urban folklore, with numerous tales about ghosts of Soviet workers or secret corridors between the palace and the seat of the central committee of the Polish United Workers' Party (PZPR). The building has been the focal-point for important events in Poland's recent history—from a million-strong rally in October 1956 in support of the reformist faction in the Party, to 1987 when Pope John Paul II celebrated Holy Mass, attended by hundreds of thousands of people, with the palace serving as a kind of altar structure. Soon after regaining independence, the debate began over the future of Stalin's gift. Some suggested the building should be pulled down. Although these voices were marginal, a precedent did exist: in 1925 the Orthodox church in Saski Square—erected on the order of the Tsar in 1863 with the aim of marking the spot as forever Russian—was demolished. Supporters of the palace claim that it is too important to destroy because of its function as a conference center and home to hundreds of government offices, scientific institutions, and businesses. Other suggestions have focused on transforming the palace: encircling the building with a crown of skyscrapers, for example, or covering the building entirely with green glass. President of the City Council of Warsaw Pawel Piskorski suggested mounting four clocks on the main tower, thus making the palace look a bit like London's Big Ben. The most recent concept—announced by the group of eminent popular figures including Czeslaw Bielecki, a well-known architect, Andrzej Wajda, a Solidarity intellectual and world-famous film director, and Jacek Fedorowicz, a writer and essayist—aims to preserve the building's usefulness for the city, while diminishing its dominance on the skyline. In addition, they want to house a museum of communism in one portion of the palace. The group hopes to rejuvenate Warsaw's downtown by building a skyscraper that will belittle the palace and reclaim the cityscape. "My generation will achieve some triumph at least. The building that has served as a symbol of communist rule would be degraded," said Fedorowicz. The concept has been supported by a number of experts including Chairman of the Polish Architects' Association Krzysztof Chwalibog. The idea has already found supporters among foreign personalities such as former U.S. National Security advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski, Czech President Vaclav Havel, and Oxford Professor Norman Davies. "We would be disgusted if the palace remains the main architectural symbol of Warsaw," they declared. The plans for the museum are still vague, Fedorowicz admits. "There is no sense in making it a temple of martyrdom or self-pity. Visitors should be made to understand the mechanisms of gaining power and the reasons for the economic inefficiency of the system, and learn as much as possible about the material culture of that age. It must be a place for silence. Communism was not a childrens' playground," he said in an October 1999 interview with Gazeta Wyborcza. In recent years, steps have been made to eradicate communism from living memory, for instance by changing street names, or by discouraging discussion of the past. Many former members of the PZPR, as well as intellectuals and members of the democratic opposition, have argued that reconciliation and democratic transformation can only be achieved with silence and collective amnesia. This position, even if politically expedient, is unacceptable in ethical terms. Pain and suffering under Stalinist rule has to be remembered, even if it is uncomfortable for politicians with communist roots. As the late Polish poet, Zbigniew Herbert, wrote in one of his most famous poems, Mr. Cogito's Testament: "Do not forgive, it is not in your power / to forgive in the name of those who were betrayed at dawn." The work of the authors of the Illustrated Guide to Stalinist Poland, the efforts of the Karta Center, and the idea of creating a Museum of Communism are parts of the same endeavor: to patiently reconstruct a past that will speak in the name of those betrayed at dawn. Wojciech Stanislawski is a historian pursuing his Ph.D. at the University of Warsaw's Center of East European Studies.
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