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Announcements and Notes

September 2005

Volume XXV, No. 3

Profile: a Polish-language cultural magazine

Michigan Polonia has started an interesting bimonthly titled Profile: Pismo społeczno-kulturalne, edited by Alicja Karlic and Janusz Kobielski and published by Altad., Inc. Communications Consultants. In the 2004 issues we have received, we particularly liked Karol Wojtyła’s poetry and Dr. Janusz Wrobel’s Meditations. Subscription is $47 per year. Email:, address: 2706 Winter Park, Rochester Hills, MI 48309.

To our Web readers

We are grateful to the Sarmatian Review subscribers and donors who make the publication of the journal possible. We also have a large number of readers who are not subscribers to the print issue but read the journal on the Web. While the Web edition does not contain all the items that appear in the print edition (it also appears many weeks and sometimes months after the print edition), it does carry major articles and reviews. The Sarmatian Review Archives contain hundreds of reviews and articles that continue to be quoted, mentioned, and read.

Some of our Web readers have been reading Sarmatian Review for years free of charge. Yet the Web edition is not free. We are therefore asking our Web readers to consider making a contribution to the journal from time to time. Our only way to make an appeal for donations is through the printed page and, by way of exception, through placing an appeal in the Announcements. If at all possible, please include Sarmatian Review among the institutions you support. As the ad in our printed edition used to say, give where it really counts. Thank you.

John Kulczycki’s valuable article

“Eastern Europe in Western Civilization Textbooks: The Example of Poland” appeared in The History Teacher, vol. 38, no. 2 (February 2005). The article examines six popular Western Civilization textbooks sold in tens of thousands of copies in the United States and used in colleges and universities. Professor Kulczycki has kindly provided us with the summary of that article. His work shows the results of colonialism in Central Europe ruled by empires throughout the nineteenth and most of the twentieth century. Kulczycki shows the results of the fact that thousands of books that should have been written have not been written. The present generation has to make up for lost time and produce books at great speed that would gradually correct erroneous versions of history. Here is Professor Kulczycki’s summary:

1. None of the textbooks mention the creation of the Commission for National Education in Poland in 1773, though it was Europe’s first national school authority.

2. None of the textbooks discuss Napoleon’s Duchy of Warsaw.

3. Only one textbook gives an account of the reforms that culminated in the May 3 Constitution and mentions the uprising in 1794 led by Thaddeus Kosciuszko (Tadeusz Kościuszko).

4. Only one textbook discusses the dispute over Poland at the Congress of Vienna at some length, although the dispute over Poland brought the great powers to the brink of war.

5. The Polish uprising of November 1830 is either totally dismissed or presented in accounts ranging in length from two sentences in one textbook to two paragraphs in another. The one with the more extensive coverage discusses the revolt in Poland in connection with Russian history and before a discussion of the 1830 revolts in France and Belgium, which triggered the revolt in Poland. Even prior to the Iron Curtain, Poland is considered in connection with Russia rather than Western Europe.

6. Only two textbooks allude indirectly to the Great Emigration following the revolt of 1830, and to Adam Mickiewicz’s role among the émigrés. Only one other textbook mentions Mickiewicz.

7. Only one textbook mentions the Polish insurrection of 1846. Accounts of the revolutionary events of 1848 give no details of Polish activities. Only half of the textbooks mention the Polish uprising of 1863 and this only within the context of Russian history.

8. Polish developments in the following decades leading to the recreation of a Polish state receive virtually no attention, There is nothing about the evolution of Polish national thought as typified by the clashing views of Roman Dmowski and Joseph Piłsudski. None of the books mention Dmowski. The only mention of Polish political parties comes when Rosa Luxemburg is identified as “a founder of the Polish socialist party.” The only person of Polish origin from this period that almost all books identify is the “French scientist” Marie Curie.

9. Only two textbooks refer to the Polish-Soviet War of 1919-1921. One gives credit for the victory to French military advisors, another to assistance from Allied Powers.

10. A reader of these texts gets the impression that the Versailles Treaty unfairly favored Polish over German claims because East Prussia was “cut off” from the rest of Germany by the Polish “corridor,” terminology used by all of the textbooks. Only one notes that this was territory Prussia gained in the partitioning of Poland. None refer to the ethnicity of the population that inhabited the territory, although it was predominately Polish in character. By referring to a Polish “corridor” without noting that the majority of the population of the “corridor” was ethnically Polish, the texts appear to strengthen the German side in the Polish-German dispute over the Treaty of Versailles.

11. The textbooks take a negative view of interwar Poland. Two textbooks claim to see similarities between Poland and fascist Italy, and two others list Poland among countries where fascism appealed or had authoritarian governments resembling fascism.

12. Regarding the start of World War II, only one textbook says anything specific about the Soviet occupation. Just two textbooks mention Katyń, one saying the killing occurred in 1941.

13. One textbook states that Stalin moved rapidly to recover “czarist Russian lands” lost in World War I. There is no mention that these “czarist Russian lands” were not inhabited by Russians or that the territory Stalin occupied had been part of the Polish state prior to its partitioning in the eighteenth century.

14. The resistance movements in France, Greece, and Yugoslavia but not in Poland are mentioned in two textbooks. The Warsaw Uprising of 1944 receives a sentence or two in four out of six textbooks.

15. All of the textbooks have a separate section on the Holocaust and include non-Jewish Poles or Slavs among its victims. One textbook reports that the museum at Auschwitz creates a Polish memory of the Holocaust by emphasizing the millions of Poles who died. According to one textbook, Poles served as concentration camp guards along with Germans and Ukrainians. The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising of 1943 is noted by four of the textbooks, one citing the wrong year. Italy, Denmark, France, Raoul Wallenberg, and even Oscar Schindler are mentioned as having concealed or protected Jews, but not Poland nor żegota, the Polish Council for Aid to Jews.

16. One textbook differs significantly from the others in its treatment of the Holocaust. A section entitled “Polish Anti-Semitism Between the Wars” comes immediately before the section on “The Nazi Assault on the Jews of Poland.” Meanwhile, a discussion of Nazi policies toward the Jews in Germany prior to 1939 is placed more than forty pages earlier. The impression conveyed is that the Holocaust followed more logically from Polish anti-Semitism than from that of Hitler and the Nazis. The account of Polish anti-Semitism and of the case of Jedwabne are cited as evidence of support for the atrocities against the Jews in Nazi-occupied Poland.

17. The textbooks say little about Poland and the World War II conferences of Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin. Two of the textbooks note that the territory the Soviet Union gained from Poland once belonged to Russia or was vital for its security, an implicit justification of Soviet imperialism.

18. According to one textbook, “In Poland the Communists fixed the election results of 1945 and 1946,” when there were no elections. In another textbook we learn that the Communist-led provisional government in 1947 received 80.1 percent of the vote.

19. Although all the textbooks mention the events of 1956 in Poland, only one textbook gives a more detailed account. There is also no reference to the student and intellectual revolt in Poland in 1968.

20. The workers’ protests of 1970 and 1976 are mentioned in a sentence in three of the textbooks. Other forms of resistance are mentioned in only two textbooks. One states that in 1980 intellectuals formed the Workers’ Defense Committee (KOR), which was actually formed in 1976. The remarkable development of a civil society in Poland receives no attention.

21. The birth of Solidarity gets coverage in four out of six textbooks. Only half the textbooks mention the Pope in connection with Solidarity, and one mentions the support of the Catholic Church for Solidarity.

22. All of the textbooks mention Poland first among the countries where revolutions occurred in 1989, though two textbooks give no details, whereas three textbooks misleadingly speak of free elections to parliament, and one is wrong about the election to the Sejm.

23. Despite the huge number of books in English published on Solidarity, none of the textbooks includes a book specifically on Poland in the 1980s in its lists of suggested readings at the end of the chapter. Only one textbook gives attention to the wider role of Pope John Paul II in the world.

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