Contents and summaries 4/2017

Spis treści numeru 4/2017

Bogusław Wróblewski: The Place of the Renewalof Hope / 7

Alina Kochańczyk: Encounters with Piłsudski / 9

The essay presents the image of Piłsudski which emerges from the letters and writings of Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz, Maria Dąbrowska and Zofia Nałkowska. Witkacy, who joined the tsarist army during the First World War, felt resentment towards the creator of the Legions, motivated not only by political considerations, but also by personal animosities. As a distant relative of the marshal, he thought of him as parvenu. Witkacy was also unable to bear the disregard he had experienced from Piłsudski when he sought to paint his portrait. Maria Dąbrowska, for a long time working for the commandant, reconsidered her attitude towards him when she realized what the real face of the government of sanation looked like. Zofia Nałkowska, although fascinated with the masculine charm of the marshal, from the very beginning remained distanced from the legionary patriotism and the cult of war. She also recognized the mediocrity of the people surrounding the marshal and her opinions of the subsequent political decisions he made after the May Coup d’État were negative. The essay opens with the personal reminiscence of the author, who talks about her first encounter with the legend of Piłsudski in the days of the People’s Republic of Poland (PRL) and about the history of his statue erected in 1936 near Tomaszów Lubelski.

Andrzej Nowak: “Neither Kostiuszko, nor Korsikan” – Józef Piłsudski in Polish Politics / 27

Professor Andrzej Nowak from the Institute of History of the Polish Academy of Sciences reconstructs the ideological assumptions of the policy pursued by Józef Piłsudski and his idea of ​​the place and role of Poland among other European nations. He argues that the starting point for Piłsudski’s political vision was the memory of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and its place in the Commonwealth as a transnational community, which creation he considered initially as his mission. At the same time, the author tracks the evolution of the marshal’s views. Piłsudski was gradually gaining a clearer understanding of the importance of contemporary nationalisms, and tried to incorporate them in the new plan of geopolitical protection of the rebuilt Polish state. This was associated with the recognition of separate national and state aspirations in the former borderlands of the Commonwealth. Piłsudski understood his role in the nation and his place in history in a romantic vein. Inspired by Juliusz Słowacki, one of the three Polish poets-bards whom Piłsudski highly appreciated, the marshal was convinced that the progress in history was achieved through the heroic efforts of the individual. Laziness, love for comfort, reluctance to sacrifice – these were the vices he considered the main “sins against the spirit.” Piłsudski did not create any coherent state ideology which he feared would set limits to his own freedom of a political demiurge.

Jan Lewandowski: Commandant’s Men of Lublin (1914-1918) / 37

A text presenting the activity of the Lublin independence movement between 1914-1918. The author describes how under the conditions of the conspiracy the inhabitants of Lublin (including the youngest members of the secret scouting regiment) were preparing to fight the invaders. He also characterizes the most important organizations and political parties aiming to regain sovereignty and presents the key events of the city’s history of those times (the withdrawal of the Russian army from Lublin, the entry of Belina-Prażmowski troops, the appointment of the Daszyński government, the takeover of power in the first days of November 1918). There are mentioned several of Lublin inhabitants’ names involved in the independence movement, while special attention has been given to the three of them: Jerzy Kuncewicz – a teacher, journalist and political activist; Jadwiga Marcinowska – an editor and writer actively participating in the conspiratorial work; and Jerzy Mączewski – a teacher, politician and soldier during the Polish-Bolshevik war. 

Stanisław Michałowski: Prior to Lublin Government. Ignacy Daszyński and Józef Piłsudski in the Fight for Polish Independence / 54

The article discusses the co-operation of the two leaders on the left side of the political scene in Poland in the work of regaining independence. According to the author, this goal would not have been achieved without the contribution of Ignacy Daszyński, although he is a figure much less familiar than Józef Piłsudski and hardly present in Poles’ perception of those times. Daszyński’s views as a socialist and his ability to combine the idea of the liberation of the Polish proletariat with the idea of the country’s independence were thus presented. Finally, the author points to Daszyński’s attachment to the democratic methods of achieving political goals by the socialist party in already independent Poland, which eventually had to lead to a distressing conflict with Józef Piłsudski.

Twenty Songs of Polish Legions / 61

Presentation of popular songs during the Legions’ campaign of the First World War and the following years. Some songs have survived to this day and belong to the repertoire of patriotic songs performed on various occasions in many Polish homes.

Aleksander Wójtowicz: A Perspective of a Soldier. Juliusz Kaden-Bandrowski and Józef Piłsudski / 78

In the works of Juliusz Kaden-Bandrowski (1885-1944), the cult of Józef Piłsudski is inseparable from the war discourse and the militaristic ideology. Although the discourse of war was primarily responsible for the nature of the texts concerning the events of 1914-1921, and the militaristic ideology came to the forefront in his later works, they still had a lot in common. First of all, both the discourse and the ideology shared an affirmative attitude towards the romanticism in the vein of Tyrtaeus, providing a specific matrix to talking about the war in terms of the idea of ​​“action.” These modes of writing, deeply rooted in Polish tradition, gained in Kaden’s prose a completely different scope of reference. This was the result of the gradual penetration into his texts of his “modern war” experience and of all its consequences, which were to appear only in subsequent years, when the figure of the leader began to gradually transform into a dictator, the praise of action – into the postulates of biopolitics, and war memories – into the politics of history. At the end of the 1930s, Kaden intuitively sensed the World War II catastrophe that cost the lives of both his sons fighting the German occupier.

Jarosław Cymerman: “Full Man.” Piłsudski in the Life and Works of Józef Czechowicz / 90

For Józef Czechowicz, Piłsudski was a person capable of changing history, a person who in every possible way went beyond his contemporaries. This conviction was probably connected with the influence of the poet’s older brother Stanisław, a soldier of the Legions, as well as the hopes that Piłsudski, perceived as a socialist, had woken up among the youth stricken with poverty. The fascination with the character of the marshal was reflected in numerous works by the Lublin poet – usually occasional, custom-made poems published in the periodicals in which he was employed. Two of such poems deserve special recognition, both of them entitled Piłsudski: one dating back to 1923, and the other written five years later. In the first one, Czechowicz presents the commandant as a chosen individual subject to a special trial, a man worthy of reaching the crown; in the second, Piłsudski becomes a kind of Nietzschean superman – a hero who carries the world on his shoulders.

Mirosława Ołdakowska-Kuflowa: “Not to Step Out of Being Discreet.” Kazimiera Iłłakowiczówna about Marshal Józef Piłsudski / 98

Kazimiera Iłłakowiczówna met Piłsudski in 1911 in Kraków, thanks to her sister Barbara. Years later, in November 1925, the marshal offered the poet employment as a personal secretary. In that position Ilłakowiczówna worked until 1935. Her memoirs were rendered in the book titled Ścieżka obok drogi (A Path along the Road). The publication caused great controversy. The author had been criticized for trivializing the image of the marshal and reducing his legend. When formulating these allegations, however, what was not taken into consideration was the fact that Ilłakowiczówna wrote this book for young girls. A Path along the Road was meant to teach them about a “grand and beloved Polish man.” This explains the intentional naivety of the narrative, the lack of clear political threads, as well as easy-to-grasp didacticism. In the book, Piłsudski is described as a good boss, a gentle and good man, a person of trust and respect, yet occasionally flawed (sloppy clothes, propensity to frivolous jokes). While presenting his character, the poet deliberately kept a low profile and maintained distance towards herself without shunning from self-irony. 

Lechosław Lameński: The Spirit of Józef Piłsudski and the Utopian Vision of Poland and the World by Stach from Warta Szukalski / 108

Stanisław Szukalski, pseud. Stach from Warta (1893-1987), is a Polish sculptor, painter, illustrator, designer and theorist, founder and leader of the association named the Tribe of Horned Heart. In his artistic concepts, Szukalski anticipated the emergence of a completely new Europe, especially in the sphere of culture and art. The artist called it “Neurope.” The intended changes were to start from Poland. The so-called Second Poland, led by its spiritual leader Józef Piłsudski, was meant to become the most creative and important country of “Neurope.” For this reason, the artist created the drawing design of the monument Politwarus (name from the first letters of words: Poland, Lithuania, Russia), which is a tribute to the marshal for the Miracle on the Vistula battle in 1920. However, Szukalski soon realized that while Piłsudski’s role was not to be underestimated during the rebirth of Poland after 123 years of captivity, in the situation when under his quiet permission the power had been passed into the hands of old and fossilized people, young and talented patriots would not be able to participate in creating a new and better reality. He was convinced of the need for a rapid change, starting with the revolution in Polish art, especially through the reforms in fine arts higher education. The outbreak of World War II hindered these plans. Szukalski went to the United States, where from 1940 until the end of his life, his attention was entirely absorbed by another interdisciplinary theory, according to which humanity survived several deluges, and the language originally used by all people was Polish.

Rafał Szczerbakiewicz: Freezing Piłsudski. Jacek Dukaj and the Limits of Demitologization Strategy / 118

A text devoted to the character of Piłsudski shown in Jacek Dukaj’s Lód (Ice), a novel belonging to the genre of the so-called alternative histories. The fantastic plot (the fall of the Tungus meteorite in 1908 causes the emergence of mysterious creatures called Lute and “freezes” history) becomes a pretext for the writer to undermine the marshal’s myth. Piłsudski, in fact, without World War I and regaining independence by Poland, is a grotesque figure, yet at the same time serves as a personification of the threats menacing the Poles who are convinced of their exceptionality and great predestination. Through deconstructing the stereotypical image of the marshal, Dukaj exposes Piłsudski’s messianic delusions and dictatorial ambitions. Are we dealing here with the misrepresentation of Freudian father’s complex? The overthrow of unwanted authority in the fictitious world in the absence of any positive solutions is not only ineffective, but can also be a proof of immature entanglement in the element of destructiveness.

Grzegorz Józefczuk: Schulz on Piłsudski. And What Ensued Afterwards / 128

The eminent Polish writer of Jewish origin, Bruno Schulz, was completely apolitical and far from public involvement in his life and works. However, he published three short, interesting sketches devoted to the character of Józef Piłsudski which diagnose the problems of the Polish national condition: Powstają legendy (Legend was Born) in 1935, and, a year later, Wolność tragiczną (Tragic Freedom) and Pod Belwederem (In Front of Belvedere). In these texts he used the category of “realization of the myth” as opposed to the concept of the “mythologisation of reality,” which expresses his own philosophy of literature and culture. The author discusses Schulz’s sketches and explains how the researchers of his works relate to this intriguing situation.

Aleksander Wójtowicz: Broken Bridges. Two Versions of Anatol Stern’s “Piłsudski” Poem / 135

Anatol Stern wrote two versions of Piłsudski poem. The first, which was created in 1934, was confiscated by the sanation censorship, while the second – dated 1956 and with the subtitle “confiscated poem” – when compared to the first version was subject to far-reaching changes and additions. This was especially true of the passages that spoke about Piłsudski and about the state and social policy of that time. The poem could not appear in the interwar period because of its overly controversial nature, which stemmed primarily from the author’s leftist position. Yet after the war the poem turned out to be contradictory to the doctrine of the Communist Party, intolerant to the dilemmas that came to light in the original text. Whereas in the first version of the poem the irreversible breakthrough was the May Coup d’État, then in the poem published in the Wiersze dawne i nowe (Old and New Verses) it was the war that imposed a completely different way of perceiving the mechanisms of history.

Giennadij Filipowicz Matwiejew: The Image of Józef Piłsudski in Russian Propaganda and Literature / 144

Józef Piłsudski became a popular figure in Russia at the end of 1918, when he became the head of state of Poland and its armed forces. Although he was portrayed in an unfavorable light, he was not the embodiment of evil. Yet until Piłsudski’s resignation from the post of the head of state in 1922, Soviet journalists succeeded in spreading his image as “war party leader,” “irresponsible adventurer,” “war instigator,” opponent of normalization of relations with Russia … Then in 1923 he was described as an unpredictable representative of the bourgeoisie. After the May Coup d’État in Poland in 1926, Piłsudski began to be portrayed in the USSR as a fascist dictator, a deadly enemy of both working people and revolutionary and national liberation movements and a fierce opponent of Sovietism. The denigrating efforts of the Soviet mass media were subdued twice: first, in 1932, in connection with the preparation and signing of the Polish-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact, and then in May 1935, after the Marshal’s death. Despite the publication of an article by Karol Radek showing Piłsudski as a fervent patriot who devoted his life to serving Poland, there was no breakthrough in Soviet-Polish relations. Their own image of Piłsudski – not so unequivocal as in the USSR – had been created by the Russian emigration. The emphasis was on Piłsudski’s animosity towards Russia, but his patriotism was also emphasized by calling him even an eminent statesman. The new stage in the creation of Piłsudski’s image in Russia began after the publication of a monograph Józef Piłsudski – legendy i fakty (Józef Piłsudski. Legends and Facts) by Daria and Tomasz Nałęcz in 1990. The influence of the current politics on the Russian image of Piłsudski finally ceased at the beginning of the 21st century. Russian historians may now write about Piłsudski independently. This is evidenced, among other things, by the biography titled Piłsudski published by Giennadij Matwiejew in 2008 in the popular series “The Life of Extraordinary People.”

Algis Kasperavičius: The Image of Józef Piłsudski in Interwar Independent Lithuania / 154

Jozef Piłsudski spent his childhood and youth in Lithuania, and after the First World War he played an important role in shaping Poland’s relations with Lithuania and in the dispute over Vilnius. Piłsudski’s role interpretations varied in different historical periods. In the years 1919-1920 his plans to merge Lithuania with Poland through federation were treated as a threat to the sovereignty of the Lithuanian state. His image as the most dangerous and insidious enemy of Lithuania was consolidated in the Lithuanians’ consciousness after the occupation of Vilnius by General Lucjan Żeligowski on 9 October 1920. In 1924-1925, after Piłsudski’s resignation from the post of the Head of State and from the highest military authorities, he was rarely mentioned. After the May Coup d’État in Poland in 1926, Piłsudski was once again at the center of attention in the Lithuanian press. It was said that his government carried a direct threat to Lithuania’s independence. The most important goal of the Lithuanian foreign policy was the recovery of Vilnius, and thus their greatest enemy was Poland, ruled by Piłsudski. After the rise of Hitler’s dictatorship in 1933, Germany became a real threat to Lithuania. After the death of Józef Piłsudski on May 12, 1935, the Lithuanian president did not send his condolences, but the tone of the Lithuanian press was subdued. At times, he was admired as a Lithuanian who shaped the Poles. Since 1940 Piłsudski has been mentioned in history textbooks and historical syntheses – always in a negative light. By the end of the existence of Soviet Lithuania, a monograph by Daria and Tomasz Nałęcz about Józef Piłsudski was translated and published after 1990. Since then, there has been a renewed interest in the character of Józef Piłsudski and the resumption of disputes over his role and significance.

Walentyn Jeriomin, Serhij Sieriakow: Józef Piłsudski in the Imagination of Contemporary Ukrainians / 165

The knowledge about the life and achievements of Józef Piłsudski is scarce in the Ukraine. His character is only occasionally referred to in the studies conducted by Ukrainian historians. The recently organized conferences and round tables devoted to the issue of Legions and their founder have been held mostly in the active participation of the Polish side. On the other hand, in the Ukrainian public discourse (statements of politicians, press releases, Internet forums) Piłsudski is most often discussed in the context of current Polish-Ukrainian disputes, such as those associated with the figure of Stepan Bandera. In the absence of reliable historical knowledge, the figure of the marshal – treated merely instrumentally – becomes a type of bargaining chip in this kind of discussion, which Ukrainian politicians and journalists bring into play often resorting to manipulation (comparing Piłsudski with Bandera is supposed to prove, for example, that the latter is regarded by the Ukrainians as a national hero).

Joanna Sondel-Cedarmas: Condottiero e Costruttore della Polonia. Comments on the Perception of Józef Piłsudski in Fascist Italy / 171

Based on the readings of the Italian press and diplomatic statements, the author follows the changes in the image of Józef Piłsudski and his policies in Italy. Initially, the image was not positive. During World War I, despite sympathy for the Polish cause, Piłsudski’s policy of rapprochement with the Central Powers was not approved by the Italian political elite, since Italy was an ally of entente, an opponent of Germany and Austria. Manifestations of sympathy appeared only after Piłsudski was detained in the fortress in Magdeburg. The change of attitude towards the Polish state was brought about by the Polish victory in the war with the Bolsheviks – for Italian Catholics and Liberals, Poland became a bastion protecting Europe from the flood of communism. The May Coup d’État received cold reception, for example, the influential journalist Attilio Tamaro wrote about Piłsudski as an impetuous man destabilizing the situation in Poland and Europe. Francesco Tommasini, the first Italian MP in revived Poland, engaged in a fierce polemic with Tamaro, pointing to the analogy between the May coup and Mussolini’s march on Rome, despite all the differences between the two politicians. After some time, Italian newspapers began to portray a positive image of Piłsudski’s attempt to introduce a strong rule, although it is not possible to talk about Piłsudski’s close relations with Mussolini. Numerous publications appeared primarily after the death of the marshal in 1935. Italians appreciated his outstanding personality, great patriotism, personal courage and commitment to the national cause.

Janusz Golec: Józef Piłsudski in the Eyes of the Germans, or a Forbidden Biography / 180

In 1933, a biography of Józef Piłsudski by Friedrich Wilhelm von Oertzen entitled Pilsudski appeared in “Colemans kleine Biographien” (Coleman Little Biographies). Von Oertzen tried to portray the Polish politician as a bizarre personality and as a fanatical revolutionary, who at the end of his life betrayed the values ​​of the political path to restore Poland’s independence and freedom. The author raises the question what remained of Józef Piłsudski as a socialist chief editor of “Robotnik.” He is convinced that Piłsudski, at the height of his career, forgot that the strength of his nationalism lied in its linkage with socialism. After recalling the famous events of the marshal’s life, von Oertzen focuses, among others, on Piłsudski’s work on editing “Robotnik,” simulating madness during his stay in the Warsaw citadel, Miracle on the Vistula river (Piłsudski is recognized not as a savior, but a perpetrator of the war of 1920) and the loneliness of the old man in the Belvedere, practically deprived of friends and influence. According to von Oertzen, the tragedy of Piłsudski’s fate is that he is associated with a nation that will always suffer disasters because it does not recognize the measure of its historic mission and either exceeds the set goals or is unable to accomplish them.

Aneta Wysocka: The Peculiarities of Józef Piłsudski’s Style – Prolegomena / 185

Józef Piłsudski’s speaking style, though repeatedly signaled as important by historians and journalists who analyzed the marshal’s view of the world and his relations with people, has never been monographed. In this context, it would be particularly interesting to analyze Piłsudski’s language based on cognitive-anthropological research methods of contemporary linguistics. This approach requires taking into account a number of specific issues, including: the problem of style (high and low) in Piłsudski’s public addresses, incorporation of communication habits typical of landed gentry or soldiers, the marshal’s attitude to the literary conventions of the epoch and the language of romanticism, and the problems of intentionality of the discourse under consideration.

Zbigniew Zaporowski: Józef Piłsudski: The Beginnings of Modern Thinking about School / 191

Among the state problems undertaken by Józef Piłsudski were school issues at all levels of education. Two decrees of February 7th, 1919 were decisive for the general education. The first one, On Compulsory Education, introduced mandatory 7-year school education for children from the age of 7. The school was therefore obligatory, state-run and secular. The second decree, On the Training of Teachers in the Polish State, introduced a 5-year teacher seminar as a required training for educators. Piłsudski also attached great importance to the development of higher education. He established new colleges, authorized their statutes, senates, and assigned professorships. In addition, he drew attention to the physical education of youth, which he viewed through the prism of the physical fitness of boys – future soldiers. In other words, in educational matters Piłsudski presented an amazingly modern view of the challenges of the contemporary times, and, above all, the abilities of the pupil (he argued that pupils are generally too burdened with memory science and that modern languages ​​should be taught at the expense of classical ones).

Karol Piasecki: Bronisław Piłsudski – an Exile and a Researcher / 197

Bronisław Piłsudski (born 2 November 1866 in Zułów, died 17 May 1918 in Paris) was an eldest brother of Józef Piłsudski, a great researcher and a well-known expert in the Aynu and Niwch culture. He was exiled to their island of Sakhalin accused of participating in the preparation of the assassination of Tsar Alexander III. In the 19th century the island was the object of the colonial rivalry between Russia and Japan, after which a Russian penal colony was established, which constituted the place of hard labour, mainly for criminals. But Bronisław Piłsudski, thanks to his abilities and qualities of his character, quickly began to be treated in a less strict manner and could even live outside the colony. His first contacts with the indigenous people of Sakhalin date back to 1896. In order to learn the Aynu culture, he learned their language, lived with them, and eventually married an Aynu woman. Piłsudski carried out research with minimal expenditure, struggling with everyday life difficulties and limitations resulting from the status of exile. He himself took several hundred photographs, which are the extremely valuable source material today, and pioneered the use of the Edison phonograph to preserve the Aynu folklore. The materials he collected are valuable not only for the sake of learning, but also for the Aynu themselves, who after years of oblivion and discriminatory policies of the Japanese authorities are experiencing a kind of “national rebirth.”

Monika Szabłowska-Zaremba: The Image of Józef Piłsudski in the Interwar Polish-Jewish Press / 205

The author discusses various ways of presenting the character of Józef Piłsudski in the Jewish press published in Polish in the years 1918-1939. She distinguishes two kinds: children’s magazines ((„Nasza Jutrzenka” – “Our Morning Star,” „Okienko na Świat” – “Window to the World,” „Dzienniczek dla Dzieci i Młodzieży” – “Children and Youth Diary”) and periodicals created for adults („Nowy Dziennik” – “New Daily,” „Chwila” – “Moment,” „Nasz Przegląd” – “Our Review”). Apart from “Our Morning Star,” the rest of the titles are related to the pro-Zionist idea. Significantly, Piłsudski was not always presented in a panegyric convention, although in fact this type of description prevailed for the entire twenty years, regardless of the age of the reader. After the marshal’s death, the glorification of his person and deeds became even more intense and served to consolidate the legend of the Great Commander who offered all citizens freedom and security.

Monika Gabryś-Sławińska: Distance and Distrust. Józef Piłsudski in „Tygodnik Ilustrowany” (“The Weekly Illustrated”) 1915-1918 / 211

A text devoted to Piłsudski’s image which emerges from the newspaper articles released between 1915 and 1918 in „Tygodnik Ilustrowany” (“The Weekly Illustrated”) – a popular social-cultural magazine published in Warsaw. The attitude of the weekly editorial team to the creator of the Legions was characterized by great caution sometimes combined with resentment. He was accused of subordination of the Polish armed forces to German command and criticized for incorrect political decisions and irresponsibility in risking young soldiers’ lives. However, the information strategy adopted by the editors was primarily to exclude the name of Piłsudski in the press materials referring to the Legions or to present him in an unfavorable light – as an enigmatic and therefore grim figure. This strategy did not change significantly even when the commandant broke off cooperation with Germany and even later – after Poland regained its independence.


With History in the Background

Wiesława Turżańska: Ziemkiewicz Revalidates the Values ​​[Rafał A. Ziemkiewicz „Złowrogi cień marszałka” (“The Ominous Shadow of the Marshal”)]; Monika Gabryś-Sławińska: Restoring the Memory of Andrzej Strug [Anna Kargol „Strug. Biografia polityczna. »Miarą wszystkiego jest człowiek«” (“Strug. Political Biography. ‘The Measure of Everything is a Human’”)]; Iwona Hofman: Read After the Years [Józef Czapski „Tumult i widma” (“Tumult and Phantoms”)]; Konrad Zieliński: Ordinary-Extraordinary [„»Był czyn i chwała!«. Józef Gabriel Jęczkowiak. »Wspomnienia harcerza 1913-1918«” (“’There was Action and a Glory!’ Józef Gabriel Jęczkowiak. ’The Scout’s Memoirs 1913-1918’”)]; Jan Lewandowski: Provincial Physician [Zygmunt Klukowski „Zamojszczyzna 1918-1959” (“Zamość Region1918-1959”)] / 222

The reviews of recent essayist, biographical and memoir publications in which the 20th century history of Poland constitutes an important motif. Against this historical background the issues of patriotic attitudes are more or less critically analyzed.


Wacława Milewska: Piłsudski in Art. Some Portraits and Caricatures of Józef Piłsudski / 247

An article dedicated to paintings and caricatures depicting Józef Piłsudski created in 1939. Describing works by renowned artists as well as amateurs (including Legion soldiers), the author draws attention to the features of the model’s personality mapped on his portraits. The paintings of the marshal, which varied according to the individual preferences of the creators as well as the way of approaching the subject, are confronted in the memoirs written by the people familiar with Piłsudski. As a result, a multifaceted image of Piłsudski emerges – drawn on the basis of rich and generically varied iconographic material, as well as the compiled observations of people with whom the marshal had met at various stages of his life.

Iwona Luba: Józef Piłsudski as a Romantic. The Genesis and Mechanisms of Commander’s Worship in Art and Mass Culture / 267

The cult of Józef Piłsudski was born in the times of the First World War, while the attributes of the state ideology were added – not without the contribution of the marshal himself – during the Second Polish Republic. Based on the stereotypes rooted in the romantic tradition, the figure of Piłsudski fulfilled the longing of the society for the providential individual, who would instigate the rebirth of Poland. The actions such as attributing Piłsudski with exceptional military and political skills (like Kościuszko and Napoleon), conscious shaping of his image as an exceptional figure, dedicating him numerous works of literature and art, displaying his portraits in schools, military facilities and offices, bolstered the marshal’s reputation. In practice, however, the leader’s cult led to the idealization of the past and hindered judgment in the current political situation. It transformed into a kind of a myth that exerts powerful impact to this day.


Grzegorz Rogowski: The Character of Marshal Józef Piłsudski in the Cinematography of the Polish Interwar Period / 278

Józef Piłsudski’s character has been present in Polish cinema since its inception. There are short films of informational nature, reports, film chronicles, documentaries, as well as feature films. They depict not only the marshal himself, but also what happened around him – building the cult after his death in May 1935. The author discusses the individual collections. There are, among others: silent and short documentaries from the early 1920s; chronicles of the “Film Weekly of the Polish Telegraph Agency,” which entered the screens in 1928; longer documentary films supplemented with a fictitious layer (e.g. Odzy­skanie niepodległości Polski from 1928, The Restoration of Polish Independence); the famous Sztandar Wolności (Freedom Banner) of 1935, a compilation of archival footage and scenes shot in the atelier, or entirely censored national epic Pieśń o Wielkim Rzeźbiarzu (Song on the Great Sculptor), also from 1935. Significantly, before the war no one attempted to present the life of the marshal in the feature film even though the Polish cinematography of that period abounded in subjects closely related to Piłsudski, such as Dla Cie­bie Polsko (1920, For You, Poland), Cud nad Wisłą (1921, The Miracle on the Vistula), Miłość przez ogień i krew (1924, Love through Fire and Blood), and Mogiła nieznanego żołnierza (1927, The Tomb of an Unknown Soldier).

Iwona Grodź: When We Have a Past … We Exist. A Few Words on the Films about Józef Piłsudski / 288

The Polish myth of independence and the figure of Józef Piłsudski are still alive, as they have fulfilled, and will continue to fulfill, a therapeutic, educational and rehabilitative role. Through commemorating the past, we counteract the historical amnesia (and the secondary fictionalizing of the past). The author speculates in what way the memory of history (and its heroes) is nurtured with the help of the film art. She briefly discusses the films on Piłsudski, such as: prewar documents, including the Sztandar Wolności (1935, Freedom Banner) and Pogrzeb Marszałka (1935, Marshal’s Funeral); the first feature films in which the marshal appears, such as Miłość przez ogień i krew (1924, Love by Fire and Blood) or Komendant (1928, The Commander); later ones Śmierć prezydenta (1977, The Death of the President), Zamach stanu (1980, The Coup), Polonia Restituta (1981); theatrical production on television Polski listopad (1981, Polish November); feature series Zamach stanu (1983, The Coup); TV film production Rzeczpo­spolitej dni pierwsze (1988, First Days of the Republic); TV series Mar­szałek Piłsudski (2001, Marshal Piłsudski) and superproduction 1920 Bitwa Warszawska (2011, 1920 Battle of Warsaw).


Agata Kusto: Legion Songs. A Sketch on Genesis and Reception in Popular Culture / 298

The character of Polish songs created in the 19th century resulted from the need to express the patriotic-religious feelings and the widespread flow of spontaneous amateur art. The social role of the song influenced the simplicity of its form, borrowing from the forms characteristic of Polish folk music. This folklorisation extends also to composed forms, providing a chance to extend not only their social reception, but also vitality. The sketch presents three groups of legionary songs. The first group consists of the songs with established authorship of music and lyrics (e.g. My, Pierwsza Brygada – The First Brigade); the second group includes the songs in which we know the author of the lyrics and the music has folk origins (e.g. O mój rozmarynie O My Rosemary); the third one includes the songs by anonymous authors (e.g. Ułani, ułaniLancers). The author deals with the problem of genesis and authorship of these works. She also describes the process of their “folklorisation” varying in terms of time and intensity, which creates an interesting contribution to the research on the mutual permeation of Polish folk tunes and artistic songs.


Maria Tomułowicz: Family Memories with Piłsudski in the Background / 305

The daughter of Wacław Kowalski of Korab coat of arms, a senior government official in Vilnius in the interwar Poland, recollects her private and official contacts with Józef Piłsudski. The marshal, with whom in 1920 Wacław Kowalski “walked side by side to beat the Muscovites,” was back then a frequent guest at their house at Adam Mickiewicz street in Vilnius, where Kowalski lived with his family during his appointment as a city mayor. The parents of the author of the memoirs had conversations with Piłsudski, ate their meals together, went on trips outside the city or on holidays to Druskininkai.


Joanna Drzazga: Not Only in Soldier’s Words … / 310

The sense of humor was an important feature of Piłsudski’s personality, as evidenced by numerous anecdotes narrated by people familiar with him, as well as texts of his speeches, interviews, letters or fragments of his published books. The marshal liked to joke with his closest relatives (for example, in correspondence with his wife) as well as when he talked about the most important issues – politics and ideological issues. The irony and unpretentious hilarity were often accompanied with a sharp, unceremonious and overly ripe joke. On the one hand, Piłsudski’s manner won him over the support of his interlocutors and the society. Yet, on the other hand, it was regarded as the evidence of critique, the uncompromising judgment, or, as claimed by the marshal’s opponents – arrogance.


Łukasz Marcińczak: All the Marshal’s Sabres. On the Statues of Józef Piłsudski / 321

A text on the statues of Józef Piłsudski, in particular those presenting him as a horseman. The first of these monuments were made in 1930s, but after 1945 – due to the ideology prevalent in Poland at that time – they were destroyed. The real popularity of the statues featuring the marshal came only after the turn of 1989. Describing the statues that in the course of the last 37 years have been erected in Katowice, Lublin, Kielce, Warsaw, Daleszyce, Mława, Grójec, Cracow or Zielona Góra, the author draws attention to the far-reaching stereotyping of Piłsudski’s image, manifested for instance in the fact that his fairly indispensable attribute is a sabre, sometimes clumsily exposed.


Jan Władysław Woś: He Did not Become a Dictator. Some Remarks on Józef Piłsudski’s (In)Existence in Italian Historiography / 327

Although one of the streets in Rome is named after Piłsudski and he has his monument in the capital, he has never been a famous figure in Italy. Piłsudski did not intend to imitate the Mussolini regime or his methods of conduct, nor did he seek closer Polish-Italian relations. He was convinced that the regime introduced by Mussolini was unacceptable to the Poles. The essay is based on a few available books and pamphlets dedicated to Piłsudski in Italy, authored, among others, by Leonard Kociemski (1882-1975), Dymitr Merezkowski (1865-1941), Francesco Tommasini (1875-1945), Ofelia Colautti Novak (1887-1957) and Jadwiga Toeplitz-Mrozowska (1880-1966). The author also cites several papers and studies published after the Second World War. However, if Polish issues are to occupy more space in the consciousness of Western societies (including Italians), Poles should work out a coherent and consistently implemented program of promoting their culture and history abroad.


Ewa Dunaj: Is the Popularity of the Marshal Fading? / 336

Part of the common Polish and Latvian history is associated with the figure of Józef Piłsudski who visited Dyneburg on January 27, 1920. In the early 1920s Latvian and Polish troops fought together for Latvian independence. The result of the operation “Winter” was the capture of the city of Daugavpils. From the autumn of 1919 until the spring of 1920, Polish and Latvian troops led by General Edward Rydz-Śmigły liberated Latvia from the Bolshevik army. General Janis Balodis, thanking the Polish army in Daugavpils, expressed his hope for the rapprochement of the Polish and Latvian nations. In reply to these words, Józef Piłsudski spoke of “honor and honorable fight in accordance with the Polish tradition for our and your freedom … for the freedom of our neighbour and friend.” The author wonders how vivid the memory of those events is at present, and indicates the rare traces of Piłsudski’s stay in Dyneburg – a monument and a multi-lingual memorial plaque commemorating the past events; she also mentions the so-called marshal projects implemented to activate and stimulate the creativity of the students in the Polish School bearing his name. The conclusion is that Piłsudski did not settle in the Latvian collective imagination – he remained on the pages of history, gradually more and more forgotten.


Jarosław Cymerman: What Is There in the Sound of the Bell? / 340

A little known poem by Józef Czechowicz Słuchajmy Zygmunt dzwoni (Let’s hear Zygmunt bell tolling) with a commentary by Jarosław Cymerman, the director of Józef Czechowicz Museum in Lublin. The poem was first published in 1936 in the anthology „Jego za grobem zwycięstwo”. Wiersze o najlepszym synu ojczyzny i jej wodzu marszałku Józefie Piłsudskim 5 XII 1867 – 12 V 1935 (“His post-grave victory.” Poems about the best son of the homeland and its leader Marshal Józef Piłsudski 5 December 1867 – 12 May 1935).


Leszek Mądzik: Three Impulses / 342


Józef Piłsudski Institute in America / 343

The Piłsudski Institute in America was founded on July 4, 1943 in New York by Americans of Polish descent and war immigrants from Poland, including prominent Polish politicians of the interwar period. The most important tasks of the institute include: collecting historical materials related to Poland and Polish diaspora, supporting and conducting research related to Polish history, and popularizing Polish culture abroad. The Institute fulfills its mission through organizing conferences and film shows, awarding prizes, conducting lessons and workshops for children and young people, and, above all, by providing access to outstanding collections of valuable documents, historical and academic publications, maps, photographs, medals, souvenir items and works of art.

Tomasz Dyzma, Zbigniew Wojciechowski: Józef Piłsudski in Lublin / 351

On November 10, 2001, on the eve of the Independence Day of the Republic of Poland, the statue of Józef Piłsudski was solemnly unveiled on the Lithuanian Square in Lublin. The authors of the article briefly recall the visits of the marshal in Lublin and in the Lublin region (there were a dozen or so in total) and the history of the statue. On May 13, 1935, the day after Piłsudski’s death, the Post Office Military Apprenticeship decided to start a fundraiser for the construction of the monument. Unfortunately, the outbreak of the war, as well as the subsequent German occupation and communist enslavement, prevented this project from completion. The idea of ​​building the monument revived after the political changes in Poland. After many efforts, the Piłsudski Society of Lublin and the Committee for the Construction of the Statue of Marshal Józef Piłsudski in Lublin completed the project. They used the pre-war design of the statue by Professor Jan Raszka – a Legionnaire and marshal’s friend. 

Marian Surdacki: Józef Piłsudski in Urzędów in 1915 / 355

During the First World War, a small town in the Lubelskie voivodeship called Urzędów hosted the front of the war twice. On the second occasion there was a battle in which the First Brigade of the Polish Legions under the command of Józef Piłsudski took an active part. On July 14, 1915, commander Piłsudski transferred his quarters from the Wyżnianka farm to Urzędów. In the home of Aleksander Goliński, a local activist, patriot and history enthusiast, the brigade headquarters were stationed until 19 July. The fighting ended with the expulsion of Russians from Urzędów, who on their way back used the tactics of a “burned land” and completely destroyed the city. After a hundred years, Piłsudski’s stay in Urzędów is still firmly rooted in the memory and consciousness of the inhabitants. To commemorate the 75th anniversary of the battle and the 45th anniversary of the death of Józef Piłsudski, on the front wall of the house where he resided, a commemorative plaque was displayed and a monument on the graves of the fallen legionnaires was unveiled. A truly valuable testimony was written in 1937 by the wife of Aleksander Goliński, Teofila, who hosted the marshal. The author quotes the full version of her story.

Waldemar Michalski: “Piłsudski” by Kazimierz Andrzej Jaworski / 359

Kazimierz Andrzej Jaworski (1897-1973) was a teacher, poet and translator, founder of the nationwide literary monthly journal “Kamena” published in provincial Chełm. As a poet he made his debut in 1920 with the Piłsudski triptych composed of sonnets. The first sonnet talks about the years of Piłsudski’s childhood and youth in Vilnius, the second one describes the marshal’s involvement with the underground militia, and the third one focuses on the Legions led by Piłsudski. This debut triptych was later omitted in various collections. Waldemar Michalski ponders about the causes of this situation, taking into account a possible interference of the Polish censorship.

Lech Maliszewski: French Fascination with the Marshal / 363

The author discusses Le Maréchal Pilsudski pamphlet (1937) by Ludwik Faury, a Frenchman well-deserved for the Polish cause. For years Faury was the director of science at the Warsaw War College and he stood shoulder to shoulder with the Poles in the war against the Soviets. The French biographer of Piłsudski presented Faury as a providential man, a devout patriot, creatively and effectively pursuing the aspirations of the nation’s independence. He was fascinated with Piłsudski’s effectiveness, his willpower, his ability to think for the future and the genius of war. This approach was different from the dominant attitude in France at the time of the political victory of the People’s Front and the rise of radical Republicans when Piłsudski was generally labeled either as a fascist or at least viewed as a dictator and the policy of Minister Józef Beck was diabolized.

Notes about the authors / 368