Books and Periodicals Received

Europe: A History, by Norman Davies. Oxford - New York. Oxford University Press. 1996. xvii + 1365 pages. Three appendices, index, 72 plates. Hardcover. $39.95.

A champagne party should be held in American Polish academic circles to celebrate this much-awaited book. Davies set out, and accomplished, a task no one has ever attempted on such a scale: the integration of European history, erasure of a division between 'eastern' and 'western' Europe, the division based not on cultural factors but on the greed of empires. The Financial Times wrote that Davies' perceptions are 'often surprising,' referring presumably to the fact that Davies does not follow the unwritten code of western historians whereby the views on European history expressed by Polish or Czech historians simply are not taken into account by 'serious' scholars. Davies quotes easterners and westerners without condescension, and he gives to a number of Polish historians a respectable place at the academic table. For this alone, the book deserves a special celebration.

To give justice to this book requires a full-size review, and it is forthcoming. A few more thoughts however are in order. First, it is a page turner. If you open the book, we guarantee you won't be able to put it down after reading the passage you wanted to read. Second, the book's composition is unusual and challenging. In addition to the main text, it contains dozens of 'capsules,' or short narratives about a particular person, situation, location etc. The 'capsules' are made to stand out by means of a frame. We published some of these 'capsules' in the SR among others 'Konarmya,' 'Donhoff,' and 'Buczacz.'

ARCANA: Dwumiesi´cznik, edited by Andrzej Nowak. No. 11 (September-October 1996).ISSN 1233-6882. Kraków. Wydawnictwo Arcana (ul. Dunajewskiego 6, IIp., 31-133 Kraków). 178 pages. In Polish. 1 yr. subscription $54.00 (surface mail) or $78.00 (air mail). Checks should be made out to ARCANA sp. z o.o.

The bimonthly ARCANA is a most valuable resource in trying to keep up with the contemporary Polish scene, not only because it prints sober analyses of the social and political situation, but also because it alone among Polish intellectual periodicals promotes (by frequent citations) the works of Polish democrats and statesmen of the fifteenth, sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.In this issue, the editorial quotes generously from Stanisaw ze Skarbimierza ("OpowinnoÊci poszanowania wspólnego dobra," ca. 1410), Andrzej Maksymilian Fredro (1620-79) and Stanisaw Orzechowski (1513-66). Most contemporary Poles do not know the treasures of their own cultural history, suppressed as they remain after Soviet occupation, earlier partitions, and contemporary advocates of 'progressivism.' Americans of Polish descent are even farther removed from that precious knowledge and proud tradition of the sage and upright Polish statesmen who put Law above the King, and who did not view society as a clay heap, to be reshaped according to a reformer's idea of a good society, but as a subject whose welfare is of paramount importance. The same editorial perceptively equates people like Antonio Gramsci with today's Jerzy Urban, pointing out that the struggle for the preservation of Polish democratic traditions is going on primarily in the media, and that persistent exhortations to 'measure up' to the imaginary 'progressive' standards drag the Poles away from their own achievements in democratic living and have a pernicious effect on society. 'The consequences of a great destruction can be overcome only step by step,' says the editorial. ARCANA is such a step, one of the first steps on that road.

Polish Americans and Their History: Community, Culture, and Politics. Edited by John J. Bukowczyk. Pittsburgh, PA. University of Pittsburgh Press (3347 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15261). 1996. xiii + 278 pages. Index. Hardcover. $49.95.

A major collection of articles examining various aspects of the Polish American experience. The lead essay by John J. Bukowczyk encapsulates Polish history in America, its glories and its failures. The author explores the ways of self-assertion and articulation of identity, and their structural and institutional forms.

His effectiveness is somewhat marred by the terms of discourse he adopts. Bukowczyk firmly hopes that if only Polish America produced enough scholars like him, it would somehow find its due place in the rankings that originate in academia. But there is much circumstantial evidence to indicate that something more than just a passivity of Polonian minds, a proclivity toward ycie towarzyskie among Polish emigres, and a lack of a tradition of monetary generosity among both groups are at stake in the virtual absence of the Polish point of view in the corridors of political and academic power. There is little doubt that in post-war American history, these corridors have been filled with individuals and groups hostile to Polish interests. Indeed, an avoidance of the consideration of Polish interests characterizes most of the studies presented in this book, as if this topic were unworthy of scholarly consideration. Furthermore, such organizations as the American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies, or the American Association of Teachers of Slavic and East European Languages, became over the years spokesmen for Soviet (now Russian) culture and point of view. Wacaw Lednicki was right when he said that the '[communist] fellow-travelers... imposed on Slavic studies a special [Russian] interest.' One of the results is a promotion of the view that with the end of the cold war Poland and Poles have become increasingly irrelevant to American interests. How sad to encounter this ahistorical view in this book without an attempt to refute it.

An example of Bukowczyk's acceptance of the Other's perspective on Polish affairs is the approvingtone in which he notes a gradual disappearance of the clergy and nuns from the governing bodies and publications of PAHA. The gross prejudice built into such statements escapes Bukowczyk's attention, yet it is parallel to the saying that such and such institution has too many (here comes the name of some hated minority). The problem is not that there were too many clergy and nuns among PAHA notables, but that many of them were intellectual lightweights. That such an excellent ethnic historian as Bukowczyk surrenders to such obvious prejudice indicates the great lengths to which the discourse hostile to Poland has permeated Polish scholarship in this country.

Some of Bukowczyk's references to America's Slavic historians show unfamiliarity with the state of affairs in the field of Slavic studies. Charles Jelavich is quoted in such a way that it appears that he was somewhat friendly to the interests of East Central Europe; yet one needs only to consult his books to find out a grossly distorted (in favor of Russia) view of Polish-Russian relations.

Bukowczyk is at his best when writing about the Detroit school of Polish American history characterized by an emphasis on blue collar Polish Americans who do not march to the tune of either their better educated ethnic brethren from Poland, or the WASPish American culture to which all minorities are still encouraged to aspire. An articulate defense of the Polish American worker started with Michael Novak's The Guns of Lattimer, a book which should have been more prominently featured in this volume.

Bukowczyk poses questions rather than answers them. The sheer bulk of material, the necessity to relate to trends in contemporary American history, and to invoke slogans of middlebrow journalism, make much of his introductory chapter into an outline that needs to be filled out in future times. Still, the attempt has been made, and much credit goes to both editor-coauthor and to other writers.

William Falkowski presents a credible and at times passionate account of Polish working class immigrants based on his dissertation. Thaddeus Radzilowski tackles the understudied subject of the Polish American women and their role in family and community life, as well as their contribution to the preservation of Polish identity. William Galush sketches out the relation between Poles and Catholicism, a topic that begs for new approaches. In his article on Polish Jews, Daniel Stone rightly points out an unfortunate conflict of interest between Polish Catholics and Polish Jews after the creation of free Poland. American Jews, and Polish Jews in America, did not support Polish independence, whereas for Polish Catholics the rebirth of their independent homeland was a source of great joy and pride. The issue of group interest in Polish-Jewish relations has received too little scholarly attention. In the chapter on Polish politics in America, Stanislaus Blejwas valiantly discusses a subject that is so replete with defeats that it requires heroic efforts to study it without surrendering to despair. The topic calls for oratory techniques, yet Blejwas' scholarly style wisely avoids it. But Blejwas rightly points out that the Soviet occupation of Poland between 1945-1990 was a setback of monumental proportions for Polish American politics. Anna Jaroszyska-Kirchmann surveys Polish refugees in America. Finally, Andrzej Broek offers a concise survey of works by historians in Poland about the Polish Diaspora.

Given the scarcity of systematic research on most of the topics mentioned, the book is about as fine a product as could be hoped for. Still, let us further indulge in wishful thinking.

In our view, to articulate Polish American identity and history in today's America requires the use of the same tools which other groups, oppressed by racist stereotypes, had used in the past. In his attempt to provide an all-encompassing outline, Bukowczyk is too willing to adopt the terms of discourse imposed on Polish Americans from the outside as it were. Yet anti-colonialist discourse has provided us with better tools for self-assertion. Edward Said has demonstrated that a minority encompassed in the discourse created without its participation is unlikely to join that discourse on equal terms; it is forever slated to be a marginal voice, a group to be defined, rather than the one that does the defining. Therefore, it is necessary to deflect the Polish American discourse from the conceptual framework borrowed from mainstream discourse, to one invented by Polish participants. This might lead to a repositioning of the central discourse. Such a shift cannot be achieved if one's aspirations are to 'join the multicultural rainbow.' The question is not who controls Polish studies in America; the question is, who controls the terms of discourse, and how to change them.

Books such as Bukowczyk's are crucial to the unfolding Polish discourse in this country. To continue that discourse, we will publish another review of this book in a future issue of SR.

Trzeba iÊç dalej, czyli spacer biedronki (one has to go on, or a ladybug takes a walk), by Jan Twardowski. Edited by Aleksandra Jakubowska. Warsaw. Wydawnictwo Archidiecezji Warszawskiej (02-405 Warszawa, ul. Rybnicka 27, Poland, tel. 23-88-78). 1996. 295 pages. Paper. ISBN 83-85706-22-4. $9.95. In Polish.

This beautifully edited and published volume contains selections from some dozen volumes of Jan Twardowski's poetry, as well as poems previously unpublished in books. Twardowski can be best described as Wisawa Szymborska plus spirituality. He writes about ordinary folks and tiny objects, and he is particularly fond of little living things such as ladybugs, wild violets, forget-me-nots, grasses and song birds. He suggests that this minuscule world which we all possess contains all the beauty we could ever hope to experience and absorb, and that it speaks to us loudly about God whenever we care to listen. God and his saints are another topic of Twardowski's poetry, and here the poet takes a childlike approach, which most people shun in public as too intimate. Twardowski is sometimes described as a children's poet, and indeed he preaches to school children in a church on Nowy Âwiat Street in Warsaw (he is a priest). However, virtually all poetry lovers speak fondly of Twardowski, and his standing-room-only masses attract many adults who would otherwise not dream of spending an hour in church. The third topic of Twardowski's poetry is love for God's creatures, for human beings and, yes, the love of men for women (in its sublimated form). This twentieth-century St. Francis-turned-poet is so highly original that one cannot but expect international recognition coming to him one of these days, in the form of a major literary prize.

Przestrze i sacrum: geografia kultury religijnej w Polsce i jej przemiany w okresie od XVII do XX w. na przykadzie oÊrodków kultu i migracji pielgrzymkowych (Space and the Sacred: the geography of religious culture in Poland and transformations of that culture between the seventeenth and twentieth centuries, as illustrated by the centers of worship and pilgrimage activity), by Antoni Jackowski et al. 2nd ed. Kraków. Institute of Geography - Jagiellonian University Press (ul. Grodzka 64, 31-044 Kraków). 1996. ISBN 83-904441-7-8. 328 pages. Numerous graphs and maps. Paper. $23.25. In Polish.

What Geoffrey Chaucer described so splendidly in Canterbury Tales has never died out in Poland. Pilgrimages, in their modernized form, have survived until this day, and the book offers statistics and descriptions of this ancient form of religious worship and the rituals associated with it. The book delivers more than it promises, in that it contains a history of pilgrimages in Poland since the tenth century. Joint Orthodox-Catholic pilgrimages on Polish soil are also considered. Particularly interesting is the correlation between pilgrimages and Polish politics. Apparently religiosity increased in the second part of the eighteenth century, but few pilgrimages were undertaken during the world wars. This is a scholarly account of a religious 'genre' that is often passed over in silence by the sophisticates, so that the only information available about it usually comes from syrupy penny tracts oriented toward the semiliterate. Social scientists and historians of mass movements will find much interesting material in this volume written jointly by the faculty of several institutions of higher learning in Kraków.

Your Life Is Worth Mine: How Polish Nuns Saved Hundreds of Jewish Children in German-occupied Poland, 1939-1945, by Ewa Kurek. Introduction by Jan Karski. Illustrations, maps, bibliography, index. New York. Hippocrene Books, Inc. 1996. 255 pages. Hardcover. $24.95.

When Oliver Cromwell commissioned his portrait, he enjoined the painter to show his true self 'warts and all.' Side by side with heroism of the nuns and tragedy of the Jews, the book does that precisely, showing warts in all corners. The time of action is World War II. A Jewish girl, taken in by nuns in Rabka, notes, with justification, that 'The methods used in bringing up children in the convent were medieval.' The primitiveness of some of the nuns indeed seems horrifying to modern sensibilities. One day, a female Catholic paraplegic innkeeper in Kraków saw a Jewish woman tying a rock about the neck of her infant nephew, preparing to throw him into the river. The innkeeper took the child and spread the rumor that she had had an affair with a German soldier, resulting in the birth of the child. After the war, a rabbi, Izajasz Druker, in the 'army rabbinate in 1945' which moved in with the Soviets, and working hard to see to it that Jews saved by Poles were brought to Israel, was able to offer the Polish paraplegic amnesty from a made-up accusation that she had collaborated with the Germans, at the price of giving up her adopted son to the woman who had been ready to drown him. Rabbi Druker also records stories about Jewish women who had married Poles and had had children during the war. He says, 'There were several incidents where, without the knowledge of their husbands, I took the women and their children. This involved the issue of abduction and tricking the husbands, who later went mad, running about and searching for their wives and children...' What is unusual about this book is that it shows what happened to Jews saved by Poles during World War II. (jrt)

Nations and Nationalism Since 1789, by Eric J. Hobsbawn [1990]. Cambridge, England. Cambridge University Press. 1995. 206 pages. Paper.

Hobsbawn is the author of several books on nationalism written from a Marxist perspective. He is an acerbic critic of the notion of national identity, and he expresses hope that nationalism will fade away some day. Yet shortly before this book had been written, new nation states appeared in Europe, and Hobsbawn's critique of nationalism is rooted too deeply in the western European colonialist tradition to have universal validity. Hobsbawn is unsurpassed in pointing out how imperialism and national identity merged in western Europe, but his reluctance to acknowledge that central Europe also had a history, and that this history was distinct from the imperial history of Germany or Russia, undermines the validity of his speculations. Wisely, he admits that the fall of the Soviet Union has signaled a 'probably permanent historical change....whose implications are, at the time of this writing, entirely obscure.' (163) He knows that the 1989 changes were undertaken by the Soviet leadership with full knowledge of what they were doing, i.e., Gorbachev knew that the withdrawal of military support from the satellite regimes would cause the empire's dissolution. (167) But he does not understand that the concept of nationalism itself belongs to the post-colonial vocabulary with which the western academic hegemons have tries to subdue, diminish and reign in those parts of the world whose traditions and cultures they did not wish to acknowledge as legitimate. Hobsbawn attacks Hélène Carrère-d'Encausse for predicting nationalist uprisings which did not take place, but his own categories are twice removed from the realities of the postcommunist world.

Legenda Baczyskiego(the Baczyski legend), by Zbigniew Wasilewski. Warsaw. Agencja "Sukurs" (00-950 Warsaw, P.O. Box 90). 1996. ISBN 83-904529-0-1. 134 + XXXVII pages. Paper. $14.50. In Polish.

A book of poems and memoirs edited by Baczyski's former classmate. It contains numerous photographs of Baczyski's family, his drawings (Baczyski was an aspiring painter) and facsimiles of his poems. It also contains a chronicle of Baczyski's short life and several dozen poems written about him. The book is further testimony to the artistic and intellectual power emanating from this poet's remarkably mature verse.

Memoirs of a Prisoner of War in Kozielsk, by Rev. Zdzisaw J. Peszkowski. 2nd enlarged ed. Translated by Anna Mariaska. Warsaw. The Polish Katy Foundation and Hector Publishing House (Robotnicza 12, 56-411 Dugo´ka near Wrocaw, Poland). 1993. 167 pages. Paper. 43 photographs (color). No price given.

Poland's Eastern Calvary Remembered, by Rev. Zdzisaw J. Peszkowski. Maps and photographs. Trans. by Stanley L. Cuba. Edited by Emil Orzechowski and Anna Rastawicka. Warsaw. Soli Deo Publishing House. 1996. 72 pages. Paper. ISBN 83-905518-7-X. No price given.

Monsignor Peszkowski was an officer cadet interned with 14,471 other Polish officers in three Soviet camps. He became a priest after World War II, probably because of the indescribable burden of evil he has witnessed. He is one of the few survivors of the Kozielsk camp where Polish officers were interned before they were murdered. The Soviet attack on Poland on 17 September 1939 was not preceded by a declaration of war, and the status of Polish prisoners was similar to the status of the Japanese interned by the U.S. authorities during World War II. They expected anything but being surreptitiously murdered.

The murders were carried out by the NKVD which was then headed by General Leonid F. Raikhman. Raikhman was later arrested and accused of being part of the 'doctors' plot,' but he was released in March 1953. Married to the Bolshoi ballerina Lepishinskaya, he is one of many Soviet henchmen who have never been charged for the Katy crimes. His name faded away from the history books.

We warmly recommend both volumes. The first book includes memoirs of 1940 and accounts of the author's travels to Katy and Kozielsk in the 1990s. Peszkowski's message is that 'Katy should be a place of prayer, truth and reconciliation.' A truly Christian message, but it does not invalidate a historian's search for truth about Katy. Hundreds of Katy books have appeared, but the nuts and bolts of the whole operation have never been revealed. Giving the Poles copies of Stalin's or Beria's orders is not enough, just as Hitler's written orders are not enough to get to the nuts and bolts of 'the final solution' and to charge, sometimes posthumously, those who planned and participated in this enterprise. We know now that contrary to common belief, most of the prisoners were not executed at night in the Katy forest, but rather in the underground chambers of the Kharkiv and Tver NKVD offices. They were brought there, one by one, and shot with a bullet to the back of the head. Each night, 250 prisoners were so executed.

Shall we ever see a Polish historian write a biography of Raikhman and his underlings, detailing their activities and exchanges in 1940? We are tired of the Katy books dealing with crumbs of knowledge, such as the events of the 1990s and the handing over of 'documents' which do not reveal the process of reaching the decision about the murders. The Poles have never managed to 'get through' to the world the truth about Katy, and the task of doing so still weighs heavily on the shoulders of the present generation. In his own forgiving and saintly way, Rev. Peszkowski articulates that burden and tries to fulfill that obligation.

The second book contains historical and philosophical reflections on the crimes symbolized by Katy. The motif of forgiveness predominates.

Umary cmentarz: wst´p do studiów nad wyjaÊnieniem przyczyn i przebiegu morderstwa na °ydach w Kielcach dnia 4 lipca 1946 roku (The Dead Cemetery: an introduction to the study of the background and factual sequence of the murder of Jews in Kielce on 4 July 1946), by Krzysztof Kàkolewski. Field studies conducted with the help of Joanna Kàkolewska. Warsaw. von borowiecky [sic] Publishers (Pocka 8/132, 01-231 Warszawa). 1996. Distributed by Hurtownia Codex S.C., 01-401 Warszawa, Górczewska 97, tel. 632-02-61 x 383,311. ISBN 83-904286-1-X. 215 pages. Bibliography. Paper. £. 9.95. In Polish.

Kàkolewski is a journalist associated with Tygodnik SolidarnoÊç who has undertaken archival and field research concerning the infamous Kielce 'pogrom' in 1946. His research brings him to the conclusion that the event was a masterpiece of NKVD planning and execution, orchestrated with the goal of international publicity discrediting the Poles. It reminds one of the murder of six Red Cross workers in Chechenya in December 1996. Of course Chechens as a nation have been blamed. Fortunately, in this last case, which happened when the Soviet security services lost much of their hold on public opinion worldwide, the condemnation of the Chechens has been muted and not quite as unanimous as was the case with Poles in the matter of the Kielce 'pogrom.'

A must read for those who fulminate about that event without being able to quote a single source of information that would not be directly related to the authorities in Soviet-occupied Poland.

In postcommunist Poland, events such as those probed by Kàkolewski have finally acquired a chance ofbeing impartially investigated. Whether such investigations will reach world public opinion is another question. Kàkolewski's book is not quite an academic study, and only such studies have a chance of being received favorably by American public opinion. It is to be hoped that this Introduction will catch the eye of an academic researcher in the United States, and that it will eventually lead to a definitive study of the Kielce events.

Other Books Received:

Conrad and Poland. Edited with an introduction by Alex S. Kurczaba. East European Monographs, Boulder, and Maria Curie-Skodowska University, Lublin. 1996. Distributed by Columbia University Press. v + 258 pages. $35.00.
Contemporary perspectives on Conrad's Polish connection (some of them brilliant). A review to follow.

Environmental Politics in Poland: A Social Movement Between Regime and Opposition, by Barbara Hicks. New York. Columbia University Press. 1996. xvii + 263 pages. Index. Paper. $15.50.
A scholarly study of the subject. The author seems to be sympathetic to the views on the environment represented by the various 'Green' parties in Europe. A review to follow.

F.M. Dostoevskii: Poetika, Mirooshchushchenie, Bogoiskatelstvo, by Louis Allain. Sankt-Petersburg. Izdatelstvo <<Logos>>. 1996. 173 pages. Paper.
A profound book by a noted French specialist on Dostoevsky. It takes to task Mikhail Bakhtin's much-admired thesis about Dostoevsky's polyphonies. A review to follow.

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