Winner, 1997 National Book Award for Poetry
Winner, 1993 PEN Book-of-the-Month Club Translation Prize
Published in 1776 and considered the first Polish novel ever written, The Adventures of Mr. Nicholas Wisdom is a picaresque tale following the naïve title character's coming of age. Having conquered (and fled) sophisticated Warsaw, Nicholas enjoys many adventures across Europe, South America, and the high seas. He finally lands among the natives of an unknown isle who reject his allegedly superior European ways and instead tutor him for an "enlightened" existence. Resonant with Enlightenment ideas, The Adventures of Mr. Nicholas Wisdom provides a sly portrait of the era's Polish society and a fascinating perspective on the broader problems of eighteenth-century European culture.
Active aging programs that encourage older adults to practice health- promoting behaviors are proliferating worldwide. In Poland, the meanings and ideals of these programs have become caught up in the sociocultural and political-economic changes that have occurred during the lifetimes of the oldest generations—most visibly, the transition from socialism to capitalism. Yet practices of active aging resonate with older forms of activity in late life in ways that exceed these narratives of progress. Moreover, some older Poles come to live valued, meaningful lives in old age despite the threats to respect and dignity posed by illness and debility. Through intimate portrayals of a wide range of experiences of aging in Poland, Jessica C. Robbins shows that everyday practices of remembering and relatedness shape how older Poles come to be seen by themselves and by others as living worthy, valued lives.
... And Heaven Shed No Tears
Henry Armin Herzog University of Wisconsin Press, 2005 Library of Congress DS135.P63H494 2005 | Dewey Decimal 940.5318092
Henry Herzog survived the liquidation of the Rzeszow ghetto in Poland and endured terrible hardships in forced labor camps. He documents the increasing severity of Nazi rule in Rzeszow and the complicity of the Jewish council (the Judenrat) and Jewish police in the round-ups for deportation to the Belzec concentration camp. One of these deportations took his parents to their deaths. His brothers were caught, tortured, and killed by the Gestapo. Herzog and his sister escaped to Hungary where—although she found refuge—he was betrayed, arrested, and finally put on a train to the concentration camps. Escaping by jumping off the train and fleeing into the Tatra Mountains, he joined a group of Russian partisans to fight the Nazis.
And Yet I Still Have Dreams is a departure from many Holocaust memoirs and biographies. Based on interviews with "Alex," an anonymous survivor of the Warsaw Ghetto and three concentration camps, the story follows him from his assimilated childhood to his coming to terms with his memories of the Holocaust as an older man. Alex is angry, pugnacious, and contemptuous of the stereotypes found in some survivor literature and honest about the shortcomings of other works.
The book provides a connection to seldom discussed aspects of the Holocaust: the gulf between rich and poor Jews and how this translated into everyday survival; the refusal by Alex to see himself or Jews in general as heroes or victims; his own self-absorption as a teen in the ghetto; and his "priviliged" family's near-indifference to the suffering of those around them. Alex paints a picture of complex and diverse Jewish society in prewar Poland, revealing how, many years later and despite his determine to leave it in the past, the burdens of memory--and the dreams--linger.
Much has been written about a state's use of the threat of military force or economic sanctions to change the behavior of another state. Less is known about the use of positive measures such as economic assistance and investment as a means of influence. This study looks at the ways in which government officials use economic instruments for foreign policy gains. More specifically, it examines the means by which a government can enhance its efforts at economic persuasion by inducing domestic business trade and investing in the target nation. The author demonstrates the domestic conditions under which the state can use commercial economic incentives to achieve foreign policy goals, especially where these incentives are meant to induce cooperative behavior from another state. Using the process of German-Polish reconciliation in the 1970s and 1980s as a case study, The Art of Economic Persuasion, argues that complex institutional links between the German government and the German business community enabled the government to encourage commercial relations with Poland, which supported the government's policies.
With singular access to archives of business associations in Germany as well as numerous interviews with German and Polish officials, the author carefully retraces German foreign policy towards Poland in the 1970s and 1980s.
The Art of Economic Persuasion is a theoretical addition to the literature on international political economy and international relations. It will be of interest to specialists in international relations, foreign policy, and international political economy, as well as economists, political scientists, and historians of Germany, Poland, the United States, and Cold War relations.
Patricia Davis is Assistant Professor of Government and International Studies, University of Notre Dame.
The first account of the August Trials, in which postwar Poland confronted the betrayal of Jewish citizens under Nazi rule but ended up fashioning an alibi for the past.
When six years of ferocious resistance to Nazi occupation came to an end in 1945, a devastated Poland could agree with its new Soviet rulers on little else beyond the need to punish German war criminals and their collaborators. Determined to root out the “many Cains among us,” as a Poznań newspaper editorial put it, Poland’s judicial reckoning spawned 32,000 trials and spanned more than a decade before being largely forgotten.
Andrew Kornbluth reconstructs the story of the August Trials, long dismissed as a Stalinist travesty, and discovers that they were in fact a scrupulous search for the truth. But as the process of retribution began to unearth evidence of enthusiastic local participation in the Holocaust, the hated government, traumatized populace, and fiercely independent judiciary all struggled to salvage a purely heroic vision of the past that could unify a nation recovering from massive upheaval. The trials became the crucible in which the Communist state and an unyielding society forged a foundational myth of modern Poland but left a lasting open wound in Polish-Jewish relations.
The August Trials draws striking parallels with incomplete postwar reckonings on both sides of the Iron Curtain, suggesting the extent to which ethnic cleansing and its abortive judicial accounting are part of a common European heritage. From Paris and The Hague to Warsaw and Kyiv, the law was made to serve many different purposes, even as it failed to secure the goal with which it is most closely associated: justice.
Few places in the world carry as heavy a burden of history as Auschwitz. Recognized and remembered as the most prominent site of Nazi crimes, Auschwitz has had tremendous symbolic weight in the postwar world.
Auschwitz, Poland, and the Politics of Commemoration is a history of the Auschwitz memorial site in the years of the Polish People’s Republic. Since 1945, Auschwitz has functioned as a memorial and museum. Its monuments, exhibitions, and public spaces have attracted politicians, pilgrims, and countless participants in public demonstrations and commemorative events.
Jonathan Huener’s study begins with the liberation of the camp and traces the history of the State Museum at Auschwitz from its origins immediately after the war until the 1980s, analyzing the landscape, exhibitions, and public events at the site.
Based on extensive research and illustrated with archival photographs, Auschwitz, Poland, and the Politics of Commemoration accounts for the development and durability of a Polish commemorative idiom at Auschwitz. Emphasis on Polish national “martyrdom” at Auschwitz, neglect of the Shoah as the most prominent element of the camp’s history, political instrumentalization of the grounds and exhibitions—these were some of the more controversial aspects of the camp’s postwar landscape.
Professor Huener locates these and other public manifestations of memory at Auschwitz in the broad scope of Polish history, in the specific context of postwar Polish politics and culture, and against the background of Polish-Jewish relations. Auschwitz, Poland, and the Politics of Commemoration will be of interest to scholars, students, and general readers of the history of modern Poland and the Holocaust.