From the Editor
We are pleased to publish in this issue excerpts from the Memoirs of Dimitri Shalikashvili, a Georgian who left his country when the Soviets conquered it in 1921. Shalikashvili fled to Poland where he attended military schools, later serving in the military in accordance with his family's tradition. His Memoirs offer a refreshingly new view of Polish social life and of Poland's treatment of refugees and emigres from the East who in the 1920s flooded the country. The excerpt from the Memoirs is published virtually unedited except for corrections of typographical and grammatical mistakes. One mistake in dating was pointed out to us by General John Shalikashvili. The Sarmatian Review thanks the Hoover Institution Archives for permission to duplicate portions of the Memoirs, and it gratefully acknowledges General John M. Shalikashvili's permission to publish them.
Snippets from the forthcoming Europe: A History by Professor Norman Davies have appeared in leading Polish- and English-language publications including Gazeta Wyborcza and Sarmatian Review. The fragment on "Chernobyl" distills brilliantly the complicated history of this unfortunate location in Ukraine, while the excerpt on East Prussia illustrates the policy of the Soviets in regard to Eastern and Central Europe, as well as arguing for the futility of revenge.
Professor Stanislaus Blejwas' rejoinder to Professor John Kulczycki's comments on Polish Studies highlights a little-discussed issue: to what extent is the gentry-bred arrogance of the Polish intelligentsia (first generation immigrants in America as well as the intelligentsia in Poland) responsible for the weakness of the Polish agenda in the United States? And don't some members of the intelligentsia owe an apology to their "peasant-American" cousins? Often the agendas of Polish Americans and that of the emigres from Poland are poles apart. While Polish emigres are interested in affecting American policy toward Poland, helping Poland in other ways, and forging their careers here with a view to securing recognition for themselves in Poland, Americans of Polish descent struggle with the fundamental issue of acceptance, a rationale behind their Polishness, group discrimination and organizational and financial issues. While Polish Americans have shown sympathetic attention to the problems of Poland, Polish emigres have given virtually no attention, time, or money to Polish American causes. They all too often patronize Polish Americans and ridicule their Polish dialect. Polish Americans are incomparably more generous with the emigres whose English is often atrocious and whose affinity for "high culture" is often laughable.
Also, Polish intelligentsia do not realize that forty years of communist control of Poland did not contribute to closer ties between Polish Americans and Polish culture.
At the same time, a number of emigres seem to make their living off the Polish American community, as editors of their Polish-language organizational newspapers, and as leaders deciding how to spend scarce community resources. There would be no harm in that if these emigres had first made a name for themselves in American society, in precisely the area in which they claim expertise in Polish American organizations and groups. But such is seldom the case. In the past, people who had held nomenklatura-type jobs in Soviet-occupied Poland would arrive in, say, Chicago or New York and acquire jobs allowing them to control public discourse within the Polish American community. They too contribute to a sense of alienation between Polish Americans and their cousins in Poland.
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