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From the Editor

January 2003

Volume XXIII, No. 1

It is a pleasure to announce in this issue that Anthony Bukoski, the author of Polonaise (reviewed in SR, XXII:3), is the recipient of the 2002 Sarmatian Review Literary Award. The description of the Award and Anthony Bukoski's response can be found on p. 919.

Teresa Halikowska-Smith's article on recent Polish and German writers and areas in Europe that experienced forced population shifts indicates that Poles have risen to the task of acknowledging the suffering of Others--in this case, of Germans expelled from western Polish territories by the Great Powers and obliged to leave their ancestral homes, just as Poles from the present-day Lithuania, Belarus, and Ukraine were expelled by the Soviets after the Second World War and obliged to leave their ancestral homes. The difference was of course that the Germans went to West Germany which soon became independent, whereas the Poles were expelled to Soviet-occupied Poland and had to suffer there for forty-five long years. Halikowska-Smith's article outlines with admirable precision the search for "traces" of other cultures in Gdansk and the efforts of Polish writers to discover these traces.

Coincidentally, this editor has been reading Polish historian Bohdan Cywinski's reports from Russia in Rzeczpospolita (November 30-December 1, 2002). Cywinski writes of a high school textbook of Russian history he picked up in a Moscow bookstore in November 2002. In the textbook, the partitions of Poland coengineered by Catherine the Great are described as "enlargement of the western frontier." The name of Poland is not mentioned, and no ethical reflection accompanies this particularly heinous and unprovoked aggression of one state against another, of the kind NATO was supposed to protect Western Europe against. Remarks Cywinski: "A nation that offers such unreflective history textbooks to its youth and praises conflicts between states in such a way has to be treated as an enemy of Poland and of myself personally. . . [Russia keeps cultivating] hostility toward peoples who dare to fight for identity and sovereignty. She says: we shall tolerate you within our borders, but if you dare to rebel, we shall strangulate you and shall cut your throats." Halikowska-Smith's article is one of the many proofs that Poles have moved on in that regard.

Professor Chodakiewicz's review of a book on Francisco Franco's policies toward East Central Europe reminds us that the picture of Europe as drafted by American political scientists is very constricted. Alongside the big armies and navies of Germany, Russia, Great Britain, and France there have been policies and developments whose role in birthing historical events remains unassessed to this day.

Dr. Steven Clancy's review of a translation of Kochanowski's Treny is a model of sensitivity and precision with regard to the original text and the translation.

We mention an abundance of books in BOOKS. Some of them deserve a longer review, e.g., Professor Piotr Eberhardt's book on Russian demography reviewed on p. 929. We would like to ask members of the humanities and social science departments at English language universities to drop us an email indicating their willingness to review books for us. We also welcome reviewers from non-Anglophone universities if they can deliver in English.

Zofia Ptasnik's Diary has become a staple in SR. This historical document does not yield itself easily to cuts (although we have done some, as indicated in the text), and it now appears that we shall complete printing the Diary in September 2003, in a total of six installments. The published sections of the Diary have become a part of the website titled "The Forgotten Odyssey" ( documenting the destruction of Polish life by the Soviets when they invaded Poland on 17 September 1939 and deported or killed over a million Polish citizens in their efforts to affect an ethnic and ideological cleansing of their newly acquired war bounty.

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